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Tropical Grassland Biome
Transcript of Tropical Grassland Biome
The Tropical Grasslands, or savanna, is a biome with a distinct climate and awesome wildlife.
The Tropical Grassland Biome has a wide range of species and organisms.
Humans have made the African savanna their home, by building their factories, mines, houses and farms there. Humans have mined many things in the savanna like: salt, coal, and oil. When these things are dug up, they are then transported over to other countries. Humans have also introduced animals that have affected other animals. Cattle have taken territory away from the wild animals and they have also taken away the grazing plains for the other animals that feed on grass.
Elephant poachers have killed nearly the entire population of elephants in a region to collect the ivory from the elephant tusks.
Twenty percent of the earth is covered in tropical grasslands! Tropical grasslands are found between rainforests and deserts. Even though a tropical grassland is warm almost all year round, it is not a desert because a tropical grassland has more vegetation. Also, a tropical grassland can not be described as a rainforest because the amount of precipitation the biome receives is far less than the rainforest.
Tropical Grassland Biome
Location: near Equator, between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn
Found between rainforests and deserts
Usually at a low altitude
Examples of tropical grasslands are the Eastern African, Serengeti Plains of Tanzania, South America, and northern Australia.
A tropical grassland has two seasons: a dry and wet season
Dry season: cool but not cold, soil is extremely infertile, 4 in of rain, 10-80 degrees F, and during the winter months
Storms with lightning can cause forest fires during dry season
The dry season causes grasses, shrubs, and other plants to die off
Wet season: humid, hot, and wet, 15-25 in of rain, temp between 70-90 degrees F, and during the summer months
The wet season causes monsoons. In Africa, these monsoons start in May
Each season is about 5 to 6 months
Because tropical grasslands are relatively close to the equator, they experience a warmer climate.
Some of the largest areas of tropical savanna have developed on the level plains and plateaus of continental shield
In the dry season, the soil is very infertile due to the lack of precipitation.
During the wet season, the soil is very nutritious due to the increase in precipitation and the grazing of large herbivores.
In some tropical grasslands, they have a stream or river as a source of water. However, during the dry season, the stream and river dries.
For example, the Llanos of the Orinoco basin of Venezuela and Columbia is flooded annually by the Orinoco River.
"The Watering Hole"
Adaptations the Hippo has made are
wide snouts and thick lips that help them graze on tough African grasses
eyes, ears and nostrils are located on top of their heads, and they close up when the hippo goes underwater
Adaptations the Cheetah has made are...
-Spots help it blend into tall grass or when it is resting up against a tree
- A cheetah's claws help make it one of the fastest running animals
-Their claws help the Cheetah catch its prey
Lions adapt and make different sounds...
-Humming when they are content and make a puffing sound when they approach each other with good intentions
-Grunting to keep in touch when they are moving from one area to another
-Females roar to protect their cubs from other animals, Males roar to specify their location, display their strength, and signal other animals to stay away from the pride
Oxpeckers and the rhinoceros are examples of mutualism. The oxpecker consumes the ticks off of the rhinoceros as a form of food, but this relationship also protects the rhinoceros from disease. The oxpeckers also warn the rhinoceros of any danger ahead.
Parasitism is when an organism takes advantage of its host. A tick lives on an elephant, and the tick takes blood from an elephant. In this example, the tick is taking blood from an elephant, and the elephant is getting nothing and is losing blood.
Adaptations that the Jackalberry Tree has made are
The Jackalberry Tree grows on anthills.
These termite mounds help nourish and moisturize the tree, providing it with better soil. The roots provide the termites protection and in return, these termites never eat the Jackalberry Tree’s wood!
The young trees do not lose their leaves. This helps the tree conserve much needed energy.
Whistling Thorn Tree
The adaptations the Whistling Thorn Tree has made are...
It is prepared for the drier climate. For example, in the event of a brush fire, the Whistling Thorn tree can regrow at a significant fast rate.
When herbivores are around, the tree slowly lengthens its spines. When the plant is in no danger, the tree's spines slowly reduce in length.
The adaptations the Manketti Tree has made are...
It has a trunk that can store water and a long taproot to reach water.
thick bark to resist annual fires
leaves that drop off in the winter to conserve water
Predator and Prey Relationships
The Cheetah and the Gazelle
An example of a predator prey relationship in the Savanna, is a cheetah and a gazelle. A cheetah serves as the predator, and catches and feeds on the gazelle that serves as the prey.
