A Report On Tundra Biome

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The subject of this essay is Tundra biome. Tundra is very wet and cold but during the summer it gets beautiful and sunny with plants blooming. It also has so many unique and amazing animals that live there and this essay also aims to find out more about what they do to survive and how they adapt to the climate.

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The tundra is very different than other biomes in climate. During the winter it is dark, windswept land where not many plants live and wildlife is rarely seen. In the summer the land is drenched in sunlight and animals run around and plants grow. The Tundra regions are found in the northern and southern hemispheres between the ice-covered poles and the taiga or coniferous forests. In the north, this biome stretches across northern Canada and Alaska, Siberia, and northern Scandinavia, on or close to the Arctic Circle. There are two types of tundras, the alpine and the arctic Tundra. The arctic tundra is the part around the North Pole. The alpine tundra is found above the tree line of tall, cold mountains. The Tundra is the coldest and harshest biome of them all and can get as low as -58 (F) during the winter and 37-54 (F) during the summer. Some unusual features of the tundra landscape occur when large amounts of water freeze under its surface, then a huge blister-like thing pushes up on the land making a circular or oval hill. The tundra biome is shrinking in size every day because the permafrost is melting. Because the Tundra has such harsh weather conditions this means that most of the plants only grow a few inches so the wind does not harm them. For the animals, most animals have to adapt and most of them have fur to keep them warm.

Polar bears are the largest mammal that lives in the tundra. Polar bears are white, stocky, with a long neck, relatively small head, short, rounded ears, and a short tail. The scientific name that is used for a polar bear is Ursus maritimus. It lives in the arctic part of the tundra. The polar bear is adapted to its environment by having webbed feet, a layer of fat skin, and white fur that blends very well into the environment around it. It also helps them dry faster because of the fur, they also have black skin to absorbs the sunshine that is coming down on them. Polar bears have very big claws and teeth to be able to rip apart their food if they need to. Polar bears tend to eat mainly seals but they can eat harp, hooded seals, beluga whales, young walruses, and narwhales.

The arctic fox is dark gray to brown to bluish-brown in the summer. In the winter, its fur is white or creamy white. It has a long bushy tail, a short nose, and small curled back ears. The scientific name for the Arctic Fox is Vulpes lagopus. The artic fox lives everywhere in the tundra. The artic fox has several adaptations in order for it to survive. The artic fox’s body is round which means a compacted body minimizing exposure to the cold air. Their muzzle, ears, and legs are very short which means that they conserve heat. The Arctic fox also has a thick fur on their paws so they are able to walk on snow and ice. Their fur is also white so they have the perfect camouflage for the white snow. The artic fox does not really eat anything very specific, they like to eat any small animal that they can find.

The reindeer has clove-brown with a white neck, rump and feet and often have a white flank stripe. The scientific name for it is Ranaifer tardis. The reindeer lives in the northern tree line in the tundra, also found on many arctic islands. The reindeer’s adaptations are key for its survival because their hooves have a layer of fur on their hooves to make sure that they do not slip on ice. Their hooves also work very well as paddles when they are trying to swim across a river or lake. Their sharp hooves are also used as shovels to dig into the snow to find their food. Reindeers eat mostly lichens in the winter but they also eat moss, leaves, willows, and birches.

The Arctic hare is covered with thick, white fur during the winter and bluish-grey fur during the spring and summer. Their tail is white-colored all year round. The scientific name for the arctic Hare is Lepue arcticus. The arctic hare lives mainly above the Northern tree line in the arctic tundra. The arctic hare coat grows longer, and thicker for the winter. They have a short thick undercoat protected by a longer topcoat. The white fur makes the hare difficult to be spotted in the snow. It has small ears which is less body heat than larger ears. The arctic hare eats weedy plants, mosses, berries, leaves, roots, bark, and lichens

The snowy owl is colored for camouflage to sneak up on its prey. The scientific name for the snowy owl is Bube scandiacus. Snowy owl’s nest in the arctic tundra in the Northwest region. The snowy owl is very well adapted to surviving and thriving in the cold habitat. They are quite round-bodied, which helps them maintain their body heat and they have very thick plumage. The snowy owl eats rabbits, birds, fish but most of all they eat rodents that are called lemming.

