What is a Biome?

A biome is a large geographical area of distinctive plant and animal groups, which are adapted to that particular environment. The climate and geography of a region determines what type of biome can exist in that region. Major biomes include deserts, forests, grasslands, tundra, and several types of aquatic environments. Each biome consists of many ecosystems whose communities have adapted to the small differences in climate and the environment inside the biome. All living things are closely related to their environment. Any change in one part of an environment, li e an increase or decrease of a species of animal or plant, causes a ripple effect of change in through other parts of the environment. The earth includes a huge variety of living things, from complex plants and animals to very simple, one!celled organisms. "ut large or small, simple or complex, no organism lives alone. Each depends in some way on other living and nonliving things in its surroundings.

Tundra Taiga Grasslands

Deciduous Forest Chaparral Desert Desert - Scru

Savanna Rainforest Alpine

Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska The Arctic Tundra is the world#s youngest biome. $t was formed %&,&&& years ago. 'ocated at latitudes (() to *&) +orth, the tundra is a vast and treeless land which covers about ,&- of the Earth#s surface, circumnavigating the +orth pole. $t is usually very cold, and the land is pretty star . Almost all tundras are located in the +orthern .emisphere. /mall tundra!li e areas do exist in Antarctica in the /outhern .emisphere, but because it is much colder than the Arctic, the ground is always covered with snow and ice. Average annual temperatures are !*&)0 1!(2)34. Tundra comes from the 0innish word 5tunturia5, which means a barren land. The ground is permanently fro6en %& inches to 7 feet 1,( to %&& cm4 down so that trees can#t grow there. The bare and sometimes roc y ground can only support low growing plants li e mosses, heaths, and lichen. $n the winter it is cold and dar and in the summer, when the snow and the top layer of permafrost melt, it is very soggy and the tundra is covered with marshes, la es, bogs and streams that breed thousands of insects and attract many migrating birds. The main seasons are winter and summer. /pring and fall are only short periods between winter and summer. The tundra is the world#s coldest and driest biomes. The average annual temperature is !%8) 0 1!,8) 34. +ights can last for wee s when the sun barely rises during some months in the winter, and the temperature can drop to !9:) 0 1!*&) 34. ;uring the summer the sun shines almost ,: hours a day, which is why the Arctic is also called the 'and of the Midnight /un. /ummer are usually warm. Temperatures can get up to (:) 0 1%,) 34, but it can get as cold as 7*) 0 17) 34. Average summer temperatures range from 7*) to 2&)0 17) to %2)34. The Arctic tundra is also a windy place and winds can blow between 7& to 2& miles 1:8 to 9* ilometers4 per hour. <f the +orth American, /candinavian and =ussian tundras, the /candinavian tundra is the warmest, with winter temperatures averaging %8)0 1!8)34 The tundra is basically li e a desert when it comes to precipitation. <nly about 2 ! %& inches of precipitation 1mostly snow4 fall each year. "elow the soil is the tundra#s permafrost, a permanently fro6en layer of earth. ;uring the short summers the top layer of soil may thaw just long enough to let

plants grow and reproduce. /ince it can#t sin into the ground, water from melting permafrost and snow forms la es and marshes each summer. There is barely any vegetation in the tundra, only about %,*&& different species, which isn#t very much. These are mostly shrubs, sedges, mosses, lichens and grasses. There are about :&& varieties of flowers. The growing season is only about (& to 2& days long. There are no trees, except for some birches in the lower latitudes. The ground is always fro6en beneath the top layer of soil, so trees can#t send their roots down. >illows do grow on some parts of the tundra but only as low carpets about 7 inches 18 cm4 high. Most plants grow in a dense mat of roots which has developed over thousands of years. The soil is very low in nutrients and minerals, except where animal droppings fertili6e the soil. /urprisingly there are animals in the tundra. Although there isn#t a lot of biodiversity, only :8 species of land mammals are found on the tundra, there are a lot of each species. These consist of slightly modified shrews, hares, rodents, wolves, foxes, bears and deer. There are also smaller herds of mus !oxen. >olves, wolverines, arctic foxes, and polar bears are the predators of the tundra. /maller mammals are snowshoe rabbits and lemmings. There aren#t many different species of insects in the tundra, but blac flies, deer flies, mosquitoes and 5no!see!ums5 1tiny biting midges4 can ma e the tundra a miserable place to be in the summer. Mosquitoes can eep themselves from free6ing by replacing the water in their bodies with a chemical called glycerol. $t wor s li e an antifree6e and allows them to survive under the snow during the winter. The marshy tundra is a great place for migratory birds li e the harlequin duc , sandpipers and plovers. The tundra is a very fragile environment. The extremely cold temperatures ma es it a difficult environment to survive in during the winter, and plants and animals have a hard time coping with any extra stresses and disturbances. More people moving to the tundra to wor in the mines and oil rigs have created towns and more roads. /ome animal#s movements to traditional feeding and denning grounds have been disrupted by these obstacles. >hen they try to pass through a town they are often scared away or shot. >ith their feeding patterns disrupted, many polar bears have starved. The Alas an oil pipeline was built across a caribou migration route. $n some places the pipeline has been raised above the ground so the caribou can pass under it. ?esticides have been used to control the hordes of insects. Thousands of migrating birds come to the tundra because of the abundant insects. Through the food chain the pesticides reach many of the animals that live on the tundra.

!lants" • • • • • • • • Arctic Moss Arctic >illow "earberry 3aribou Moss ;iamond!leaf >illow 'abrador Tea ?asque 0lower Tufted /axifrage

Animals" • • • • • • • • Arctic 0ox 3aribou Ermine @ri66ly "ear .arlequin ;uc Mus <x ?olar "ear /nowy <wl

The taiga is the biome of the needleleaf forest. 'iving in the taiga is cold and lonely. 3oldness and food shortages ma e things very difficult, mostly in the winter. /ome of the animals in the taiga hibernate in the winter, some fly south if they can, while some just cooperate with the environment, which is very difficult. Taiga is the =ussian word for forest and is the largest biome in the world. $t stretches over Eurasia and +orth America. The taiga is located near the top of the world, just below the tundra biome. The winters in the taiga are very cold with only snowfall. The summers are warm, rainy, and humid. A lot of coniferous trees grow in the taiga. The taiga is also nown as the boreal forest. ;id you now that "oreal was the @ree goddess of the +orth >indA The taiga doesn#t have as many plant and animal species as the tropical or the deciduous forest biomes. $t does have millions of insects in the summertime. "irds migrate there every year to nest and feed. The main seasons in the taiga are winter and summer. The spring and autumn are so short, you hardly now they exist. $t is either hot and humid or very cold in the taiga. There are not a lot of species of plants in the taiga because of the harsh conditions. +ot many plants can survive the extreme cold of the taiga winter. There are some lichens and mosses, but most plants are coniferous trees li e pine, white spruce, hemloc and douglas fir. 3oniferous trees are also nown as evergreens. They have long, thin waxy needles. The wax gives them some protection from free6ing temperatures and from drying out. Evergreens don#t loose their leaves in the winter li e deciduous trees. They eep their needles all year long. This is so they can start photosynthesis as soon as the weather gets warm. The dar color of evergreen needles allows them to absorb heat from the sun and also helps them start photosynthesis early. Evergreens in the taiga tend to be thin and grow close together. This gives them protection from the cold and wind. Evergreens also are usually shaped li e an upside down cone to protects the branches from brea ing under the weight of all that snow. The snow slides right off the slanted branches.

Animals of the taiga tend to be predators li e the lynx and members of the weasel family li e wolverines, bobcat, min s and ermine. They hunt herbivores li e snowshoe rabbits, red squirrels and voles. =ed deer, el , and moose can be found in regions of the taiga where more deciduous trees grow. Many insect eating birds come to the taiga to breed. They leave when the breeding season is over. /eed eaters li e finches and sparrows, and omnivorous birds li e crows stay all year long. !lants" • • • • • • • • • "alsam 0ir "lac /pruce Eastern =ed 3edar Bac ?ine ?aper "irch /iberian /pruce >hite 0ir >hite ?oplar >hite /pruce Animals" • • • • • • • • • • American "lac "ear "ald Eagle "obcat 3anadian 'ynx @ray >olf @ri66ly "ear 'ong!Eared <wl =ed 0ox /nowshoe =abbit >olverine

Climate" The lowest and highest temperatures that occur for taiga are the followingC • • • • >inter#s '<>E/T temperature in taiga is !2()0. >inter#s .$@.E/T temperature is 7&) 0. /ummer#s '<>E/T temperature is 7&) 0. /ummer#s .$@.E/T temperature is *&) 0.

@rassland biomes are large, rolling terrains of grasses, flowers and herbs. 'atitude, soil and local climates for the most part determine what inds of plants grow in a particular grassland. A grassland is a region where the average annual precipitation is great enough to support grasses, and in some areas a few trees. The precipitation is so eratic that drought and fire prevent large forests from growing. @rasses can survive fires because they grow from the bottom instead of the top. Their stems can grow again after being burned off. The soil of most grasslands is also too thin and dry for trees to survive. There are two different types of grasslandsD tall!grass, which are humid and very wet, and short!grass, which are dry, with hotter summers and colder winters than the tall!grass prairie. @rassland biomes can be found in the middle latitudes, in the interiors of continents. They can have either moist continental climates or dry subtropical climates. $n Argentina, /outh America, the grasslands are nown as pampas. The climate there is humid and moist. @rasslands in the southern hemisphere tend to get more precipitation than those in the northern hemisphere, and the grass tends to be the tall!grass variety. There is a large area of grassland that stretch from the E raine of =ussia all the way to /iberia. This is a very cold and dry climate because there is no nearby ocean to get moisture from. >inds from the arctic aren#t bloc ed by any mountains either. These are nown as the =ussian and Asian steppes. $n the winter, grassland temperatures can be as low as !:&) 0, and in the summer it can be as high *&) 0. There are two real seasonsC a growing season and a dormant season. The growing season is when there is no frost and plants can grow 1which lasts from %&& to %*( days4. ;uring the dormant 1not growing4 season nothing can grow because its too cold. The most common types of plant life on the +orth American prairie are "uffalo @rass, /unflower, 3ra6y >eed, Asters, "la6ing /tars, 3oneflowers, @oldenrods, 3lover, and >ild $ndigos. /ome common animals in the grasslands are 3oyotes, Eagles, "obcats, the @ray >olf, >ild Tur ey, 0ly 3atcher, 3anadian @eese, 3ric ets, ;ung "eetle, "ison, and ?rairie 3hic en.

T#pes of Grasslands"

The /teppe biome is a dry, cold, grassland that is found in all of the continents except Australia and Antarctica. $t is mostly found in the E/A, Mongolia, /iberia, Tibet and 3hina. There isn#t much humidity in the air because /teppe is located away from the ocean and close to mountain barriers. T he /teppe biome is usually found between the desert and the forest. $f it got more rain, it would become a forest. $f it got less rain, it would become a desert. The average rainfall is %&!7& inches per year. "ut in May, Bune, and August, the /teppe can get up to :!( inches a month. Fery few people live in the /teppe climate because it#s only grass and it has very few other traits. 0armers would have a hard time growing crops because the soil is so poor and its so cold. There is also a lot of wind in the /teppe because there are few trees. /teppe has warm summers and really cold winters. There is often a lot of snow in the northern /teppes. All the /teppes experience long droughts and violent winds. /ometimes the summers are so hot that the grasses catch on fire. That is more dangerous then usual because the grass is so dry that it spreads quic ly. A lot of the animals that live in /teppe are gra6ing animals, such as rabbits, mice, antelopes, horses, etc. /maller animals have little defense from predators. /ince it is such an open environment and predators can find animals fast, they either form herds or ma e burrows. There are many endangered animals on the /teppe. More and more people are trying to protect them.

$n the middle of +orth America is a huge area of land which was once covered with grasses and colorful wild flowers. The 0rench called the rolling plains of grass 5prairie5, from the word for a meadow gra6ed by cattle. The prairies are a type of grassland dominated by herbaceous plants and grasses. Fery few trees grow on the prairies and are usually widely scattered. 3limates are more moist close to the mountains and to the east and northD they are driest in the central portions. This creates different types of prairies, with the tallgrass prairie, nown as the true prairie, in the wetter parts. @rasses such as big bluestem, and $ndian grass, and many species of flowers grow here. The plants can sometimes grow to be %& feet tall. Mixed!grass prairies are found in the central @reat ?lains, and shortgrass prairie towards the rain shadow of the =oc y Mountains. The rain shadow causes ?acific ocean moisture to rise and cool, dropping as rain or snow on the western side of the mountains instead of on the prairies. "efore settlers moved west, the prairies were covered with herds of gra6ing animals, such as buffalo, el , deer, and rabbits. These animals increased the growth in prairies by adding nitrogen to the soil through urine and feces, and creating open areas for plants that li e to have the soil dug up. ?rairie dogs dug huge underground tunnel systems which aerated the soil and allowed water to reach several feet below the surface. Today very little of the original prairies survive, only one to two percent. Much of the land has been turned into agricultural uses, urban areas are moving in, and fires are being suppressed. The genetic and biological diversity of the plants are disappearing. The herds of thousands of buffalo were all but wiped out. There is a strong movement to educate people about prairies. Many states are rehabilitating what is left of their prairies and reintroducing the native wildlife and plants.

The ?ampas of /outh America are a grassland biome. They are flat, fertile plains that covers an area of 7&&,&&& sq. miles or ***,&&& square ilometers, from the Atlantic <cean to the Andes Mountains. $t is found primarily in Argentina and extends into Eruguay. The word ?ampas comes from the @uarani $ndian word for level plain. The Argentinean ?ampas are the home of the #@aucho#, the original /outh American cowboy. The average temperature in the ?ampas is %8) 3. The pampas has a #high sun# or dry season in the summer, which in the /outhern .emisphere is in ;ecember. The wind blows most of the time. The climate in the pampas is humid and warm. There are many inds of animal and plant life in the ?ampas. +ative plants and animals on the ?ampas have made adaptations to living in a windy grassland. Many animals browse on grass or burrow in the ground. There is even an owl that builds its nest in underground burrows. A few of the plants in the pampas include cattails, water lillies, reeds. These plants usually prefer wetlands but they have adapted to the dryer ?ampas grasslands. There are not very many trees because fires frequently occur in the pampas. The fires do not ill the grasses, which regenerate from their root crowns, but destroy the trees, which have shallow root systems. The exception is the <mbu which has made adaptations to protect itself from fires. /ome animals include seed eating birds such as the ;ouble 3ollard /eedeater, the great ?ampas 0inch, the grassland Gellow 0inch, and the 'ong Tailed =eed 0inch. $t is also home to the @reater =hea, a relative of the African <strich and the Australian Emu. $n addition to birds, several interesting mammals can be found in the pampas. The @eoffroy#s 3at, for example, with its gray coat and blac stripped legs, is almost invisible in the mesquite and bunchgrass. The Maned >olf has very long legs so it can see over the tall grasses. Also, one can find a llama!li e @uanaco that lingers among the ponds. $t is important to now that at least fifteen mammal species, twenty bird species, and fifteen plant species are at serious ris of extinction in the ?ampas. The humid ?ampas ecosystem is one of the richest gra6ing areas in the world. "ecause of its temperate climate and rich, deep soil, most of the ?ampas has been cultivated and turned into croplands. Enfortunately, domestic livestoc and farming have severely affected the pampas. 0ertili6ers and overgra6ing are a serious threat to the pampas. There are only a very few pristine remnants of the legendary 5ocean of grass5 that was the ?ampas. $t is considered to be one of the most endangered habitats on earth.

