The Tundra Biome • The tundra is the coldest of all biomes • Comes from the Finnish word “Tunturia” meaning tree-less plain • Stretches across Northern Alaska, Canada, and Siberia • Has long cold winters and short cool summers • Less than 10’’ of precipitation per year (this makes the tundra like a desert) • Unique Characteristics • Permafrost- ground that is permanently frozen
Unique Characteristics continued… • Nothing can penetrate (no plants or available water) • The surface layer above the permafrost thaws every summer and is called the active layer • Summer • Lots of water • When snow melts it seeps into the ground and stops at the permafrost layer • This causes the ground to be super saturated • Sunlight • Has limited sunlight due to position of sun in the sky • The sun can remain below horizon for up to two months • When it rises above the horizon, it only gives a little sunlight
2 Types of Tundra (Arctic and Alpine) Arctic • Average winter temp. -30 degrees F (-34 degrees C) • Average summer temp. degrees F (3-12 degrees C) • 1700 kinds of plants • Plants are short and group together to resist the cold temperature and are protected by snow. Alpine • On mountains at high altitudes where tress can’t grow. • Soil is well drained Animals in the Arctic Tundra • Most birds and mammals can only live here in the summer • Mammals: • Musk-Ox • Arctic Wolf • Brown Bear
Animal Adaptations • Migration and hibernation • Hibernation • Bears eat everything they can in the summer and stores food as a layer of fat. • Keeps bear warm and is used for energy. • Musk-ox • Grows two layers of fur (one shot and one long) • Air is trapped in the short layer and is warm because of body heat. • Hooves are large and hard and are used to break the ice to get water. • Plant adaptations • Small leaves-don’t lose as much water • Flowers quickly in the summer • Can grow under a layer of snow • Grow in groups
Adaptations of marine mammals • Vibrissae: any of the stiff hairs growing in or near the nostrils of certain animals and often serving as organs of touch, as a whiskers.
Blubber • is a thick layer of vascularized fat found under the skin of all cetaceans, pinnipeds and sirenians • Blubber serves several different functions. It is the primary location of fat on some mammals, and is essential for storing energy. • Blubber is, however, different from other forms of adipose tissue in its extra thickness, which allows it to serve as an efficient thermal insulator.
Beluga Whale • The beluga whale is a small, toothed whale that is white as an adult. Beluga means "white one" in Russian. • Size: Beluga whales grow to be about 15 feet (4.6 m) long on average, weighing up to about 3,300 pounds (1500 kg). • Diet & Teeth: Belugas are toothed whales with 34 teeth. The teeth are not designed for chewing, but for grabbing and tearing prey. They are opportunistic feeders, eating a varied diet of fish, squid, crustaceans, octopi, and worms.
Harbor Seal • It is also known as the common seal. • It is the most wide ranging of the pinnipeds • There are 400,000-500,000 worldwide. • Eat mainly fish • Have been known to swim into freshwater.
Animals of the Arctic • The Harp Seal lives in the Arctic Ocean. • It’s white coat helps it blend in with the snow and ice making it hard for predators to spot them. • The Harp Seal eats fish, shrimp, and krill. • The Arctic Fox and Polar bear are the main animals that hunt for the Harp Seal. • The seals' fur and a thick layer of fat under their skin helps them to keep warm in the freezing cold water. • Seals are clumsy on land but are very good swimmers. Their strong flippers and smooth bodies help them move easily in the water. • Seals are able to dive deep and can stay under water for half an hour. http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/arctic/seals.html
Arctic Char • It’s a fish and it is related to Salmon (i.e. in the salmon family) • Widely eaten fish by humans as well as marine mammals • Feed on zooplankton
Animals of the Arctic • Walruses live in the Arctic seas and on land. • They prefer living on the ice, but are also found on the coasts and beaches in the summer. • The adult male walrus is huge and weighs from 900 kg to 1400 kg. (2000 to 3000 lbs.) Their brownish skin is very thick and wrinkled. They have flat front and hind flippers. The walrus cannot move well on land but it is a very good swimmer. It can dive to the ocean floor. • Under its thick skin, the walrus has a layer of blubber (body fat). This provides the walrus with insulation in the freezing water. • Every two or three years the cow ( female ) gives birth to a single calf in May or June. Babies are born on ice floes. • The walrus feeds on clams, mussels, krill, crabs, worms and snails. It will also eat octopus and fish. A walrus may also attack a seal. http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/arctic/walrus.html
Animals of the Arctic • The Arctic Fox lives farther north than any other fox. They are well adapted for the cold harsh weather of the Arctic. • Height: Height at shoulder 10-12 in. (25-30 cm.) Weight: They weigh from 6 to 10 pounds. Color: Normally white in winter and brownish grey in summer. Blue coloring is as common as white. • Diet: Arctic fox feed primarily on small mammals, including lemmings and tundra voles. Fox denning near rocky cliffs along the seacoast often depend heavily on nesting seabirds such as auklets, puffins, and murres. • The arctic fox has fur on the bottom of its feet to protect it from the cold and keep frost out of their feet while digging. • Breeding: Mating occurs in early March and early April. Gestation lasts 52 days. Litters average seven pups but may contain as many as 15 pups. http://library.thinkquest.org/3500/arctic_fox.htm
Animals of the Arctic • The Arctic Hare is larger than a snowshoe. His fur is long and white all the way through in the winter and his ears are blackish around the edges. • Size: 22-28 in. Weight: 9-12 lbs. Color: Brown in the summer, white in the winter. • Distinguishing Characteristics: Short ears, and a fur coat that changes color with the seasons make the arctic and tundra hare special. • The arctic hare likes to live on the rocky slopes and upland tundra of the Arctic. They like to live in groups. They don't like to live in low places or wooded areas. • The food they eat is mostly willow - the leaves, shoots, bark and roots - and grasses, flowers, saxifrage and crowberry. • Unlike rabbits arctic hares like to live in nests because it would be very hard for a arctic hare to dig a burrow in the Arctic. http://library.thinkquest.org/3500/arctic_hare.html
Animals in the Arctic • The Polar Bear • Height: 8 to 10 feet (2.4 - 3m)Weight: Adult males 550-1700 lbs (250-771 kg); females 200-700 lbs (91-318 kg)Lifespan: 20 - 25 years • Polar bears feed almost exclusively on ringed seals and, to a lesser extent, bearded seals.Polar bears travel great distances in search of prey. They are also known to eat walrus, beluga whale and bowhead whale carcasses, birds, vegetation and kelp. • The World Conservation Union (IUCN) estimates that there are between 20,000-25,000 polar bears in the world. • Polar bears are only found in the Arctic region and are highly dependant on the pack ice there since they spend much of their time hundreds of miles from land. http://www.defenders.org/wildlife_and_habitat/wildlife/polar_bear.php