Difference Between Ecosystem and Biome

What is an Ecosystem?

An ecosystem is a system or a functional unit in the environment where living and nonliving components interact with each other. Thus, it can be defined as a community of living organisms and nonliving components living in conjunction with each other in the environment. The non-living components of the ecosystem include water, soil, atmosphere, temperature, etc. while living organisms have an internal hierarchy within an ecosystem.


Within the living organisms are the producers, the consumers, and the decomposers. Their interactions with each other give rise to the food chain within an ecosystem. The ecosystem exists on the basis of the linking within the food chains and complex food webs. The non-living components support the living components by providing essential materials that are required for survival. This includes energy, air, water, etc. which are ultimately acquired as a result of various biological cycles.


An ecosystem can be big or small in size but they maintain specific and limited species. For example, an aquatic ecosystem is dominated by aquatic species like fish, sharks, snails etcIn an ecosystem, living components are also known as biotic components and non - living components also known as abiotic components form a pattern and are interconnected through nutrient cycles and energy flows. 

Every organism present in an ecosystem is dependent on one or the other element in an ecosystem, for example, humans living in a terrestrial ecosystem are dependent on plants for food, soil for agriculture and nutrients, sunlight and oxygen from the atmosphere. This way all the biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem are interconnected. They are so well connected that if one part or element of the ecosystem is disturbed, it changes and affects the rest of the elements of the ecosystem. 


Characteristics of the Ecosystem

  • Energy flow and nutrient cycles link the living components of the ecosystem to the non-living components.

  •  The energy flows unidirectionally or in one direction in the ecosystem. 

  • Energy enters it through the process of photosynthesis. Animals feed on plants and one another, thus aiding the movement of energy and matter through the system. The decomposers then break down the organic matter and release carbon and nutrients back to the ecosystem. So that it can be used up again by plants in their simpler forms to utilize for the process of photosynthesis.

  • Abiotic factors like climate, topography, etc. influence the biotic components of the ecosystem.

  • Ecological pyramids are another important factor in the ecosystem. An ecological pyramid gives the graphical representation of the number, energy, and biomass of the successive trophic levels of an ecosystem.

  • Every part of the environment with its exclusive flora and fauna has an ecosystem of its own. Examples of the same are- Aquatic Ecosystem, Desert Ecosystem, etc.


What is a Biome?

Biomes are a community of living organisms that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They are formed as a result of the living organism’s response to the physical climate. A particular zone on Earth can be termed as a biome which is identified by a large-scale climate and vegetation characteristics.

  • Biomes are generally identified and named after the life form that exists in it, for instance, grassland, coral reef, tropical rain forests, etc.

  • Due to the similarity in the patterns of natural selection Species in different parts of a biome may appear similar in behavior and appearance.

  • Examples of biomes – Tundra, temperate evergreens, etc.


Difference Between Ecosystem and Biomes



A biome is a different form of an ecosystem in which a large land area with a distinct climate and plants and animal species exist.

The ecosystem is an interaction of the living and non- living components in an environment.

It comprises a large geographical area covering a vast distance.

The geographical area is small and covers a smaller distance.

It is strongly influenced by climatic factors such as rainfall, ice, snow, temperature, etc.

It is not influenced by climatic factors.

It consists of multiple ecosystems.

An ecosystem is a biome with its biotic and abiotic factors.

It consists of a large number of plant and animal species.

It is smaller in size than a biome and it comprises lesser species of plants and animals.

All the organisms in a biome may or may not interact with each other.

All the organisms in an ecosystem interact with each other in various trophic levels and the food web.

Latitude influences the biome.

It is not affected by the latitude.

Desert, grasslands, tundra, tropical rainforests, coniferous forests, etc. are the examples.

An ecosystem may be aquatic, coral reefs, etc.


Points to Remember

  • An ecosystem is smaller than a biome because a biome is distributed throughout the Earth.

  • A biome is strongly influenced by its physical factors like climatic conditions such as snow, temperature, rainfall, etc. but an ecosystem is not.

  • A biome is also influenced by latitude which an ecosystem is independent of.

  • In biome, the living components or all the organisms may not necessarily interact with each other.

  • In an ecosystem, the interaction between various living components or organisms Is the basis of its numerous food webs and energy flow.


Once you understand the difference between Ecosystem and Biome, it becomes easy to learn more.It is an interesting subject to learn.

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