Biomes of the world 2015

Group A, Earth and Environmental Sciences

The Ashboro Zoo

The North Carolina Zoological Park is located in Asheboro in Randolph County, North Carolina in the Uwharrie Mountains near the geographic center of the state, approximately 75 miles west of Raleigh, NC, United States.

The Desert

By: Caleb D., Sam M., Griffin D., Katie B.

Beauty in the Sands

There are many hidden gems of beauty in the barren lands. Their monetary value is not akin to that of a diamond, but truly, their beauty far surpasses it.
Desert flowers.wmv

Astounding Adaptations for Astounding Plants

  • Cacti protect themselves with a spiny shell, hiding their only water reserves within their stems
  • Many plants lack leaves to reduce loss of precious water
  • Expansive root systems help them drink in the water they need to survive
  • Slick wax coatings on leaves and stems further increase their water retention
  • Flowers blossom at night, inviting nocturnal pollinators to spread their seed
(Adapted from http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/desert.html)

The Heart of the Desert

At the heart of the desert is the saguaro cactus. This amazing species provides food and water for all of the surrounding fauna. Another key flora is aptly named the camel horned tree, providing many animals critical shade. Agave is another detrimental species. This amazing plant provides water, food, ropes, and medicine for surrounding tribes and fauna.

(Adapted from http://comeseethenamib.weebly.com/plants-and-animals.html ; http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_agave.html ; http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-keystone-species.html)

Painting the Parasite

The paintbrush plant, a parasite, sucks clean moisture from its host, depriving the host of what it needs to survive. Truly, not a good party guest.

(Adapted from http://www.softschools.com/facts/plants/indian_paintbrush_facts/1665/)

Beauty of the Beasts

Desert creatures are truly something to marvel at. Whether boasting rugged scales or soft fur, they never cease to impress. Their living is hard won, and every day they fight for life, running along a razor's edge. Physically, they are beautiful, but their will to live is the most incredible thing about them.

Keystone Animals

Humming bird - Pollinate the desert plants, bringing them life

Prairie dogs - Keep water in the soil through burrowing

Jackals - Control the animal population, keeping it at a sustainable level

(Adapted from http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-keystone-species.html ; http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/keystone-species/?ar_a=)

How They Hold On

  • To escape the glaring heat of the sun, the majority of these animals slumber during the day, only to emerge from their quiet dens in the quiet hours of the night
  • Many animals sport truly massive ears and thin veins to cast off excess heat
  • Reptiles bask in the warmth of the desert sun, its life-giving heat maintaining their body temperature

(Adapted from http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/desert.htm)

Intertwined Lives

  • Without one another, these animals could not survive the barren deserts
  • All these animals depend on the desert to provide them with food and water
  • Flora and Fauna alike are used as food for other animals
  • Some animals need the harsh climate to survive, as they would drown or be crushed in normal levels of rainfall

The Desert Food Web

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The Widespread Deserts

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**Note this does not include so called "cold" desert in areas such as the Antarctic, Greenland, and Northern/Western China.**

Climate of the Desert

  • Over the course of a grueling year, only a single inch of rain will fall, making it far more difficult for animals to survive
  • The average annual temperature of these seemingly endless seas of sand is around 64 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Soil in the desert is mainly composed of minerals, will minuscule amounts of organic matter
  • While some deserts are known to have blistering high temperatures, some can be dreadfully cold
(Adapted from http://deserttawanbanyatpiyaphod.weebly.com/index.html)
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Other Features of the Desert


  • Nearly 50% of surfaces in the desert are plains, made bare by powerful winds blowing sand from the area.
  • Deep canyons, jagged mountains, and immense sand dunes can be found in deserts
  • Hot, sandy deserts aren't where it stops. As long as it is dry, like in Antarctica, it can be considered a desert
  • All deserts are characterized by very little rainfall, making them the driest places in the world
  • (Adapted from http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/deserts/features/ ; http://www.desertanimals.net/desert.html)
  • Importance of the Desert

    • Deserts cover one fifth of our planet, and hold within them one sixth of life on our planet
    • Deserts are rich in valuable minerals like gypsum and other salts
    • Desert hold some of the most incredible archaeological sites, including the Great Pyramids at Giza

    (Adapted from http://www.ehow.com/about_6528131_deserts-important_.html)

    Threats To The Desert

    • Global warming is increasing frequency of droughts, which dry up watering holes used by animals
    • Higher temperatures may produce an increasing number of wildfires that alter desert landscapes by incinerating slow-growing trees and shrubs and replacing them with fast-growing grasses
    • Irrigation used for agriculture, may in the long term, lead to salt levels in the soil that will make it unlivable for plant life
    • Grazing animals can destroy many desert plants and animals
    • Potassium cyanide used in gold mining may poison wildlife
    • Off-road vehicles, when used irresponsibly, can cause irreparable damage to desert habitats.
    • Oil and gas production may disrupt sensitive habitats
    • Nuclear waste may be dumped in deserts, which have also been used as nuclear testing grounds, poisoning the animals that live in those deserts
    Adapted from (http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/desert-threats/)

    Tundra

    Bryan H., Hunter C., Patrica S., Hope K.
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    Climate Characteristics

    Temperature -18℉

    Annual Precipitation - About 6-10 in. a year (mostly snow)

    Soil Type - low in nutrients and minerals, nutrients comes from animal droppingsRetrieved from: http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/tundra.htm

    Flora and Their Adaptations to the Environment

    Very few plants grow in the tundra because the climate is not accommodating to most plants. The tundra contains mosses, grasses, lichens, sedges and shrubs. Cotton grass is very common in the Arctic Tundra. Caribou moss is most abundant in the Alpine Tundra. The Antarctic tundra is mainly ice fields, so it also contains aquatic plants such as algae, liverworts, pearlworts and hairgrass.

    Arctic moss has adapted to store lots of nutrients in its leaves so that it will have plenty for the next spring. Bearberry is a plant that likes to grow behind rocks and stays low to the ground. This allows it to stay out of the cold Tundra wind. Caribou moss has adapted to the low precipitation rates by going dormant whenever it doesn't have water. It will continue to grow after being dormant.

    Retrieved from: http://1214.virtualclassroom.org/tundra_flora.html

    http://biome--tundra.weebly.com/plant-life.html

    Fauna and Their Adaptations to the Environment

    Polar Bears, Arctic Fox, Arctic Wolf/ Polar Bear’s have adapted by their fur being white so it blends in with its surrounding/ Arctic Fox’s have adapted by having thick fur, round compact body, and short muzzle, ears and legs/ Arctic Wolfs adapted by having shorter legs and muzzle, rounded ears, and a thick coat and undercoat

    Retrieved from: www.defenders.org/arctic-fox/basic-facts and http://www.conservationinstitute.org/tundra-animals-6-arctic-animals-perfectly-adapted-for-life-in-the-cold/

    Polar Bear

    Asheboro Zoo
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    Keystone Flora and Fauna

    Keystone Flora

    Arctic moss is a keystone flora because it is eaten by arctic voles, lemmings and shrews. These animals are eaten by arctic foxes which are eaten by arctic wolves. Arctic moss pretty much supports the entire Tundra ecosystem; without it, many animals would not be able to survive.

    Keystone Fauna

    The arctic fox is a keystone fauna because it is eaten by polar bears, wolves, kittiwakes, and snowy owls. If the arctic fox is taken out of the biome the population of the animals that eat it will go down.

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    An Example of a Food Chain in This Biome

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    Topographical Features in the Biome

    The tundra doesn’t have trees. The ground is mostly snow or ice covered until the spring. The tundra is not flat. It has ravines and gullies as well as hills and mounds. In the arctic tundra, permafrost, long lasting frozen ground, is everywhere except under the lakes and rivers that don’t freeze. It can extend 2240 feet, almost half a mile, below the surface.

    Adapted from http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static-sf/statewide/aquatic_ed/AWC%20ACTIVITIES/TUNDRA%20&%20WILDLIFE/BACKGROUND%20INFORMATION/Tundra%20II_Topography%20and%20Soil%20Facts.pdf

    Any Other Characteristics not Mentioned

    Arctic Tundra is worlds youngest biome formed 10,000 years ago.

    “Tundra” comes from Finnish word tunturia which means barren land.

    Seasons - Winter and Summer are the longest, Spring and fall are short

    latitudinal range is 75° N to 60° N

    Animals have heavy coats of fur to stay warm

    Ground is too hard for trees to send their roots down in

    Covers 20% of the Earth’s surface

    Summer lasts 6 to 10 weeks and usually never gets above 50℉

    Cold and dark in winter, soggy ground in summer

    Stores more carbon dioxide than it gives off

    Has 400 different flowers, but only 48 different animals

    Adapted from

    http://www.softschools.com/facts/biomes/tundra_biome_facts/171/

    Threats

    • Global warming is melting the permafrost.
    • The ozone is depleting and causing more UV rays to harm the environment.
    • Oils spills dusrupt and harm organisms
    • Buildings and roads cause the tundra to warm up and cause the permafrost to melt.

    http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/tundra-threats/

    Aquatic Biome - Marine and Freshwater

    Dixie L. Lacy B. Chloe P. Joseph H.

