Thursday, May 19, 2011

The world

Life On Earth

A unique combination of of an oxygen-rich atmosphere and plentiful water is the key to life on earth.apart from the  polar ice caps, there are a few area which have not been colonized by animal or plant s over  the course of earth’s  history.plants process sunlight to provide them with their energy ,and ultimately all the earth animal s relay on plants for survival.Because of this reliance ,plants are known as primary  procedures, and the availability of nutrients and temperature  of an area is defined as its primary productivity.,which affects the quantity and type of animals which are able to live there.this index is effected by climatic factors –cold and aridity restrict  the quantity of life,whereas warmth and regular rain fall allow a greater diversity of species.  

Read more about :
           Our ecosystem
·         World biomes
·         Biodiversity
·         Humen being

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World biomes

Bio geographical regions

The Earth can be divided into a series of bio geographical region or biomes,ecological communities where certain species of plant and animal coexist within particular climatic conditions.Within these broad classifications, other factor including soil richness ,altitude and humen activities such as urbanization , intensive agriculture  and deforestation of living species within each biome.

Wold biomes


 Read about Biodiversity:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rainforest biome

Tropical Rainforest  Biome

         Tropical rainforest biome is the most complex and species-rich biome on the Earth. 80% of all world's biodiversity are found here.The reason for such amazing number of species is the ideal climatic conditions for plant growth: the warmth, and, more than anything - the moisture.This is compensated by extra high productivity - things decompose about 10 times quicker in tropical rainforests than in other biomes.The tropical rain forest is a forest of tall trees in a region of year-round warmth. An average of 50 to 260 inches (125 to 660 cm.) of rain falls yearly.

          Rain forests belong to the tropical wet climate group. The temperature in a rain forest rarely gets higher than 93 °F (34 °C) or drops below 68 °F (20 °C); average humidity is between 77 and 88%; rainfall is often more than 100 inches a year. There is usually a brief season of less rain. In monsoonal areas, there is a real dry season. Almost all rain forests lie near the equator. This is compensated by extra high productivity - things decompose about 10 times quicker in tropical rainforests than in other biomes.

          Rainforests now cover less than 6% of Earth's land surface. Scientists estimate that more than half of all the world's plant and animal species live in tropical rain forests. Tropical rainforests produce 40% of Earth's oxygen.

           About 1/4 of all the medicines we use come from rainforest plants. Curare comes from a tropical vine, and is used as an anesthetic and to relax muscles during surgery. Quinine, from the cinchona tree, is used to treat malaria. A person with lymphocytic leukemia has a 99% chance that the disease will go into remission because of the rosy periwinkle. More than 1,400 varieties of tropical plants are thought to be potential cures for cancer.

           All tropical rain forests resemble one another in some ways. Many of the trees have straight trunks that don't branch out for 100 feet or more. There is no sense in growing branches below the canopy where there is little light. The majority of the trees have smooth, thin bark because there is no need to protect the them from water loss and freezing temperatures. It also makes it difficult for epiphytes and plant parasites to get a hold on the trunks. The bark of different species is so similar that it is difficult to identify a tree by its bark. Many trees can only be identified by their flowers.

           The canopy layer typically blocks the sunlight, creating the dark forest floor where the vegetation is scarce enough that we can walk on the forest floor.If a tree falls and opens the canopy, a myriad of small pant species start growing on the forest floor.If large parts of the canopy are opened after say, a hurricane, the vegetation on the forest floor becomes so dense that we would not be able to walk there - it becomes a real jungle.


         Species such as lemurs and chameleons; and countless others such as Nile crocodiles, mongooses, tenrecs, and many species of bats, centipedes, frogs and lizards. Animals include Asian rhinos and Asian elephants, snow leopards and clouded leopards, crocodiles, bats, sun bears, black bears, bantengs, tarsiers and cobra snakes.A few species of marsupials such as wallabies and cuscus, but is more known for its bird-life with the famous birds of paradise, Victoria crowned pigeons and two species of cassowaries.