Coniferous trees are located in the tundra where they thrive. The scientific name of the Coniferous tree is Pinophyta. Coniferous trees are important for the environment generally because they are tough plants that tolerate sun, drought, cold and a wide range of soil conditions so many species are suitable for erosion control, with the roots holding soil in place and layers of pine needles helping to soften the impact of falling rain. Coniferous trees have thick bark to protect against the cold. They are cone-shaped, with flexible branches which help them to cope with heavy snowfall. Pine cones protect the seeds during the harsh winter. The dense forest creates warmth during the harsh winter.

The scientific name for the Arctic willow is Salix article. The arctic willow is a tiny creeping willow. It is adapted to survive in harsh arctic and subarctic environments, and has a circumpolar distribution around the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Willow is a food source for several arctic animals. To protect itself against the cold weather, the Arctic willow has adapted by growing long fuzzy hairs and growing close to the ground. Such adaptations protect the plants from winds. The arctic willow is a food source for several arctic animals. It is also the primary host plant and a food source for the arctic woolly bear moth.

The scientific name for the reindeer lichen is Cladonia rainfernia. Reindeer lichen can form low, bushy clumps, roundish, cauliflower-like heads or dense mats on the ground. Reindeer lichen does not have any roots. It has the ability to absorb moisture and nutrients from the air through cells on its surface. However, this adaptation makes reindeer moss very susceptible to pollutants in the environment. Reindeer lichens provide important ground cover in northern woodlands. Lichens are the principal winter food of many caribou, reindeer, and oxen. Although hoofed mammals can survive for several months on a lichen diet, they usually lose bodyweight because of protein deficiency.

The scientific name for cotton grass is Eiophorum angustifolium. Eriophorum is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cyperaceae, the sedge family. They are found throughout the arctic, subarctic and temperate portions of the Northern Hemisphere in acid bog habitats, being particularly abundant in Arctic tundra regions. The ability to grow under a layer of snow, to carry out photosynthesis in extremely cold temperatures, and for flowering plants, to produce flowers quickly once summer begins. A small leaf structure is another physical adaptation that helps plants survive.

The scientific name for Bog Labrador tea is Rhododendron grounlondicum. The Bog Labrador tea can reach up to three feet tall and can often have multiple stems. Its alternate evergreen leaves are oval or oblong shaped. Bog Labrador tea has white five-parted flowers on finely hairy stalks 1to 2 centimeters long. The plant has adapted to be able to achieve photosynthesis in the harsh climate. In the areas of the tundra, it grows straight up and in the colder areas, it grows almost carpet-like, closer to the ground. The plants keep the dead leaves that die for extra warmth.

The scientific name for the arctic poppy is Papover radicatumn. The arctic poppy is extremely tough, but its flower petals are delicate. It is yellow and can grow up to 25cm in height. The whole plant is covered with black hairs. The arctic poppy is a heliotrope meaning it turns its face to follow the sun. An adaptation for this plant is it moving to where the sun is so it could get heat from the sun. The poppy adapted to growing on rocks and know it adapted so much that the rock allows the roots of the poppy to be moist.

Why this biome is so important is because the freezing decaying plant matter in permafrost soil every winter, tundra acts as a “carbon sink” which removes and stores greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Humans do not really drill for oil or farm on it because of the harsh weather however humans do impact it greatly. Global warming is the biggest issue for the tundra because it will continue to have rising temperatures that will melt glaciers and permafrost, flood the surrounding areas and kill the delicate plant species. If we do not try and stop greenhouse gasses we will kill thousands of plants, and animals. The tundra has now become the most fragile biome because of what we are doing to it. So it’s now or never, we have to change the way we live. 

16 August 2021

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