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    How the Biome Can Be Found/Locations

    Marine can be found as an ocean, coral reef, or estuary. (Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean. Can also be found in many other Gulfs)

    Freshwater can be found as ponds and lakes, or as streams and rivers.

    (Taken from : http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss5/biome/aquatic.html)

    Climate Characteristics

    The water temperature can vary, however the areas tend to be more humid and air temperature cooler.

    Precipitation of aquatic biomes is aproximately 60 to 250 inches per year above water.

    The soil type of freshwater is silt, sand, and clay.

    The soil type of marine is sand, kelp, mud, and small pieces of coral in the soil.

    (Taken From : http://biomemarine.weebly.com/climate-and-weather.html)

    Topographical Features

    Aquatic Biomes take up the largest part of the biosphere. The major aquatic biomes are freshwater and marine. These two together cover roughly three fourths of Earth. There are streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, and many many more.


    (Taken From: http://freshwaterbiome4.weebly.com/topography.html , http://mason.gmu.edu/~klargen/111lectecosystemsaquaticbiomesspring04.htm)

    Flora/Adaptations

    Marine:

    Kelp is a plant that grows in the ocean. It has adapted to it's environment by allowing other small animals to cling to it's stem. This in turn keeps those animals from floating away by the current. Also many other plants can grow at the base of a kelp plant.


    Seaweed is also a plant that grows in the ocean. It adapts to its environment by having strong roots to hold it down to the ocean floor even with rough currents. Also since the plant is on the floor of the ocean it has long, wide leaves so that it can soak up as much sunlight as it possibly can for photosynthesis.


    Phytoplankton, have to have sunlight in order to photosynthesize. However there is only a limited supply at the top of the ocean that they can use. They have a unique adaptation that enables them to stay afloat over the surface of the ocean.


    Freshwater:

    Water Lilies live in lakes and ponds. They have adapted to their environment by having a 'stomata' that is opened almost all of the time because since there is so much water around them, they do not need to hold it in. Also since they float on the surface of the water, they have flat leaves and air sacs to help them float.


    Cattails have adapted to their humid and moist environment by having 'air channels' which allows air to travel from the leaves to the roots, supplying the plant with the oxygen it needs.


    (Taken From: http://ths.sps.lane.edu/biomes/marine3/marine3.html , http://coastalstudies.org/about/stellwagen-bank-national-marine-sanctuary/phytoplankton/ , http://freshwaterbiomesemandsyd.weebly.com/plants.html , http://www.cool-science.ca/article/2012)

    Threats

    Freshwater:

    • Dams and water-diversion systems blocks migration routes for fish and disrupts habitats.
    • Water withdrawal for human use shrinks and degrades habitats.
    • Runoff from agricultural and urban areas hurts water quality.
    • Draining of wetlands for development depletes habitats.
    • Overexploitation and pollution threaten groundwater supplies.
    • Invasion of exotic species can harm native animals and plants.
    • Global warming may lead to devastating floods and droughts.

    Marine:


    • Overfishing depletes stocks of fish beyond their ability to recover
    • Predator loss releases prey populations from both the pressure and risk of predation.
    • Climate change is warming the oceans which makes them more acidic
    • Pollution poisons marine life and decimate the marine environment.
    • Habitat life due to pollution, coastal development, and trawing physically limits the living space

    (Taken from: http://saveourseas.com/blog/the_five_threats_to_our_oceans_and_what_you_can_do

    http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/freshwater-threats/)

    Why is it important? Why should we bother saving it?

    Forests

    By: Renea A., Ailsa C., Bailey E., Bailey M., and Ivan V.
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    Location

    Deciduous Forest: This is the hardwood forest containing maple, birch, aspen, oak of the eastern United States and Canada.


    Temperate Rainforest: In North America, a thin sliver of land along the coastal range from California to the panhandle of Alaska is home to a temperate rain forest.


    Tropical Rainforest: The tropical rainforest is located in Yucatan peninsula in Mexico through Panama lies the Central American Rainforest. There are also tropical rainforests on the African continent.


    Boreal Forest: Similar to the tundra, the taiga or boreal forest circles the Northern Hemisphere. This is the home of the spruce and fir coniferous evergreen forests. It is an area of harsh winters and the plants and animals are adapted to a short growing season.

