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A. How a biome is defined
  1. Described by their vegetation

     a. Plants are the most noticeable
     characteristics of a region
     b. Plants determine what other organisms
     can live there
     c. Have adapted to survive in that
     particular area-these include size, shape,
     and color
2. Climate determines vegetation

  a) Precipitation limits the type and number of
  b) Organisms have adapted to live within a range of
      i. no rainfall means no plants no matter the temperature
  c) Length of growing seasons
  d) Varies with latitude (distance north or south from
  the equator) and altitude (height above sea level)
B) Tropical Rain Forest

  1. Climate and temperature
      a) Always humid and warm
      b) Receives 200 – 450 cm of rain each year

  2. Plants species -Type of plants is determined
      by which layer of the forest it lives
a) Emergent layer (top layer)
  - tallest trees grow here (over 200 ft tall)

  - trees receives a lot of light
  - shaped like an umbrella
  - leaves are thick and waxy to protect them
  from the sun and strong winds
  -Kapok Trees
Kapok Tree
 b) Upper Canopy Layer
     -the most diverse of all the layers

     - absorb 95% of the sunlight )protect ground
     from the sun)
     - trees can be around 40 m ( 150 ft) tall silky oak,
     mangrove, banana
     - drip tips of leafs helps keep them free of mold
The canopy 1
* The science of studying
the canopy is call

c) Lower canopy- receives much less light than
the upper canopy

   i. epiphytes:
          -these plants use the surface of a
          tree to live; they live on the water
          and nutrients that run down the tree
          after a rain – they do not take nutrients
          away from the tree
   ii. Ferns, lichens, mosses, cacti, bromeliads,
   and orchids
Epiphytes - bromeliads
Epiphytes- orchids and ferns
d) Understory

 - most plants to not grow more than 3.5 m tall
 - receive very little light
 - have adapted large leaves that can capture
 what little light makes it to the floor
 - indoor/house plants are native to the rain-
 forest floor
Understory Plants
e) Forest Floor

    - not crowded (as it is often displayed by
    - small plants that don’t need much sun:
ferns and mosses
    - fallen leaves, dead plants and animals
decay very quickly
Forest Floor
3. Animal Species – diversity of the vegetation
  led to the evolution of a diversity of animals

  a) Emergent layer
      - a lot of birds and butterflies
      - they help pollinate the plants
Blue headed parrot      Love birds


                     Blue morpho
   Blue Doctor                       Tiger swallow
              Brown Peacock

Harpy Eagle
b) Canopy

   - many of the birds have strong curved
   beaks to crack open nut shells
   - monkeys and birds eat the fruit that
   grows in this layer
                                        Pygmy Marmoset     Woolley Monkey
   Cockatoo     Crested Oropendola

                                     Golden Lion Tamarin
Howler Monkey     Quetzal                                      Sloth
c) Understory
    - many animal use camouflage
    - many are colorful to warn off predators

                 Heliconia butterfly
                                       Fruit bat
Poison Dart            Kinkajou             Green Tree Boa

  Costa Rican Mantis
                                  Harlequin Frog
d) Forest floor
    - many decomposer live here (termites,
giant earthworms, millipedes, beetles)
    - four footed animals


                 Army ants

The Coatamundi or collared anteater have long
  tongues to reach insects in small cracks and
4. Threats

  a) Habitat destruction: logging, agriculture,
  oil exploration
  b) trading in plants and exotic animals
C) Temperate Deciduous Forests
   (“deciduous” means falling off or out at a certain

  1. Climate and Temperature
       - Temperatures range to below freezing to                      350C
  (average of about 500F or 100 C)
       - moderate precipitation (75 – 150 cm per                      year)
       - four distinct seasons

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2) Plant Species
      • adapted to seasonal changes

      • Leaves change color as precipitation and temp
      • Leaves fall off completely as the moisture in the soil
        becomes ice
      • Seeds, bulbs, and rhizomes become dormant until
        temperature rises
      • Like the rain forest, this biome has layers or zones
a) First: Tree Stratum zone

     - Height of trees range form 60 ft to 100ft
     - contains trees such as oak, beech, maple,
     chestnut, hickory, elm, basswood, linden,
     walnut, and sweet gum

