BiomesTropical, Savanna, Desert, and Chaparral By: Aryam Kifle, Izzy Rosenblatt, Jordyn Matthews, Korey Mui B Block
Desert Izzy Rosenblatt
Desert Facts • Annual Temperature: 20-25°C extreme maximum temp: 43.5-49°C extreme minimum: -18°C • Annual precipitation: 1 in. (0.25cm) • Latitude: 15-28° north and south of the equator, there global range covers about 1/5 of the Earth
Personal Impressions of Desert Biome As I research deserts, I am pondering about how any such animal or species could live in such an arid place with so little water. I compare the Sahara and other major deserts to Boston, where I have lived practically all my life, and I think about the differences in weather and climate. In New England, the inhabitants, people, plants, animals, are used to snow, drastic rainfall, severe storms and extreme changes in temperature. In the desert, they only receive about 1 inch of rainfall a year! When I think of deserts, I picture hot, dry and sandy. Although as I researched on the web, I came to realize that some deserts are cold and have a lot of vegetation. Some of these deserts are located in Utah, Nevada and parts of Western Asia. I also did not realize that deserts are characterized under the following categories: hot and dry, semiarid, coastal, and cold. I was surprised when I read that cold deserts have cold winters, snowfall and rainfall. It is incredible how these biomes can range from the warmest and driest places on Earth to cold and relatively wet areas.
Barrel Cactus The tree is very important to the desert ecosystem. They provide food and shelter for many of the desert animals. It is the largest of the yuccas, and like many other of the yuccas, it relies on the female Pronuba moth for pollination. These trees only live in the Mojave Desert. The trees prefer dry soil. A round cactus filled with a slimy alkaline juice. It has sharp, hooked spines. It only lives in desert biomes because it has adapted to the dry, hot extremes. The cactus is able to store water because of its xerophytes physical structure. These plants have long roots, allowing them to absorb moisture from deep in the earth.
Animals in the Desert Dorcas Gazelle They are Common in the Sonoran Desert. The toads have extremely potent, defensive toxins that are released when the animal feels threatened. They migrate to the wet parts of the deserts. Their typical diet consists of insects and mice. They are the largest toads in Arizona. Ecological Niches: Raccoons eat the adult toads. They can live in the desert because they spend the dry winters underground. They are able to tolerate the dry heat of the desert. They are usually active during the rain. The toads have severely dry skin because it has to survive in the desert. • Found across the deserts of Africa and Western Arabia. They are grazers. They are well adapted to their dry habitat, and receive much of the moisture they need from the tissues of the plants it eats, such as the acacia. • Ecological Niches: They eat vegetation, reproduce, and provide carnivores with something to eat (examples lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas) • They live in the desert because they are well adapted to the dryness. They can go their entire lives without drinking water. They can withstand high temperatures.
Abiotic Factors in Desert Temperature Soil Desert soils are rich in minerals, but poor in organic material. They are usually poorly developed because there is low plant productivity. Soils with low organic matter content have a low water-holding capacity, and the intense evaporation of water from desert soils brings the dissolved salts to the surface. The high sodium levels make it difficult for plants to grow. Plants in the desert had to adapt to the difficult living situations, barely any water and poor soil. The temperature in deserts can change drastically from day to night. The daytime is usually hot because there is hardly any moisture in the air to block the sun’s rays. High day time temperatures and low night time temperatures make it difficult to survive in this biome. Particular species of plants and animals must be able to tolerate these temperature conditions in order to live
What if a flood occurred in the desert? Most deserts are very dry, and animals are sometimes dependent on the aridness. Violent rainstorms can cause flashfloods in the desert. When floods do occur, it erodes the desert rocks quickly. Flash floods can either rip apart plants from the ground. On the other hand, the wind and water can be beneficial to plants that can withstand its abrasive force because the wind carries important minerals and nutrients across the desert soil. In addition, rainfall usually falls on poorly absorbent and clay-like soil, which increases the amount of run-off that rivers and bodies of water have to handle. Fish and other aquatic animals can die from the polluted water. However, some fish have the capabilities to rapidly align in the current when flooding occurs. Invertebrates experience high mortality rates from flash flooding. In some cases, insects are able to avoid flash flooding. In a study, both the Curicta pronotata and Aquarius remigis were found to be able to avoid flooding. In the case of flash flooding of a desert, secondary succession would occur. Meaning, that part of the existing community would be cleared, but the soil would remain intact and another community will evolve. izzy0615
Sources • http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/desert_climate_page.htm • http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibits/biomes/deserts.php • http://www.desertusa.com/ • http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_desert_toad.php • http://www.science.oregonstate.edu
Tropical Jordyn Matthews
Background • Temperature Range • 20-25 degrees Celsius, or above 64 degrees Fahrenheit • There is little variation throughout year • The warmest months’ averages and coldest months’ averages do not differ by over 5 degree • Annual Precipitation • More than 100 inches or 2000 mm a year • There is usually a brief season of reduced precipitation • Rainy season and dry season • Latitude—between 23.5 degrees north and south latitude
My Impression This biome is very interesting; there is a lot to learn about its plant and animal species, as they are both very diverse. There is also a different dynamic in terms of how the species interact because of the absence of sunlight. The trees are so thick that below them, where not much sunlight reaches the species that live there, both plant and animal, there are interesting and unique types of interactions and processes. This factor makes much about the biome very unique.
