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Elaine Lai

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of BIOMES

Elaine Lai
A biome is a large geographical area of distinctive plant and animal groups, which are adapted to that particular environment. The climate and geography of a region determines what type of biome can exist in that region.
Native Plant Species
Native Animal Species
Invasive Species
Canada Goose
Latitudes 55° to 70° North
Covers about 20% of the Earth's surface, circumnavigating the North pole
Almost all tundras are located in the Northern Hemisphere
Native Plant Species
Black Spruce
Genus: Picea
Species: mariana
Native Animal Species
American Black Bear
Genus: Ursus
Species: americanus
Invasive Species
American Beaver (Castor canadensis )
Arctic Moss
Genus: Calliergon
Species: Giganteum
Most unique thing: it grows in freshwater arctic lakes and in fens.
aquatic plant that grows on the bottom of tundra lake beds and in bogs and fens
"the slowest growing longest living freshwater macrophyte ever recorded" (Amazing Arctic Moss.)
fairly common (It is one of about 2000 plant species on the tundra, most of which are mosses and lichens.)
Genus: Arctostaphylos
Species: uva-ursi
It is a low growing evergreen, which allows it to survive the wind and cold
Bearberry is a very useful plant. All parts of it can be used in some way.
commonly found in dry, non-nutrient soils such as sand, soils on rock outcrops and shallow soils.

Common Names: Arctic Fox, Polar Fox, White Fox
Genus: Lagopus
Species: alopex
It makes its home in small burrows in frost-free ground, often in low mounds, or in rock piles
Because the Arctic fox is a scavenger, it can usually find food to eat.
It has adapted a stealthy movement due to its predatory nature.
It is a solitary animal and omnivore
It has adapted to its environment by growing long fur that changes color with the season for camouflage.
Grizzly Bear
Genus: Ursus
Species: arctos horribilis
Besides having a thick, shaggy coat of hair, they have layers of fat to insulate them.
In the winter, it doesn't go into full hibernation, and will occasionally come out of its den. It doesn't eat during this time but lives off stored body-fat until spring.
It is a solitary animal, because it doesn't need to form protective packs due to its lack of natural enemies.
It has an amazingly wide-ranged diet
Experiments have shown that in some regions, the feces of the Canada goose contains Fecal Coliform Bacteria, which may contribute to pollution of water systems. This is due to large amounts of their fecal deposits in the water (Aldersisio & Deluca, 1999).
Austrian pine
(Pinus spp.)
At least 19 Pinus species can be considered invasive (Richardson, 1998a). The main impacts of invasive pines result from the increased abundance of trees in habitats where they were previously absent or less common (Richardson, 1998).
They can cause major impacts to catchment hydrology by reducing water flows, which has effects both for the aquatic biota, and on water supplies for human populations.
Large areas can be quickly colonized by them as a result of one significant dispersal event, such as strong winds
Average Yearly Precipitation
The tundra is an unusually cold and dry climate
Precipitation totals 6-10 inches of rain a year, which includes melted snow.
This is almost as little as the world's driest deserts.
Coupled with strong and drying winds, the tundra is an extreme weather biome.
The tundra seems like a wet and soggy place because the precipitation that falls evaporates slowly, and because of the poor drainage caused by the permafrost.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
The short summer lasts only 6 to 10 weeks and it never gets any warmer than 45 or 50° F.
Winter temperatures don't reach above 20° F and average -20° to -30°F.
Average annual temperatures are -70°F (-56°C).
Primary Soil Type
Located at latitudes 55° to 70° North, the tundra is a vast and treeless land which covers about 20% of the Earth's surface, circumnavigating the North pole.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
Tundra comes from the Finnish word "tunturia", which means a barren land. The ground is permanently frozen 10 inches to 3 feet (25 to 100 cm) down so that trees can't grow there. The bare and sometimes rocky ground can only support low growing plants like mosses, heaths, and lichen.
The elevation varies, but the artic tundra ranges from 300 to 11,079 feet in elevation.
More people moving to the tundra to work in the mines and oil rigs have created towns and more roads. Some animals' migration and feeding patterns have been disrupted by these obstacles. When they try to pass through a town they are often scared away or shot. As a resut, many polar bears have starved and food chains have been disrupted. For example, the Alaskan oil pipeline was built across a caribou migration route. Also, pesticides have been used to control the hordes of insects. Thousands of migrating birds come to the tundra because of the abundant insects. Through the food chain the pesticides reach many of the animals that live on the tundra.
In order to thrive in this climate, humans have adapted by creating towns and building roads. To make a living, they built and worked in oil mines.
Near the top of the world, just below the tundra biome
The taiga is the largest biome
Located between 50 degrees latitude north and the Arctic circle
It stretches over Eurasia and North America.
The Black Spruce is a tall tree that has pinecones.
It enjoys colder climates in the northern part of the world as well as poorly drained soil.
It is able to survive in the colder climates because of its layered twigs, waxy pine needles, and rough bark. These survival skills protect the Black Spruce from the cold and predators.
White Spruce
Genus: Picea
Species: glauca
Spruce trees grow tall and most are shaped like pyramids.
It is an evergreen color but specific types of spruces are named for the color of their bark and foliage.
The needle-like leaves attached to the common spruce trees are used to hold in moisture.
Approximately forty different types of spruce trees are native to the Northern Hemisphere.
The males do not help raise the cubs, but leave to mate again like most other bear species. The Mother bear can be quite territorial if it involves her cubs.
The black bear's coat is well adapted to the cold winters due to its many layers of shaggy fur.
Its claws are also very adapted to its environment, in that they are just the right length to climb the forest trees.
This bear also hibernates in the winter to avoid having to find food.
Snowshoe Rabbit
Genus: Lepus
Species: americanus
Their feet have fur on the bottom, which protects them from the cold and gives them traction in the snow.
Since it can run up to 27 mph and jump 10 feet in one ho, it is an expert at escaping predators like the wolf, bobcat, and lynx.
Since they are herbivores, they are mainly prey for other animales.
The damming activity of the beaver can cause flooding, which can damage forests. They also have the ability to quickly cut down large numbers of trees. Beavers dam the river in which their lodge occurs, which leads to extensive flooding. Dams act as barriers to migration in the stream and also form areas of impounded water behind them, increasing water temperature (Alexander, 1998).
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
It can form dense stands because it has no natural predators and therefore compete with native plants for light, nutrients, moisture and soil. Wildlife species dependent on these native plants for food are left without these valuable resources (PCA, 2006). The presence of garlic mustard interferes with rare native butterflies.
Average Yearly Precipitation
The taiga climate has an average annual rainfall of 12 - 33 inches (30 - 84 cm). Most of it falls in the summer as rain.
Low evaporation rates make this a humid climate.
Winter, with it's freezing cold temperatures, lasts for six to seven months.
Summer is a rainy, hot and short season in the taiga.
Fall is the shortest season for taiga.
Spring brings flowers, the frozen ponds melt, and the animals come out from hibernation.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
Winter's LOWEST temperature is -65°F.
Winter's HIGHEST temperature is 30° F.
Summer's LOWEST temperature is 30° F.
Summer's HIGHEST temperature is 70° F.
Primary Soil Type
The latitude range is approximately between 50°-60° North latitude.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
The soil of the taiga is similar to that of the tundra's. Because of the harsh temperatures during the winter, some parts of the taiga have permafrost, or a permanently frozen layer of soil.
Other areas have a layer of hard rock near the surface. Like permafrost, this prevents water from escaping the surface and, therefore, leaves the soil soggy.
Since coniferous trees are the dominant plant in the taiga, the soil is mainly composed of needles and is very acidic.
The elevation ranges from 300 to 700 meters above sea level.
The temperature range is -65° F to 70°F. For half of the year, the average temperature is below freezing.
People have adapted to the environment by building sturdy buildings for homes, industry, and schools. They cut down trees for lumber projects, as well as paper, cardboard, and other supplies. They make a living by exporting wood and paper products, which is one of the most economically important industries in Canada.

The major industries of the taiga include logging, mining, and hydroelectric development. These activities have had negative impacts.
Logging in the taiga is done by clear-cutting, using heavy machinery to remove the forest.
Hydroelectric development may seem beneficial, but it has damaged the taiga by changing stream habitats and flow patterns, flooding large areas, and changing the landscape.
Mining is may result in pollution of surrounding soils and water, specifically acid rain.
Warming temperatures pushes native species out and attracts non-native species.

Temperate grasslands are found mainly outside of the tropics, in temperate regions.
Tropical grasslands, or savannas, lie north and south of tropical rain forests that are on the equator.
The Steppes of Eurasia are found mostly in mostly found in the USA, Mongolia, Siberia, Tibet and China
The prairies form a "triangular area from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba down through the Great Plains to southern Texas and Mexico, and from western Indiana westward to the Rocky Mountains. They cover about 1.4 million square miles." (blueplanetbiomes.org)
The pampas is located just below Buenos Aires, between 34° and 30° south latitude, and 57° and 63° west latitude.
Native Plant Species
Native Animal Species
Invasive Species
Average Yearly Precipitation
In temperate grasslands the average rainfall per year ranges from 10-30 inches.
In tropical and sub-tropical grasslands the average rainfall per year ranges from 25-60 inches per year.
The amount of rainfall isimportant in determining which areas are grasslands, because it's hard for trees to compete with grasses in places where the uppers layers of soil are moist but deeper layer of soil are dry.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
In the winter, grassland temperatures can be as low as -40° F
In the summer it can be as high 70° F.
There are two real seasons: a growing season and a dormant season.
The growing season is when there is no frost and plants can grow (which lasts from 100 to 175 days).
During the dormant season, nothing can grow because it's too cold.
