Difference Between Biome and Ecosystem

Main Difference – Biome vs Ecosystem

Biome and ecosystem are two terms used to describe different levels of distribution of the species. A biome refers to a collection of several ecosystems that share similar climate conditions. An ecosystem refers to all biotic factors and abiotic factors that interact with each other in a given area. Biome and ecosystem differ in the scale covered by each level of distribution. The main difference between biome and ecosystem is that biome represents a broader geographical area whereas ecosystem represents a small collection of species that live in a small geographical area. Tropical rainforests, grasslands, and deserts are examples of biomes. All living things that interact with each other such as water plants, fish, frogs, and bacteria in a pond are examples of an ecosystem.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Biome
      – Definition, Characteristics, Examples
2. What is an Ecosystem
      – Definition, Characteristics, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Biome and Ecosystem
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Biome and Ecosystem
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Abiotic Factors, Biome, Biotic Factors, Climate Conditions, Ecological community, Ecosystem, Food Chains, Geographical Area, Species

Difference Between Biome and Ecosystem - Comparison Summary

What is a Biome

A biome is a large ecological community. It is a collection of ecosystems that share similar climate conditions. The six biome types on earth are forest, grassland, desert, freshwater, marine, and tundra. Some scientists use more specific classification of biomes and classify different types of forests as different biomes. As an example, tropical rain forests, which are warm and wet year-round, are classified as a separate biome. The temperature deciduous forests are another type of biome with different seasons. The taiga forests are another type of biome with cold climates.

Difference Between Biome and Ecosystem

Figure 1: Main Biomes in the World

The boundaries between two biomes are not sharply-defined. They are called transitional zones. As the climate of biomes changes, the boundaries of biomes move. The main biomes in the world are shown in figure 1. 

What is an Ecosystem

An ecosystem is a community of organisms that live in a given geographical area by interacting with non-living things in that particular area. That means an ecosystem is composed of both biotic factors and abiotic factors. The abiotic factors include soil, atmosphere, water, weather, climate, etc. The interaction between biotic and abiotic factors occurs in two ways. Each factor is involved in the flow of energy within the ecosystem. Furthermore, both biotic and abiotic factors are involved in recycling the nutrients.

Main Difference -  Biome vs  Ecosystem

Figure 2: A Coral Reef

The fundamental energy source of most ecosystems is the sun. The autotrophic organisms produce organic food with the use of sunlight. These organic compounds flow through the food chains, and finally, some of the carbon is released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The decomposers in the ecosystem release the remaining carbon and nutrients to the environment. A coral reef is an example of a marine ecosystem. A coral reef is shown in figure 2.

Read More: What are Freshwater Ecosystems

Similarities Between Biome and Ecosystem

  • Both biome and ecosystem are ecological units, which describe the distribution of species within a geographical area.
  • Species in a biome and an ecosystem interact with each other.

Difference Between Biome and Ecosystem

Definition

Biome: A biome is a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat.

Ecosystem: An ecosystem is all biotic and abiotic factors of a particular environment that interact with each other.

Consist of

Biome: A biome consists of many ecosystems that share similar climate conditions.

Ecosystem: An ecosystem consists of biotic factors and abiotic factors.

Size of the Level

Biome: A biome is a large geographical area.

Ecosystem: An ecosystem is a small geographical area.

Collection

Biome: Biomes differ from each other by the different climate conditions they have.

Ecosystem: Multiple ecosystems can fit within a particular biome.

Examples

Biome: Tropical rain forests, grasslands, and deserts are examples of biomes.

Ecosystem: A pond and a coral reef are the examples of ecosystems.

Conclusion

Biome and ecosystem are two ecological stages that describe the distribution of species in their environments. A biome is a collection of ecosystems with similar climate conditions. An ecosystem is a collection of biotic factors and abiotic factors in the environment, which interact with each other. The main difference between biome and ecosystem is the scale of the geographical area covered by each ecological level.

Reference:

1.“Biome.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, Available here. Accessed 2 Sept. 2017.
2. “Ecosystem.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 12 Dec. 2016, Available here. Accessed 3 Sept. 2017.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Blue Linckia Starfish” By Copyright (c) 2004 Richard Ling (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Vegetation” By Ville Koistinen (user Vzb83) – the blank world map in Commons and WSOY Iso karttakirja for the information (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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