Plant Species Epiphytes—these are plants that grow on other plants rather than on soil. The soil is very nutrient-poor in tropical forests, and there is a lack of sunlight that reaches the forest floor. They grow on high branches, use limbs for support, and extract moisture from the air. • Ex: orchids, bromel Lianas: woody vines that quickly grow to fill in the gaps or openings, sometimes due to fallen trees; they compete for light and space. This would not be of such competitive nature if it weren’t for the limited sunlight or nutrient-poor soil. • Note: Both of these plant species' adaptations and unique characteristics represent strategies to reach sunlight
Animal Species • Bright colors, sharp patterns, loud vocalizations, fruit-heavy diets, adaptations to arboreal life (arboreal: having to do with trees) Sloths: Slow moving, little muscle. Sloths must eat very little to be able to maintain a minimum body size in order to not fall from the trees. They are unique to rainforests. Algae grow on their fur to help them blend in with the lichen-covered tree bark. They are helpless on the ground and so they live among the trees of the tropical forests. Tucans: They are among the few adapted to feed on the many fruits found in the forest. The fruits are energy rich, and the birds pass out the seeds elsewhere, dispersing them. They play a major role in maintaining high diversity.
Abiotic Factors Sunlight: The trees keep out sunlight from layers below, and this creates many specific aspects of this biome. There are many unique plant species with adaptations to living in conditions like this, and animals also must adapt to the lack of sunlight. Nutrient-poor soil: Many plants have to adjust to this, and so there is a flourishing of plants that live on other plants. The fact that decomposition is very quick causes the soil to have low quantities of mineral nutrients.
Ecological Disturbance If there were an ecological disturbance, such as a tropical storm, the plant species that would flourish would be the epiphytes. There would be a lot of fallen trees, and the epiphytes would grow along the trees, while lianas fill in the gaps. Anything that died would decompose quickly in the soil, and the forest would slowly rebuild.
Sources Source- http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss5/biome/forests.html, and http://www.radford.edu/~swoodwar/CLASSES/GEOG235/biomes/rainforest/rainfrst.html, http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/troprain.htm, also used textbook
Chaparral Korey Mui
Background • Temperature range: 30˚F to 100˚F. Mild, moist winters and hot, dry summers. • Annual precipitation: 10-40 inches per year. Most of the rain comes in the winter, never in the summer. • Latitude: Mid-latitude climate. 30˚ to 50˚N and 30˚ to 40˚S. Specific locations: California, Chile, the Mediterranean, South Africa, and Australia. http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/chaparral.htm http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/k4/biomes/Boverview7.html
My Impression • This biome is relatively dull compared to the others: savannah, tropical, and desert. • I have never heard of this biome until this project. • It is almost like a wannabe desert but has too many shrubs. • California is characteristic of chaparrals, but I can’t help to think of the “Wild West” as abetter connection. http://www.desktopwallpaperhd.com/wallpapers/desktop-cowboy-lasso-background-quality-various-89697.html
Plant Species • Adenostoma fasciculatum (Chamise) • Evergreen shrub with stick-like branches, small shiny leaves with flammable oils, and bunches of white tubular flowers • Drought tolerant • Able to grow in nutrient-poor and dry soil of chaparral • Controls erosion well • Dormant seeds sprout at high rates only after fire • Manzanita • Perrenial scrubs or small trees with long, twisted, and smooth maroon branches, grey-green evergreen leaves, hairy twigs, and occasional flowers and fruits • Drought tolerant • Dependent on chaparral fires to burn thick endocarp allowing seeds to germinate http://www.bahiker.com/slideshows/mtnhomepics.html www.pbase.com/ image/57113729
Animal Species Grysbok (Cape and Sharpe’s) • Small antelope of around 35 pounds and 22 inches at the shoulder • Primarily nocturnal to evade heat • Sustains droughts by obtaining requirements from foods such as leaves buds, herb, and fruits • Hides in thick, short shrubs of chaparral without getting stuck Protea canary • Stays in chaparral to primarily feed on protea seeds as well as some fruit, shoots, and insects • Places op cup nest in a dense bush • Is shy and prefers to retreat to thick vegetation after flight http://mhsbiomes.wikispaces.com/Chaparral+2 http://www.birdsisaw.com/Bird.aspx?q=4179
