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Old Friday, October 05, 2007
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Default zoology Ecosystem

What is a Biome?

A biome is a large geographical area of distinctive plant and animal groups, which are adapted to that particular environment. The climate and geography of a region determines what type of biome can exist in that region. Major biomes include deserts, forests, grasslands, tundra, and several types of aquatic environments. Each biome consists of many ecosystems whose communities have adapted to the small differences in climate and the environment inside the biome.
All living things are closely related to their environment. Any change in one part of an environment, like an increase or decrease of a species of animal or plant, causes a ripple effect of change in through other parts of the environment.
The earth includes a huge variety of living things, from complex plants and animals to very simple, one-celled organisms. But large or small, simple or complex, no organism lives alone. Each depends in some way on other living and nonliving things in its surroundings.


Deciduous forests

Deciduous forests can be found in the eastern half of North America, and the middle of Europe. There are many deciduous forests in Asia. Some of the major areas that they are in are southwest Russia, Japan, and eastern China. South America has two big areas of deciduous forests in southern Chile and Middle East coast of Paraguay. There are deciduous forests located in New Zealand, and southeastern Australia also.

The average annual temperature in a deciduous forest is 50 F. The average rainfall is 30 to 60 inches a year.

In deciduous forests there are five different zones. The first zone is the Tree Stratum zone. The Tree Stratum zone contains such trees as oak, beech, maple, chestnut hickory, elm, basswood, linden, walnut, and sweet gum trees. This zone has height ranges between 60 feet and 100 feet.

The small tree and sapling zone is the second zone. This zone has young, and short trees. The third zone is called the shrub zone. Some of the shrubs in this zone are rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, and huckleberries. The Herb zone is the fourth zone. It contains short plants such as herbal plants. The final zone is the Ground zone. It contains lichen, club mosses, and true mosses.

The deciduous forest has four distinct seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In the autumn the leaves change color. During the winter months the trees lose their leaves.

The animals adapt to the climate by hibernating in the winter and living off the land in the other three seasons. The animals have adapted to the land by trying the plants in the forest to see if they are good to eat for a good supply of food. Also the trees provide shelter for them. Animal use the trees for food and a water sources. Most of the animals are camouflaged to look like the ground.
The plants have adapted to the forests by leaning toward the sun. Soaking up the nutrients in the ground is also a way of adaptation.

A lot of deciduous forests have lost land to farms and towns. Although people are trying to protect the forests some poachers are trying to kill the animals in the forests. The animals are losing their homes because of people building their homes.


DESERT ECOSYSTEM.


A Hot and Dry Desert is, as you can tell from the name, hot and dry. Most Hot and Dry Deserts don't have very many plants. They do have some low down plants though. The only animals they have that can survive have the ability to burrow under ground. This is because they would not be able to live in the hot sun and heat. They only come out in the night when it is a little cooler.

A cold desert is a desert that has snow in the winter instead of just dropping a few degrees in temperature like they would in a Hot and Dry Desert. It never gets warm enough for plants to grow. Just maybe a few grasses and mosses. The animals in Cold Deserts also have to burrow but in this case to keep warm, not cool. That is why you might find some of the same animals here as you would in the Hot and Dry Deserts.

Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth's land surface. Most Hot and Dry Deserts are near the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn. Cold Deserts are near the Arctic part of the world.
Hot and Dry Deserts temperature ranges from 20 to 25 C. The extreme maximum temperature for Hot Desert ranges from 43.5 to 49 C. Cold Deserts temperature in winter ranges from -2 to 4 C and in the summer 21 to 26 C a year
The precipitation in Hot and Dry Deserts and the precipitation in Cold Deserts is different. Hot and Dry Deserts usually have very little rainfall and/or concentrated rainfall in short periods between long rainless periods. This averages out to under 15 cm a year. Cold Deserts usually have lots of snow. They also have rain around spring. This averages out to 15 - 26 cm a year.

Hot and Dry Deserts are warm throughout the fall and spring seasons and very hot during the summer. the winters usually have very little if any rainfall. Cold Deserts have quite a bit of snow during winter. The summer and the beginning of the spring are barely warm enough for a few lichens, grasses and mosses to grow.
Hot and Dry Deserts vegetation is very rare. Plants are almost all ground-hugging shrubs and short woody trees. All of the leaves are replete (packed with nutrients). Some examples of these kinds of plant are Turpentine Bush, Prickly Pears, and Brittle Bush. For all of these plants to survive they have to have adaptations. Some of the adaptations in this case are the ability to store water for long periods of time and the ability to stand the hot weather.

Cold Desert's plants are scattered. In areas with little shade,about 10 percent of the ground is covered with plants. In some areas of sagebrush it reaches 85 percent. The height of scrub varies from 15 cm to 122 cm. All plants are either deciduous and more or less contain spiny leaves.

Hot and Dry Deserts animals include small nocturnal (only active at night) carnivores. There are also insects, arachnids, reptiles, and birds. Some examples of these animals are Borrowers, Mourning Wheatears, and Horned Vipers. Cold Deserts have animals like Antelope, Ground Squirrels, Jack Rabbits, and Kangaroo Rats.

Last edited by Xeric; Friday, May 15, 2009 at 07:27 PM.
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