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Biome

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A biome is the entirety of all the environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, pressure, topography etc.) found in a geographic area, that allow the survival of a particular biota, or set of organisms.

Classification of biomes

Lifezones Pengo.svg

The Holdridge classification of land biomes (1947).

Most biome classifications are more focused on land biomes, which are better understood than aquatic (and especially oceanic) ones.

The chart created in 1947 by the botanist Leslie Holdridge is based on three factors: biotemperature (the average of the monthly temperatures, where all the temperatures lower than freezing are brought to 0°C); precipitations (measured in mm per year) and the potential evapotranspiration ratio (the ratio between the amount of water lost through transpiration and precipitations).

<50 cm/y 50-100 cm/y 100-250 cm/y 250-350 cm/y
< -5 °C Tundra
-5 - 5°C Grassland Taiga (boreal forest)
5-20 °C Steppe Scrubland Deciduous for. Temp. rainforest
20-30 °C Desert Savannah Monsoon for. Tropic. rainforest

Whittaker's classification (1975) considers the yearly temperature average in °C and average precipitations in cm per year (see on the right).

Water biomes

Coastal biomes

Freshwater biomes

Lakes and swamps

Rivers

Open sea

Cold sea

Temperate sea

Tropical sea

Deep sea

Land biomes

Forests

Temperate forest

  • Primary productivity:
  • Biomass production:
  • Example species:

Boreal forest

Rainforest

See main article: Rainforest

Grasslands

Prairies

Savannah

Scrubland

Arid biomes

Mountains

Desert

Tundra and ice

Alien biomes

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