What are biomes?

Biomes are regions of the world with similar climate (weather, temperature) animals and plants. There are terrestrial biomes (land) and aquatic biomes, both freshwater and marine. The division of biomes is based on climate, soil type, animals (fauna), and plants (flora)1. Biomes are sometimes confused with habitats and ecosystems, but there are differences between them. Ecosystems focus on the way plants and animals, called biota, interact with the environment. The way nutrients and energy flow helps define ecosystems. A single biome can have multiple ecosystems within it. A habitat is specific to the area a population or species lives in. Biomes describe life on a much larger scale than either habitats or ecosystems2.   

1 We learned about flora, fauna and climates in the previous two sections, . (You can use the arrow keys at the bottom of the page to navigate between the different sections).

National Geographic Society. “What Makes A Biome?” National Geographic Society, 6 Sept. 2019.

How many biomes are there? 

The earth has six major biomes, some of which include subcatergories:

1. Aquatic Biome (subdivided into: freshwater and saltwater)

2. Forest Biome (subdivided into: temperate forest, and rainforest)

3. Desert Biome

4. Tundra Biome

5. Grassland Biome (subdivided into: temperate grassland and savannas)

6. Taiga Biome

Although these are the major biomes, there is much speculation and debate about how many biomes actually exist and what constitutes a biome. For example, some scientists believe we should include not human interaction and biodiversity when considering what makes up a biome. However, for the sake of this culture "trunk" we will include these factors. 

Introduction to Biomes

Enjoy this short video aimed at younger learners! We will cover what a biome is and the different types of biomes on earth.

Why are biomes so important for LAC?

It is important to understand that everything on this planet is highly interconnected. Biomes play a critical role in the understanding of ecology because they help scientists understand a specific plant or animal, as well as the role it plays in its community and the characteristics that it has developed to live in a particular environment. These smaller environments and ecosystems make up the larger biomes, which make up the entirety of the earth. 

Latin America and the Caribbean are massive and diverse regions that are home to over 50% of the world's biodiversity. Its biomes are some of the most-species-rich on the planet. Some of the species are endemic (native and restricted to a certain place) to biomes in LAC. We have already explored some of the flora and fauna that are parts of the desert and rainforest biomes of LAC, however, there are many other biomes that exist in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Below are hands-on activities for you to learn more about biomes through guided self-study!

Cartoon animal, plants, and weather surrounding a shoe box (meant to be an artistic representation fo the biome diorama project)

Biome Diorama Project

This activity is meant to help you investigate the complex relationships and balance needed between organisms within populations, communities, and ecosystems. Please click the link below to begin your discovery!

Biome Project