;eciduous forests can be found in the eastern half of +orth America, and the middle of Europe. There are many deciduous forests in Asia. /ome of the major areas that they are in are southwest =ussia, Bapan, and eastern 3hina. /outh America has two big areas of deciduous forests in southern 3hile and Middle East coast of ?araguay. There are deciduous forests located in +ew Healand, and southeastern Australia also. $n deciduous forests there are five different 6ones. The first 6one is the Tree /tratum 6one. The Tree /tratum 6one contains such trees as oa , beech, maple, chestnut hic ory, elm, basswood, linden, walnut, and sweet gum trees. This 6one has height ranges between 2& feet and %&& feet. The small tree and sapling 6one is the second 6one. This 6one has young, and short trees. The third 6one is called the shrub 6one. /ome of the shrubs in this 6one are rhododendrons, a6aleas, mountain laurel, and huc leberries. The .erb 6one is the fourth 6one. $t contains short plants such as herbal plants. The final 6one is the @round 6one. $t contains lichen, club mosses, and true mosses. The deciduous forest has four distinct seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. $n the autumn the leaves change color. ;uring the winter months the trees lose their leaves. The animals adapt to the climate by hibernating in the winter and living off the land in the other three seasons. The animals have adapted to the land by trying the plants in the forest to see if they are good to eat for a good supply of food. Also the trees provide shelter for them. Animal use the trees for food and a water sources. Most of the animals are camouflaged to loo li e the ground. The plants have adapted to the forests by leaning toward the sun. /oa ing up the nutrients in the ground is also a way of adaptation. A lot of deciduous forests have lost land to farms and towns. Although people are trying to protect the forests some poachers are trying to ill the animals in the forests. The animals are losing their homes because of people building their homes. !lants" • • • • American "eech 3arpet Moss 3ommon 'ime @uelder =ose • • • • • 'ady 0ern +orthern Arrowwood Tawny Mil sap Mushroom >hite "irch >hite <a

Animals" • • • American "ald Eagle American "lac "ear 3oyote

• • • • •

Eastern 3hipmun European =ed /quirrel 0at ;ormouse 'east >easel >hite!tailed ;eer

• ;uc bill ?latypus Climate" $ts climate is that it has four distinct seasonsD spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Most deciduous forests have mild summers averaging about *& )0. /ummer months usually begin in early Bune and end in late August. >inter months don#t begin until ;ecember. >inter temperatures are fairly cool with an average temperature of a little below free6ing. Almost all of the world#s deciduous forest is located by an ocean. The ocean and the wind are two big factors of why the temperature and climate change so much in this biome.

The chaparral biome is found in a little bit of most of the continents ! the west coast of the Enited /tates, the west coast of /outh America, the 3ape Town area of /outh Africa, the western tip of Australia and the coastal areas of the Mediterranean. 'ay of the landC The chaparral biome has many different types of terrain. /ome examples are flat plains, roc y hills and mountain slopes. $t is sometimes used in movies for the 5>ild >est5. 3haparral is characteri6ed as being very hot and dry. As for the temperature, the winter is very mild and is usually about %& )3. Then there is the summer. $t is so hot and dry at :& )3 that fires and droughts are very common. 0ortunately, the plants and animals are adapted to these conditions. Most of the plants have small, hard leaves which hold moisture. /ome of these plants are poison oa , scrub oa , Gucca >iple and other shrubs, trees and cacti.

The animals are all mainly grassland and desert types adapted to hot, dry weather. A few examplesC coyotes, jac rabbits, mule deer, alligator li6ards, horned toads, praying mantis, honey bee and ladybugs. !lants" • • • • • • • • • • • "lue <a 3oyote "rush 0airy ;uster 0rench "room Iing ?rotea 'ebanon 3edar Man6anita Mountain Mahogany /altmarsh "ird#s "ea <live Tree Torrey ?ine • • • • • • • • • "lac !tailed Bac rabbit 3actus >ren @olden Bac al @rey 0ox $sand @rey 0ox ?uma /an Boachin Iit 0ox /potted / un >ild @oat

Animals" • Aardwolf

Climate" $n the winter the 3haparral climate, also nown as the Mediterranean climate, is mild and moist, but not rainy. ;uring the summer it is very hot and dry. The temperature is usually mild but it can get very hot or nearly free6ing. The temperature range is between 7&) and %&&) 0. This biome only gets about %&!%* inches of rain all year, and most of it comes in the winter. "ecause of the long period of dryness in the summer, only plants with hard leaves can survive, such as scrub oa s, chamiso shrubs, pines, cor and olive trees. Many leaves are also hairy so they can collect the moisture out of the air and use it. There are many fires in the chaparral because of the heat and dryness. /ome plants have adapted even to the fires. Their seeds will lie dormant until there is a fire. Their seed casings will crac and the seed will sprout only then.

T. Sibona. F.A.O

The tropical rain forest is a forest of tall trees in a region of year!round warmth. An average of (& to ,2& inches 1%,( to 22& cm.4 of rain falls yearly. =ain forests belong to the tropical wet climate group. The temperature in a rain forest rarely gets higher than 97 )0 17: )34 or drops below 28 )0 1,& )34D average humidity is between ** and 88-D rainfall is often more than %&& inches a year. There is usually a brief season of less rain. $n monsoonal areas, there is a real dry season. Almost all rain forests lie near the equator. =ainforests now cover less than 2- of Earth#s land surface. /cientists estimate that more than half of all the world#s plant and animal species live in tropical rain forests. Tropical rainforests produce :&- of Earth#s oxygen. A tropical rain forest has more inds of trees than any other area in the world. /cientists have counted about %&& to 7&& species in one , %J,!acre 1%!hectare4 area in /outh America. /eventy percent of the plants in the rainforest are trees. About %J: of all the medicines we use come from rainforest plants. 3urare comes from a tropical vine, and is used as an anesthetic and to relax muscles during surgery. Kuinine, from the cinchona tree, is used to treat malaria. A person with lymphocytic leu emia has a 99- chance that the disease will go into remission because of the rosy periwin le. More than %,:&& varieties of tropical plants are thought to be potential cures for cancer. ;espite these differences, each of the three largest rainforests!!the American, the African, and the Asian!!has a different group of animal and plant species. Each rain forest has many species of mon eys, all of which differ from the species of the other two rain forests. $n addition, different areas of the same rain forest may have different species. Many inds of trees that grow in the mountains of the Ama6on rain forest do not grow in the lowlands of that same forest.

