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Major Terrestrial Biomes
Section 34.3
• Turn over the cards at your table to find out
which Biomes have been assigned to your
group. Divide the work between group members.
• Look at the unfinished statements on the note
cards for the Biomes you have been assigned
and use the textbook to find the completed
• Write out the completed statements on your
white board, fill in the statements on your note
taker, and be ready to share with the class.
• Define what a Biome is.
• Identify and describe the factors that are
responsible for the existence of a given
• List and describe the eight major terrestrial
• Identify and describe the unique biomes of
the state of Nevada.
Major Biomes of the World
Tropical Forest
• Tropical forests occur near the equator where
temperatures are warm year-round. The tropical rain
forest, can receive as much as 350 centimeters of
rainfall yearly.
• Of all biomes, tropical rain forests have the greatest
diversity of life, with an estimated 50 percent of all known
species on Earth.
Tropical Forest
• Although light is plentiful at the canopy level, little light
reaches the forest floor. The short plants that live there
are adapted to the shaded, moist conditions.
• Many rainforest animals are tree-dwellers as well,
including monkeys, birds, snakes, and bats.
• Found in tropical regions of Africa, Australia, and South
America, savannas are grasslands with scattered trees.
• Savannas typically have a warm climate with alternating
wet and dry seasons. The dry seasons may include long
periods of drought, when no rain falls.
• Savanna grasses provide food for many grazing animals,
such as zebras, wildebeest, antelope, and, in Australia,
kangaroos, as well as numerous insects.
• Meat eaters on the African savanna include lions,
cheetahs, and hyenas.
• Land areas receiving less than 30 centimeters of rain per
year are typically classified as deserts.
• Some deserts have surface soil temperatures above
60 C during the day and then cool off at night. Other
deserts, such as those in central Asia, are relatively cold,
especially during winter nights.
• A remarkable array of ways to conserve water have
evolved in desert organisms.
– Saguaro cacti have "pleats" that enable the plants to expand and
to store water during wet periods.
– Many desert animals, such as the kangaroo rat, are small
burrowers that are active in the cool evenings.
• The chaparral is a temperate coastal biome
dominated by dense evergreen shrubs.
• The climate consists of mild, rainy winters and
hot, dry summers.
• The chaparral's dry, woody shrubs are frequently ignited
by lightning and are adapted to survive periodic
• Animals of the chaparral include deer, birds, and rodents
that feed on the shrubs and their seeds, as well as
lizards and snakes.
Temperate Grassland
• The temperate grassland biome is characterized by
deep, nutrient-rich soil that supports a variety of grass
species and other plants.
• The winters are colder than in the tropical savannas.
• Seasonal drought, occasional fires, and grazing by large
mammals all prevent the growth of woody shrubs and
Temperate Grassland
• North American grasslands (also known as
prairies) include grazing mammals such as
bison and pronghorns, as well as coyotes,
snakes, lizards, and insects.
Temperate Deciduous Forest
• Dense stands of deciduous trees—trees that drop their
leaves each year— characterize temperate deciduous
• Common deciduous trees such as maples, oaks,
beeches, and hickory shed their leaves in autumn, which
helps reduce evaporation during the winter when water
is not easily replaced from frozen soil.
Temperate Deciduous Forest
• Mammals found in the temperate deciduous
forests of eastern North America include deer,
squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, and bears.
Coniferous Forest
• Towering cone-bearing evergreen trees such as pine,
spruce, fir, and hemlock characterize the coniferous
• The northern regions of the biome, also called the taiga,
have long, cold winters with heavy snowfall.
Coniferous Forest
• The conical shape of the trees prevents too much snow
from collecting and breaking branches.
• The needle-like leaf is low in surface area, which limits
water loss from evaporation during dry periods.
• Typical taiga animals include hares, moose, elk, wolves,
and bears.
• Tundra communities are found within the Arctic Circle
and on high mountaintops at all latitudes due to the
similar conditions there.
• Mosses, lichens, and grasses thrive, but large plants are
rare since their roots cannot penetrate the permafrost or
absorb water and nutrients from it.