Primary Soil Type
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
It is a typical steppe plant, and it doesn't grow in many places in Europe.
Because of loss of habitat and its collection for medical purposes, it is becoming scarce there.
This is special because it is a potent heart medicine. It contains Glycoside Adonidin, which is used for heart and kidney problems.
Because they can't be cultivated, they are collected from the wild.
Sweet Vernal
Genus: Adonis
Species: vernalis

Buffalo Grass
Genus: Buchloe
Species: dactyloides
Parts Used: for turf and feed purposes
It is very drought resistant. In dry seasons it gets brown, and stops growing, and goes dormant. It is also heat and cold resistant.
Buffalo grass is one of the most important grasses on the short grass prairies. Livestock, white-tailed deer, buffalo, pronghorns, jackrabbits and prairie dogs use it as forage.
Buffalo grass has adapted to grassland fires and sometimes grows better after a fire. The actual growing parts of buffalo grass are protected from fire by soil.
Corsac foxes live in burrows on steppes and semi-deserts, and are originally from the steppes of Mongolia.
They are omnivorous and have some competition for food, but they're good hunters.
Males will fight with one another during the breeding season but then remain with the family pack.
They live for 3 to 12 years. They are more social than other foxes
They can hear, smell and see very well, but they cannot run fast.
It is South America's most common cat
Its stripes and spots help it camouflage.
It has large, rounded ears which help it to hear its prey in the thick stands of grass.
It has razor sharp claws which help it to climb, and to stab and hold on to its prey. It is a good climber and swimmer.
The only known predators of the Geoffroy's cat are humans, who often killed the cat for its fur to make fur coats.
Klu (Acacia farnesiana)
Acacia farnesiana can spread readily and grow quickly, (Land Protection, 2001).
As it often forms thorny thickets along some watercourses in Australia, it can be a considerable nuisance during mustering and can also hinder access to water (Land Protection, 2001).
While access is less of a problem in areas where cattle graze on the mimosa, they readily eat the nutritious seed pods assisting its spread.
Cattle (Bos taurus)
Feral cattle can severely modify native vegetation by browsing, crushing and trampling (Aston 1912; Wodzicki 1950).
In native forests they invariably lay bare the forest floor and eliminate nearly all young trees, shrubs and ferns, until only a few unpalatable or browse-resistant species remain.
The grasslands have a very large latitude range, spanning from 55° N to 30° S. This is because there are many different types of grasslands throughout the world. Grasslands are on every continent except for Antarctica.
As dead plants, animals, and animal droppings decay into the ground and mix with rocks they make a rich, dark soil called humus. This soil is essential for plants and grasses to grow in grasslands.
Grass roots are also an essential part of the soil, because they prevent the soil from being eroded by wind and rain.
The topography is main flat and rolling
Altitude varies from near sea level to 2,850 m above sea level, depending on the location.
Humans have adapted to this biome and its environment by suppressing wildfires. In order to making a living, people have used the vast grasslands for agriculture.

A true natural grassland is becoming harder and harder to find because people are taking them over.
The Steppe biome is becoming endangered, just like the animals.
Today very little of the original prairies survive, only one to two percent.
The genetic and biological diversity of the plants are disappearing. The herds of thousands of buffalo were wiped out.
Most of the Pampas has been cultivated and turned into croplands. Fertilizers and overgrazing are a serious threat to the Pampas.
Temperate deciduous forests are located primarily in the eastern half of the United States, Canada, Europe, parts of Russia, China, and Japan.
Native Plant Species
The American Beech tree grows in the southern and eastern parts of the United States.
The American Beech tree has a shallow root system and likes bottom land, and upland soil.
It can be used for many things: cabinets, benches, stools and tables, paper
Its nuts can be harvested and sold as food
Native Animal Species
Invasive Species
Average Yearly Precipitation
The average rainfall is 30 to 60 inches a year.
Humidity in these forests is high, from 60% to 80%.
The growing season is about six months.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
The average annual temperature in a deciduous forest is 50° F.
The deciduous forest has four distinct seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
In the autumn the leaves change color. During the winter months the trees lose their leaves.
Primary Soil Type
Most deciduous forests are found in Eastern North America somewhere around 35-48° N, and Europe and Asia around 45-60° N.
There are some deciduous regions in the southern hemisphere but their plants and animals are different from those of the northern deciduous forests.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
American Bald Eagle
Genus: Haliaeetus
Species: leucocephalus
Like many raptors it has an unusual trait that is called "reversed sexual dimorphism".
It is covered in large coarse feathers and has a wing span of up to 8 feet.
Its adaptations include: keen eyesight, bony overhang above their eyes, bumbs on their feet, curved beak
It is a bird of prey and eats mostly fish
It helps the environment by eating a variety fish and other animals.
For many years the Bald Eagle was close to extinction due to DDT.
American Beech
Genus: Fagus
Species: grandifolia
White Oak
Genus: Quercus
Species: alba
The Oak tree's seeds are commonly known as acorns
The Oak tree grows in many different habitats.
