Biomes

 Larisa Dowling

Location

The Tundra is located at latitudes fifty-five to seventy degrees North, covering twenty percent of the Earth. All of the Earth's tundras are found in the Northern Hemisphere.  While there are similar areas in the Antarctic and Southern Hemisphere, the colder weather of these areas create a snowy, icey covering on the ground, and not a true Tundra. Actual tundras include Greenland, Russia, and Alaska.

Tundras 

Abiotic Factors

The tundra is cold year round. During the summer, which is only six to ten weeks long, the temperature is a bit warmer and the sun shines twenty-four hours a day. The sun hardly shines during winter months. Along with extreme cold there is harsh winds. The average temperature during this time is between negative twenty and negative thirty degrees Fahrenheit. There is also very littl eprecipitation in the Tundra. Only about six to ten inches falls each year of snow.The soil in the Tundra is frozen with permafrost within 100 centimeters below the surface. The freezing and thawing causes the soil to break up. The tundra is also one of teh largest carbon sinks.

Animals

Even though the biodiversity is small, (there are actually only fourty-eight different species of land mammles i this biome) the species that do live in the Tundra have large populations. These large groups include: shrews, hares, rodents, wolves, foxes, bears, deer, and caribou (also known as reindeer). There are also smaller groups of musk oxen, wolverines, arctic foxes, polar bears, and lemmings. Insects that inhabit the Tundra are no-see-ums, mosquitoes, black flies, and deer flies, all of which are usually around during the summertime. The Tundra also consists of migratory birds such as the harlequin duck, sandpipers, and plovers.

Plants

There is very little plantlife in the Tundra. The plants are mostly shrubs, lichens, mosses, sedges, and grasses. As a result of the permafrost, there is not enough room for trees to grow roots and therefore survive. The growing seasno is also very small. Since there is so little vegetation, the soil is low in nutrients. 

Human Impact

 Humans disrupt the Tundra by moving in and creating town, setting up oil rigs, and mining. The towns disrupt animals usual patterns and most are scared away from infrastructure or are shot if they come close. This contributes to animals such as polar bears starving and losing their natural habitats. Mining and drilling for oil taken over habitats and also contributes to pollution along with pesticide use against insects. This leads to plants dying and extreme erosion problems with the melting of permafrost. 

Location

The Taiga is the largest biome in the world, located below the Tundra, across the top of North America, Europe, and Asia.

Abiotic Factors

 The winter is the longest season for the Taiga, lasting six to seven months. The average temperature for this time is below freezing and is catergorized by intense cold, bitter winds, and snowfall. The autumn and winter time is so short it hardly exists. The summer months are warm, rainy, and humid, with the most precipitation all year. The soil in the Taiga also has permafrost along with bedrock underneath. As a result, water does not drain as well creating soggy marshes. 

Taiga

Animals

Compared to other regions, the Taiga does not have a lot of life. Mammals that make the Taiga their home include lynx, wolverines, bobcats, minks, ermine, snowshoe rabbits, red squirrles, voles, red deer, elk, moose, American black bears, bald eagles, gray wolves, grizzly bears, long-eared owls, red foxes, adn river otters. During the summer months, the Taiga is also occupied by millions of insects and migrating, insect-eating birds. Even still other birds who can rely on seeds or eat both stay all year such as crows, finshes, and sparrows.

Plants

There is also very little plants in the Taiga as most cannot survive the harsh weather. While there are some lichens and mosses, most of the plants here are coniferous trees such as pine, white spruce, hemlock, and douglas fir. This area is sometimes referred to as the Boreal Forest. Coniferous plants, also known as evergreens, do not lose thier needles during the winter months. Instead, the waxy needles give the tree protection from the freezing temperatures and from drying out. That along with the dark coloring of the needles allow the plants to photosynthesize quickly. There are often food shortages because of the small amount of plant life, however wildfires help thin the upper canopy of the trees to allow new plants to grow at ground level, giving animals plants that can be eaten.

Human Impact

Humans have contributed to deforestation and the disloccation of boundries in the Taiga biome. Manmade taiga regions have been created increasing the total area of the taiga. The effects of this incude a lower quality of life for those living there and a higher mortality rate. 