    Climate

    Deciduous Forest: The average temperature of the forest is about 50 degrees F. The average amount of rainfall in the forest is 30 to 60 inches a year. As the seasons change, so do the colors of the leaves of the deciduous trees.


    Temperate Rainforest: Temperate rain forests are found on the western edge of North and South America, where moist air from the Pacific Ocean drops between 60 and 200 inches of rain a year.


    Tropical Rainforest: In an average year in a tropical rainforest, the climate is very humid because of all the rainfall, which amounts to about 250 cm per year. The rain forest has lots of rain because it is very hot and wet. This climate is found near the equator.


    Boreal Forest: These forests are mainly found in broad circumpolar belt across the northern hemisphere and on mountain ranges where low temperatures limit the growing season to a few months each year; thus too unfavorable for most hardwoods

    Fauna

    Deciduous: Hawk, Fox, Owl, Beaver, Opossum

    Temperate: Elk, Beavers, Raccoon, Cougars, Black Bear

    Tropical: Tiger, Orangutan, Lemur, Leopard, Eagle, Elephant

    Boreal: Deer, Arctic fox, Siberian Tiger, Arctic Hare, Wolverine


    In deciduous forests, bird migration is an example of an animal adaptation in which the bird relocates in order to find food easier.


    Many animals that live in a temperate forest, such as the black bear, hibernate throughout the winter months, during which they reduce their need for food when it is scarce and simultaneously protect themselves from the cold weather.


    Due to tall trees, most animals of the tropical rainforest have strong limbs. Also, birds of this biome tend to have bills or beaks---both for the purpose of finding and catching food easier.


    The animal species that live in boreal forests are equipped to handle long periods of frigid weather due to adaptations such as thick fur or feathers.

    Flora

    Deciduous: Maple, Oak, Birch, Magnolia, Sweet Gum, Beech

    Temperate: Ferns, Fireweed, Skunk Cabbage, Coastal Redwood

    Tropical: Lianas, Silt Roots, Epiphytes, Bromeliads, Mangroves

    Boreal: Huckleberry, Mountain Ash, Hawthorn, Rhododendron, Ragweed


    In deciduous forests, plants begin to produce thin, broad leaves designed to catch as much sunlight as possible in order to photosynthesize.


    During the summer months, plants of the temperate forest biome have broader, dark green leaves in order to photosynthesize and make their energy.


    In drier climates, a thick bark limits the moisture evaporation from a trunk. However, this is not the case with the humidity of tropical rainforests, so most trees have a thin, smooth bark in reaction to the high humidity.


    Because coniferous (or evergreen) trees do not need to produce new leaves every year, the needles are well adapted to the limited sunlight of the boreal forest.

    Food Web

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    Topography

    As seen on our (currently not updated) map, the topography of forests can range from near sea level to mountain ranges. Tropical forests are typically found on the continents of Africa and South America, while a mixed deciduous forest can be found in many of our backyards on the North American continent. Boreal forests are found in high altitudes through the continents of North America and Eurasia, and temperate forests are usually located in areas of lower altitude, most being found among islands and coastlines.

    Taiga

    The taiga is an isolated boreal forest found in the far-northern hemisphere in countries like Canada, Russia, Norway, etc. This forest is entirely coniferous, meaning it mostly contains spruces and pine trees. All of the information our project team has collected for the taiga falls under the category of boreal forest, but there is a slight distinction between the two---the taiga is located north of the boreal forests.

    Grassland

    Maddie, Emi, Josie, Abriana

    Climate Charateristics

    Temperature: -40 to 100 degrees

    Annual precipitation: 20 to 35 inches

    Soil Type: Deep and dark with fertile upper layer

    Flora and Adaptations

    Mostly grass, prairie rose, gum weed, gumbo primrose, spider wort, goldenrod, clover, wild indigo, cone flower.

    During a fire, while above-ground portions of grasses may perish, the root portions survive to sprout again.

    Fauna (physical and behavioral adaptations)

    Australia: Kangaroos
    Africa: elephant, giraffes, zebras, lions, mice, and ground squirrels
    America: Bison, elk, jack rabbits, prairie dogs, burrowing owls, golden eagles, coyotes, badgers


    Adaptions:

    Speed: In the grasslands there are not many obstacles, so it's important to be agile and fast. Animals like gazelles must outrun cheetah's. Gazelles can reach 45 mph and Cheetah's reach 65 mph.

    Nesting: The grasslands lack trees, so birds must nest on or under the ground.

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