There are two different types of Tundra Biomes: The Arctic/Polar Tundra: Found near the north and south polar regions. The Alpine Tundra: Found on mountainsides and high-elevation plateaus Both types of tundra are not restricted to any specific region or zone
Specific Traits of the Polar Tundra Found in the Northern Hemisphere Makes up 5.5% of the earth’s total surface Lies north of 70 degrees North latitude – some tundra is found on islands as far north as 55 degrees South Is very dry and gets up to 4-20 inches of precipitation each year, but mostly in the from of snow. Much of it is compared to a desert because it gets less than 10 inches of rain a year.
Specific Traits of the Alpine Tundra Absolutely no trees can grow here because of the elevation being so high. The growing season is only about 180 days Is usually found at an altitude of 10,000 feet or higher. Some tundra can even be found near the equator if the mountains are high enough There are only warm blooded animals in the alpine tundra
Tundra Climate The Tundra has freezing winter temperatures and cool, short summers. In terms of precipitation, drought-like conditions are the usual. There is a layer of frozen soil called permafrost which is frozen all year round. Summer temperatures remain below 10 degrees Celsius and in the winter temperatures can drop below -56 degrees Celsius.
General Latitude The tundra stretches between the latitude known as the tree line, which is the farthest extent to which trees can grow, and the latitude where snow and ice cover becomes permanent, preventing plant growth.
Flora The Polar tundra is characterized by low shrubs, sedges, reindeer mosses, liverworts, grasses, lichen, arctic willow, and caribou moss. The Alpine tundra is characterized by tussock grasses, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, and heaths.
Fauna The fauna in the Polar Tundra consists of lemmings, voles, caribou, arctic hares, squirrels, arctic foxes, wolves, polar bears, ravens, caribou, snow buntings, falcons, loons, sandpipers, tems, snow birds, and various species of gulls, mosquitoes, flies, moths, grasshoppers, black flies, and arctic bumble bees, cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout.
Fauna The fauna in the Alpine Tundra consists of pikas, marmots, mountain goats, sheep, elk, grouse like birds, springtails, beetles, grasshoppers, and butterflies.
Main Species Caribou Caribou Moss Lichen
Main Species Arctic Hare Arctic Fox
Flora Adaptations Adapted their life cycles to be completed in a single summer season. Some grow very low to the ground to protect from frost damage. Some grow horizontally and send up many branches to keep away from drying winds and still absorb as much sunlight as possible. They group together to resist cold temperatures and be protected form the snow. Many of them develop thick, leathery or waxy leaves that prevent moisture loss. Some grow hairs along the stems, leaves, and flowers to hold heat and protect against the wind.
Fauna Adaptations The most common adaption is a thick layer of fur or feathers to hold the heat close to their bodies. Some of the animals fur turns white during the winter to hide in the snow and protect them from predators. Many large animals have compact body shapes that help them retain more heat than if their bodies were long and thin. Many animals avoid the cold by migrating and some animals build up a layer of fat over the summer, which provide energy and food while also keeping them warm during the harsh winters. Some may burrow into the snow to avoid harsh, frigid tempertures and winds.
Map of Tundra Distribution Alpine Tundra Map Arctic/Polar Tundra Map