       Rainforest plants thrive extremely well in their environment, because every plant loves a lot of water, and rainforests are indeed very wet places.This means rainforests are thick and dense, full of plant life, and packed with different plants - it gets so crowded that the biggest competition is this of sunlight. Every plant tries therefore to reach high up to not to miss out on sunligh.Large trees grow tall and spread out their canopies and block the light from reaching the ground. Some extra tall trees, called emergents, grow through that canopy, even higher. Others, like vines climb on tree trunks to reach the sunlight high up.
       Orchids and epiphytes start growing high up in the trees when a bird drops a seed there. Shorter trees and other plants grow on the rainforest floor, where some light happens to reach the forest ground.When a high tree falls and opens up the canopy, smaller plants get a chance to start growing in the sunlight on the rainforest floor. Rainforest flora vary considerably between tropical and temperate rainforests; and between the rainforests on different continents. Tropical rainforest species are more numerous, while temperate rainforests have less layers and are more known for giant trees, mosses and epiphytes.

Temperate Rainforests Biome

        This is a small biome in terms of area covered. Temperate rainforests are found along coasts in temperate regions. The largest temperate rainforests are on the pacific coast in North America, stretching from Alaska to Oregon. Other temperate rainforests are found along the coast of Chile, the United Kingdom, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, and S. Australia. The largest temperate rainforests are on the pacific coast in North America, stretching from Alaska to Oregon. Tropical rainforests are generally found between 30°N and 30°S latitudes, covering 6-7% of the Earth’s land surface.A temperate rainforest grows in four main layers, with different trees, flow ers, and other plants in each layer.
         The trees that make up the temperate rainforest are huge, and their value as timber is proportionate to their size.  With forests elsewhere already cut, there is tremendous pressure to log in temperate rainforests.  Thus, timber cutting is the number one threat to these forests.  It should be noted that timbering can be very difficult here because of steep mountain slopes.

          At the end of summer plant and animal life is at its fullest. Animals have matured and plants are fertile and in full bloom. In the fall things change. Animals breed and start getting ready for the winter and plants stop growing. The temperature also begins to drop during the fall as cool, crisp air replaces the hot, humid air.


          Nocturnal animals, such as raccoons, flying squirrels, bats, and opossums, sleep in the trees during the day and have a full and active life at night. They wake up to forage or hunt for food. Other animals, like deer and black bears, are drowsy during the hot summer days and become more active during the cool nights. It is easy for predators and prey to hide from each other under the darkness of night. Animals that live during the day have to be trickier to hide themselves. Some animals live in burrows, trees, or the forest floor. Living in burrows is a safe refuge for small animals that need to hide from bigger animals.


          Dominating trees' oak, hickory, American chestnut trees, sugar maple, American beech, American basswood, birch, black cherry, magnolia, ash, and buckeye.
        The obvious element of climate in the temperate rain forest is precipitation.  At least 200 cm of it, perhaps up to 350 centimeters in warmer areas.  The precipitation can fall in the form of rain or snow, with snow becoming more likely at higher elevations.  The average annual temperature is above 0 C, largely influenced by the nearby ocean.  The warmest of the temperate rainforests may have average annual temperatures around 20 C.

These layers are:

1.The Top Layer (called the emergent layer)
       Huge trees rising high above the rest of the forest, therefore receiving the most sunlight.
2.The second layer (called the canopy)
      Tall trees growing close together so that their tops are close, forming a fairly continuous cover.
3.The third layer (called the understorey)
        Smaller trees, bushes, and plants such as ferns, form the understorey. Not much sunlight reaches here, because the canopy blocks the sun.
4. The fourth layer (called the forest floor)          
        Few plants grow on the forest floor because almost no sunlight reaches it. The leaves and plants that drop from the upper layers provide food and shelter for animals and insects that inhabit the forest floor.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Needleleaf biome

              Needleleaf forest is composed largely of straight trunked, conical tress with relatively short branches, and small, narrow, needlelike leaves. These tress are conifers. Where evergreen, the needleleaf forest provides continues and deep shade to the ground so that lower layers of vegetation are sparse or absent except for a thick carpet of mosses in many places. Species are few and large tracts of forest consist almost entirely of but one or two species.

              Needleleaf evergreen forest extends into lower latitudes wherever mountain range and high plateaus exist. Thus in western North America this formation class extends southward into the United States on the Cascade, Sierra Nevada, and Rocky Mountain ranges and over parts of the higher plateaus of the southwestern states. In Europe, needleleaf evergreen forests flourish on all of the higher mountain ranges, and well into Scandinavia.


            The taiga is the biome of the needleleaf forest. Living in the taiga is cold and lonely. Coldness and food shortages make things very difficult, mostly in the winter. Some of the animals in the taiga hibernate in the winter, some fly south if they can, while some just cooperate with the environment, which is very difficult.

           Temperature range in the summer gets as low as -7° C (20° F). The high in summer can be 21° C (70° F). The summers are mostly warm, rainy and humid. They are also very short with about 50 to 100 frost free days. The total precipitation in a year is 30 - 85 cm (12 - 33 in) . The forms the precipitation comes in are rain, snow and dew. Most of the precipitation in the taiga falls as rain in the summer.

          The main seasons in the taiga are winter and summer. The spring and autumn are so short, you hardly know they exist. It is either hot and humid or very cold in the taiga.

          There are not a lot of species of plants in the taiga because of the harsh conditions. Not many plants can survive the extreme cold of the taiga winter. There are some lichens and mosses, but most plants are coniferous trees like pine, white spruce, hemlock and douglas fir.

         Evergreens in the taiga tend to be thin and grow close together. This gives them protection from the cold and wind. Evergreens also are usually shaped like an upside down cone to protects the branches from breaking under the weight of all that snow. The snow slides right off the slanted branches.

         The taiga is susceptible to many wildfires. Trees have adapted by growing thick bark. The fires will burn away the upper canopy of the trees and let sunlight reach the ground. New plants will grow and provide food for animals that once could not live there because there were only evergreen trees.

Temperate coniferous forest

         Temperate coniferous forest is a terrestrial biome found in temperate regions of the world with warm summers and cool winters and adequate rainfall to sustain a forest. In most temperate coniferous forests, evergreen conifers predominate, while some are a mix of conifers and broadleaf evergreen trees and/or broadleaf deciduous trees. Temperate evergreen forests are common in the coastal areas of regions that have mild winters and heavy rainfall, or inland in drier climates or mountain areas. Many species of trees inhabit these forests including cedar, cypress, douglas-fir, fir, juniper, kauri, pine, podocarpus, spruce, redwood and yew. The understory also contains a wide variety of herbaceous and shrub species.

           Coniferous trees are also known as evergreens. They have long, thin waxy needles. The wax gives them some protection from freezing temperatures and from drying out. Evergreens don't loose their leaves in the winter like deciduous trees. They keep their needles all year long. This is so they can start photosynthesis as soon as the weather gets warm. The dark color of evergreen needles allows them to absorb heat from the sun and also helps them start photosynthesis early.

A pine forest is an example of a temperate coniferous forest

          Structurally, these forests are rather simple, generally consisting of two layers: an overstory and understory. Some forests may support an intermediate layer of shrubs. Pine forests support an herbaceous understory that is generally dominated by grasses and herbaceous perennials, and are often subject to ecologically important wildfires.

Broadleaf biome

Tropical And Subtropical Dry Broadleaf Forest

      The tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest biome, also known as tropical dry forest, is located at tropical and subtropical latitudes. Though these forests occur in climates that are warm year-round, and may receive several hundred centimeters of rain per year, they have long dry seasons which last several months and vary with geographic location. These seasonal droughts have great impact on all living things in the forest.

     Deciduous trees predominate in most of these forests, and during the drought a leafless period occurs, which varies with species type. Because trees lose moisture through their leaves, the shedding of leaves allows trees such as teak and mountain ebony to conserve water during dry periods. The newly bare trees open up the canopy layer, enabling sunlight to reach ground level and facilitate the growth of thick underbrush. Trees on moister sites and those with access to ground water tend to be evergreen. Infertile sites also tend to support evergreen trees. Three tropical dry broadleaf forest ecoregions, the East Deccan dry evergreen forests, the Sri Lanka dry-zone dry evergreen forests, and the Southeastern Indochina dry evergreen forests, are characterized by evergreen trees.

     Though less biologically diverse than rainforests, tropical dry forests are home to a wide variety of wildlife including monkeys, deer, large cats, parrots, various rodents, and ground dwelling birds. Mammalian biomass tends to be higher in dry forests than in rain forests, especially in Asian and African dry forests. Many of these species display extraordinary adaptations to the difficult climate.