>here the =ainforests Are 0ound The tropical rain forest can be found in three major geographical areas around the world.
• •

3entral America in the the Ama6on river basin. Africa ! Haire basin, with a small area in >est AfricaD also eastern Madagascar.

$ndo!Malaysia ! west coast of $ndia, Assam, /outheast Asia, +ew @uinea and Kueensland, Australia. Animals" "engal "amboo "ougainvillea 3urare 3oconut Tree ;urian Bambu Iapo Tree Mangrove 0orests /trangler 0igs Tualang
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Africa 0orest Elephant "engal Tiger 3himpan6ee 3ommon ?alm 3ivet or Musang ;awn "at @olden 'ion .arpy Eagle Bambu 0ruit ;ove Iing 3obra Iin ajou

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'inn#s /loth <rangutan ?roboscis Mon ey =ed!shan ed ;ouc 'angur /ilvery @ibbon /lender 'oris /umatran =hinoceros Toco Toucan Fampire "at >agler#s ?it Fiper

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Dry desert

A .ot and ;ry ;esert is, as you can tell from the name, hot and dry. Most .ot and ;ry ;eserts don#t have very many plants. They do have some low down plants though. The only animals they have that can survive have the ability to burrow under ground. This is because they would not be able to live in the hot sun and heat. They only come out in the night when it is a little cooler. A cold desert is a desert that has snow in the winter instead of just dropping a few degrees in temperature li e they would in a .ot and ;ry ;esert. $t never gets warm enough for plants to grow. Bust maybe a few grasses and mosses. The animals in 3old ;eserts also have to burrow but in this case to eep warm, not cool. That is why you might find some of the same animals here as you would in the .ot and ;ry ;eserts. ;eserts cover about one fifth of the Earth#s land surface. Most .ot and ;ry ;eserts are near the Tropic of 3ancer or the Tropic of 3apricorn. 3old ;eserts are near the Arctic part of the world. .ot and ;ry ;eserts temperature ranges from ,& to ,() 3. The extreme maximum temperature for .ot ;esert ranges from :7.( to :9) 3. 3old ;eserts temperature in winter ranges from !, to :) 3 and in the summer ,% to ,2) 3 a year .ot and ;ry ;eserts are warm throughout the fall and spring seasons and very hot during the summer. the winters usually have very little if any rainfall. 3old ;eserts have quite a bit of snow during winter. The summer and the beginning of the spring are barely warm enough for a few lichens, grasses and mosses to grow. .ot and ;ry ;eserts vegetation is very rare. ?lants are almost all ground!hugging shrubs and short woody trees. All of the leaves are replete 1pac ed with nutrients4. /ome examples of these inds of plant are Turpentine "ush, ?ric ly ?ears, and "rittle "ush. 0or all of these plants to survive they have to have adaptations. /ome of the adaptations in this case are the ability to store water for long periods of time and the ability to stand the hot weather. 3old ;esert#s plants are scattered. $n areas with little shade,about %& percent of the ground is covered with plants. $n some areas of sagebrush it reaches 8( percent. The height of scrub varies from %( cm to %,, cm. All plants are either deciduous and more or less contain spiny leaves. .ot and ;ry ;eserts animals include small nocturnal 1only active at night4 carnivores. There are also insects, arachnids, reptiles, and birds. /ome examples of these animals are "orrowers, Mourning >heatears, and .orned Fipers. 3old ;eserts have animals li e Antelope, @round /quirrels, Bac =abbits, and Iangaroo =ats. ?lants • • • • • • • • "arrel 3actus "rittle "ush 3hainfruit 3holla 3reosote "ush 3rimson .edgehog 3actus ;esert $ronwood Boshua Tree Bumping 3holla

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Mojave Aster <cotillo ?alo Ferde ?anca e ?ric ly ?ear 3actus /aguaro 3actus /oaptree Gucca Triangle!leaf "ursage

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"obcat 3actus >ren 3oyote ;esert "ighorn /heep ;esert Iangaroo =at ;esert Tortoise Bavelina 3actus 0erruginoug ?ygmy <wl /onoran ;esert Toad /onoran ?ronghorn Antelope Thorny ;evil

Animals • • Armadillo 'i6ard "anded @ila Monster

A savanna is a rolling grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees, which can be found between a tropical rainforest and desert biome. +ot enough rain falls on a savanna to support forests. /avannas are also nown as tropical grasslands. They are found in a wide band on either side of the equator on the edges of tropical rainforests. /avannas have warm temperature year round. There are actually two very different seasons in a savannaD a very long dry season 1winter4, and a very wet season 1summer4. $n the dry season only an average of about : inches of rain falls. "etween ;ecember and 0ebruary no rain will fall at all. <ddly enough, it is actually a little cooler during this dry season. "ut don#t expect sweater weatherD it is still around *&) 0. $n the summer there is lots of rain. $n Africa the monsoon rains begin in May. An average of %( to ,( inches of rain falls during this time. $t gets hot and very humid during the rainy season. Every day the hot, humid air rises off the ground and collides with cooler air above and turns into rain. $n the afternoons on the summer savanna the rains pour down for hours. African savannas

