Choose three biomes and briefly describe their characteristics (including climate, common organisms, etc).

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A biome is a common population of animals, plants, and microbes that inhabit a particular geographical region of the planet.  They are also called ecosystems.  Some examples include rainforest, desert, tundra, chaparral, temperate forest, marine, and wetlands.  I will highlight three of the lesser known biomes below.

Chaparral:  This is a semi-arid shrubland that is characterized by open land with thick, brushy shrubs and very little tree cover.  It is found in the western parts of North and South America including California and Mexico.  In terms of climate, chaparral has hot, dry summers and mild, damp winters.  Much of the brush contains aromatic oils that are flammable, hence the danger of wildfires in this area.  Common animals include coyotes, foxes, rabbits, and squirrels.

Boreal Forest:  Also called taiga, boreal forest is found in northern lattitudes but south of tundra and arctic climates.  It is composed of evergreen coniferous forests including spruce and fir trees.  It is found in Northern Europe and North America, particularly Canada.  Climate includes cold winters and mild summers.  Common animals include moose, beavers, and timberwolves.

Coniferous Forest:  This is also sometimes referred to as temperate rainforest.  It is composed of dense forests made up primarily of conifers like giant redwoods, spruces, and hemlocks.  Moss and heavy vegetation makes up the forest floor.  The climate is dominated by moist ocean air that keeps temperatures moderate and rainfall high.  It is located along the coast of the Pacific Northwest in the US and Canada.  Major animals include elk, deer, bobcats, and owls.

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