A Predator Prey relationship is an interaction between two organisms of unlike species in which one of them captures and feeds on the other organism.
The Lion and the Wildebeest
The predator, the lion, uses the tall grasses to hide and catch its prey, the wildebeest.
The elephants that live on the African savannah have a huge influence on their ecosystem. As their herds move across the savannah, they feed on trees, breaking them up, often by pulling them up by the roots and crushing them. Without this tree clearing, the savannah would quickly grow from grassland to woodland. Then, there are species that feed on these grassland species, such as cheetahs, lions, hyenas, crocodiles, jackals, wild dogs, and vultures. These animals also depend on the African elephant to keep the grasslands open for their survival. The African elephant is an important keystone species.
Since the Savannas are so dry, there are many wildfires. These fires burn the little bit of vegetation that is in the savannas. Wildfires are heavily impacted by factors such as climate change, road construction and fire-prevention measures. The natural spread of wildfires can break up savannas. If the savanna is too dry, there won't be any water for the animals to drink, they will die one by one of dehydration, and eventually become extinct.
Two invasive species in the savanna are the pig and buffalo.
Pigs have caused enormous environmental damage to the savanna and are much harder to control than buffaloes. Pigs are a smaller animal, create their shelter out of sight, and are very mobile and intelligent. The pig became an invasive species to the savanna because they reproduce prolifically. Also, pigs eat almost anything. They excavate the earth for roots and soil fauna, such as earthworms, and consume the eggs of ground-nesting birds and turtles. They also trample saplings, ringbark trees, contaminate water, feast on crops, and compete with native animals for food. Weeds thrive in their wake and they can carry many diseases, including forest dieback. They also have the potential to spread foot and mouth disease far and wide.
The water buffaloes were first introduced to the savanna over 150 years ago. By the 1980s, there were an estimated 350,000 feral buffaloes. The hard hooves of these animals cause considerable environmental degradation around wetlands. Their trails become deeply eroded, sometimes allowing saltwater to invade freshwater habitats. Further, they have caused reeds and other aquatic plants to be destroyed, consume many species of young trees, and have caused waterholes to become fouled. Buffalo numbers have dropped considerably since the introduction of the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign, which led to intensive removal of buffalo. Unfortunately, however, the disappearance of the buffaloes has facilitated the spread of weeds, such as para grass, in the eroded environment.
Working on my roar
Will the savanna survive?
What will the succession be?
Without this tree clearing, the savannah would quickly grow from grassland to woodland. The elephants also help to remove dry brush from the savanna, which helps to prevents fires. Also, the elephants are a key part of the savanna's ecosystem because cheetahs, lions, hyenas, crocodiles, jackals, wild dogs, and vultures are predators to the elephant. These animals all depend on the African elephant to keep the grasslands open for their survival.
With the absence of elephants, the savanna will be more prone to wild fires. If a wildfire occurs, it will cause secondary succession. There is still soil and the first parts of life on the surface, but the rest of the vegetation would be destroyed. When secondary succession starts, annual weeds will grow, which will lead to the regrowth of the ecosystem. The savanna is a very resilient biome.
The Resilience of the savanna
Even though it might take the savanna awhile to adapt, the savanna is a very resilient biome. If
there is a fire, there will still be soil on the ground, and the savanna will undergo secondary succession. It will be resilient as other animals adapt and learn to either live without what the elephants did, or the animals will adapt and take over the role of the elephants in the environment.
Gross and Net Primary Productivity
The savanna has a relatively high net primary productivity compared to the biome's biomass. Most of this productivity is recorded from the period during and following the wet season. During the wet season, the water is freely available to the plants; at this time, the savanna's productivity can rival or exceed that of forests. The gross productivity for the savanna is estimated at 3000 Kilocalories / square meter / year. The net primary productivity of the savanna is 2000 kilocalories/ square meter/ year.
"Productivity - African Savanna- Serengeti Plains."
Productivity - African Savanna- Serengeti Plains. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <http://5savanna.weebly.com/productivity.html>.
"Savanna Biomes." Savanna Biomes. Blue Planet
Biomes, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/savanna.htm>.
Smith, Jeremy M.B. "Biological Productivity."
Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/525656/savanna/70798/Biological-productivity>.
By: Brianna Spilsbury and Marissa Snyder