have large herds of gra6ing and browsing hoofed animals. Each animal has a speciali6ed eating habit that reduces competition for food. There are several different types of savannas around the world. The savannas we are most familiar with are the East African savannas covered with acacia trees. The /erengeti ?lains of Tan6ania are some of the most well nown. .ere animals li e lions, 6ebras, elephants, and giraffes and many types of ungulates1animals with hooves4 gra6e and hunt. Many large grass!eating mammals 1herbivores4 can survive here because they can move around and eat the plentiful grasses. There are also lots of carnivores 1meat eaters4 who eat them in turn. ?lants of the savannas are highly speciali6ed to grow in this environment of long periods of drought. They have long tap roots that can reach the deep water table, thic bar to resist annual fires, trun s that can store water, and leaves that drop of during the winter to conserve water. The grasses have adaptations that discourage animals from gra6ing on themD some grasses are too sharp or bitter tasting for some animals, but not others, to eat. The side benefit of this is that every species of animal has something to eat. ;ifferent species will also eat different parts of the grass. Many grasses grow from the bottom up, so that the growth tissue doesn#t get damaged by gra6ers. Many plants of the savanna also have storage organs li e bulbs and corms for ma ing it though the dry season. Most of the animals on the savanna have long legs or wings to be able to go on long migrations. Many burrow under ground to avoid the heat or raise their young. The savanna is a perfect place for birds of prey li e haw s and bu66ards. The wide, open plain provides them with a clear view of their prey, hot air updrafts eep them soaring, and there is the occasional tree to rest on or nest in. Animals don#t sweat to lose body heat, so they lose it through panting or through large areas of exposed s in, or ears, li e those of the elephant. The savanna has a large range of highly speciali6ed plants and animals. They all depend on the each other to eep the environment in balance. There are over :& different species of hoofed mammals that live on the savannas of Africa. Ep to %2 different species of browsers 1those who eat leaves of trees4 and gra6ers can coexist in one area. They do this by having their own food preferences, browsingJgra6ing at different heights, time of day or year to use a given area, and different places to go during the dry season. These different herbivores provide a wide range of food for carnivores, li e lions, leopards, cheetahs, jac als and hyenas. Each species has its own preference, ma ing it possible to live side by side and not be in competition for food.

$n many parts of the savannas of Africa people have started using it to gra6e their cattle and goats. They don#t move around and soon the grasses are completely eaten up. >ith no vegetation, the savanna turns into a desert. .uge areas of savanna are lost to the /ahara desert every year because of overgra6ing and farming.


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Acacia /enegal "aobab

• • • • • • • • •

"ermuda @rass 3andelabra Tree Elephant @rass @um Tree Eucalyptus Bac alberry Tree Barrah tree Iangaroo ?aw Man etti Tree =iver "ushwillow

• • • • • • • • • • • •

African Elephant African >ild ;og "lac Mamba 3aracal 3hacma "aboon Egyptian Mongoose Emu @rant#s Hebra Ioala "ear 'ion +igriceps Ants +ile 3rocodile

• Embrella Thorn Acacia • >histling Thorn Animals" Climate"

The /avanna biome has a wetJdry climate. $ts ILppen climate group is Aw. The Astands for a tropical climate, and the wfor a dry season in the winter. $n the savanna climate there is a distinct dry season, which is in the winter. /avannas get all their rain in the summer months. ;uring the distinct dry season of a savanna, most of the plants shrivel up and die. /ome rivers and streams dry up. Most of the animals migrate to find food. $n the wet season all of the plants are lush and the rivers flow freely. The animals migrate bac to gra6e. $n >est Africa the rainy season begins in May. $t is usually cooler during the dry season by a few degrees. "ecause it is in the tropical latitudes that is still hot enough. The savanna climate has a temperature range of 28) to 82) 0 1,&) ! 7&) 34. $n the winter, it is usually about 28) to *8) 0 1,&) ! ,() 34. $n the summer the temperature ranges from *8) to 82) 0 1,() ! 7&) 34. $n a /avanna the temperature does not change a lot. >hen it does, its very gradual and not drastic. There is an annual precipitation of %& to 7& inches 1%&& to %(& cm4 of rain. 0rom ;ecember to 0ebruary hardly any rain falls at all.

3old, snowy, windy. >hen you hear those words they ma e you thin of mountains. The Alpine biome is li e winter is to people in +ew EnglandD snow, high winds, ice, all the typical winter things. $n 'atin the word for #high mountain# is #alpes#. That is where today#s word alpine comes from. Alpine biomes are found in the mountain regions all around the world. They are usually at an altitude of about %&,&&& feet or more. The Alpine biome lies just below the snow line of a mountain. As you go up a mountain, you will travel through many biomes. $n the +orth American =oc y Mountains you begin in a desert biome. As you climb you go through a deciduous forest biome, grassland biome, steppe biome, and taiga biome before you reach the cold Alpine biome. "ecause the severe climate of the Alpine biome, plants and animals have developed adaptations to those conditions. There are only about ,&& species of Alpine plants. At high altitudes there is very little 3<,, which plants need to carry on photosynthesis. "ecause of the cold and wind, most plants are small perennial groundcover plants which grow and reproduce slowly. They protect themselves from the cold and wind by hugging the ground. Taller plants or trees would soon get blown over and free6e. >hen plants die they don#t decompose very quic ly because of the cold. This ma es for poor soil conditions. Most Alpine plants can grow in sandy and roc y soil. ?lants have also adapted to the dry conditions of the Alpine biome. ?lant boo s and catalogs warn you about over watering Alpine plants. Alpine animals have to deal with two types of problemsC the cold and too much high EF wavelengths. This is because there is less atmosphere to filter EF rays from the sun. There are only warm blooded animals in the Alpine biome, although there are insects. Alpine animals adapt to the cold by hibernating, migrating to lower, warmer areas, or insulating their bodies with layers of fat. Animals will also tend to have shorter legs, tails, and ears, in order to reduce heat loss. Alpine animals also have larger lungs, more blood cells and hemoglobin because of the increase of pressure and lac of oxygen at higher altitudes. This is also true for people who have lived on mountains for a long time, li e the $ndians of the Andes Mountains in /outh America and the /herpas of the .imalayas in Asia. !lants" • • • Alpine ?hacelia "ear @rass "ristlecone ?ine • • • • Moss 3ampion ?olylepis 0orest ?ygmy "itterroot >ild ?otato