        This biome is alternately known as the tropical and subtropical dry forest biome or the tropical and subtropical deciduous forest biome. Locally some of these forests are also called monsoon forests, and they tend to merge into savannas

Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forest

         The Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forest (TBDF)--especially in eastern North America, where is remains most intact--is known for the turning of the colors of its leaves to brilliant reds, oranges, and golds in autumn. The shortening days of fall stimulate the plants to withdraw chlorophyll from their leaves, allowing a brief but beautiful display of other pigments before the leaves are shed completely and plants enter an extended period of dormancy.

Climate: Associated with warmer continental and humid subtropical climates (Dfa, Cfa, and--in Europe, Cfb). There is an approximately 6 month growing season. The 20 to 60 inches of precipitation is distributed evenly throughout the year. The non-growing season is due to temperature-induced drought during the cold winters.

Vegetation: Many of the same genera, previously part of an Arcto-Tertiary Geoflora, are common to all three of the disjunct northern hemisphere expressions of this biome. Included among these genera are Quercus (oak), Acer (maple), Fagus (beech), Castanea (chestnut), Carya (hickory), Ulmus (elm), Tilia (basswood or linden), Juglans (walnut), and Liquidamber (sweet gum). Different species of these genera occur on each continent.

Fauna: Characteristic members of the fauna are either mast-eaters (nut and acorn feeders) or omnivores. Mammals show adaptations to an arboreal life; a few hibernate during the winter months.
  • North American herbivores include white-tail deer, gray squirrel, and chipmunk.
  • Omnivores include raccoon, opossum, skunk, and black bear.
Carnivores have been largely eliminated through the deliberate effort of humans but should include timber wolves, mountain lions, and bobcats. The coyote, native to the western grasslands and deserts, has recently dispersed east and taken over the niche of its departed cousin, the timber wolf.

Grassland biome


           Tropical grasslands, or savannas, are also the homes of primates in Africa and Asia; no savanna-living primates exist in South America. Tropical grasslands comprise a mixture of trees and grasses, the proportion of trees to grass varying directly with the rainfall. Areas of high seasonal rainfall support single-story woodlands of tall trees, while lush grasses form the ground vegetation.
           Tropical grasslands, or savannas, lie north and south of tropical rain forests that are on the equator. Some areas beyond savannas are hot deserts. Other savannas may be lined with mountains, dense forests, and seas. South America is home to several large savannas. An example of one of these savannas is the llanos, which means plains, located in the Orinoco River basin. The llanos is north of the Amazon forests and is shared in areas of Columbia and Venezuela. It is the size of France or Texas. Another large tropical grassland can be found south of the Amazon forest in the Brazilian Highlands, called campos. Other South American grasslands can be found in southeast Venezuela and southern Guyana.

          The worlds largest savannas can be found in Africa. The savanna takes up almost half of the continent. It stretches from the Atlantic coast of West Africa to the east across Sudan, and then goes south through east Africa. From Mozambique the savanna heads west and goes through Zambia and Angola, back to the Atlantic Ocean (Lambert, 30). Other savannas can be found in India's great Deccan Plateau, and in Australia, north of central deserts.


         The temperate grasslands are located in the mid-latitudes on planet Earth. These include the Prairies of North America, Pampas of South America and the Steppes of Eurasia. The temperate grasslands are further divided on the basis of their general characteristics. The best example of this is the Prairie biome of North America. In semi-arid regions - which are typically characterized by growth of short grass, the Prairies are known as Short-grass Prairies, while the same in regions with high rainfall - typically characterized by growth of tall grass, they are known as Tall-grass Prairies. This is just one of the numerous lesser known attributes of this grassland biome.
         Temperate grasslands are a division of a larger biome grouping of grasslands that includes tropical savannas.  Both biome types are characterized by a dominance of grasses, yet temperate grasslands differ significantly from savannas.  First unlike savannas that can have trees and shrubs scattered throughout, temperate grasslands have trees and shrubs absent.  Temperate grasslands are also found in less tropical ecosystems and thus have a larger temperate fluctuation during the year.  Temperatures in temperate grasslands can vary tremendously which has a large impact on growing seasons.  Generally they also have less rainfall. 

