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Tundra Biome Project

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Abby Thomas

on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of Tundra Biome Project

Tundra Biome Project
By Abby Thomas, Alysia Leightenheimer, Mark Brockhausen, and Hilleary Warren
The Arctic Tundra
The Arctic Tundra is the coldest biome, and has two times of the year: cold and not-as-cold-but-still-pretty-cold. Despite this, there are a variety of organisms that inhabit this area, and thrive in the harsh environment.
Temperature and Seasons
In the tundra, the only seasons are winter and summer. During the winter, the sun barely rises, and temperatures can drop to -94ºF. Summer is sunny 24 hrs. a day, which is why the tundra is called the land of the midnight sun.The average temperature is 37ºF-60ºF.
Because of the cold temperatures, plants are short and they group together to resist cold temperatures and, are protected by the snow during winter. Animals like bears and other mammals hibernate in the winter. Birds migrate south in winter to stay warm in some other place. Mosquitoes can keep themselves from freezing by replacing the water in their bodies with a chemical called glycerol. It works like an antifreeze and allows them to survive under the snow during the winter.
One of the cities within our biome is Fairbanks, Alaska. The normal annual rainfall is 10.9 inches. However, the amount of snow this area receives is much larger: approximately 69.0 inches yearly. Alaska is prone to many earthquakes. Zero weather extremes took place in 1950 till 2010 aside from earthquakes or snowstorms.
Tundra climate is usually found between the 60-75 degree latitude lines. Tundra climate is mainly found along the coast of the Arctic Ocean. Tundra is a transitional climate between Ice Cap and Subarctic, similar to semiarid being a transition between arid and more humid climate. The tundra climate areas experience a very harsh winter and a cool summer. During the summer, much of the snow and ice melts and forms soggy marshes and bogs. However, some of the deeper parts of the soil stays frozen even through the summer--a layer called permafrost, as in permanent-frost. The permafrost can be between 10 and 35 inches. The permafrost prevents the melted snow and ice from draining into the groundwater, so marshes and bogs form.
Glaciers are large blocks of ice that slowly shift and erode the land. They are formed as large amounts of snow are compressed over a long period of time to form large blocks of ice. Glaciers move at an extremely slow pace, often no more than a few inches a day.
The sheer weight of the glacier is the reason for its movement., and gravity pulls it down towards the lowest possible point. These blocks of ice flow through valleys, spread across the sea, and cover a vast plain. The top of the glaciers move faster than the bottom due to the friction created when it slides along the ground. As the glaciers move, the friction causes the earth to wear away, leaving a permanent hollow in its wake. There are three types of erosion caused by glaciers:
are rounded hollows in the sides of mountains caused by the glacier eroding backwards.
are jagged, narrow ridges created when two cirque glaciers collide, which erodes the sides of them both.
are created when several cirque glaciers meet and erode the mountain until all that is left is a steep, pointed peak.
Animals in the Tundra
The most common kind of animal found in the Arctic Tundra is mammals. This is because their warm blood keeps them heated during the cold winters, and their fur protects them from the wind and chill. Aside form being warm-blooded and having fur, these animals have live young, which they feed milk until they are old enough to get their own food. Mammals can be both herbivores and carnivores. The herbivores feed off of the small shrub life that grows in this biome, while the carnivores hunt the weaker animals within a group.
The Arctic Hare
Arctic hares are a member of the hare species (closely related to rabbits). However, unlike some of the other types of hares, they are well-adapted to harsh, snowy environments. They eat various types of woody shrubbery and mosses, but will also feed on flowers such as the arctic poppy during the summer season. The hares prefer to live in place where there is enough plant life to keep the snow from getting too deep. During the winter, arctic hares tend to burrow deep into the ground to keep warm. The arctic hare’s thick coat changes colors depending on the season. It is brown during the summer, in order to blend in with the dirt and plant life, and white in the winter to make it blend into the snow. Arctic hares are nocturnal, and tend to feed in groups of 10-60. If they are being hunted, the young stay very still, so it appears as if they are rocks.
Caribou (called reindeer in some parts of the world) are a member of the deer species, and are semi-domestic animals. These animals feed on the few types of plant life found in the tundra, eating mainly various grasses during the summer and spring, and surviving the harsh winters thanks to the lichens found in the environment. This species live in the flat, plain-like areas of the tundra, where plant life is plentiful during the summer season. Caribou are nomadic, and tend to travel in large herds when searching for a food. When predators attack they will protect the calves while they are being hunted, and flee at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. They also migrate to the southern portion of the tundra during the winter, where there is slightly more food for the herd. During the summer, their foot pads are soft to assist them in walking on the soggy tundra ground. However, in the winter they shrink and harden so that they can move across the snow and ice.
Caribou are also good swimmers, and can reach speeds of up to 6 miles per hour.
