The Tundra

By: Kamal and Manuel

Vitals of the Tundra

There are 2 types of Tundras: the arctic tundra and the alpine tundra. The tundra is the coldest of all the biomes. Tundra comes from the Finnish word tunturia, meaning treeless plain. The tundra has frost molded landscapes, little percipitation, extremely low temperatures, short growing seasons, and poor levels of nuitrients.

Climate of the Tundra

The average winter temperature is -34° C (-30° F), but the average summer temperature is 3-12° C (37-54° F). Yearly precipitation, including melting snow, is 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 inches). The tundra is in the winter season most of the time, but it does have short summers.

Plant life

The Tundra has plants such as arctic moss, arctic willow, bearberry, caribou moss, diamond-leaf willow, and many other plants. The arctic moss grows underwater which helps it survive the harsh winds, it stores nuitrients so new leaves can be made in the next season. Arctic willow can produce pesticides to keep bugs from eating it, it also has fuzzy hairs on its leaves to survive the cold weather. The bearberry is a low growing plant and has fine silky hairs to keep it warm. Caribou moss is a typer of lichen which can go dormant if there is little water or light. Diamond-leaf willow grows low on the ground and creeps along the ground in a thick carpet.

Animals

The Tundra has animals such as the polar bear, caribou, arctic fox, arctic hare, and the snowy owl. The polar bears have a thick fur which protects them from the cold. Caribou have a variety of diets which means they don't go hungry. Arctic foxes can build dens for shelter and warmth. Arctic hares can forage shelters in the snow to survive extreme temperatures. Snowy owls build nests high in trees to watch for prey. Arctic foxes follow polar bears to scavenge food and compete with snowy owls for arctic hares. Predator/Prey relationships include: Arctic foxes eating arctic hares, snowy owls eating arctic hares, polar bears eating caribou, and arctic foxes eating snowy owl eggs.

Interesting fact

In the summer, the Arctic tundra has sunlight 24 hours a day!

Ecological concerns

Threats to the tundra include oil spills, ozone depletion, air pollution and invasive species. The tundra has endangered species such as the polar bear and the arctic fox. The tundra is important because it plays a big role in the temperature regulation of the planet.