Regional Expressions: Temperate Grasslands are found throughout the globe, generally in the interiors of the continents and north or south of the tropic of cancer/Capricorn.  The following are the major regional expressions of grasslands recognized around the globe.
  • Veldts of South Africa
  • Puszta of Hungary
  • Pampas of Argentina/Uruguay
  • Steppes of Russia / China
  • Plains and Prairies of North America
Minor Expressions: There are smaller local expressions of grasslands as well.  These include the following:
  • Australian Outback
  • Minnesota Cedar Creek Region
       Biodiversity: Grasslands (temperate) are dominated by one or a few species of grasses while there are several hundred other types of grasses and non-woody flowering plants that while less abundant make up a vital part of the species composition. There are many types of grass species that are dominant species in their own region.  Each species of grass grows better with varying temperatures / rainfall / and soil conditions.  Grasses are dominant (instead of trees) because of fire, drought and grazing by large herbivores. 
       Drought: Drought plays a large role in keeping trees from taking over the grasslands.  Some years receive less rain than others, just as certain seasons receive significantly less rain than others.  Trees generally can not stand the lack of water as easily as grasses and thus grasses remain dominant.

       Fire: Fire plays a big role in this biome, preserving biodiversity and keeping trees from overtaking the grasses.  Lightning from large storms rolling over the grasslands ignites large grass-fires.  These fires help certain plants by germinating seeds, clearing ground cover to allow rare plants a chance and by nourishing the soil with freshly burnt vegetation.

         Soil: The soil of the temperate grasslands is deep and dark.  The upper layers are the most fertile because of the buildup of many layers of dead branching stems and roots.  This organic mater on the surface and in the dead roots provide a great degree of nourishment for the living plants.

         Rainfall: Rainfall is generally less in temperate grasslands than in tropical savannas, although drought usually plays less of a roll effecting biodiversity than it does in savannas.  Rain usually falls in temperate grasslands in the late spring and early summer.  There is an average of 20 – 35 inches of rainfall a year.  The amount of rainfall however determines the height of grasses in the grassland.  For north America, this rainfall gradient helps to divide the temperate grasslands into tall grass prairies (in wetter areas) and short grass steppes (in dryer habitats).

         Environmental concerns: There is a great concern for remaining grasslands in temperate regions.  Because the soil in these areas is incredibly rich and the land is flat and treeless, most of this biome has been turned into farms or ranches.  The result of this overuse and consumption of the grassland by agricultural practices is a fragmentation of once large tracks of grassland.  Fragmentation decreases biodiversity (Theory of Island Biogeography).  Plowing of grasslands, combined with wind has lead to huge dust storms, such as those which created the Great Dust Bowl in the American Depression of the mid 1920s.  Finally, in dryer areas, overgrazing and salt build-up from irrigation of the land have turned these areas into near-wastelands.
          Floral Diversity: The most common grasses include blue gamma grass, buffalo grass, Johnson grass, and various sorts of wheat and burley.  Common flowers include types of asters, coneflowers, Solidagos (goldenrods), vetches, Indian blankets and sweet clovers.

          Fauna Diversity: In North America common animals include: bison, pronghorns, deer, mice, rabbits, grouse, badgers, skunks, meadowlarks, various  owls, garter snakes, rattle-snakes, red-tailed hawks and prairie dogs. 

Tundra Biome

        In the very cold places of the world, survival isn't easy. The soil is frozen, its top surface thawing only during summer, and no trees can grow. Yet plants and animals that are adapted for the harsh conditions thrive. This biome is called tundra. Most of the world's tundra is found in the north polar region. It is called Arctic tundra. There is a small amount of tundra on parts of Antarctica that are not covered with ice. Plus, tundra is found on high altitude mountains and is called alpine tundra.
          Permafrost is the term given to frozen soil. During the winter months, permafrost reaches the surface of the tundra. It is very cold during the winter, with temperatures reaching -60 degrees Fahrenheit (-51 degrees Celsius). Very few animals are active in these harsh conditions.

          In the summer time, the tundra changes. The Sun is out almost 24 hours a day, so the tundra starts to warm up. The permafrost melts at the surface, and plant life grows. However, the permafrost only disappears for a few inches below the surface. There isn't enough soil for trees to grow, so only small plants are found in the tundra.

            At the same time, a variety of animals come out to feast on the plants. Insects come to feed on the animals, and birds appear to enjoy the insects.
Characteristics of tundra include:
  1. Extremely cold climate
  2. Low biotic diversity
  3. Simple vegetation structure
  4. Limitation of drainage
  5. Short season of growth and reproduction
  6. Energy and nutrients in the form of dead organic material
  7. Large population oscillations
Tundra is separated into two types:

Arctic tundra

                  Arctic tundra is located in the northern hemisphere, encircling the north pole and extending south to the coniferous forests of the taiga. The arctic is known for its cold, desert-like conditions. The growing season ranges from 50 to 60 days. The average winter temperature is -34° C (-30° F), but the average summer temperature is 3-12° C (37-54° F) which enables this biome to sustain life. Rainfall may vary in different regions of the arctic. Yearly precipitation, including melting snow, is 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 inches). Soil is formed slowly. A layer of permanently frozen subsoil called permafrost exists, consisting mostly of gravel and finer material. When water saturates the upper surface, bogs and ponds may form, providing moisture for plants. There are no deep root systems in the vegetation of the arctic tundra, however, there are still a wide variety of plants that are able to resist the cold climate. There are about 1,700 kinds of plants in the arctic and subarctic, and these include:
  • low shrubs, sedges, reindeer mosses, liverworts, and grasses
  • 400 varieties of flowers
  • crustose and foliose lichen
                      All of the plants are adapted to sweeping winds and disturbances of the soil. Plants are short and group together to resist the cold temperatures and are protected by the snow during the winter. They can carry out photosynthesis at low temperatures and low light intensities. The growing seasons are short and most plants reproduce by budding and division rather than sexually by flowering. The fauna in the arctic is also diverse:
  • Herbivorous mammals: lemmings, voles, caribou
  • Carnivorous mammals: arctic foxes, wolves, and polar bears
  • Migratory birds: ravens, snow buntings, falcons, loons,
  • Insects: mosquitoes, flies, moths, grasshoppers
  • Fish: cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout
                   Animals are adapted to handle long, cold winters and to breed and raise young quickly in the summer. Animals such as mammals and birds also have additional insulation from fat. Many animals hibernate during the winter because food is not abundant. Another alternative is to migrate south in the winter, like birds do. Reptiles and amphibians are few or absent because of the extremely cold temperatures. Because of constant immigration and emigration, the population continually oscillates.

Alpine tundra

     Alpine tundra is located on mountains throughout the world at high altitude where trees cannot grow. The growing season is approximately 180 days. The nighttime temperature is usually below freezing. Unlike the arctic tundra, the soil in the alpine is well drained. The plants are very similar to those of the arctic ones and include:
  • tussock grasses, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, and heaths
Animals living in the alpine tundra are also well adapted:

  • Mammals: pikas,, mountain goats, sheep
  • Birds: grouselike birds
  • Insects: springtails, grasshoppers ,beetles

Mediterranean Biome

       This biome actually goes by several names.  It is found surrounding  large parts of the Mediterranean Sea and is thus sometimes called the Mediterranean Biome, others call it a Woodland Biome, while others call it a Shrub or Chaparral Biome. 
         In general, this biome is found clustered around the 30 north or south latitude line.  These are the latitudes where warm, wet air rising from the equator has cooled, dropping its moisture over the equator.  The air mass then spreads out from the equator and at these latitudes falls to the ground as very dry air.  In many parts of the world this forms deserts, but in the Mediterranean Biome the presence of an adjacent body of water, often with cold waters, offsets the dryness of the falling air to some extent.  Often the precipitation that does fall is largely restricted to a few months in the relatively warm winter, and the summers may be very hot and dry.

       Chaparral is the smallest biome. It is found in specific areas between places with a hot, dry climate and high atmospheric pressure, and those with cool, wet climates and low atmospheric pressure (Ricciuti, 9). It shares certain characteristics with its neighboring biomes. Chaparral grows between forest and grassland, or between desert and grassland biomes.