Animals" • • • Alpaca Andean 3ondor 3hinchilla

• • • • •

'lama Mountain @oat /now 'eopard FicuMa Ga

Climate" The Alpine biome is one of the coldest biomes in the world. $t is so cold because of its high altitudes. /ummer temperature range between !%, degrees 3elsius to %& degrees 3elsius. The average precipitation is 7& cm a year. $t is very much li e the Tundra biome. "oth the alpine and the tundra biomes are cold and dry throughout the year. The Alpine biome is also similar to the arctic biome. The .imalayan Alpine range is located in Asia in the countries of +epal, Tibet 13hina4, $ndia, ?a istan and "hutan. The range ma es a curve of %,(&& miles through /outhern Asia The Andes Mountains are the longest and one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. They are located in /outh America and stretch :,(&& miles from north to south, along the west coast of the continent. The =oc y Mountains are located in western +orth America. They are now for their beautiful scenery with mountains, trees and big game. ?eople visit the =oc ies for many recreational activities li e hi ing, hunting, camping, s iing and lots of other sports.

The Fresh$ater iome

0reshwater is defined as having a low salt concentration N usually less than %-. ?lants and animals in freshwater regions are adjusted to the low salt content and would not be able to survive in areas of high salt concentration 1i.e., ocean4. There are different types of freshwater regionsC
A la e at Acadia +ational ?ar , Maine.

• • •

?onds and la es /treams and rivers >etlands

!onds and la%es
These regions range in si6e from just a few square meters to thousands of square ilometers. /cattered throughout the earth, several are remnants from the ?leistocene glaciation. Many ponds are seasonal, lasting just a couple of months 1such as sessile pools4 while la es may exist for hundreds of years or more. ?onds and la es may have limited species diversity since they are often isolated from one another and from other water sources li e rivers and oceans. 'a es and ponds are divided into three different O6onesP which are usually determined by depth and distance from the shoreline. The topmost 6one near the shore of a la e or pond is the littoral zone. This 6one is the warmest since it is shallow and can absorb more of the /un#s heat. $t sustains a fairly diverse community, which can include several species of algae 1li e diatoms4, rooted and floating aquatic plants, gra6ing snails, clams, insects, crustaceans, fishes, and amphibians. $n the case of the insects, such as dragonflies and midges, only the egg and larvae stages are found in this 6one. The vegetation and animals living in the littoral 6one are food for other creatures such as turtles, sna es, and duc s.

0rom leftC a view across Man6anita 'a e toward Mt. 'assen, 3aliforniaD a forest pond near ;onnelly, $dahoD a @reat "lue .eronD ?aranagat 'a e, southeastern +evada.

The near!surface open water surrounded by the littoral 6one is the limnetic zone. The limnetic 6one is well!lighted 1li e the littoral 6one4 and is dominated by plan ton, both phytoplan ton and 6ooplan ton. ?lan ton are small organisms that play a crucial role in the food chain. >ithout aquatic plan ton, there would be few living organisms in the world, and certainly no humans. A variety of freshwater fish also occupy this 6one. ?lan ton have short life spans N when they die, they fall into the deep!water part of the la eJpond, the profundal zone . This 6one is much colder and denser than the other two. 'ittle light

penetrates all the way through the limnetic 6one into the profundal 6one. The fauna are heterotrophs, meaning that they eat dead organisms and use oxygen for cellular respiration. Temperature varies in ponds and la es seasonally. ;uring the summer, the temperature can range from :) 3 near the bottom to ,,) 3 at the top. ;uring the winter, the temperature at the bottom can be :) 3 while the top is &) 3 1ice4. $n between the two layers, there is a narrow 6one called the thermocline where the temperature of the water changes rapidly. ;uring the spring and fall seasons, there is a mixing of the top and bottom layers, usually due to winds, which results in a uniform water temperature of around :) 3. This mixing also circulates oxygen throughout the la e. <f course there are many la es and ponds that do not free6e during the winter, thus the top layer would be a little warmer.

Streams and rivers
These are bodies of flowing water moving in one direction. /treams and rivers can be found everywhere N they get their starts at headwaters, which may be springs, snowmelt or even la es, and then travel all the way to their mouths, usually another water channel or the ocean. The characteristics of a river or stream change during the journey from the source to the mouth. The temperature is cooler at the source than it is at the mouth. The water is also clearer, has higher oxygen levels, and freshwater fish such as trout and heterotrophs can be found there. Towards the middle part of the streamJriver, the width increases, as does species diversity N numerous aquatic green plants and algae can be found. Toward the mouth of the riverJstream, the water becomes mur y from all the sediments that it has pic ed up upstream, decreasing the amount of light that can penetrate through the water. /ince there is less light, there is less diversity of flora, and because of the lower oxygen levels, fish that require less oxygen, such as catfish and carp, can be found.

