Tundra

By: Collin Wayne

Description

The tundra is located in the Northern Hemisphere. It stretches from the North Pole all the way down to the Taiga. The Tundra is the coldest and most barren of every single other biome on the planet. Tundra originates from the world tunturia, which means treeless plain. Some characteristics of the Tundra may include, very cold temperatures or climate, low biodiversity, bad drainage meaning no where for water to go or get soaked up, very small growing season window, large fluctuations in population.

Abiotic Factors

The abiotic factors in the tundra significantly effects the growth of plants, and the biodiversity of life that may be able to call the tundra home. Some abiotic factors may include permafrost, low amount of rainfall, extremely cold temperatures, and also major sunlight fluctuation. Permafrost is the soil or ground that stays frozen all year long. During the summer months the soil on top could thaw out and defrost, but the soil underneath remains frozen. Permafrost causes less plants to survive, grow, and develop. The tundra has very scarce rainfall, only 6 to 10 inches of rainfall a year. But just because there is little rainfall does not mean snow can not melt and add some numbers to the average total, but even with little rainfall and little snow melting the tundra still may remain moist and damp because of the little evaporation and little drainage due to the permafrost and rocky soil. The temperatures in the Tundra are very low, even in the summer time the highs will only reach 45 to 50 degrees and in the winter time does not get higher than 20 degrees and averages around negative 20 and negative 30 degrees. Sunlight in the Tundra varies from 24 hours a day to 0 hours a day. During the summer days when the sun is up for 24 hours a day, "the midnight sun," plants are able to photosynthesis 24/7 and grow rapidly. All of these abiotic factors causes low biodiversity, in plants and in animals.
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Biotic Factors

The plant life in the tundra is often considerably small compared to other plants around the world, but not just are the plants smaller but also the biodiversity of the plants species, but just because there is a small biodiversity does not mean some plants cant thrive. Some plants may include bear berry, arctic moss, caribou moss, diamond leaf willow, Labrador tea, pasque flower, and tufted saxifrage. Plants have adapted by growing close the ground so they are not affected by high winds, they also have hair stems to keep warm. The bear berry is ate by birds and owls, and is only found in the arctic biome.


The animal biodiversity in the Tundra is very small, if one animal is lost to extinction or emigration it could effect the whole ecosystem which could possible cause a collapse. Animals that live in the tundra may include, polar bear, caribou, arctic fox, arctic hare, snowy owl, musk ox, rock ptarmigan. All of these animals have adapted to the climate in the tundra by acquiring thick fur coats and how to hunt for food. The arctic fox is a prime example of adaptation because in the winter time its coat thickens and becomes white and in the summer is sheds it fur and becomes brown. But not only have animals adapted but also plants, so the tundra is a changing environment and ecosystem.

Community Interactions

An example of a food chain in the tundra would include bearberries---> lemmings---> arctic fox---> snowy owl. The primary producers are lichens, xanthoria, arctic willow, tufted saxrifage, caribou moss and bear berry. Primary consumers which eat the primary producers are caribou, arctic hare and lemmings. The secondary consumers which consume the primary consumers are arctic foxes and snowy owl. The top predator or the apex predator is the polar bear, the polar bear eats seal and other mammals.

Importance of the Tundra

The tundra plays a very specific role for life all around the world. The tundra suppresses or reduces the air temperature. As the air down near the equator heats up it begins to rise, and reaches the tundra where it is cooled. Once the air is cool enough it sinks back down to the equator, this then causes weather variation and also causes air currents.
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Human impacts on the Tundra

A major human impact on the tundra is global warming. Global warming is increasing daily by the combustion of gasoline and also from the other chemicals that enter our earths atmosphere. As this happens it breaks down the earths ozone layer causing a gradual rise in average temperatures. Another human impacts is mining for oil, humans have moved up there to find the untapped oil reservoir we then create long gas and oil pipelines which disrupts the tundra. Also as we humans start to expand and build farther north native species in that area are forced to move to new territory and they become invasive eating predators prey, and these new species may not have any predators.
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Tundra Biome

sources

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pictures

JB, Martin. "Department of Geography." Permafrost-Glacier Interactions : Permafrost and Arctic Systems : ... : Geography : University of Sussex. 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.


Tundra. (2014). Retrieved February 12, 2016, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/ecosystems/tundra_rev1.shtml


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