Ecology: Community vs Ecosystem

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What is a biome?

A large, relatively distinct terrestrial region with similar climate, soil, plants, and animals.

Which of the following is a characteristic of the Arctic tundra biome?

Boggy plains covered by lichens and mosses.

What is the primary factor influencing the distribution of biomes?

Temperature and precipitation.

How do chaparral vegetation removal practices impact soil stability?

Decrease soil erosion control.

Which of the following best describes an abiotic factor in an ecosystem?

The temperature and rainfall in the environment.

How do harsh, cold winters and extremely short summers characterize the Arctic tundra?

By limiting plant biodiversity.

What is the main difference between a community and an ecosystem?

Ecosystem includes both biotic and abiotic factors, while a community includes only biotic factors.

Which of the following is considered an abiotic factor in an ecosystem?


Why are organisms in a coral reef ecosystem driven to live in that environment?

Because their needs such as sunlight, pH, salinity, and temperature are met.

What defines a landscape?

A landscape is a cluster of interacting ecosystems with identifiable natural boundaries.

Which of the following is NOT an abiotic factor in an ecosystem?


Why is a watershed considered a convenient landscape-level unit for study and management?

Due to its identifiable natural boundaries.

What is the typical vegetation found in the emergent layer of a tropical rainforest?

Tall trees around 50 meters high

Which abiotic factor characterizes the Chaparral biome?

Thin and often infertile soil

What type of plants are commonly found in the understory of a tropical rainforest?

Ferns, mosses, orchids, and bromeliads

Which animal is most likely to be adapted to living in the canopy of a tropical rainforest?


What abiotic factor characterizes the Temperate Grassland biome?

Hot summers and cold winters

Which type of fauna is commonly found in Scrub Oak vegetation?

Mule deer, wood rats, chipmunks

Study Notes

Community and Ecosystem

  • A community is composed of two or more populations of different species occupying the same geographical area.
  • Populations and communities only include biotic factors.
  • An ecosystem is a community and its abiotic factors (e.g., soil, rain, temperature, and nutrients) functioning together.

Ecosystem Example

  • Coral reef in Talikud Island is an ecosystem with a community of fishes, invertebrates, corals, algae, bacteria, and planktons.
  • The community is driven to live in this environment because their needs are met, such as quality of sunlight, pH, nutrients, salinity, temperature, and water as their habitat.


  • A landscape is a heterogeneous area composed of a cluster of interacting ecosystems repeated in a similar manner throughout.
  • A watershed is a convenient landscape-level unit for large-scale study and management, having identifiable natural boundaries.


  • A biome is a large, relatively distinct terrestrial region with similar climate, soil, plants, and animals, regardless of where it occurs in the world.
  • A biome encompasses many interacting ecosystems and is the next level of ecological organization above community, ecosystem, and landscape.
  • Temperature and precipitation have a predominant effect on biome distribution.

Types of Biomes


  • Treeless biome in the far north with harsh, cold winters and extremely short summers.
  • Characteristics: boggy plains covered by lichens and mosses.

Tropical Rainforest

  • Emergent layer: very tall trees (up to 50m or 164ft).
  • Middle story or canopy: trees 30 to 40m (100 to 130ft) tall.
  • Smaller plants in the sparse understory.
  • Communities of epiphytic plants such as ferns, mosses, orchids, and bromeliads.
  • Fauna: sloths, monkeys, abundant and varied insects, reptiles, and amphibians.


  • Biome with mild, moist winters and hot, dry summers.
  • Vegetation: small-leaved evergreen shrubs and small trees.
  • Soil is thin and often not very fertile.
  • Wildfires occur naturally, particularly frequent in late summer and autumn.
  • Flora: scrub oak.
  • Fauna: mule deer, wood rats, chipmunks, lizards, and many species of birds.

Temperate Grassland

  • Grassland with hot summers, cold winters, and less rainfall than in the temperate deciduous forest biome.

Explore the differences between community and ecosystem in ecology. Learn how biotic factors make up a community, while an ecosystem includes both biotic and abiotic factors working together. Test your understanding of these ecological concepts.

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