Difference between Biosphere and Biome
Important Terms in Ecology
- An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.
- These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.
- Ecosystems can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces (although some scientists say that the entire planet is an ecosystem).
- Ecotone is a zone of junction between two or more diverse ecosystems.
- It can be local or regional, narrow or wide. Here, the conditions are intermediate between the two adjacent systems and hence it is also a zone of tension.
- For instance, the coastal areas represent an ecotone between marine and terrestrial ecosystem.
- Ecocline is a variation of the physicochemical environment dependent of one or two physicochemical factors of life (say, temperature), and it leads to presence or absence of certain species.
- It can be understood as ‘physical transition zone’. Important Terms in Ecology
- For example, an ecocline can be a thermocline, chemocline (chemical gradient), halocline (salinity gradient) or pycnocline (variations in the density of water induced by temperature or salinity).
Niche or Ecological Niche
- A niche refers to the unique functional role or place of a species in an ecosystem.
- A species’ niche includes the physical, biological and chemical environment to which it is adapted as well as its role as producer and consumer of food resources.
- Niche construction is the process by which an organism alters its own (or another species’) environment.
- These alterations can be a physical change to the organism’s environment or even encompass when an organism leaves one habitat to another.
- A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant or other type of organism.
- The term typically refers to the zone in which the organism lives and where it can find food, shelter, protection and mates for reproduction.
- A home range is the area in which an animal lives and moves on a periodic basis
- . An associated concept is the utilisation distribution which examines where the animal is likely to be at any given time.
- Earlier, data for mapping a home range was used to be gathered by careful observation, but nowadays, the animal is fitted with a transmission collar or similar GPS device.
- Home range includes the territory of an animal. Territory is an area in which an animal, or group of animals, is protected from incursions by others of its species.
- Territorial boundaries may be marked by sounds such as bird song or scents such as pheromones secreted by the skin glands of many mammals.
- The biosphere (from Greek word bios = life and sphaira = sphere), is the layer of the planet Earth where life exists.
- This layer ranges up to the height of 10 km above the sea level, used by some birds in flight, to ocean depths of more than 8 km such as the Puerto Rico trench.
- However, in general, the layer of the Earth containing life is thin. Important Terms in Ecology
- The upper atmosphere has little oxygen and very low temperature; similarly, ocean depths greater than 1 km are dark, cold and lack oxygen.
Biome refers to enormous regions sharing similar climatic conditions, soil type, flora and fauna. Five biomes in India are:
- Tropical humid forests: These are found in the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalayas.
- Tropical deciduous forests: Majority of forests in India are of tropical deciduous type.
- Deserts and semi-desert vegetation: This is found in the Western Rajasthan.
- Coniferous forests: These are found in the Middle Himalayas.
- Alpine meadows: These are found at Higher Himalayas. Important Terms in Ecology
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