Forests, jungles, deserts, grasslands … These are some examples of the great variety of terrestrial ecosystems that exist on planet Earth. Surely they are obvious to you but, in addition to being on the earth's surface, what characteristics do you know about them? Can you tell what differentiates one from the other? Surely you have an idea in mind, but in case you are not clear, at Ecologista Verde we present you a little more these ecosystems so that you can answer these questions and share your knowledge with others about what is a terrestrial ecosystem and its characteristics.
Ecosystems are biological systems that are formed by all the variety of living beings that interact and reside in a community and are also formed by the physical environment that these living beings inhabit. Our planet, Earth, has three main types of ecosystems: terrestrial, aquatic and transitional or mixed ecosystems.
Learn more about What is an ecosystem with this other article in which we explain it in detail. Next, we will explain in detail what are terrestrial ecosystems.
The terrestrial ecosystems They encompass a great variety of habitats distributed throughout the globe, and are those whose organisms, flora and fauna develop on the ground or in the subsoil. Some also include air-dwelling organisms in these, and others consider it separately as a mixed or transition ecosystem, although it would not be independent of the terrestrial environment.
These ecosystems gather the greatest biological wealth due to the great variety of factors that condition them. The characteristics of the flora and fauna that live in each of these terrestrial ecosystems are different as they are adapted to their respective habitats with specific conditions, such as the availability of water (of vital importance for hydration), solar radiation or the availability of food and nutrients. It is when sudden changes occur in them when these species begin to present difficulties to survive in these habitats, having to migrate, dying and even becoming extinct.
As we have commented in the previous section, the specific characteristics of these biological systems depend on the different types of terrestrial ecosystem, which differ from each other based on two types of factors that influence them: abiotic factors, physical and chemical factors that determine the ecosystem; and the biotic factors, related to the living beings that inhabit it.
Between the abiotic factors, which will determine the forms of plant and animal life that will be found in a certain ecosystem, highlight:
Regarding biotic factors we can find a great variety of living beings ranging from single-celled organisms to large animals and plants. The main characteristic of living things found in these ecosystems is that they need oxygen to live.
The morphology of the bodies of animals in terrestrial ecosystems is adapted to be able to move in the specific environment in which they are found (crawling, running, flying …). Within the animals, we can find both vertebrate animals, such as large mammals, birds or reptiles; as invertebrate animals, with important ecosystem functions. In turn, these animals, depending on their diet, can be herbivores (if they feed exclusively on plants), carnivores (if they eat meat from the prey they hunt) or omnivores (animals that consume both meat and plants and other products vegetables, such as pigs or bears).
There is a great variety of terrestrial ecosystems, which are classified according to how the abiotic factors that dominate them are and, therefore, how is the predominant type of vegetation, which is fundamental for ecosystems since it constitutes the basis of trophic relationships, serves as Shelter for numerous species and contributes to climate regulation, among other functions.
The flora and fauna of each type of terrestrial ecosystem have different characteristics, since they are adapted to the habitat in which they are found. Broadly speaking, the greatest biodiversity is found in forests, and it is decreasing until it reaches the level of deserts.
To further expand your knowledge about the Types of terrestrial ecosystems and examples of these, enter this other Green Ecologist article.
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