          Chaparral, or Sclerophyll forest biomes, occur in Europe, Africa, Asia Minor, North America, and South America. Chaparrals exist between 30° and 40° North and South latitude on the west coasts of continents. The favorable climatic conditions which produce this biome includes shore areas with nearby cold ocean currents. Mediterranean Chaparral biome is localized in the coastal areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea including parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor.

           The chaparral biome is found in a little bit of most of the continents - the west coast of the United States, the west coast of South America, the Cape Town area of South Africa, the western tip of Australia and the coastal areas of the Mediterranean.

             Lay of the land: The chaparral biome has many different types of terrain. Some examples are flat plains, rocky hills and mountain slopes. It is sometimes used in movies for the "Wild West".

           Chaparral is characterized as being very hot and dry. As for the temperature, the winter is very mild and is usually about 10 °C. Then there is the summer. It is so hot and dry at 40 °C that fires and droughts are very common.

               Fortunately, the plants and animals are adapted to these conditions. Most of the plants have small, hard leaves which hold moisture. Some of these plants are poison oak, scrub oak, Yucca Wiple and other shrubs, trees and cacti.

              The animals are all mainly grassland and desert types adapted to hot, dry weather. A few examples: coyotes, jack rabbits, mule deer, alligator lizards, horned toads, praying mantis, honey bee and ladybugs.

Mountain biome

          The mountain biome is harsh. The higher you climb the harsher it becomes due to the thinner atmosphere, high winds, and low temperatures. The type of flora and fauna change from the bottom to the top as the climate changes and the soil thins. The mountain biome has the largest variety of ecosystems and they will vary with the location of the mountain. I.e. the ecosystems of the Alps will not be the same as those of the Andes. The mountain biome is the most difficult to study as a whole because the fauna and flora varies from mountain range to mountain range.
            Mountains are usually found in groups called chains or ranges, although some stand alone. A mountain biome is very cold and windy. The higher the mountain, the colder and windier the environment. There is also less oxygen at high elevations.Several different types of plants and animals found in the mountain biome were left behind with the melting of the ice sheets as they retreated north at the end of the last ice age.

           The animals of this biome have adapted to the cold, the lack of oxygen, and the rugged landscape. They include the mountain goat, ibex (wild goat), sheep, mountain lion, puma, and yak. All of them are excellent climbers, which means they can move freely in the steep, rocky landscape. Types of plants vary depending on geographic location and altitude. Lower elevations are commonly covered by forests, while very high elevations are usually treeless.

               One common trait among the mountain biome fauna is that most of them are plant eaters. Such as the yak, mountain goat, the takin, ibex, chinchillas. Flora that can be found in most mountain biomes includes heather, lichens, coniferous tress, and chaparral.

                Mountains are a common sight on this planet. They make up one-fifth of the world's landscape, and provide homes to at least one-tenth of the world's people. Furthermore, 2 billion people depend on mountain ecosystems for most of their food, hydroelectricity, timber, and minerals. About 80 per cent of our planet's fresh water originates in the mountains. Since about half of the world's people are reliant upon mountains for fresh water, and in this time of increasing water scarcity, it is becoming increasingly important to protect the mountain biome.

                 All mountain ecosystems have one major characteristic in common--rapid changes in altitude, climate, soil, and vegetation over very short distances. Mountain ecosystems sport a high range of biodiversity, and are also a home to many of our planet's ethnic minorities. These cultures are sometimes 'protected' due to the challenging environment to produce a living, but others are not. More and more these indigenous people are being kicked out of their homes due to population and commercial growth, logging, and mining.

                 Rainfall varies greatly across the world's montane (mountain) biomes, ranging from very wet to very dry. However in all the biomes comes swift weather changes. For example, in just a few minutes a thunder storm can roll in when the sky was perfectly clear, and in just a few hours the temperatures can drop from extremely hot temperatures to temperatures that are below freezing.

                The world's mountains provide a home to several thousand different ethnic groups. The mountain people, which mainly consist of indigenous people, ethnic minorities, and refugees, have been able to cope with this harsh environment of the mountain ecosystem. They live as nomads, hunters, foragers, traders, small farmers, loggers, and miners, etc. They have been able to live off the land without widespread destruction and deforestation. Plant and animal species have been preserved by these people.

