Tundra Biome Project

By: Destiny McMillan & Kimesha Martin

Tundra Biome

The Tundra Biome is the coldest of all biomes. It is noted for its frost molded landscapes, extremely low temperatures, little precipitation, poor nutrients, and short growing seasons. The two major nutrients are nitrogen and phosphorus.

Tundra is separated into two types : Arctic Tundra and Alpine Tundra.

Characteristics of Tundra

  • Extremely cold climate
  • Low biotic diversity
  • Simple vegetation structure
  • Limitation of drainage
  • Short season of growth and reproduction
  • Energy and nutrients in the form of dead organic material
  • Large population oscillations

Arctic Tundra

Arctic tundra is located in the northern hemisphere, encircling the north pole and extending south to the coniferous forests of the taiga. The arctic is known for its cold, desert-like conditions. The growing season ranges from 50 to 60 days. The average winter temperature is -34° C (-30° F), but the average summer temperature is 3-12° C (37-54° F) which enables this biome to sustain life. There are about 1,700 kinds of plants in the arctic and subarctic, and these include:
  • low shrubs, sedges, reindeer mosses, liverworts, and grasses
  • 400 varieties of flowers
  • crustose and foliose lichen

Alpine Tundra

Alpine tundra is located on mountains throughout the world at high altitude where trees cannot grow. The growing season is approximately 180 days. The nighttime temperature is usually below freezing. Unlike the arctic tundra, the soil in the alpine is well drained. The plants are very similar to those of the arctic ones and include:

  • tussock grasses, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, and heaths
Animals living in the alpine tundra are also well adapted:
  • Mammals: pikas, marmots, mountain goats, sheep, elk
  • Birds: grouse like birds
  • Insects: springtails, beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies