Although both biome and Biosphere involve life, there are differences between them.
Several factors and components come together to provide the right conditions for life to evolve. The areas where all these conditions are available are collectively called the Biosphere.
However, life forms usually evolve to specific geographic and climatic conditions. Such areas with unique climatic conditions and species adapted to those conditions are known as biomes.
So, life may seem pretty common on Earth. But if you look deeper, you will find that it needs special conditions to thrive. A species from one place may not thrive in another. Moreover, you will also find that different lifeforms are limited to different areas of the planet, adapted to that area’s specific geographic and climatic conditions. That’s where the concepts of biome and Biosphere arise. This article will deal with the differences between the biome and Biosphere.
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What is a Biome?
A biome, also known as a bioclimatic landscape, is a large geographic area characterized by specific fauna, flora, and weather conditions. Climate largely determines the type of biome that exists in each region.
In terms of ecosystem, a biome can be defined as the collection of similar types of ecosystems. Take, for example, the rainforests. We can classify all tropical rainforests as the biome of this ecosystem.
Furthermore, there are different biomes all across the globe with specific climatic conditions, and plants and animals adapted to these conditions.
There are mainly two types of biomes – Terrestrial Biome and Aquatic Biome.
Terrestrial biomes can be subdivided into grassland, forest, desert, and tundra, while aquatic biomes can be further classified into freshwater and marine biomes.
What is a Biosphere?
The Biosphere or sphere of life is the area on Earth that provides all the necessary conditions for life to develop and thrive.
It stretches deep underground and the ocean floor to the top of the mountains. The Biosphere combines several different ecosystems, including all the nonliving components like temperature, humidity, light, oxygen, etc., and all the living beings.
As life exists on land, in the ocean, and in the air, the Biosphere encompasses them all. In scientific terms, the Biosphere includes the Lithosphere, Atmosphere, and Hydrosphere.
The lithosphere is the land; the atmosphere comprises the air, and the hydrosphere means all the water on Earth.
Interestingly, the Biosphere extends only about 20 km from the ocean’s surface to the atmosphere above; every life form on Earth exists in this space only.
A biosphere is a dynamic system consisting of innumerable and permanent interactions that take place within it: interaction of living beings with each other and with the environment and surroundings. Interactions of living beings with the physical factors, like soil, air, and water. The Biosphere is subdivided into ecosystems with their unique sets of characteristics and life adapted to that ecosystem.
Difference Between Biome and Biosphere
|Definition||Biome includes living things limited to specific areas on Earth. Different regions on Earth have different biomes.||The Biosphere spans the entire Earth and includes all living things on this planet.|
|Identification||Each biome is an individual unit with specific conditions and life adapted to those conditions.||The Biosphere is identified as the collection of all the individual biomes that exist on Earth.|
|Scale||While Earth is covered with different biomes, each one is limited to a specific area.||The Biosphere engulfs the whole planet, so it is much grander on the scale.|
|Characterization||A Biome is mainly characterized by climatic conditions. The primary examples are the Desert, Grasslands, Forest, and Aquatic biomes.||The Biosphere is characterized by the Lithosphere (land), Hydrosphere (water), and Atmosphere (air)|
Biome vs Biosphere
Biomes are specific regions on our planet with unique climatic conditions, flora, and fauna. On the other hand, the Biosphere is not limited to a specific area or climatic conditions. Any place on Earth where life exists is a biosphere. As life is common on every corner of the planet, the whole of the Earth along with its water bodies, land, and atmosphere can be called the Biosphere. Moreover, Biome is limited to geographic areas. The biosphere is spread across the globe but it only spans about 20 km from top to bottom.
Life exists on Earth in various forms and in multiple places. You will find it at the top of the mountains and the bottom of the oceans. But its form differs – life is specific to the area it exists in. Fish and birds are different. Similarly, animals that live in a forest will not survive in deserts.
Each species has evolved specific characteristics that help them survive in particular conditions. It’s these areas and particular conditions that we classify as a biome. But the factors essential for life are common – the energy, the chemical process, and interactions necessary for life.
The place that makes available all the ingredients of life is known as the Biosphere. Hence, we see that the Biosphere enables life, while the biome allows it to evolve and thrive.