Snowy Owls
Snowy owls are one of the small number of animals that are not mammals within the habitat, and live quite comfortably in the harsh climate. These birds most commonly feed on small rodents such as lemmings and voles. They also prey on rabbits and smaller birds, and occasionally eat the eggs of larger birds. The owls build their nests on the ground, but strategically place them on higher ground, so that they can keep watch for predators and prey. Unlike the majority of their kind, snowy owls hunt during the day. They are also unique within their family, because they are one of the only kinds of owls that are capable of withstanding very low temperatures. Snowy owls are nomadic, and follow the path of their primary food source: lemmings. The adult birds are very territorial, and will fiercely attack any animal that approaches their nest.
Tundra Food Web
Tundra Plants
Plants need warmth and sunlight to grow and reproduce. In the Arctic tundra, warmth and sunlight are in short supply, even in the summer. The ground is frequently covered with snow until June, and the Sun is always low in the sky. Only plants with shallow root systems grow in the Arctic tundra because the permafrost prevents plants from sending their roots down past the active layer of soil. The active layer of soil is free from ice for only 50 to 90 days. Arctic plants have a very short growing season. However, in spite of the severe conditions and the short growing season, there are approximately 1,700 kinds of plants that live in the Arctic.
Plant Adaptions
Some of the plants that live in the Arctic tundra include mosses, lichens, low-growing shrubs, and grasses--but no trees. In fact, "tundra" is a Finnish words which means "treeless". Plants also have adapted to the Arctic tundra by developing 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. Plants lose water through their leaf surface. By producing small leaves the plant is more able to retain the moisture it has stored.
The lichen’s plant-like appearance is a false appearance. A lichen is not a single organism, but it is the result of partnership between a fungus and an algae or cyanobacteria. Some lichens are formed of three or more partners. The body of a lichen consists of fungal filaments (hyphae) surrounding cells of green algae and/or blue-green cyanobacteria. There is a great majority of 13,500-18,000 species of lichenized fungi are Ascomycetes, the "cup fungi". About 20 species in the tropical and temperate rain forests are Basidiomycetes, the "mushrooms". About 40 genera of algae and cyanobacteria are found in lichen partnerships. The thallus, or lichen body, comes in four shapes:
Arctic Poppy
This plant is particularly hardy, though its beautiful blossoms are quite delicate. The arctic poppy prefers to live in the rocky portions of the tundra, as the stones absorb the sun’s heat, and provide a moist, sheltered place for the roots. This plant has a fibrous root system, which spreads out and anchors it to the ground. The flower buds of the plants also move with the sun, therefore taking in as much sunlight as possible and assisting them in surviving in the harsh climate. There are very few animals that can consume the arctic poppy, because of its mild, naturally created poison.
This plant is a type of dwarf shrub. Its berries are edible and are sometimes used in human medicines. The bearberry plant thrives in the tundra biome because it requires little nutrients from the soil, and lives most commonly on rocky outcrops and places with shallow soil. The roots of the bearberry plants are fibrous, and extend quickly in order to keep it in place in the gravelly soil. Bearberry is a low-growing plant, which helps it avoid the chilly winds. It is also coated in tiny hair fibers, which keep it warm, along with the assistance of its leathery leaves.
Arctic Willow
An arctic willow is a type of creeping sage, and typically very low-growing. The arctic willow enjoys cold, open areas, making the tundra the perfect habitat for it. Arctic willows have very shallow fibrous root systems, which are an adaption to the year-round permafrost in this biome. This plant creates a pesticide to keep away hungry insects during the warm season.
Purple Saxifrage
Purple saxifrage is extremely common in the tundra, and its briefly blooming blossoms are eaten in large quantities by caribou. Humans can also consume the flowers if desired, as well as use them in herbal healing. This plant prefers gravelly soil, and is often found in the rocky areas of the tundra. Purple saxifrage plants have a tap root system, which digs deep into the rocky earth to hold it firmly in position. The shortness of this flora provides protection from the wind chill. In addition to this, the plant possesses small, stiff fibers that keep it warm.
Pasque Flower
Pasque flower plants are a part of the genus Pulsatilla, and can be used as a medical remedy by humans. The rocky, gravelly soil of the tundra is the perfect place for this flowering greenery to live. The root system of this plant is fibrous, and helps it stay in place rather than being blown away by the rapid winds. The pasque flower, like many other plants in the tundra, is low-growing and covered in fine hair fibers to keep out the chill.
Environmental Issues
Alaska 1964 Earthquake
Thank you for viewing!
Works Cited
In the arctic tundra there are lots of natural resources, but many known reserves are not exploited because of their inaccessibility. The arctic region of Russia, the most developed of all the arctic regions, is a vast storehouse of mineral wealth, including deposits of nickel, copper, coal, gold, uranium and diamonds. These resources are not used often because of how difficult they are to reach. If the resources were reachable the gold wald be most likely used for jewelry, investing, electronics, computers, Dentistry, Medicine, medals and rewards. Coal would be used for modern energy generation and steel production. the copper would be used for pennies, wire and electronics. Nickel will be used for CDs, cars, machinery, pots and pans. Uranium is used for nuclear power, X-rays, ammunition. diamonds are used for jewelry, lasers, drills, and and X-rays.