The white Oak tree is valued for its timber products and heavy construction.
The white Oak is the most common tree species of the Eastern United States
Coyotes can live almost anywhere.
They eat mainly small mammals
They will stay together only as long as they need each other.
Coyotes are very intelligent. They have a terrific sense of smell which they use to locate prey.
Their hearing is very sharp too. They use their ears to tell other coyotes how they feel and what rank they are in the pack.
When coyotes move into a place, they easily upset the balance of that place. They can kill the population of small mammals in a few years.
Bitter Bush (Chromolaena odorata)
"Chromolaena odorata forms dense stands preventing establishment of other species, both due to competition and allelopathic effects."
" When dry, C. odorata becomes a fuel which may promote wild bushfires (PIER 2003). "
"C. odorata may also cause skin complaints and asthma in allergy-prone people. It is a major weed in plantations and croplands"
Goats alter plant communities and forest structures and threaten vulnerable plant species
"The flow-down effect of these outcomes includes increased soil erosion and the reduction of native fauna that share a similar environmental niche."
They are destructive and cause a huge loss in native vegetation due to their grazing habits. This leads to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss
The soils found in deciduous forests are some of the most fertile in the world and are rich in organic material.
They are deep, well drained and contain clay, sand, silt and ample organic matter.
The two predominant soils found in deciduous forests are Alfisols and Ultisols
Alfisols have horizons with varying amounts of clay, sand, silt and organic matter depending on how old the soil is and what it formed on
Ultisols are less fertile, acidic and leached by heavy rain

The first zone of the decidious forest is the Tree Stratum zone, which ranges from 60 to 100 feet in height.
Humans have adapted by cutting down the trees to make room for civilization.
Many areas in deciduous forests have been under continuous cultivation since the Neolithic.
Naturally occurring forest fires keep forests healthy. As human development pushes further and further into wildlife habitat, people interfere with this natural cycle.
Homes need to be protected from fire, so measures are taken to prevent fires. When a fire does occur, it is extinguished immediately.
Some plant species depend on fire as a seed release mechanism. Without fire the renewal of the forest does not take place.

Air pollutants from fuels we burn are destroying forests, killing wildlife, and poisoning the soil.
Millions of acres of forests have suffered from the effects of acid rain. It damages their leaves and causes production of smaller fruit and less seeds used in reproduction.
Clearing land for use in agriculture and clear cut logging have destroyed and continue to destroy millions of trees in the deciduous forest
Mining involves stripping off the forest to get to the rock underneath. The acres and acres of land used in mining are damaged to the extent that forests do not regrow on the damaged and depleted soils.
A long history of human occupation of these wooded regions has reduced many forests to tiny remnants.
Native Plant Species
King Protea
Genus: Protea
Species: cynaroides
Native Animal Species
Grey Fox
Genus: Urocyon
Species: cinereoargenteus
Invasive Species
Average Yearly Precipitation
This biome only gets about 10-17 inches of rain all year, and most of it comes in the winter.
Because of the long period of dryness in the summer, only plants with hard leaves can survive.
Many leaves are also hairy so they can collect the moisture out of the air and use it.
There are many fires in the chaparral because of the heat and dryness.
Some plants have adapted even to the fires. Their seeds will lie dormant until there is a fire, then sprout.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
The temperature range is between 30° and 100° F.
During the summer it is very hot and dry.
The temperature is usually mild but it can get very hot or nearly freezing.
"It is classified under Köppen's climate classification system as Cs. The C stands for warm temperature climates, where the average temperature of the coldest months is 64° F. The s stands for a dry season in the summer of the hemisphere it is in."
Primary Soil Type
Chaparrals can be found from 30° to 50° N and 30° to 40° S latitudes.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
"The chaparral biome is found in a little bit of most of the continents:
the west coast of the United States
the west coast of South America
the Cape Town area of South Africa
the western tip of Australia
the coastal areas of the Mediterranean
It is actually the national flower of South Africa.
They can be found all over the world where the atmosphere is dry and the soil has good drainage.
It can take in moisture through its leaves. This works well where it grows, because there isn't much precipitation.
King protea are valued for their decorative qualities.
Olive Tree
Genus: Olea
Species: europaea
The olive tree is the oldest known cultivated tree in history.
"Historically it played a very important role in areas such as religion, diet, and art. It is also known as the symbol for peace, wisdom and victory. "
It needs just the right climate to grow, hot in the summer, a slight winter chill, and plenty of sun.
To be able to survive in a hot and dry climate, they have small leaves with a protective coating and hairy undersides that slows transpiration.
The grey fox has short legs that are very powerful. These legs are designed to give the fox tremendous ability to balance itself while it climbs.
Strong, hooked claws allow them to pull themselves up tree trunks and branches.
The color of its fur hides it from predators.
The grey fox is the only member of the dog family that can climb trees. It will climb a tree to escape its enemies.
