Scientists who study ecology have categorised and grouped places on Earth as biomes.

Mojave Desert, USA - desert biome ©kidcyber

Mojave Desert, USA - desert biome ©kidcyber

The term biome means the main groups of
 plants and animals living in areas of certain climate patterns. It includes the way in which animals, vegetation and soil interact together. The plants and animals of that area have adapted to that environment. What plants can grow in an area is determined by the temperatures, the amount of rainfall and season in which it falls, how long the seasons are, how high above sea level the area is. The actual species of plants and animals are similar because the climate conditions are similar. The climate helps determine which animals live in a particular place.

How many biomes are there? 

Some ecologists have identified about 11 different biomes in the world. However, generally speaking, 5 -7 are agreed upon. The reason for the disagreement is that there is a zone between biomes where one blends into the other, and some ecologists think thesezones are also separate biomes. However, the seven generally accepted biomes are:

Deciduous forest biome © Getty Images

Deciduous forest biome © Getty Images

  • water (freshwater or ocean)

  • rainforest (tropical or temperate)

  • tundra

  • desert

  • taiga (coniferous forests)

  • deciduous forests

  • grassland

A biome may occur in several different continents,  and they are different according to the continent on which they occur. For example, grasslands have different names such as prairie (North America), pampa (South America), veldt or savanna (Africa), steppe (Asia).

Coral reef - aquatic biome © Getty Images

Coral reef - aquatic biome © Getty Images

The exact plants may vary according to the continent, but they are the same kind of plant for that biome. The animals that live in each biome are also different according to which country it is, but they will have similarities because of the habitat, food and climate. Whatever the biome, all animals need food and shelter. They may eat plants, or eat animals that eat plants. Plants and animals adapt to the climate conditions in order to survive.