Barcibal, Rachiel M.
De Chavez, Noeh Ella H.
Garcia, Mateo A.
Tañas, Ian Dave Charlie V.
BY THE STUDENTS OF DWCC
BIO - SCI
What is Grassland Biome?
Grassland biomes are large,
rolling terrains of grasses,
flowers and herbs.
Grasslands are characterized
as lands dominated by grasses
rather than large shrubs or trees
The grasslands are dominated
by grasses.There are other
plants in them as well.
Interesting Grassland Biome Facts:
Grasslands are also known as prairies, pampas,
steppes, and savannas.
Grassland biomes are normally situated between a
forest and a desert. In fact, grasslands surround
every desert in Asia.
Twenty-five percent of the Earth is covered by the
Tropical and temperate are the two kinds of
Grasslands are perfect for cropping and pasturing
because its soil runs deep and is extremely fertile.
Tropical grassland biomes are located in the
Southern Hemisphere while temperate grassland
biomes are located in the Northern Hemisphere
The grasses in the tropical grassland biome tend
to be taller than that of the temperate because of
the constant warm weather and additional rainfall
There are two seasons in the temperate grassland:
the growing season and the dormant season.
Animals that you can expect to find in a grassland
biome are zebras, lions, wolves, prairie dogs, and
foxes. The animal diversity is dependent upon the
location of the biome.
There are two main
divisions of grasslands:
Tropical Grassland or
Savanna is grassland with scattered individual trees.
Climate is the most important factor in creating a savanna.
Savannas are always found in warm or hot climates where the
annual rainfall is from about 50.8 to 127 cm (20-50 inches) per
The soil of the savanna is porous, with rapid drainage of water.
Savannas are sometimes classified as forests.
The predominant vegetation consists of grasses and forbs .
Savanna has both a dry and a rainy season.
. Seasonal fires play a vital role in the savanna's biodiversity. In
October, a series of violent thunderstorms, followed by a strong
drying wind, signals the beginning of the dry season.
Three Types Of Savannas
Temperate grasslands are characterized as having
grasses as the dominant vegetation.
Trees and large shrubs are absent.
Temperatures vary more from summer to winter,
and the amount of rainfall is less in temperate
grasslands than in savannas.
Temperate grasslands have hot summers and cold
Rainfall is moderate.
The soil of the temperate grasslands is deep and
dark, with fertile upper layers.
Temperate grasslands can be further subdivided
West Central East
Short Grass Mixed Grass Tall Grass
Correlation between precipitation and
prairie grass height.
Earlier you were introduced to the
term “forbs”. In late spring
Grasslands have a diversity of them.
They’re not as dominant as grasses
but in this photograph you can
certainly see that they’re important.
Grasses are very productive. They support s great
diversity of primary consumers.
Several species of toads
inhabit grasslands to feed
on the bounty of grass
eating insects. This is the
Great Plains Toad
Grassland squirrel species
are numerous. There are
no trees for them to climb.
They’ve adapted by
burrowing. They’re called
ground squirrels. This is
This is the Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel. It has a great scientific name,
Spermophilus tridecimliniatus. Sperm = seed; philus = to love; tri = 3; deci =
10; lineatus = lines. Translation – “13 lined seed lover”
This species has invaded Ohio where grasses are cut low in big open spaces
like parks and golf courses. Some of you may have encountered it at Joyce
Park in Fairfield where it inhabits the low grassy soccer fields.
Winter conditions in the
Grasslands are far too harsh for
ground squirrels to remain
active. They are hibernators.
They have the ability to lower
their body temperature but
maintain it above freezing. Their
heart slows from 150 beats per
minute to perhaps five beats and
they draw one or two breaths per
minute. They will maintain this
lowered metabolic rate for 5 or 6
months until warm weather
They eat grass seeds all summer
to fatten up. This fat has to last
them through the winter.
Ground squirrels have several predators. This Badger’s long,
thick front claws and short, powerful front limbs allow it to dig
ground squirrels right out of their burrows.
He’s either being aggressive or smiling for the
Prairie Dogs are also ground
squirrels. Unlike other
ground squirrel species,
Prairie Dogs are social. They
live in colonies called Prairie
A few stand as sentinels while
the others graze on grass
seeds. When predators
approach, the sentinels
“bark” to warn the others.
The bark, hence the name
Cattle ranchers hate these
little rodents because they
dig burrows that their cattle
step into, breaking their legs.
To combat this, ranchers set
out poisoned seeds to kill off
entire Prairie Dog Towns.
This is a Black-footed Ferret. Their sole food source is Prairie Dogs. As
ranchers eliminated Prairie Dog towns en masse, the Black-footed Ferret’s
population declined dramatically. At one point there were only 21 of them
left. It is now a federally endangered species and although its gene pool
is limited, the species has made a recovery. Prairie Dog towns are now
protected as a means of protecting this little weasel.