Grey foxes are crepuscular animals meaning that they can be out at any time during the day
The grey fox is a solitary hunter and omnivore
Genus: Puma
Species: concolor
The puma is incredibly adaptable toits environment. It will kill and eat any small to medium sized animal.
The geographic range of the puma is very large.
The puma is all one color. It can vary from silver gray, to tawny to reddish.
They have large feet and their hind legs that are longer than most of the cat family
A puma can't roar like a lion or jaguar.
Night Cestrum (Cestrum nocturnum)
Cestrum nocturnum is known to aggressively colonise disturbed areas (Meyer, 2004) and is capable of forming dense impenetrable thickets in the undergrowth of some forest systems (Meyer, 2004; Oppeheimer, 2007; Williams, 2008) possibly displacing other plant species and altering natural successional processes.
Red deer
(Cervus elaphus )
In South America there is now evidence of extensive dietary overlap of red deer (Cervus elaphus) with an endangered native heumel (see Hippocamelus bisulcus in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) and likely with guanaco, another native ungulate.
Red deer have reached high densities locally with measureable effects on the flora (Flueck, W., pers. Comm., 2003).
Deer continue to inhibit forest regeneration even at low density (Department of Conservation Policy Statement on Deer Control, 2002).
The soil in the chaparral biome is very nutrient poor.
Once the soil is eroded away, either by wind or rain, the ground under the soil is usually bare rock, very thin, or clay.
"Montane chaparral covers slopes from 3,000 to 9,000 feet (915 to 2,745 meters) in elevation and is usually covered in chaparral that grows 10 feet (3 meters) high. "
Humans have adapted to this dry climate by building industries and factories for profit.
In order to adapt by making room for these cities and farms, humans have chased animals out of their homes.
This biome is being simplified to suit modern human needs.
Humans affect organisms that depend on natural forest fires to survive.
Mainly, humans build tourist attractions in the chaparral biome, depriving animals of their habitats.
As a result, more and more organisms are becoming threatened and even endangered.
Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth's land surface.
Most Hot and Dry Deserts are near the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn.
Cold Deserts are near the Arctic part of the world.
Native Plant Species
Joshua Tree
Genus: Yucca
Species: brevifolia
Native Animal Species
Armadillo Lizard
Genus: Cordylus
Species: cataphractus
Invasive Species
American Aloe (Agave americana)
Average Yearly Precipitation
Hot and Dry Deserts usually have very little rainfall and/or concentrated rainfall in short periods between long rainless periods. This averages out to under 15 cm a year.
Cold Deserts usually have lots of snow. They also have rain around spring. This averages out to 15 - 26 cm a year.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
"The dry desert is in Köppen's BWh climate category. It is a Low Latitude climate. The Bstands for Dry Desert climates. The Wstands for desert climate. Finally, the hstands for dry and hot, with average annual temperatures over 64° F (18° C)"
Hot and Dry Deserts temperature ranges from 20 to 25° C.
The extreme maximum temperature for Hot Desert ranges from 43.5 to 49° C.
Cold Deserts temperature in winter ranges from -2 to 4° C and in the summer 21 to 26° C a year
Primary Soil Type
The latitude range is 15-28° north and south of the equator. Their global range covers about 1/5 of the earth, including the world's great deserts: Sahara, Sonora, Thar, Kalahari and the Great Australian.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
The Joshua Tree grows in arid deserts; they often grow in groups called groves.
The Joshua Tree has two sets of root systems, one stores any surplus water and it also develops bulbs.
The Joshua Tree is only pollinated by the Pronuda Moth.
Both people and animals have relied on the Joshua Tree for survival.
The Joshua Tree is the largest of the yuccas and grows only in the Mojave Desert.
Saguaro Cactus
Genus: Carnegiea
Species: gigantea
It has a smooth and waxy skin and is covered with two-inch spines that are located on the tree's vertical ribs.
It is Arizona's state flower. The average lifespan for a Saguaro cactus is about 200 years.
It can absorb a lot of water because the ribs on the plant can expand.
It has an amazing root system. The root system is very shallow for such a tall, heavy plant.
The nostrils of the Armadillo Lizard are formed into little tubes which help them smell for food or predators.
Their tails and spines also can be used to defend themselves.
The Armadillo Lizards stay in family groups, and they will all live in the same rock crevice.
The Armadillo Lizard is a prey animal.
It is fairly slow moving animal, but runs as fast as it can for cover when it's in danger.
Genus: Felis
Species: rufus
Bobcats can be found almost anywhere, but the most common place is the southwest desert.
They're good at catching all their prey because of their hunting ability.
Bobcats are loners. Each bobcat has its own territory and will not share it with other bobcats.
The bobcat always goes for the sick or wounded prey first. This is good because the sick won't spread disease to others.
One of the major impacts of Agave americana is its large leaves shading out native plant species.
It also has a very dense network of rhizome offshoots, which could draw resources away from native species.