                                           Sweet gum
Beech tree in southern England
b) Second: Small tree and sapling zone
    - young and short trees

c) Third: Shrub zone
     - rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel,
     and huckleberries
d) Forth: Herb zone

e) Fifth: Ground zone
    - lichen, club mosses, and true mosses
3. Animal Species

  –animals have adapted to live in the
    • Migration and hibernation in the winter
    • Some use camouflage to hide on the
    • Food storage is behavioral adaption (cold
      temperatures prevent decomposition
4. Threats

  a) clear- cutting

  b) introduction of non-native plant and animal
  c) Air pollutants
     • Acid rain damages trees making them vulnerable to
       diseases and pests
     • Less fruit and seeds are produced
D. Taiga (largest biome, also known as the boreal

  1. Climate and Temperature
•      (-540C )(winter) to 210C (summer)
      - total precipitation: 30 – 85 cm (12 -33 in)
      - two seasons: winter (up to 10 months)
      and summer (at the most 3 months)

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2. Plant species

 a) Coniferous trees (evergreens)
    - long, waxy dark green needles
    - allows them to absorb heat from the sun
    and start photosynthesis as soon as it gets
    - thin and grow close together giving
    them protection from the cold and wind
    - branches are slanted downward allowing the
    snow the slides off which prevents the
    branches from breaking
b) ground plants
     - lichen and mosses
3. Animal Species

  a) predators: grey wolf, black bear, lynx,
  wolverines, bobcat, minks

  b) herbivores: snowshoe rabbit, squirrels,
  voles, red deer, elk, and moose
4. Threats

  a) industrial forestry or logging
  b) oil and gas exploration
  c) climate change
  d) habitat loss due to pesticide and herbicide
  e) hydroelectric power
E. Savannas

   1. Climate and temperature
       a) warm temperature year round
       b) two seasons:
            -very long dry season (winter)
            -very wet season (summer)

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2. Plant species

  a) have adapted to grow during periods of
      - long tap roots to reach the deep water
      - thick bark to resist fires
      - trunks that store water
      - some plants have storage organs like
b) grasses
    - different species eat different types and
    different parts of the grasses

   - some are too sharp or bitter tasting for
   some animals but are not for others
   - some grasses grow from the bottom up
   so the growth tissue is not damaged by
   - have vertical leaves that have less surface
   to conserve water
3. Animal Species

  a) long legs or wings for migration
  b) others can burrow to avoid the heat and
  protect their young
  c) some have large surface areas to lose body
  d) elephant, lions, hyenas, hawks, buzzards
4. Threats

a) raising cattle and goats
    - they don’t roam so they eat up all the
    - turns the savanna into a desert
    - In Australia, foreign pests and weeds threaten
the biome’s survival
    - farming
F. Temperate Grassland

 1. Climate and Temperature
     - average yearly rainfall ranges from 10 to
     30 inches
     - temperatures range from -400F to 700F
     - two seasons
           » Growing season: no frost
           » Dormant: too cold for anything to grow
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             Streaming Videos\Grassland.asf
2. Plant species

  a) annual rainfall
      -is not enough to support trees but it is
      enough to support grasses
      - to erratic that drought and fires prevent large
      forests from growing
  b) soil
      - is too thin and dry for trees to survive
      - top layers can be moist but deep down it stays
c) two types of grasslands

- tall-grass: humid and wet (Mississippi)
 - short-grass: dry, hotter summers
and colder winters (Rocky Mountains)
3. Animal Species

  a) large herds of grazing animals: zebra, bison,
  antelope (they have teeth that can chew the
  b) have long legs and hooves ( so they can out
  run their predators)
  c) coyotes, prairie dogs, gophers, insects,
  geese, wild turkey, eagles
4. Threats

  a) conversion to agriculture or urban area
  b) climate change

Marietta College Biomes of the World -
G. Chaparral (found in 5 continents of the world)

   1. Climate and temperature
       a) Mediterranean (shrub forest)
       b) hot and dry summers
       c) mild and rainy winters
       d) humid air from the ocean keeps the
       temperature moderate

