ENVIROMENTTundra is the coldest of all the biomes. It is noted for its frost-moldedlandscapes, extremely low temperatures, little precipitation, poornutrients, and short growing seasons. Dead organic material functionsas a nutrient pool. The two major nutrients are nitrogen andphosphorus. Winter temperatures dont reach above 20° F andaverage -20° to -30°F. The tundra is an unusually cold and dryclimate. Precipitation totals 6-10 inches of rain a year, which includesmelted snow. The tundra climate spans from most of Greenland toparts of Alaska, northern Canada, and northern Russia. The latitudinalrange is 75° N to 60° N. Tundra climates can be found on the coastalareas of the arctic. The ocean water keeps the climate from falling tothe extreme temperatures found in the interior of the continents.
FLORAAll of the plants found in the tundra biome grow very slowly due to thecool temperatures. There are more than 2,000 types of plants that cangrow there. Most of them are types of moss. However, you will also findshrubs, grass, and some willow out there as well. Approximately 400different species of flowers have been identified in the tundra biome.Because of the short growing season, most tundra plants areperennials-they spend several years gathering and storing nutrientsbetween each episode of seed production. Many can reproduce bysending runners through the soil, sprouting new plants at the nodes.This is less costly than blooming and producing seeds and fruits.PlantsArctic MossArctic WillowBearberryCaribou MossDiamond-leaf WillowLabrador TeaPasque FlowerTufted Saxifrage
FAUNA The fauna in the arctic is also diverse. Herbivorous mammals include lemmings, voles, caribou, arctic hares and squirrels. Carnivorous mammalsinclude arctic foxes, wolves, and polar bears. Migratory birds include ravens, snow buntings, falcons, loons, ravens, sandpipers, terns, snow birds, and various species of gulls. Insects include mosquitoes, flies, moths, grasshoppers, blackflies and arctic bumble bees. Artic fishes include cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout. Animals are adapted to handle long, cold winters and to breed and raiseyoung quickly in the summer. Animals such as mammals and birds also have additional insulation from fat. Many animals hibernate during the winter because food is not abundant. Another alternative is to migrate south in the winter, like birds do. Reptiles and amphibians are few or absent because of the extremely cold temperatures. Because of constant immigration and emigration, the population continually oscillates.
THREATS• Threats • Solutions• The melting of the permafrost as a result of • Switch to alternative energy uses to global warming could radically change the minimize human-made global warming. landscape and what species are able to live • Establish protected areas and park reserves there. to restrict human influence.• Ozone depletion at the North and South • Limit road construction, mining activities, Poles means stronger ultraviolet rays that and the building of pipelines will harm the tundra. intundra habitat.• Air pollution can cause smog clouds that • Limit tourism and respect local cultures contaminate lichen, a significant food source for many animals.• Exploration of oil, gas, and minerals and construction of pipelines and roads can cause physical disturbances and habitat fragmentation.• Oil spills can kill wildlife and significantly damage tundra ecosystems.• Buildings and roads put heat and pressure on the permafrost, causing it to melt.• Invasive species push aside native vegetation and reduce diversity of plant cover.
IMPORTANCE The Tundra plays a large role in the temperature regulation of the planet. Aswarm air rises from the tropical zone it is cooled in theTundra causing it to sinkback down to the equator. This causes weather and air currents. Without thissystem climate as we know it would change drastically around the world. Areasthat once could support life may not anymore. It is also a winter home for manyspecies of birds. If they were to disappear from the food chain it would causedevastating changes to other species dependent on the. the tundra is a keyfactor in global biodiversity.
VOCABULARYPhosphorus: a solid, nonmetallic element existing in at leastthree allotropic forms, one that is yellow, poisonous,flammable, and luminous in the dark, one that is red, lesspoisonous, and less flammable, and another that is black,insoluble in most solvents,and the least flammableBiodiversity: diversity among and within plant and animal species in anenvironment.