Its rhizomatous nature could also alter the nutrient status of the soil.
It may have adverse effects on human and animal health (Badano & Pugnaire 2004; Macdonald et al. 2003; NPPA 2008; Williams 2008).
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
Carpodacus mexicanus (house finches) peck and feed on practically all deciduous fruits, berries, grains, vegetable seed and flower seed.
They also detach the bracts of fruit buds and eat the buds; at blossom time they knock off petals and eat the embryonic fruits. (Clark, J., Hygnstrom, S. 1994).
The Mojave Desert is found at elevations of 2,000 to 5,000 feet, and is considered a "high desert".
Arid deserts: the soil is usually either sand or coarse, and rocky.
Cold deserts: the soil is mostly sandy with a high alkaline content, it is also very porous, so rain seeps quite rapidly into the ground.
About 1 billion people live in deserts. Many of these people rely on centuries-old customs to make their lives as comfortable as possible.
Middle East civilizations have adapted their clothing. White reflects sunlight, and the loose fit allows cooling air to flow across the skin.
Desert dwellers have also adapted their shelters for the unique climate. These cliff dwellings, were constructed with thick, earthen walls that provided insulation.
The need to find food and water has led many desert civilizations to become nomadic.
Some desert areas rely on resources brought from more fertile areas
Desertification is the process of productive cropland turning into non-productive, desert-like environments. Desertification usually happens in semi-arid areas that border deserts.
Human activities are a primary cause of desertification.
These activities include overgrazing of livestock, deforestation, overcultivation of farmland, and poor irrigation practices.
Overgrazing and deforestation remove plants that anchor the soil. As a result, wind and water erode the nutrient-rich topsoil.
Found between a tropical rainforest and desert biome
The savannas we are most familiar with are the East African savannas covered with acacia trees. The Serengeti Plains of Tanzania well known.
Other savannas exist in South America and northern Australia.
Native Plant Species
Kangaroo Paws
Genus: Anigozanthos
Species: manglessi
Native Animal Species
Genus: Dromains
Species: novaehollandiae
Invasive Species

African mustard (Brassica tournefortii)
Average Yearly Precipitation
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
The savanna climate has a temperature range of 68° to 86° F (20° - 30° C).
In the winter, it is usually about 68° to 78° F (20° - 25° C).
In the summer the temperature ranges from 78° to 86° F (25° - 30° C).
In a Savanna the temperature does not change often or drastically.
Primary Soil Type
The African Savanna biome is a tropical grassland in Africa between latitude 15° North and 30 degrees S and longitude 15 degrees W and 40° West.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
The biennial red and green kangaroo paw is the floral emblem of Western Australia.
The red and green kangaroo paw's adaptations are tiny wooly hairs on its flowers.
The little hairs help by making it taste weird to predators, so they won't eat it. It also help by holding on to water because it grows in a dry climate.
It also has adapted by having a sturdy stem for its pollinators to perch on.
Jackal Berry Tree
Genus: Diospyros
Species: mespiliformis
In heavy soils the termite mounds provide the tree with aerated soil, and a source of moisture.
The roots provide protection for the termites, who don't eat the living wood.
The tree prefers moist soil, rocky soils. It grows well in red loams, volcanic, loamy sands, river beds, and swampy areas.
It is traditionally used for medical purposes.
Tanin acts as an astringent that helps stop bleeding. The tree is also supposed to have antibiotic substances that help heal wounds.
The largest bird that inhabits the lush, grassy fields of Australia is the emu.
The emu used to fly at one time, but lost the ability because they had no predators and didn't need to fly anymore.
Emu chicks are killed by dingoes, foxes, and feral cats.
The adult emu's are killed by humans, for there isn't a large enough animal left in Australia to kill it.
African Elephant
Genus: Loxodonta
Species: africana
African elephants, also known as the savanna elephants, are the largest land mammal in the world.
They are herbivores
African elephants live for about seventy years, and die when their molars wear down; they can't eat so they starve.
There are usually 10-15 related elephants in a group. Related family members stay in close range of each other.
The leader is always a female. They communicate with sounds lower than human hearing.
Elephants are very social animals
They keep the savannas clear by eating shrubs and trees which helps the grass grow. This allows the many grazers on the savanna to survive.
Sanders and Minnich (2000) report that, "Dense stands of B. tournefortii appear to suppress native wildflowers. Because of its early phenology, it appears to monopolise available soil moisture as it builds canopy and matures seed long before many native species have begun to flower. This species also locally dominates exotic grasslands in dry, open sites, especially disturbed areas."
Introduced populations of house crows often present major problems to humans and native wildlife (Feare and Mungroo 1990). In addition to the ecological damage, the house crow also inflicted economic damage by predating chicks and eggs (making free-ranging poultry impossible) and eating crops such as maize (Zea mays) and sorghum (Sorghum vulgare) (Archer 2001, in Lim et al. 2003).