Abiotic Factors Temperature • Hot summers and mild winters • Generates “hot and dry” characterization • Produces dry soil, droughts, and fires Soil • Nutrient-poor, dry, rocky • Result of dry climate and constant droughts • Characterizes distinct evergreen shrubs http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/segwayed/lessons/startemp/l1.htm
Ecological Disturbance Fire!...duh • Caused by combination of dryness and lightning/human activity • Can be impressive and violent • Secondary succession: poor soil intact • Burns plant life but most plants are quick to resprout and reproduce • Dormant seeds require heat intensity to germinate • After fire, those species that resprout quicker and have fire-dependent seeds will succeed others. http://interwork.sdsu.edu/fire/resources/chapparal-charecteristics.htm
Sources "Adenostoma fasciculatum." US Forest Service - Caring for the land and serving people.. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/adefas/all.html#INTRODUCTORY>. Bailey, Regina. "Land Biomes: Chaparrals." Biology. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <http://biology.about.com/od/landbiomes/a/aa060906a.htm>. "Chaparral Plants." Blue Planet Biomes. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/chaparral_plant_page.htm>. "Grysbok - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grysbok>. "Protea Canary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protea_Seedeater>. "[Biomes - Living Worlds] :: Chaparrals." Library ThinkQuest. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <library.thinkquest.org/C0113340/text/biomes/biomes.chaparral.animals.html?tqtime=1&qtime=0208>.
Savanna Aryam Kifle
Savanna Facts • Annual Temp: 20-30 C (68-86 F) • Precipitaion: 15-25 inches • Latitude: (In Africa) 15 degrees North and 30 degrees South
Impression The savanna is an evidently dry biome, rain only hits it for a couple of months a year, and they usually do not get more than 25 inches. It’s either in a state of drought, or monsoon, never in between. The savanna biome tends to have animals and plants that have adapted to the environment. Most of the animals are ungulates such as zebras, giraffes and the like. The savanna is essentially a big open plain with few trees, and even fewer tall trees.
Plants A plant that lives in the savanna is the Senegal Gum Acacia which is a small thorn tree which can grow up to 20 meters tall and has many branches that spread out and have thorns. Its leaves are a green color, and the plant has flowers, which turn into seedpods that look dried up and yellow. This plant is special in that in can live through periods of drought in the savanna. It grows in sandy areas where there are about 12 or 15 inches of rain a year. Another plant that lives in the savanna is the Gum Tree Eucalyptus, which is about 20 to 30 feet tall with round leaves of a greenish-gray color. The eucalyptus is special to the savanna because it grows in the sunny, dry climates because it is not able to tolerate cold weather.
Animals An example of an animal that lives in the savanna is the African Elephant. They are the largest mammals in the world. African elephants live here because they are herbivores, meaning they are easily able to eat plants as they please in the savanna. Another example of an animal that survives in the savanna is the African Wild Dog. The African Wild Dog is able to live in the savanna because during the dry season they are able to hunt many animals that they are able to hunt with their light body and long legs. It has large ears to help radiate heat away from its body and its muzzle has powerful muscles, which helps it catch and keep hold of its prey. Another benefit to the Wild Dog is its multicolored coat, which blends in with its surroundings making it easier to hunt.
Abiotic Seasonal rainfall is a major abiotic factor of the savanna biome. It characterizes the savanna because rainfall in the savanna is very infrequent, it’s as close as can be to a desert besides the monsoon season, which is the seasonal rainfall factor in the savanna. Another major abiotic factor that characterizes the savanna is the compact soil, which has edaphic factors, which contribute to the plant distribution in the biome.
Disturbance- Fire A possible ecological disturbance in the savanna is a fire in which the plants could be affected. Some plants in the savanna are fire resistant but some are not. Of the ones that are not, they would grow back in an order similar to the grass first, followed by small plants and shrubs, then succeeded by the larger trees, of which there are not many.
Sources http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/savanna.htm bioweb.uwlax.edu savanna.org.au