Differences between ECOSYSTEM and BIOME

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Did you know that biodiversity reaches higher rates in tropical biomes (close to the equator) than in polar biomes? Thanks to the studies of biomes and ecosystems of the world, ecologists have been able to affirm this fact, by obtaining exact data on the flora and fauna of each biome on the planet and the relationships between living beings and the environment of the ecosystem to which they belong.

Would you be able to easily distinguish between the two ecological concepts? From Ecologist Verde we have proposed to define in the following article the differences between ecosystem and biome, to be able, thus, to better understand the complex relationships and characteristics of the biotic and abiotic factors of nature.

What is an ecosystem

Ecosystems are biological systems of great complexity, which encompasses each and every one of the different interactions between living beings and the environment in which they live.

Thus, in the study of ecosystems it is possible to know both the intraspecific relationships (between individuals of the same species), such as interspecific relationships (between individuals of different species), in addition to those relationships that living beings establish with the rest of their environment, that is, with natural resources and the different sources of energy that the ecosystem itself provides them to survive.

You can delve into this topic with these two articles by Green Ecologist that deals with What is an ecosystem and What are the components of an ecosystem.

Now that we know what ecosystems consist of, in the next section we will see the definition of biomes, in order to be able to easily distinguish between both ecological concepts.

What is a biome

The simplest definition of biome frames them as a set of ecosystems located in a given biogeographic zone of the planet, in which there are certain well-defined environmental and ecological characteristics.

Coming from the Greek "bios" (life), the biome term It is defined from the species of living beings (plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms) that predominate in an area delimited by very specific climatic characteristics. In this way, through the study of biomes, we can know The Biodiversity characteristic of each region of the Earth, since they share the same climate, as well as the same flora and fauna.

We advise you to read these other articles on What are biomes, their types and examples and Types of terrestrial biomes.

In the next section we will see in detail what are the main differences between both concepts, ecosystems and biomes, now that we know the exact definition of each of them.

Differences between ecosystem and biome

The main difference between ecosystems and biomes is determined by the fact that biomes are made up of ecosystems. As we have observed in the previous definitions of both concepts, the biome includes the biodiversity and climatic characteristics of a specific region of the planet, in which, therefore, there are different ecosystems, each of them with different biotic interactions and abiotic.

Let's put some differences between ecosystem and biome more specific to understand it better:

  • The components of an ecosystem are biotic (living beings) and abiotic (physical and chemical elements without life, such as soil, humidity and water), and they are marked by well-defined relationships between them, while the case of biomes , the climate factor and the biodiversity factor that compose it define a specific region, but their relationships are not studied or interpreted in them.
  • The types of ecosystems that exist are: terrestrial, aquatic, mixed, air-ground, artificial or non-natural, that is, modified by anthropic action.
  • On the other hand, the classification of biomes is broader and receives very specific names, due, as we have commented previously, to the biogeographic region in which it is found. Thus, according to Heinrich Walter's classification, we can differentiate 9 major biomes of the world: equatorial, tropical, subtropical, Mediterranean, warm temperate, nemoral, continental, boreal and polar.
  • On the other hand, it is worth noting how in many studies and articles on the world's biomes, ecologists and other specialists use different names to refer to them, such as biotic areas or bioclimatic landscapes; while ecosystems are exclusively named as ecosystems.

If you want to read more articles similar to Differences between ecosystem and biome, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.

  • García, J.E. (2003). Investigating the ecosystem. Research at School Magazine. Volume 51, pp: 83-100.
  • Sánchez- Cañete, F.J. and Ponte, A. (2010) Understanding ecology concepts and their implications for environmental education. Eureka Magazine on Science Teaching and Dissemination. Volume 7.
  • Alexandre, F. & Durand-Dastes, F. (10/25/2008) Biome. Hypergéo Magazine. Recovered from http://www.hypergeo.eu/spip.php?article429.
  • Terradas, J. (2001). Vegetation Ecology. Editions Omega, Barcelona.
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