A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant, or other type of organism. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds a speciespopulation. A habitat is made up of physical factors such as soil, moisture, range of temperature, and availability of light as well as biotic factors such as the availability of food and the presence of predators. A habitat is not necessarily a geographic area—for a parasitic organism it is the body of its host or even a cell within the host's body.
A microhabitat is the small-scale physical requirements of a particular organism or population.
The monotypic habitat occurs in botanical and zoological contexts, and is a component of conservation biology. In restoration ecology of native plant communities or habitats, some invasive species create monotypic stands that replace and/or prevent other species, especially indigenous ones, from growing there. A dominant colonization can occur from retardant chemicals exuded, nutrient monopolization, or from lack of natural controls such as herbivores or climate, that keep them in balance with their native habitats. The yellow starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis, is a botanical monotypic-habitat example of this, currently dominating over 15,000,000 acres (61,000 km2) in California alone. The non-native freshwater zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, that colonizes areas of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed, without its home-rangepredator control, is a zoological monotypic-habitat example. Even though its name may seem to imply simplicity as compared with polytypic habitats, the monotypic habitat can be complex.
Habitat is a place where species get what they need to survive: food, water, cover, and a place to raise young. In other words, a habitat is a plant or animal's home. For people, habitat might stretch from their home (where they have water, cover and a place to raise young), to the supermarket (where they buy food). All the places people go to get what they need to survive can be considered part of their habitat. Different living things have different needs for food, water and cover, so each kind of animal or plant has a specific kind of habitat. For example, some sea stars live in rocky tidal pools along the Pacific coast. The rocky tidal zone forms the main part of the sea star's habitat (sea star larvae float through coastal waters, which is also considered part of the animal's habitat). A moose, on the other hand, has very different needs from a sea star and lives in a very different kind of habitat — like the evergreen forests of Alaska, among other places. Different Types of Habitat
Both the physical environment and the living community of plants, animals and other organisms determine an ecosystem. Each ecosystem has a characteristic physical environment, including its climate and altitude, which produces a dominant type of vegetation. To learn more about several North American ecosystems, click on a type of ecosystem from the list below: •
Forests are fascinating ecosystems. How can you recognize a forest? The defining feature of a forest is its dense growth of trees. But why do forests grow where they do? Generally speaking, two key variables dictate the geographical distribution of Earth's different habitat types: precipitation and temperature. Forests grow where there is enough water available to fulfill trees' needs. The extent of forest growth also depends on temperature ranges, soil nutrients, adequate growing season and altitude. All of the forests in the continental United States are temperate forests (located between the boreal and sub-tropical zone). Eastern temperate forests tend to have cold winters and wet, hot summers. Deciduous trees...
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