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Habitat

Introduction.

A habitat is a natural environment in which a specific species of an organism resides/lives. Biological and physical features characterize it. Therefore, for a particular type of species to call a place a habitat, it must provide food, protection, shelter, and mates for reproductive purposes. A habitat is, therefore, a place an organism makes a home.

Types of Habitats.

A biome is defined as an area with similar characteristics. Therefore, biomes are grouped into five major types as follows:

  1. Aquatic habitats.
  2. Desert habitats.
  3. Forest habitats.
  4. Grassland habitats.
  5. Tundra habitats.

The above habitats can further be divided into various sub-habitats that make up communities and ecosystems.

Aquatic Habitats.

Sea turtle swimming underwater in the Indian Ocean in the Maldives

This is made up of seas and oceans, rivers and lakes, lagoons, wetlands and marshes, and swamps. In places where there is a mix up of freshwater and saltwater, mudflats, mangroves and salt marshes are in existence.

These places are home to a different group of wildlife, including all the animal groups, e.g., reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.

The intertidal zone is a region that is wet during high and dry as the tides fade away. The organisms living in this area are therefore adapted to withstanding pounding tides and live in both air and water. Such organisms include snails, kelp, and algae.

Desert Habitats.

Desert habitats comprise of landscapes with scarce precipitation, therefore, does not support proper vegetation growth. These scrublands are usually arid, thus making the survival of living things extremely difficult. Deserts experience high day-time temperatures while others are icy with chilly winters.

These semi-arid areas are mostly dominated by scrub vegetation, for example; shrubs, herbs, and grasses.

Human activities on a slightly drier area usually create a desert, a process known as desertification. These activities include deforestation and poor agricultural management.

Grassland habitats.

These habitats have vast domination of grasses with few large trees or shrubs. They are divided into:

  1. Tropical grasslands (savannas).
  2. Temperate grasslands.

Grasslands experience rainy and dry seasons and therefore susceptible to seasonal fires which sometimes spread rapidly across the land.

Examples of grasslands include the African Savanna and plains of Midwest. Hooved animals and predators inhabit grasslands.

Tundra.

Autumn tundra landscape in Norway, Europe.

This is simply a cold habitat characterized by short vegetation, long winters, low temperature, and limited drainage.

Regardless of extreme conditions, it still serves as a home for a variety of animals. Arctic tundra is found near the North Pole extending southwards to the home of coniferous forests while Alpine tundra is located on mountains at elevations above the tree line.

Forest habitats.

Such habitats are mostly dominated by trees. Forests cover about one-third of Earth’s landscape thus found in many regions.

Forests are divided into tropical, temperate, coniferous, cloud and boreal each having its unique characteristics, wildlife communities, and species.

 

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