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Ecosystem examples

Examples of grouping different types of  ecosystems around the world - biomes

It would be a huge task (impossible?) to list all the ecosystems in the world.

Areas with similar physical conditions  and therefore similar ecosystems are sometimes grouped together as biomes for descriptive purposes.

  • ecosystems are real and  local
  • biomes are theoretical and scattered around the planet

If you ask a group of ecologists the number of biomes on the planet, you might get answers from 6 to 23+ This is because of varying judgments of the definitions of types and also names may differ depending on localised interpretations. I have chosen some of the most commonly recognised examples.

INTRODUCTION


Note on terrestrial ecosystems

Broadly speaking, terrestrial ecosystem types are determined by  ranges of temperature  and rainfall. This varies with latitude and therefore distance from the equator.  Mostly they are named for the dominant vegetation.


Gallery of ecosystem group examples

(Click/tap on the plus sign in the bottom right hand corner of each image for further information)

TERRESTRIAL BIOMES

TROPICAL RAINFOREST

also called jungle, high rainfall; warm temperatures; dense vegetation


TEMPERATE RAINFORESTS

high rainfall;  moderate temperatures; dense vegetation


TEMPERATE FORESTS

moderate rainfall and temperatures; some tree lose leaves in winter


BOREAL FOREST

also called taiga; dominated by evergreen, mostly coniferous trees


TROPICAL GRASSLANDS

also called savannah; oderate to hot temperatures, moderate rainfall, scattered shrubs over grass ground cover


TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS

also called prairie, steppes, veldt; warm to cold temperatures, moderate to dry rainfall, treeless plains


DESERT

hot or temperate, ; low rainfall;  sparse to extremely sparse vegetation


TUNDRA

cold to very cold temperatures during long harsh winters; permafrost under the soil


MONTANE

vertical zoning which mimics latitudinal changes

AQUATIC AND MIXED BIOMES

FRESHWATER - RIVERS, STREAMS

bodies of water in motion due to gravity; velocity and turbulence of water is a key factor


FRESHWATER - LAKES, PONDS

bodies of water that are predominantly still; trigger popup below for extended information


WETLANDS

area of land that is saturated by standing water; maybe seasonal or permanent; includes freshwater marshes, peatland, bogs, swamps, and fens.

FRESHWATER MARSHES

PEATLANDS


ESTUARIES

where sea meets river; abiotic pressures  include changes in salinity and temperature

MANGROVES

estuaries in tropical regions; dominated by woody plants


SALTMARSHES

estuaries in temperate regions; dominated by non-woody plants


MARINE - COASTAL

where sea meets land, also called the tidal zone; abiotic pressures include change in salinity, turbulence, water temperature


MARINE - OPEN OCEAN

surface and near surface ecosystems; coral reefs, sea grass beds, kelp forests


MARINE - DEEP SEA

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