Tundra

Not for the weak

Vitals

There are 2 different types of tundra: alpine and arctic. Arctic tundras are located in the Northern Hemisphere in areas such as Northern Canada, Greenland, and Russia where all of the soil is frozen so trees can't grow. Alpine tundras occur on mountains (ex. Colrado) where the altitude is so high that trees can't grow.

Climate

Arctic

During the winter the average temperature is -18 F but can drop as low as -50. In the summer the temperature rises considerably up to around 54 degrees F. Tundras are very windy and winds often blow between 30-60 mph. There is minimal rainfall (6-10 in. per year).

Plants

Bearberry

A low growing plant that is found in the tundra environment. It has leathery leaves that protect it from the cold and it also has silk hairs that keep it warm.


Tufted Saxifrage

A small flowering plant that grows in thick mats in the tundra. This plant likes cool weather and has a expansive underground root system that stores carbohydrates for when the bad weather comes


Animals

Polar Bear

Polar bears are the largest land carnivores in the tundra. They have black skin and a thick layer of blubber underneath their fur which helps them easily absorb heat. They also can swim. Polar bears primarily hunt and eat seal but also whale and walrus carcasses. In the summer when they venture inland they prey on lemmings and arctic foxes. When they eat large animals like seals and leave the carcass it allows scavengers like foxes to eat.


Ermine

Ermine live in marshy areas under rocks in the tundra. They are prey to snowy owls, arctic foxes and other large mammals. To adapt to this they camouflage their fur to white in the winter time opposed to brown in the spring and also dig to avoid predators. Ermine are carnivores and eat rabbits and rodents. Because of their sharp teeth they can eat animals larger than themselves. When it's winter time ermine hunt entirely under the snow for rodents.


Concerns

The tundra is important because it is a carbon dioxide sink. This means that it takes in more than it releases. That is important because carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas that causes global warming. The tundra is also home to many plants and animals that can't live anywhere else. These contribute to the biodiversity of the earth. Currently, global warming is melting layers of permafrost and is taking away several feet of tundra away each year. Pollution from mining and oil drilling are killing the biome also by polluting the water and lakes in the tundra. The Chemicals in the pesticides are killing plants also. Common tundra animals such as the grizzly bear and the polar bear are currently endangered