There is an annual precipitation of 10 to 30 inches (100 to 150 cm) of rain.
From December to February hardly any rain falls at all.
"The Savanna biome has a wet/dry climate. Its Köppen climate group is Aw. The Astands for a tropical climate, and the wfor a dry season in the winter."
In the savanna climate there is a distinct dry season, which is in the winter. Savannas get all their rain in the summer months. During the distinct dry season of a savanna, most of the plants shrivel up and die. Some rivers and streams dry up. Most of the animals migrate to find food.
Something that is very interesting in the savanna biomes is that the soil types are very diverse.
Experts have found just about every type of soil in this biome.
The factors that influence the soil type include the climate, the terrain, and the amount of precipitation that the area receives annually.
The altitude ranges from sea level to 2,000 meters above sea level.
Humans adapt to this environment by introducing their vehicles and pollutants
They make a living through tourism and guided hunting
The natural vegetation is often used for cattle and goat grazing
The introduction of vehicles, humans, and their pollutants to such an environment can be very hazardous to both the plants and animals that live in the areas.
The animals are low in number and hunting jeopardizes their food webs
Huge areas of savanna are lost to the Sahara desert every year because of overgrazing and farming.
The tropical rain forest can be found in three major geographical areas around the world:
Central America in the the Amazon river basin.
Africa - Zaire basin, with a small area in West Africa; also eastern Madagascar.
Indo-Malaysia - west coast of India, Assam, Southeast Asia, New Guinea and Queensland, Australia.
Native Plant Species
Bengal Bamboo
Genus: Bambusa
Species: tulda
Native Animal Species
Bengal Tiger
Genus: Panthera
Species: tigris tigris
Invasive Species
Lantana camara
Average Yearly Precipitation
An average of 50 to 260 inches (125 to 660 cm.) of rain falls yearly.
Rain forests belong to the tropical wet climate group.
There is usually a brief season of less rain. In monsoonal areas, there is a real dry season.
In other climates, the evaporation is carried away to fall as rain in far off areas, but in the rain forests, 50 % of the precipitation comes from its own evaporation.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature
The temperature in a rain forest rarely gets higher than 93 °F (34 °C) or drops below 68 °F (20 °C)
Average humidity is between 77 and 88%
The average temperature of a rain forest is about 77° Fahrenheit. The rain forest is about the same temperature year round.
Primary Soil Type
Soil in the tropical rainforests is very nutrient poor. The topsoil is only one to two inches deep.
The only reason plant life is so lush is because the plants store the nutrients in themselves rather than getting them from the soil.
This is why farmers can only use the rainforest soil for one or two years after they clear cut it.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
It grows well in a moist environment with a lot of rainfall.
It often grows as an undergrowth scattered or in patches in the forest.
It is the largest grass and is very fast growing.
It can reduce soil erosion and also provides shelter for many animals.
It physically adapts to its environment by growing tall fast so it gets a lot of rain and sunlight.
Coconut Tree
Genus: Cocos
Species: nucifera
The coconut palm tree grows in hot areas. It likes frost free areas, and grows in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Pacific region
The tree grows near seas in these areas so the roots can find moisture.
Coconuts have supplied some families from the Pacific with shelter, food, drinks, and many of their other needs.
Its meat, milk, oil, and leaves are all used by humans
The Bengal tiger is very sneaky and quiet
The Bengal tiger is a carnivore. It eats boars, wild oxen, monkeys, and other animals.
The Bengal tiger is a nocturnal and greatly feared predator and helps balance the food web
Its population has decreased dramatically because of poachers
Sumatran Rhinoceros
Genus: Dicerorhinus
Species: sumatrensis
The Sumatran rhinoceros is a small, hairy rhinoceros which survives in limited numbers in pockets of Indonesian and Malaysian rain forests.
They are smallest and rarest rhinoceros
They live in a variety of habitats, but prefer higher elevations in the mountain moss forests and tropical rain forests with few human developments.
Sumatran rhinos are solitary animals who only come together to breed.
Lantana is now a major weed in many regions of the Palaeotropics where it invades natural and agricultural ecosystems (Thomas and Ellison 1999). The plants can grow individually in clumps or as dense thickets, crowding out more desirable species. In disturbed native forests it can become the dominant understorey species, disrupting succession and decreasing biodiversity. As the density of lantana in forest increases species richness decreases (Fensham et al. 1994, in Day et al. 2003).
Brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater )
The Molothrus ater is a brood parasite. It operates by using other bird species as hosts to incubate their eggs and raise its chicks. It is known to have parasatised over 220 host species of birds, including the black-capped vireo, the wood thrush,the blue-winged teal and the red-headed woodpecker.
Equator to 10° or 25° N & S latitude
Rainforests are found in more than forty countries around the equator. They are located in the tropics.
0 - 1,000m elevation in Americas, Africa, SE Asia
Humans who live in the rainforests adapt by cutting down trees to make room for crops to grow
The slash and burn technique is used to plant crops on the steep hillsides.
