The Tundra Biome

by Michael Cole and Greg Reisch

What is a Tundra?

Tundras are dry, cold, and windy environments. They have a layer of permafrost (permanently frozen soil) on the ground, so they remain treeless and have a very short growing season as a result. In the tundra, it typically snows most of the year. There are two different types of tundra, "alpine" and "arctic". Alpine tundras are tundras that attain those characteristics due to their elevation, the cold due to the high elevation prevents trees from growing, an example of this would be Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. The average temperature in the tundra during the winter is -30°F and 34-57°F during the summer and they are most commonly found in the far Northern Hemisphere of the Earth.

The Plants of the Tundra

The tundra is home to many plants, all of which have adapted to effectively survive in the harsh, cold climate.

Dark red leaves attained their dark color to help absorb and retain more heat from the sun in the cold environment.
Cushion plants, are low lying plants and they tend to grow in small clumps in order to protect themselves from the cold.
Cotton grass are plants that of course closely resemble cotton and has adapted to have its seeds be dispersed into the soil by the harsh winds of the tundra climate.

The Animals of the Tundra

Much like plants, animals have also adapted to live in the tundra's demanding climate. There are many species of animals from mammals to fish that live in the tundra biome, both alpine, and arctic.
Snow Buntings are birds and have adapted to be almost entirely white in order to blend into the background of the tundra environment during the winter. In the summer their feathers become a darker brown. They feed on seeds and insects found in the soil.
Caribou are mammals and can vary from black, gray, white, and brown and feed on grass and other low lying plants in which they can dig out with their hooves. They tend to move farther down south for feeding during the winter.
Polar Bears have a thick white coat of fur that helps them camouflage with their environment. They feed on tundra plants, fish, birds, caribou, and musk oxen and they mostly reside in the Arctic circle.

More Facts, Plants, and Interesting Videos About the Tundra Biome

Tundra Biome Facts
Polar Bear Digs a Day Bed (HD)
Tundra Plants