Location

The Grasslands Biome is located at the middle latitudes, usually in the interior of a continent. Grasslands are found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America.

Gasslands

Abiotic Factors

The climate of the grasslands is characterized by its precipitation and temperature. Grasslands can be found in two climate zones: moist continental, temperate climates, and dry subtropical climates. The continental climates' plant life is determined by temperature which can range from -40 degrees Fairenheit to 70 degrees Fairenheit. There are two seasons including the growing season when there is no frost so plants can grow, and the dormant season when it is too cold for anything to grow. The subtropical climate grasslands are found in the Southern Hemisohere. They are determined by how long the rainy season lasts there. The precipitation in both areas is important because there is just the right amount for grasses to grow and survive, but not enough for a lot of trees or whole forests to. As a result of the sporadic rainfalls, droughts prevent more plantlife, other than grasses, from growing. The soil is too thin and dry for many plants to grow as well. As most of this land is without protection, winds are not blocked.

Plants

Plantlife in the Grasslands also includes buffalo grass, sunflowers, crazy weed, asters, blazing stars, coneflowers, goldenroods, clover, and wild indigos.

Human Impact

Humans impact the grasslands by taking over the land. People have been moving into grasslands areas and using them for farming, building cities, and digging for oil. Another act of humans that hurts the wildlife is teh supresion of the natural wildfires. As a result of these factors, some grasslands are becoming scarce and the natural wildlife and biodiversity of these areas is becoming wiped out. An example of this is the American buffalo that was almost extinct due to settlers moving into the grasslands of North America. There are now efforts to rehibilitate thess areas and reintroduce species. In South America, the Pampas grasslands are also being severely effected by farming and livestock. It is one of the most endangered habitats on Earth.

Animals

Some examples of animal life that are present in the grasslands are coyotes, eagles, bobcats, gray wolves, wild turkey, fly catchers, Canadian geese, dung beetles, bison, and prairie chicken.

 

 

Abiotic Factors

Deciduous forests average fifty degrees Fahrenhiet and thirty to sixty inches of precipitation a year. This biome has four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Leaves change in autumn and fall of trees. 

Location

Deciduous forsests are located mainly in North America and Europe along with Asia and small parts of Australia and South America. Major deciduous forests locations include Russia, Japan, China, Chile, Paraguay, New Zealand, and Australia.

Deciduous Forests

Plants

Plants have adapted to growing facing the sun and taking nutrients from the ground. Major plants include American Beech, Carpet Moss, Common Lime, and many others. 

Human Impact

Deciduous have been impacted by humans by taking lands for farms and towns, deforestation, and poaching animals. This results in a loss of habitats for animals. Deforestation also leads to erosion.

Animals

Animals in deciduous forests hibernate in the winter. The trees provide shelter, food, and water for animals. They also use camoflague to blend in with their surrounding ground. Animals in deciduous forests are American blad eagel, American black bear, coyote, duckbill platypus, eastern chipmunk, european red squirrel, fat doormouse, least weasel, white-tail deer.

Location

Chaparral is located along the west coasts of North America and South America, Cape Town in Africa, western tip of Australia, and coastal Mediterannean.

 

 

Abiotic Factors

The Chaparral's lands can contain mountains, rocky hills, and flat plains. The climate is very hot and dry. The winters are mild and the summers are very hot. Yearlong temperatures usually range from 10 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius. As a result of the hot temperature. droughts and fires are common.

Chaparral

Animals

The animals that live in the Chaparral are used to grassy and desert areas and are adapted to the hot climate. Animals here include: coyotes, jack rabbits, mule deer, alligator lizards, horned toads, praying mantis, honey bees, and ladybugs.

Human Impact

Humans have impacted the chaparral by livestock, deforestation, and fires. In the past chaparral areas contained trees, but by cutting and fires, humans have destoryed the trees and created the current landscapes. Cut down trees are often used for fuel. This results in the loss of habitat to animals. Humans have also improved these areas by fixing destroyed water sources.

Plants

The plants in the Chaparral also have adapted to the climate. Plants here have small and hard leaves that hold moistures more. Examples of these plants include, poison oaks, scrub oaks, and Yuca Wipple.

Location

There are two types of deserts. The first, Hot and Dry deserts are located near the tropics of cancer and capricorn. The second type, cold deserts are foound near the arctic.