Erosion washes gullies due to the slash and burn tecnique.
The burgeoning human population has threatened the existence of rainforests by demanding more wood products.
Humans cause global warming, which causes shifting rainfall patterns
Alpine biomes are found in the mountain regions all around the world.
The main global mountain ranges include:
the Rockies, Sierra, and Cascade mountains in North America, the Andes in South America
the Himalayas in Asia
the Alps and Pyrenees in Europe
the Rift Mountains of Africa.
Native Plant Species
Alpine Phacelia is a tubular, bell-shaped or bowl-shaped flower.
The leaves have several narrow spreading lobes and grow around the stem.
Leaves are covered with silky, wooly hairs.
The Alpine Phacelia grows on rocky, open or wooded places in the mountains.
The Alpine Phacelia blooms in mid-summer. Alpine Phacelias belongs to the Waterleaf family.
Native Animal Species
Genus: Llama
Species: pacos
Invasive Species
Frog chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)
Average Yearly Precipitation
The average precipitation is 30 cm a year.
It is very much like the Tundra biome.
Both the alpine and the tundra biomes are cold and dry throughout the year.
Average Yearly Range of Temperature

In the winter the temperatures are below freezing. The winter season can last from October to May.
The summer season may last from June to September. It can range between -12 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius.
The temperatures in the Alpine biome can also change from warm to freezing in one day.
The Alpine biome is one of the coldest biomes in the world. It is so cold because of its high altitudes.
Primary Soil Type
Unlike the arctic tundra, the alpine soil is well drained. Alpine biomes are located on mountains where trees can't grow.
Approximate Latitudes
Approximate Altitudes
Alpine Phacelia
Genus: Phacelia
Species: sericea
Bristlecone Pine
Genus: Pinus
Species: longaeva
It is the oldest known tree species in the world.the oldest known tree species in the world.
The bristlecone pine is a multi-trunked tree, gnarled and twisted by the elements. Much of the pine is dead wood.
As a survival strategy, much of the bark and tissue that conduct water dies back after the tree is damaged by fire, drought or storms.
They benefit from being off by themselves because few other plant species can survive in their harsh environment.
The alpaca is a type of llama that lives in the Andes Mountains of South America.
These animals are easily domesticated.
The alpaca has very thick fur to survive the cold climate of the Andes.
Its long neck helps spot predators among the rocks of the mountain slopes.
The alpaca is a herbivore
"It has special stomach secretions that help it absorb 50% more nutrients than a sheep, allowing it to survive where there is only poor quality grass. "
Mountain Goat -
Genus: Oreamnos
Species: americanus
Mountain Goats are found in the northwestern regions of North America
They seem to cling and move around on the impossibly steep slopes.
Their hooves are adapted to the rugged slopes by being flexible, like rubber, so they can jump from rock to rock.
It changes its social groupings seasonally.
Some adaptations that help a Mountain Goat to survive are its horns, jumping ability, its hooves, and its teeth.
Their horns help to defend them from predators.
Mountain Goats have a lot of strength in their hind legs that allow them to jump great distances.
Their hooves have a slit in the middle to make them more flexible.
They have eight teeth on the top and bottom for an easier way to grab big patches of grass.
They get most of their water from their food.
"Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been found to affect at least 93 amphibian species from the orders Anura (frogs and toads) and Caudata (salamanders) in all the continents except Asia. It is thought to be one of the main causes of the global decline in frog populations since the 1960s, and the dramatic population crashes from the 1970s onwards (Parris and Beaudoin, 2004). "
Western yellowjacket ( Vespula pensylvanica Rohwer)
Wasps impact in a range of human activities and values, from conservation, forestry, beekeeping and horticulture sectors to human-health.
In forests wasps may eat huge numbers of native insects and consume large quantities of sugary honeydew.
By eating so much, wasps take potential food sources away from native animals and disrupt the natural food chain and ecosystem cycling of the forest (Landcare Research 2007).
Alpine biomes are found in the mountain regions all around the world, which are usually at an altitude of about 10,000 feet or more.
The Himalayan Alpine range: 86º55'40" E Longitude to 27º59'16 N, Latitude.
Andes Mountains: latitude is 10° N. to 57° S. The longitude is 70° W. to 80° E.
Rocky Mountains: latitude and longitude range is 35° N to 60°N and 115° E to 165° E.
The Sherpas are naturally born mountaineers. They live in the Himalayas and are the world’s highest living population.
They are physically adapted to live in the alpine biome. Sherpas have larger lungs and more hemoglobin in their blood to cope with the increased pressure and lack of oxygen at high altitudes.
The Indians of the Andes Mountains in South America have also adapted to living in the alpine biome.
By cutting down trees to create ski slopes and tare-forming land for infrastructures like buildings and highways, humans are increasing the rate at which the water flows down to the basin of the mountain.
Once the water is drained, the surrounding community of animals don't have enough water, causing populations start to die off.
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