Ecosystems of the Earth
Vicki A Benge
An ecosystem encompasses a biological community and the localized environment. Climatic factors define the living conditions of ecosystems. Average temperatures, annual rainfall, availability of sunlight, and soil characteristics, each play a distinct role in what types of plants can flourish in the ecosystem and ultimately what types of animals live in the ecosystem, as food chains generally begin with plant life converting solar energy into organic nutrients and passing it from one population to another along the food web.
Terrestrial ecosystems are also called biomes. The predominant vegetation in a terrestrial ecosystem distinguishes its name. Aquatic ecosystems are divided into freshwater and saltwater, with saltwater ecosystems often referred to as marine ecosystems. Biomes with similar plant and animal species may be found at corresponding latitudes on the Earth.