Just because there are no trees, doesn’t mean there are no owls. These are
Burrowing Owls. They inhabit Short Grass Prairies where they can stand on
the edge of the Prairie Dog burrow they take over to watch for the small
rodents they eat. These owls do not (cannot) dig their own burrows. While
most owls are nocturnal, this species is diurnal.
Food chain in action. This GolFood chain in action. This Golden Eagle (much
larger than a Bald Eagle) is about to capture a Red Fox. The fox feeds on rodents like
ground squirrels. Short Grass Prairies are widely used for sheep ranching. This
bird of prey is not a friend of sheep ranchers. It frequently captures and carries off
den Eagle (much larger than a Bald Eagle) is about to capture a Red Fox. The fox
feeds on rodents like ground squirrels. Short Grass Prairies are widely used for
sheep ranching. This bird of prey is not a friend of sheep ranchers. It frequently
captures and carries off lambs.
Prairie birds are species that require wide open spaces. This is
a Meadow Lark. It lives in pastures in Ohio but if the pasture
undergoes succession and trees move in, the Meadow Larks
leave by the time the trees are knee high. This species is an
insectivore. It migrates to Central America during winter
when insects are unavailable in the North American
Along with Badgers, Coyotes are
important grassland animals
because they’re proficient diggers.
Their abandoned burrows are used
by many other species.
Prairies are riddled with shallow wetla Prairies are riddled with shallow
wetlands called pothole lakes. They are essential habitat for tens of
thousands of ducks. These are duck species that feed on the abundant
seeds of grasses and forbs.
Grasslands are home to many reptiles.
This is a Prairie Rattlesnake. Biologists
believe rattlesnakes evolved in the
grasslands where the dry, overlapping
skin on their tail that forms the rattle
gave them the ability to warn hooved
animals such as Grasslands are home to
many reptiles. This is a Prairie
Rattlesnake. Biologists believe
rattlesnakes evolved in the grasslands
where the dry, overlapping skin on their
tail that forms the rattle gave them the
ability to warn hooved animals such as
bison, of the snake’s presence.
Domestic cattle react the same way wild
cows (bison) react to the buzzing of a
rattlesnake’s rattle. Both stop in their
tracks, then move backwards away from
the source of the sound.
This snake species eats ground squirrels.
bison, of the snake’s presence.
Grasslands are very productive. On each continent there are large
grazers that help control the grass populations. In North America it’s
the Bison. In Africa Wildebeests and Zebras fill that niche. In Australia,
Kangaroos are the grazers. These animals are unrelated but have
evolved the tools to accomplish the same job. They are called ecological
This is a Jack Rabbit. It’s actually a hare,
not a rabbit. Rabbits give birth to blind,
naked, helpless babies. Female hares have
a longer pregnancy which allows the
embryos to develop further before birth.
Baby hares are born fully cloaked in fur,
their eyes and ears are open, and they have
a full set of teeth. They nurse from their
mother only for a couple of days to build
their immune system before setting off on
With few places to hide, the giant ears allow
Jack Rabbits to hear potential predators
and in the heat of the day, they work like
radiators to cool the hare’s blood.
Notice how well the color camouflages the
hare with the grasses. These are big. 10 to
12 pound is normal. Our local cottontail
rabbits might weigh 2 pounds.
Grassland ecology is maintained by fire. During summer, after the grass
leaves dry, lightning strikes set the plants ablaze. If these fires don’t
happen, the dead grasses from previous years for a dense mat. If this mat
becomes too thick and dense is becomes difficult for new grasses to grow up
through it. Likewise small animals get tangled in the mat of vegetation.
When fires burn the grass mat, the ashes return their nutrients to the soil.
Prairie fires burn fast. They’re not like forest fires. A few acres can burn in
a couple of minutes.
Birds obviously can fly away and larger mammals can move away from it.
Small mammals, reptiles, and other small mammals simply retreat into
their burrows. Since heat rises, no harm is done to those taking refuge
Plants cannot flee the fire. During the evolution, grassland plants had to
adapt to it.
Prairie plants are adapted to fire by having root systems that grow
deep into the soil. Roots remain alive even when the leaves dry up
and die or burn away. New leaves sprout from those roots to re-
establish the grassland vegetation.
Enormous agricultural corporations have purchased land that was
once native prairie and with their financial resources they use
machines to do the work that thousands of humans could do. The
North American Grasslands were acquired as the Louisiana Purchase.
In this photo, corn is being harvested. .
Grassland soils are thick and rich. The gross primary productivity of this biome is
very high compared to others.
In order to provide nutrients and minerals for such productive plants, the soil must
Unfortunately man learned about the soils’ productivity and recognized that
because it is so good for native prairie grasses, it is probably just as suitable for non-
native grasses. About 99% of North American Grasslands have been converted to
agriculture. Corn and wheat (both grasses) are farmed extensively where there
once were native prairies.
Lost with the prairies is much of the diverse plants and animals that inhabited