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Biomes Of The World

.. trees. The rain forest contains over 50% of worlds population in plants and animals. It covers roughly 5 billion acres of land. There are 3 layers of trees that can be found there.

The first and most top layer is the emergent, which are widely spaced trees 100-120 ft tall with canopies above the general canopy of the forest. The second, middle layer is a closed canopy of 80-foot trees. Here light is available to this layer, but blocks out the light of lower lays. The third layer is a closed canopy of 60-foot trees. This is where little air movement occurs and there is high humidity.

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Another lower layer is the shrub/sapling layer. In this place of the forest less than 3% of light reaches here. Then there is the ground layer where there is spare plant growth that receives around 1% of light reaches. Some of the characteristics of the tropical trees involve Buttresses (woody flanges at the base of the trunk), large leaves (that help to intercept light), drip tips on the leaves (helps drainage of precipitation of the leaf), thin bark (often 1-2 mm thick), and development of fruits and flowers from the base of the tree. One kind of flora that has adapted to the rain forests is epiphytes.

It grows up the branches of tall canopy trees to reach light. The animals adaptations of the rain forest are that they are highly diverse, have arboreal adaptations for climbing in the tree, they have bright colors and sharp patterns, loud vocalizations, diet heavy on fruits, and have camouflage. The types of animals found there are primates, snakes, lizards, birds, insects, and cats. These are just some characteristics of the rain forest. The next biome is the temperate forests.

These are to be found in eastern North America, northeastern Asia, and western and central Europe. Here the seasons are very well defined. The growing seasons last usually from about 140-200 days, much longer then most other biomes. The yearly average rainfall is about 75-150 cm depending on the area you are in. Here the temperatures change according to the seasons. Since this climate has such a long growing season you will find many plants.

In temperate forests there are about 3-4 tree species per square kilometer. Trees are distinguished my broad leaves that are lost annually. Examples of there are oak, hickory, beech, hemlock, maple, basswood, cottonwood, elm, willow, spring-flowering herbs, shrubs, and mosses. Here the soil is rich in organics, which is great for the vegetation. Just like the rain forest the temperate forest has a canopy.

The canopy is moderately dense and allows light to penetrate through. Most of the current forests are probably not the original forest because many forests were logged off and replanted. Additional biomes are the savannas and grasslands. They are located in Russia, central US, Africa, South America, and Australia. They have a continental climate, which means that have the climate of the interior of the continent.

Here there it is about 10-20 inches of precipitation a year. It’s usually warm to hot in the summer. In the tropical savanna the mean monthly temperatures are at or above 64 F. In both biomes they have similar vegetation. They have continuous cover of perennial grasses and some woody vegetation.

They may also have a canopy of drought-resistant, fire-resistant, or browse-resistant trees. These are some of the vegetations adaptations. Some of the animals found in these regions are ground squirrels, prairie dogs, zebra, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, warthogs, buffalo, coyote, and badgers. The temperate grasslands are lower in diversity of animals compared to tropical grasslands and savannas. Most of the herbivorous mammals of open savannas are herd animals. Also termites are abundant in tropical savannas.

The next and driest biome is the desert. The desert is located in US, Northern Africa, Australia, and southwestern Asia. It is gets less then 10 inches of rain per year. The potential evaporation exceeds precipitation in the annual water budget causing a problem of drought in some areas. The rainfall is highly localized in the desert. Temperatures often exceed 100 F in summer. At night the temperatures dip by about 20-30 degrees making the desert nights “cold”.

The desert is full of adaptive plants. The plants found in the desert are primarily shrubs as the growthform of deserts. There maybe evergreen or deciduous trees in certain areas. It’s typical for the plants to have small leaves. Frequently the vegetation has spines or thorns as an adaptation from animals such as the cactus.

Most vegetation of the desert has shallow but extensive root systems. They are used to absorb rainwater out past the canopy of the plant. Between shrubs the ground is bare because the roots release toxins to keep away competition for growth. Plants are able to store water and to adapt to long periods without much precipitation. Just like the plants, the animals are some of the most adaptive. Some animal adaptations are nocturnal feeding; morphological adaptations, which is the ability to radiate body heat and colors that are able to reflect sunlight; and physiological adaptations, which is the absence of sweat glands, dormancy during summer, concentration of urine.

Examples of desert animals are many reptile, snakes, lizards, toads, and birds. The last biome is the Marine zone. This includes all salt and freshwater aquatic areas. The ocean takes up about 70% of the world’s area. Lakes and other fresh water areas are found covering the globe.

Ocean stays relatively the same temperature due to the large area it covers. Aquatic zones affect the climates of other zones. Since the climate is fairly limited the growth of vegetation is as well. The flora involves cattails, algae, lily pads, grasses, sedges, and seaweed. Other surround vegetation that maybe found in bogs, marshes or ponds include grasses, trees, mosses, and shrubs. Plants are more greatly found in marches and other wetlands.

Animals are a very large part of the marine zone. A few of the saltwater animals include sharks, fish, eels, clams, worms, crabs, whales, dolphins, many invertebrates, sea stars, and mussels. Some freshwater animals are trout, bluegills, sunfish, snakes, turtles, frogs, insects, and snails. The different zones with in the ocean are intertidal, peliagic, abyssal, benthic, coral reef, and estuaries. Some freshwater habitats include marches, lakes, rivers, ponds, wetlands, and bogs.

All the biomes of the world have climates, plants, and animals all their own. Traveling through each zone you can pick out the similar adaptations of each plant and animal. Biomes are unique to their location, each one of great importance to the world. Science.


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