                The Himalayan Yew, a slow-growing conifer, is currently on the World Wildlife Fund's list of the ten most endangered animals. This plant can be found throughout Bhutan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Burma, and maybe China. Taxol, which is promising to be a drug which can help cure cancer, is present in both the Pacific and Himalayan varieties. Found in the world's highest mountain range, the Himalayan Yew is extremely rare because of heavy deforestation and harvesting for Taxol extraction, without replanting.

Wetland biomes

             Wetlands are areas of standing water that support aquatic plants. Marshes, swamps, and bogs are all considered wetlands. Plant species adapted to the very moist and humid conditions are called hydrophytes. These include pond lilies, cattails, sedges, tamarack, and black spruce. Marsh flora also include such species as cypress and gum. Wetlands have the highest species diversity of all ecosystems. Many species of amphibians, reptiles, birds (such as ducks and waders), and fur bearers can be found in the wetlands. Wetlands are not considered freshwater ecosystems as there are some, such as salt marshes, that have high salt concentrations—these support different species of animals, such as shrimp, shellfish, and various grasses.
              The wetland biome is one that many people don’t really see as being important. In fact, in many areas they consider it to be a nuisance. Swampland is the most common type of wetland biome you will find. They also include marshes and bogs and they can be various sizes. Some of them are very long and deep. Others are nothing more than a few feet of water in a given location but they are still very important.
             In a wetland biome the water is always going to be standing still. You will find them in many low lying areas. It is common for them to be very close to lakes, rivers, and streams. They may have water in them all the time or only during particular times of the year. That is a key factor that separates it from other forms of biomes. The combination of both land and water are essential for this biome to form.

              They help the environment to be better due to the fact that they have a natural supply of water. They help to prevent flooding in many locations as they are able to take on excess water from the other sources. However, when a river or lake is low they can also release water back into them. They also have the natural ability to purify surface water.

              Plant matter is released into freshwater biomes from a wetland biome. The importance of this is that it allows for fish to have plenty of types of food for them to survive. Florida has one of the largest wetland biomes in the world. The humid conditions are perfect for such forms of plant and animal life to be able to survive.


             In a wetland biome the conditions are always very moist and humid. What you will find with characteristics can be very specific to a given location. That is because the wetland biome is so frequently going to overlap with or be a part of other biomes out there. Without this particular one though many others wouldn’t be able to thrive as they do.

             The only places on Earth where you won’t find the wetlands biome are around the Artic. The tundra there is too cold and frozen for them to develop. Just about every other biome though is associated with them in some way. In fact, many times the wetland biome is overlooked by people due to where it happens to be located. Experts though know what to look for and have been able to fully identify them.

             Wetland biomes can be made up of freshwater or saltwater. In some regions they are actually a combination of both. The type of water that is found in it will strongly affect the types of life that are able to survive there. The delicate ecosystems in place around these areas are very detailed. When you take the time and effort to examine them closely you will be very surprised by what you find.

Flora and Fauna

             It may surprise you to discover that the wetland biome has more diversity than any other biome out there when it comes to animal life. There are plenty of animals that find this to be the perfect home for them. They have the right climate, access to food, and the shelter they need for survival. Amphibians and reptiles due very well in this type of environment. They include frogs and lizards.

             Birds are also found in this type of environment. Many of them live there all year long. Others will be there for part of the year and then migrate. There are also those that stop to feed along a route to a new location in the wetland biome. With some species of birds it is found that they move from one wetland biome to the next along their migration patterns.

               Alligators and crocodiles are the largest animals found in the wetland biome. In some wetland biomes there is salt content in the water. When that is the case you may find some more diversity in those locations. Those living creatures include shrimp and shellfish.
              Beavers, minks, and rats are the fur bearing creatures you may find around a wetland biome. The size of them and the location will depend on many factors. For the beaver it will be determined by if they have enough for food. They also need various materials to build a dam from for shelter.

              Plant life that grows in the wetland biome are referred to as hydrophytes. They include pond lilies, cattails, tamarack, and blue spruce. Sometimes cypress and gum will be present too but it will depend on the actual location of the habitat. There are numerous types of grasses that grow in a wetland biome. Sometimes shrubs with fruits including the cranberry can be found in these locations.