Types of Ecosystems and Habitats


Ecosystem and habitat are two terms that refer to similar ecological concepts. An ecosystem is defined as the living and nonliving things that constitute a geographical area, while a habitat is simply an environment in which a particular organism lives. Ecosystems are broadly divided into terrestrial and aquatic, while habitats are either microhabitats or major habitats

Terrestrial Ecosystem

  • A terrestrial ecosystem is a land-based ecosystem. The terrestrial ecosystem is divided into four biomes: the taiga, tundra, grassland and temperate deciduous forest. The taiga is a biome composed of coniferous forests. The tundra biome is one with exceedingly low temperatures and low precipitation. The grassland biome is dominated by grasses, while the temperate deciduous forest is composed of deciduous trees that lose their leaves every year.

Aquatic Ecosystem

  • The aquatic ecosystem is a water-based ecosystem. The aquatic ecosystem is broadly divided into the freshwater ecosystems and the marine ecosystems. The marine ecosystem has dissolved compounds such as salts and includes the oceans, coral reefs, estuaries and salt marshes. This type of aquatic ecosystem is the major water-based ecosystem, containing about 97 percent of the water on earth and covering more than 71 percent of the world’s surface. Animals such as sharks, whales, dolphins and different types of tuna live in the marine ecosystem.

    The freshwater ecosystem includes ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. Amphibians such as toads, frogs and salamanders lives in the freshwater ecosystem. Other creatures that live in this ecosystem include the snapping turtle and birds such as ducks, geese and swans.


  • A microhabitat is simply a habitat within a habitat. An example of a microhabitat is a piece of rotten log in a forest. The forest is the major habitat, while the rotten log is a microhabitat within the forest that has ideal living conditions for some organisms. An example of organisms that could make a rotten log a microhabitat include various species of insects and fungi.

Major Habitat

  • A major habitat is a bigger habitat in which bigger creatures live. An example is the forest, where big animals like deer, rabbits, reptiles and other mammals may reside. This habitat is differentiated from the microhabitat by the fact that the microhabitat can occur in the major habitat and not vice versa. As such, a major habitat could be composed of two general types of habitat.

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