Climate

Hot and dry deserts usually vary between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius but can be as extreme as 43.5 to 49 degrees Celsius average per year in some areas.These deserts ahve very little rainfall or else rain falls in concentrated amounts in a short period of time between long periods of time without any rain. There is less than 15 centimeters of rainfall per year. Cold deserts have winters that can range from -2 to 4 degrees Celsius and winters that can range from 21 to 26 degrees Celsius. Cold deserts have 21 to 26 centimeters of precipitation a year in the form of snow in winter and rain in spring.

Desert

Animals

Neither type of desert has a lot of animal or plant life. Most organisms cannot survive the hot sun and heat of hot and dry deserts. The animlas that do live in this desert are mostly ones who burrow underground and only come out at night when it is cooler out. These animals include carnivores, insects, arachnids, reptiles nad birds such as borrowers, mourning wheatears, and horned vipers. The animals in the cold deserts also burrow but for warmth. Some of these animlas are antelopes, ground squirrels, jack rabbits, and kangaroo rats.

Human Impact

Humans have impacted the desert by building, agriculture, and tourism. The expansion of cities have been encroaching on desert lands. The addition of military bases in the desert has also made an impact. The use of the desert for agricultural purposes such as farming and ranching have also been disruptive. Filling the area with livestock has pushed away native animals. Humans have also taken nonnative crops and planted tem in the desert. Due to wells and agriculture, the water underground at the desert is being used up and decreasing to very low levels. Tourism has also taken many natural habitats. The use of off road vehicles is also destructive in the desert by stirring up sand and ruining the shallow roots of plants.

Plants

Most plants cannot survive the desert climates. Hot dry deserts have loow down plants such as ground hugging shrubs and short woody trees including the turpentine bush, pricly pears, and brittle bush. These plants have leaves packed with nutrients and have other adaptations. Plants here are able to store water for long priods of time and are also able to last in the hot tempertaure. In the cold deserts, the temperature is not warm enough for plants to grow. Only a few grasses, mosses, and lichens, survive here. The plants that do live in the cold desert are often deciduous and contain spiny leaves.

Altitude

As a result of the high altitude, there is very little Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a gas needed for plants to photosynthesize. There is also little atmosphere to protect organisms from UV rays.

Location

The Alpine Biome is found in all of the mountain regions of the world at an altitude of ten thousand or more. While mountains can go through many biomes with increased altitude, the Alpine starts just belwo the snow line.

Alpine

Climate

Alpines have snow, high winds, and ice. The Alpine only has two seasons, summer and winter. Summer lasts from June to September and has tempertaures between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. Winter occurs from October to May with average temperatures just below freezing. The temperature can go from warm to freezing in just one day.

Animals

All animals of the Alipes are either warm blooded animals or insects. The animals all have adapted to the harsh climate as well. Behavior changes include hibernating and migrating. Physical adaptations to survive is insulating bodies through layers of fat and having shorter legs, tails, and ears to reduce heat loss. These mountain animals also have larger lungs and more blood cells and hemoglobin to survive the increased pressure and lack of oxygen at this higher altitude. Alpine animals include alpacas, llamas, mountain goats, chinchillas, andean condors, snow leopards, vicunas, and yaks.

Plants

There are only about 200 species of plants that live in the Alpine Biome. This is a result of the low levels of Carbon dioxide and the harsh climate. Alpines do have some small, perennial plants that grow and reproduce slowly. These are able to survive by being low to the ground where they are protected by the weather. Taller plants would be blown over of frozen. Also as a result of the cold, plants do not decompose well, leading to bad soil conditions. However the plants in the Alpines have adapted to  this and are used to the rocky soils. Some examples of plants that live in the Alpine biome include alpine phacelia, bear grass, and bristlecone pine.

Human Impact

Human impact in the Alpines includes endangerment of animals and pollution. Animals have declined in populations because of hunting and pesticide use. One example of this is the chinchilla that is on the endangered species list after millions were killed for their furs. Chinchillas help the ecosystem by distrubuting seeds. Yaks, snow leopards, and vicunas are all on the endangered species list from hunting as well. Condors and amountian goats are also trying to be protected as a result of the decline of their populations though they are not yet on the endangered species list. Other animals such as the llama are plentiful still, but only in captivity, no longer found in the wild after being hunted for their fur as well.

