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Types of Biomes

A biome is an ecological community that has a specific climate and certain plants and animals that live in it.  There are many different types of biomes on Earth. These include terrestrial biomes (on land) and aquatic biomes (in water). The same biome can be found in different places on Earth, even on different continents. 

Image of a mountain biome

If you haven’t learned about biomes before, try to think back to a time when you traveled to a new place. Or think about when you saw pictures of different places around the world. Some of these places are cold and snowy, others are warm and have tall trees, and some are dry and have cacti.
 
It is easy to see that different places on Earth look different. But what they are actually different ecological environments. Once you learn about biomes you will be able to understand why! 

Characterizing Biomes

In order to better understand the world we live in, biologists have divided our planet into what they call biomes. A biome is a big word that simply means an area of land which shares similar characteristics.

Biomes are identified by many different factors, including climate and the types of plants and animals that live in them. Climate is both the temperature and the amount of rain that a biome gets each year. 

The types of plants and animals that can live in a biome depend on the climate. Some plants can survive with only a little bit of water while others need lots of water. Additionally, some animals are well adapted to cold environments but other animals need warmth to survive
 
Try to think of some animals that live in snowy places. Do you think they would be able to live in a hot desert? Probably not. For example, a polar bear with heavy fur wouldn’t be happy in a sunny biome. Similarly, most plants and animals are adapted to be able to live in certain biomes but not in others. 
Image of polar bears in the polar ice biome

These polar bears are happy in their cold, snowy biome because they have thick fur to keep them warm.

Fun Facts About Biomes

Here are a couple of important things you should remember when thinking about biomes. First, scientists do not all agree about how to divide the Earth into biomes. Second, it is not always clear where one biome ends and another begins. As an example, it may not be clear where a grassland ends and a forest begins. Third, a biome in one part of the Earth will be similar but not identical to a biome in another part of the Earth. Not all deserts are the same, likewise, not all rainforests are the same, and so on.

Image of dense vegetation found in a tropical rainforest biome in Costa Rica

Dense vegetation found in a tropical rainforest biome in Costa Rica

Biomes Around The World 

The type of biome that exists in a certain place depends on where on Earth the place is located. Places that are closer to the equator (the middle of the Earth) get more sunlight and are hotter. Places that are closer to the poles (the top and bottom of the Earth) get less sunlight and are colder. 
Image of Biomes. Terrestrial ecosystem is a community of living organisms. Biotope: montane, desert, tropics, savanna, steppe, mediterranean, mixed forest, taiga, tundra and polar desert.

Different biomes are located at different places on Earth depending on the climate.

Types of Biomes

Biomes are divided into two categories: terrestrial and aquatic. Terrestrial biomes are biomes that are on land. Whereas aquatic biomes are biomes that are in the water, such as lakes and rivers. You can click on the links to learn more about these two types and all the different biomes that are in each category

Image of a terrestrial biome (grassland biome)

Terrestrial biomes, like this grassland, are located on land.

Image of an aquatic biome (coral reef biome). Underwater shot of coral reef with fish.

Aquatic biomes, like this coral reef, are located in water.

Written by: Leah Tolby