The key difference between terrestrial and aquatic biomes is that terrestrial biomes are based on land, while aquatic biomes include both ocean and freshwater biomes.
Biomes are large ecological areas found on the Earth’s surface. In fact, they are specific geographical areas, but their boundaries are not sharply defined. Hence, there are transition zones between them. They may include many ecosystems comprising distinct biological communities and a variety of habitats. Biomes are crucial for the survival of living organisms. They can be classified based on the climate, plants, and animals.
There are two major groups of biomes as terrestrial and aquatic biomes. However, there are nine different types of biomes: tropical rainforest, temperate forests, boreal forests, grassland, freshwater, marine, desert, taiga, and tundra. Desert, taiga, tundra, grassland, and forests are terrestrial biomes, while aquatic biomes include ocean and freshwater biomes. Aquatic biome is the largest biome in the world since it contains five major oceans.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Terrestrial Biomes
3. What are Aquatic Biomes
4. Similarities Between Terrestrial and Aquatic Biomes
5. Side by Side Comparison – Terrestrial vs. Aquatic Biomes in Tabular Form
What are Terrestrial Biomes?
Terrestrial biomes are large geographic areas based on land. Specifically, the main types of terrestrial biomes present in the world are forests, taiga, tundra, grasslands, and deserts. Forests can be tropical rain forests, temperate forests or boreal forests. Grasslands can be savanna grasslands or temperate grasslands. Moreover, desert biomes can be hot and dry deserts, semi-arid deserts, coastal deserts, and cold deserts. The arctic tundra and the alpine tundra are the two main tundra biomes.
Terrestrial biomes sustain living organisms by providing foods, enriching the air with oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses from the air. Moreover, they help in the regulation of the climate.
What are Aquatic Biomes?
Aquatic biomes are the large water-based ecological areas. There are two main types of aquatic biomes. They are freshwater biomes and marine biomes. Freshwater biomes include lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, and freshwater wetlands, while marine biomes include oceans, coral reefs, kelp forests, and estuaries. Compared to terrestrial biomes, aquatic biomes are the largest since they include oceans. Millions of fish species live in aquatic biomes.
Besides, aquatic biomes are vital for the occurrence of the water cycle. Furthermore, aquatic biomes play a crucial role in regulating and forming the climate.
What are the Similarities Between Terrestrial and Aquatic Biomes?
- Terrestrial and aquatic biomes are the two major groups of biomes found on Earth.
- They comprise a variety of habitats.
- Moreover, they are composed of different flora and fauna, so they show huge diversity.
- There are two types of transition zones as coats and wetlands between terrestrial and aquatic biomes.
- Both are important in regulating the climate on Earth.
What is the Difference Between Terrestrial and Aquatic Biomes?
Terrestrial biomes are the large geographic areas which are land-based. In contrast, aquatic biomes are the large geographical areas which are water-based. So, this is the key difference between terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Furthermore, forests, grasslands, deserts, taiga, and tundra are the main types of terrestrial biomes, while freshwater, marine water, freshwater wetlands, estuaries, coral reefs, and kelp forests are the main types of aquatic biomes.
Terrestrial biomes provide food for living organisms, release oxygen, and absorb carbon dioxide from the air and regulate the climate. Meanwhile, aquatic biomes provide a home for millions of fish species and help in the regulation of water cycle and climate formation. Thus, this is another crucial difference between terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Also, compared to terrestrial biomes, aquatic biomes are larger.
Below infographic tabulates the difference between terrestrial and aquatic biomes.
Summary – Terrestrial vs Aquatic Biomes
A biome is a specific geographical area defined by the type of flora and fauna that live in it. Within each biome, we can often find a similar climate, animals, and plants. There are land-based biomes known as terrestrial biomes as well as water-based aquatic biomes including oceanic and freshwater. Terrestrial biomes provide food and habitats for living organisms. Moreover, they release oxygen to the air and absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases from the atmosphere, making it suitable for living organisms. Aquatic biomes, on the other hand, provide homes for fish species and play a critical role in the formation of climate and regulation of the water cycle. So, this summarizes the difference between terrestrial and aquatic biomes.
1. National Geographic Society. “Biome.” National Geographic Society, 9 Oct. 2012, Available here.
1. “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
2. “Diver in kelp forest” By Ed Bierman from Redwood City, USA – Dive buddy in deep green kelp forest (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia