Biology

Biotope

One of the most important branches of biology is ecology and this is a discipline based on ecosystem studies. These ecosystems are the relationships between living beings and environment in which they develop. It is important to mention now, that within the ecosystems there are two important branches that are the biotope and biocenosis. In this article we will talk about the biotope. These are the physical environment characteristics in which living beings develop, such as climate, relief and land properties. It is the set in itself of the flora and fauna that surrounds us, we could say that it is synonymous of habitat, but they have an important difference, the habitat refers to the specific zone in which the species inhabit, and the biotope refers to the whole biological community, also known as biocenosis. It is the physical and natural space in which the ecosystems are formed and inhabited, in which the living beings manage to find all the conditions for being able to subsist.

Biotope

Related topics

Biome, biocenosis, abiotic factors

What is a biotope?

A biotope is a part of biology responsible for making studies regarding the ecosystems and the environment in which they are developed. It is the set of characteristics found in the environment necessary for proper development of living beings.

History

The first scientist who talked about the biotope was Ernst Haeckel during the years 1834 and 1919. It was an important German zoologist who was highly recognized after publishing his Recapitulation theory. He explained to the whole world the importance of habitat in the life of a living being and explained the way in which ecosystems are modified by environmental factors such as soil, wind, heat, climate and the same interactions between the living being and the environment. The word has its origin in the Greek words βíος bios, which means “life” and the word τόπος topos, which means “place“.

Biotope characteristics

As mentioned above, the biotope is the place where living beings live within an ecosystem. It includes two important parts; the substrate and the physical and chemical environment conditions. Within the environmental characteristics that determine the physical and chemical characteristics we can mention the following:

Biotope components

The biotope has two different main components, although there are more. The first component refers to the environment in which living beings develop and includes parts such as sunlight, water, air, climate, atmospheric pressure, humidity and temperature. The second component is the substrate and refers properly to the soil or the place in which the living beings are fixed to subsist, for some organisms will be water and for others soil, residues in stage of decomposition, even other animals, for example, the dog that is used by the tick to survive.

Examples

Amazon Biotope

Watered by Amazon River that originates in the Andes Mountains, the Amazon biotope is an immense, practically flat terrain that stretches from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. It can be said that this enormous jungle is the lung of the planet. It possesses a humid season that lasts 6 months, which causes the flows of its rivers to grow greatly, producing jungle floods, which is why we observe roots and trees flooded several meters, especially for the fish that live in the place. At the bottom of the stagnant water is formed a kind of bed made of leaves, branches and roots providing shelter to some species and it is what we consider one of the most common habitats in the world, a pure Amazonian biotope.

Quetzal Biotope

The Quetzal Biotope is located in Purulhá municipality in Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. It has an area of 1,044 hectares and was established as a protected area on June 2, 1976 thanks to Mario Dary Rivera, with the main objective of protecting the Quetzal and its habitat, the cloud forest. It is part of what we know as the Cloud Forest Biological Corridor and it is dominated by plants that grow on others to get support, for example, orchids and moss, the latter with a great ecological function because its function is to retain water and give protection to the soil. The Quetzal’s biotope is a humid subtropical forest and shelters up to 87 different species of birds, within which the Quetzal predominates, in addition, different types of reptiles, squirrels, foxes and monkeys can be found.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.
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