This famous earthquake, which was a 9.2 on the Richter Scale and the second largest ever recorded, was located in southcentral Alaska, and occurred on Good Friday, March 27, 1964. The epicenter was approximately 90 kilometers (55 miles) west of the town of Valdez and 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Anchorage (exact epicentral location: Latitude 61.04N, Longitude 147.73 W. This event occurred because of the position that Alaska is in. The Pacific and North American plate collide near the southern portion of the state, resulting in its high earthquake levels. The number of lives lost in this disaster was fairly small considering the magnitude of the earthquake due to the low population density: 131 (116 in Alaska and 16 in Oregon and California. The damage to the area, which spanned over 130,000 square kilometers, included severe avalanches and landslides.The four-minute quake also caused many structural collapses in cities across Alaska. There was also a collapsing of Alaska’s main highway and railroad system, therefore trapping many of the residents. The total cost of the damage was over $300 million. The clean-up effort involved the federal government, the Alaskan government, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who spent $110 million dollars clearing roads and removing debris. Also, many of the small towns and villages that had been completely destroyed had to be moved to higher ground. Many of the buildings that were destroyed in the earthquake were rebuilt within a few months, or possibly a few years, but there was some damage that was unfixable, such as elevation changes and the permanent rising of the water level at sea. Paul Timothy Selanoff is a victim of the earthquake. When he was out fishing with his brothers in the ocean as a child, the ground started to shake, and his brothers ran away, back to the village, but he did not. He held onto a tree as the waves got bigger and bigger, and the ground shook more violently. It was from there he watched as his whole village was washed away by the huge waves created by the earthquake. He lost 23 members of his family that day, and considers himself lucky that he survived.
The Richter Scale
The degree of intensity of an earthquake is measured using the Richter Scale. There are ten levels to this scale, each one being ten times stronger than the previous. Any earthquake below a 2.0 is considered a microquake, and is unfeelable by humans, so no damage is done. Any quake between a 2.0 and a 2.9 can’t be felt by humans either, but this magnitude is recorded more commonly than any of lesser magnitude. 3.0 to 3.9 range earthquakes are felt by humans, but damage is rarely done. Quakes that range from 4.0 to 4.9 can be felt indoors as well as out, and can cause rattling of indoor items, but no damage is done, aside from the occasional broken item. 5.0-5.9 causes destruction of poorly constructed buildings and the occasional damage to well-built buildings. Earthquakes that are 6.0 to 6.9 can destroy areas up to 160 square kilometers.7.0 to 8.9 can cause extremely severe damage to very large areas, with collapsing of well-constructed buildings, and crushing entire towns. 9.0 to 9.9 affects thousands of miles at a time, and causes everything to crumble. An earthquake of 10.0 or above has not yet been recorded, and scientists hope that it never will.
Earthquakes are one of the world's many types of natural disasters. Alaska, which contains much of the North American tundra, is prone to them. Thus, they are a part of our biome.
Potential and kinetic energy both have a contributing role in earthquakes. The gradual movement of the tectonic plates causes the tension between the plates to build up. This is potential energy. Once the stress becomes so great that the plates have to shift, an earthquake occurs from the movement. This is kinetic energy. The degree of stress on the plates determines the intensity of the earthquake. Earthquakes can happen at any point in time.
There is no “earthquake season,” and the temperature, climate, and landscape have no effect on the intensity. In Alaska, the tectonic plates shift often, and the state has approximately 1,000 earthquakes per month, though some are quite a bit smaller than others.
Many precautions can be taken to prevent serious damage being done to one’s home. These tips include bolting furniture to walls to prevent it from collapsing on top of someone, and finding a location in your home that everyone in the house can stay in during an earthquake, and make sure that food and water are stored there. Also, during an earthquake, it is best to stay indoors and away from windows, as well as protecting your head so that nothing can fall on it and hurt you too badly.
The most severe threat to the environment is global warming. Many scientists believe global warming caused by greenhouse gases may eliminate Arctic regions, including the tundras. The vast wilderness associated with the tundra contains certain species of animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This is attractive to hunters, who have been coming to the tundra region for many decades. Over-hunting is a major problem here and has led to a number of species being added to the endangered species list. Moose, wolves and arctic foxes are some examples. Over-hunting is a major problem here and has led to a number of species being added to the endangered species list. Moose, wolves and arctic foxes are some examples. To help remedy this problem, there has been a restriction placed on the hunting of many species in the tundra. There are several threats to the populations of animals that live in the tundra. Mining and oil drilling are increasing habitat loss, as well as humans moving farther north.
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