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2. Plant species

  a) plants have small, hard leaves with a waxy coating
  to retain moisture (sclerophyllous)
  b) often have two root systems:
       - shallow roots for catching water as rain
       - tap roots
  c) some product toxin with inhibit plant growth near
  them (allelopathic)
  d) promotes fire, and requires fire to persist
  e) rapid cycle of succession
Examples: French broom (helps control erosion), Fairy Duster, Torrey Pine
   (one of the rarest in US), King Protea (national flower of South Africa),
   Saltmarsh Bird’s Beak (semi-parasitic-uses other plants to extend its
   growing season)
3. Animal Species

  a) camouflage
      - animals have a brownish – gray coloring

  b) migratory
     -hawks patrol during the winter when
     plant growth in down; migrate during the
Examples: Jackrabbit (not a rabbit, it is a hare: babies
  are born with fur and their eyes open); Jackal; Puma;
  kangaroo, dingo
4. Threat

  a) development
  b) excessive fires
  c) conversion to rangeland
H. Desert

  A) Climate and temperature
      - There are four types
      1. hot and dry (Baja, Mojave, Sahara)
     • daily extremes because there is no humidity to block
       the Sun’s rays (receive 2 x as much radiation and heat)
     • Temperature range: -180C to 49 C
     • Amount of precipitation varies (Inland Sahara less than
       1.5 cm; US deserts almost 28 cm)
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2. Semiarid

     • Summer temperatures: 21 - 27 C
     • Evening temperatures: 10 C
     • Condensation of dew may equal or exceed
     • Average rainfall: 2 – 4 cm
3. Coastal (Atacama of Chile)

   • Cool winters followed by moderately long,
     warm summers
   • Summer temperature ranges from 13 – 24 C
   • Winter temperatures are 5 C or below
   • Average rainfall 8-13 cm
4. Cold (Antarctic, Greenland)
   • Characterized by fairly long, cold winters with snowfall
     and high overall rainfall throughout the winter
   • Short , moist, and moderately warm summers
   • Winter temperature: -2 – 4 C
   • Summer temperature: 21 – 26 C
   • Annual precipitation: 15 – 26 cm
2. Plant Species

  a) widely scattered because of water is scare
  b) grasses have strong roots so the wind does
  not blow them away
  b) tend to have small leaves and direct the
  shiny side to the sun to reflect the rays so less
  water is evaporated
  c) growth is slowed to conserve water
  d) cacti store huge amount of water, stretchy
  skin that is expandable
3. Animal Species

  a) nocturnal (cooler nights)
  b) living in burrows
  b) huge ears to pass off heat quickly
  c) some can store water or go without (get water from
  the food they eat)
  d) long eyelashes or deep set eyes
  e) have fur on their paws to protect them from the
  scorching sand
  f) body heat regulators
  g) slender bodies with long limbs (helps to shed the heat
C. Threats

  a) farming
       - irrigation may increase salt levels in the soil making the
          soil unable to support plant life
       - grazing animals are destroying plants
  b) mining
  c) burning of fossil fuels
      -Increase in temperatures has increases the incidence of drought
      -Increased number of wildfires destroy slowing growing trees and
I. Tundra (cold desert)

   1. Climate and temperature
       a) Arctic tundra (encircles the north pole)
              - Summer temperature: 3-120C
              - winter temperature: -340C
              -precipitation: 15 to 25 cm; water can
              saturate the upper surface creating
              bog and ponds)
              - winds are between 30 and 60 mph
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b) Alpine tundra (located on mountains
    where trees can not grow)
    - altitude of about 10,000 ft
    - summer temperature 10-15 C
    - winter: below freezing
2. Plants Species

   a) permafrost (permanently frozen soil)
        - have shallow root systems
        - low shrubs and dwarf trees less than 2 ft high
   b) short growing season
        - spend years storing nutrients before seed
        - many reproduce by sending runners because this
        requires less nutrients than blooming and producing
   c) protective covering

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3. Animal Species

  a) winter coat
       - hollow hairs that trap warmth close to their bodies
       (Caribou, Polar Bear)
       - thick under fur (muskoxen)
  b) body shape
       - shorter limbs, ears, and tails
       - more compact
  c) grow more slowly and reproduce less often
  d) camouflage
       - color change according to season
  e) hibernation and tunneling
Polar Bear
4. Threats

  a) airborne pollutants (DDT and PCB are now a
  measurable levels)
  b) oil and gas development (the Arctic
  National Wildlife refuge sit on about a 6
  month supply of oil)
  c) Global warming/climate change

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