0rom leftC McArthur!"urney 0alls /tate ?ar , 3aliforniaD troutD @reen =iver, EtahD "roo s =iver, Alas a.

>etlands are areas of standing water that support aquatic plants. Marshes, swamps, and bogs are all considered wetlands. ?lant species adapted to the very moist and humid conditions are called hydrophytes. These include pond lilies, cattails, sedges, tamarac , and blac spruce. Marsh flora also include such species as cypress and gum. >etlands have the highest species diversity of all ecosystems. Many species of amphibians, reptiles, birds 1such as duc s and waders4, and furbearers can be found in the wetlands. >etlands are not considered freshwater ecosystems as there are some, such as salt marshes, that have high salt concentrations N these support different species of animals, such as shrimp, shellfish, and various grasses.

0rom leftC ?escadero Marsh, 3aliforniaD coastal marsh at Empqua ;unes, <regonD trees and bogs on Esther $sland, Alas a.

=eef fish and coral off Eniweto atoll in the central ?acific.

The &arine iome
Marine regions cover about three!fourths of the Earth#s surface and include oceans, coral reefs, and estuaries. Marine algae supply much of the world#s oxygen supply and ta e in a huge amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The evaporation of the seawater provides rainwater for the land. • • • <ceans 3oral reefs Estuaries

The largest of all the ecosystems, oceans are very large bodies of water that dominate the Earth#s surface. 'i e ponds and la es, the ocean regions are separated into separate 6onesC intertidal, pelagic, abyssal, and benthic. All four 6ones have a great diversity of species. /ome say that the ocean contains the richest diversity of species even though it contains fewer species than there are on land. The intertidal zone is where the ocean meets the land N sometimes it is submerged and at other times exposed, as waves and tides come in and out. "ecause of this, the communities are constantly changing. <n roc y coasts, the 6one is stratified vertically. >here only the highest tides reach, there are only a few species of algae and mollus s. $n those areas usually submerged during high tide, there is a more diverse array of algae and small animals, such as herbivorous snails,

crabs, sea stars, and small fishes. At the bottom of the intertidal 6one, which is only exposed during the lowest tides, many invertebrates, fishes, and seaweed can be found. The intertidal 6one on sandier shores is not as stratified as in the roc y areas. >aves eep mud and sand constantly moving, thus very few algae and plants can establish themselves N the fauna include worms, clams, predatory crustaceans, crabs, and shorebirds.

0rom leftC mussels, worms, and a spider crab at a hydrocarbon seep community in the @ulf of MexicoD a sea fan and brain coral in the 0lorida Ieys +ational Marine /anctuaryD a school of Atlantic amberjac off +orth 3arolina.

The pelagic zone includes those waters further from the land, basically the open ocean. The pelagic 6one is generally cold though it is hard to give a general temperature range since, just li e ponds and la es, there is thermal stratification with a constant mixing of warm and cold ocean currents. The flora in the pelagic 6one include surface seaweeds. The fauna include many species of fish and some mammals, such as whales and dolphins. Many feed on the abundant plan ton. The benthic zone is the area below the pelagic 6one, but does not include the very deepest parts of the ocean 1see abyssal zone below4. The bottom of the 6one consists of sand, slit, andJor dead organisms. .ere temperature decreases as depth increases toward the abyssal 6one, since light cannot penetrate through the deeper water. 0lora are represented primarily by seaweed while the fauna, since it is very nutrient!rich, include all sorts of bacteria, fungi, sponges, sea anemones, worms, sea stars, and fishes. The deep ocean is the abyssal zone . The water in this region is very cold 1around 7) 34, highly pressured, high in oxygen content, but low in nutritional content. The abyssal 6one supports many species of invertebrates and fishes. Mid!ocean ridges 1spreading 6ones between tectonic plates4, often with hydrothermal vents, are found in the abyssal 6ones along the ocean floors. 3hemosynthetic bacteria thrive near these vents because of the large amounts of hydrogen sulfide and other minerals they emit. These bacteria are thus the start of the food web as they are eaten by invertebrates and fishes.

Coral reefs
3oral reefs are widely distributed in warm shallow waters. They can be found as barriers along continents 1e.g., the @reat "arrier =eef off Australia4, fringing islands, and atolls. +aturally, the dominant organisms in coral reefs are corals. 3orals are interesting since they consist of both algae 16ooanthellae4 and tissues of animal polyp. /ince reef waters tend to be nutritionally poor, corals obtain nutrients through the algae via photosynthesis and also by extending tentacles to obtain plan ton from the water. "esides corals, the fauna include several species of microorganisms, invertebrates, fishes, sea urchins, octopuses, and sea stars.

0rom leftC reef life in the @ulf of Aqaba, =ed /eaD a reef at 0anning $sland atoll in the central ?acificD a reef in the 0lorida Ieys +ational Marine /anctuary.

Estuaries are areas where freshwater streams or rivers merge with the ocean. This mixing of waters with such different salt concentrations creates a very interesting and unique ecosystem. Microflora li e algae, and macroflora, such as seaweeds, marsh grasses, and mangrove trees 1only in the tropics4, can be found here. Estuaries support a diverse fauna, including a variety of worms, oysters, crabs, and waterfowl.

0rom leftC Mangrove roots, south 0loridaD wetlands and tidal streams in the Ashe $sland area, A3E "asin +ational Estuarine =esearch =eserve, /outh 3arolinaD a salt marsh in >inyah "ay +ational Estuarine =esearch =eserve, /outh 3arolina.

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