 

Mankind also hurts the alpines by pollution resulting from an increased popularity in mountain climbing. Those climbing extreme mountain ranges such as the Himalayans leave any used supplies on the mountain as it would be too hard to carry it back down. People also die while trying to climb the mountains and their bodies are left there.

 

Another problem is the harvesting of resources from these areas. Cutting down trees hurts the ecosystems and gets rid of animals' habitats. Mining for precious metals in alpine regions also destroys the soil, thus harming the plants in this region.

Location

The Savanna is located between the desert and rainforest biomes on either side of the equator, at the edges of the rainforest. It is sometimes considered the tropical grasslands. Savannas are found in East Africa, Austrlia, and South America.

Climate

The savanna has a warm temperature all year round. There are two seasons however, based off precipitation. A dry winter with about four inches of rainfall and a wet summer, which includes monsoon season in Africa, with fifteen to twenty-five inches of rain. The summer is very hot and humid. The winter becomes a bit cooler, but still hot.

Savanna

Plants

The plants of the savanna have adapted to survive in the area and provide enough food for all animals living there. Africa is mainly populated with acacias while Australia is filled with Eucalyptus trees. The grasses in these areas are bitter so only certain animals eat it. They also grow from the ground up so grazing animals do not hurt the plant. This way dietary needs are split up and there is less compititions between species for food. Plants in this biome are able to survive being in long periods of standing water as well as in long periods of drought. To survive in these periods of little to no rainfall, the plants have long roots to reach far underground water, thick bark to prevent against fires, trunks that store water, and leaves that fall in winter all to conserve water and protect against the heat. 

Right: Eucalyptus Tree, Left: Acacia Tree

Human Impact

Huge areas of the savanna are lost every year do to settlers having their domesticated animals graze on the same land without moving around. This turns the land into a desert which causes fires and further destroys the land. Another problem is deforestation to use the wood as fuel. Poaching of animals is also a large problem for some endangered species living in the savanna. Inavasive species have also been introduced in some parts and farming technique have also caused species to become endangered. However, there are acts to help conserve these areas.

Animals

Animals of the savanna have adaptations to survive as well. Many have long legs or wings that allow them to migrate. Others are burrow underground to escape the heat and to raise their young. Animals in the East African Savanna include lions, zebras, elephants, and giraffes. The South american savanna has few animals only native this region, but mostly animals form other nearby biomes. Animals here have even adapted to be semi aquatic such as marsh deers and capybaras to survive the wet seasons. The Australian savanna has les biodiversity but includes kangaroos and koalas.

Locations

 Rainforests are all located near the equator. Rainforests cover a small portion of the Earth. They are found in Central America, Africa, and Indo-Malaysia.

Abiotic Factors

Rinforests are tropical and wet. The temperature stays between sixty-eight and ninety-three degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is also usually high and there is over one hundred inches of rainfall each year. There is a brief period without rain though in monsoon areas. 

Rainforests

Animals

This is the largest region of biodiversity.

Many animals have adaptations to live or move in trees. Examples of this is a monkey tail. Animals also have bright colors and patterns, make loud noises and eat off of fruit in this biome. There is a large group of insects in this biome as well. Some animals that live in the rainforest are tigers, chimpanzees, king cobras, proboscis monkies, and toucans. 

Plants

Plants have adaptations that help them survive the hot, wet climate. The shape of the leaves of these plants help to get rid of water quickly so the leaves do not break off. Examples of this is drip tips, grooves, and oily coatings. Lower level plants have large leaves to absorb as much sunlight as possible. Some plants even grow on other plants that are higher off the ground to get more sunlight. As a result of the great biodiversity in the rainforests, there are no dominant plants. Examples of plants that grow in this biome include bamboo, bougainvillea, Mangrooves, and coconut trees. 

Human Impact

 Extreme logging endangers the plants and animals that live in rainforests by destroying their habitats. Displaced species will either die off or increase activity with humans which is also harmful to them. The destruction of rainforests create an instability within the ecosystem and disrupt the fragile relationships there. 

Bibliography

 

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