BTHS Environmental Science Chapter 7

Rickey Mei 1/14/05

1) Tundra: Long harsh winters and short summers. Above the Arctic Circle the sun does not set at all for many days in the midsummer. The soil is relatively young due to the fact that it was formed when the glaciers retreated after the last ice age. Taiga: Winters are extremely cold and severe. The Taiga receives little precipitation and the soil is poor. It is acidic and very low in minerals. Temperate Rain Forest: Mild winters and cool summers. It contains nutrient-poor soil, although the organic content is high. The amount of rainfall is high. Temperate Deciduous Forest: Seasons with hot summers and cold winters. The soil is rich in organic material. 30 to 50 inches of rainfall annually. Grasslands: Hot summers and cold winters. The amount of rainfall is uncertain. There is a huge range. In grasslands with less precipitation the minerals tends to accumulate under the topsoil but it washes away in other areas. Organic material is very high. Chaparral: Mild winters and abundant rainfall combined with dry summers. The soil is very thin and is not very fertile. Deserts: Extreme heat and cold. Very little precipitation. No soil. Savanna: Seasons in the savanna are varied by precipitation and not temperature. Soil has very little essential mineral nutrients. Tropical Rain Forest: Warm year round and precipitates almost daily. The soil is poor in minerals. 2) Taiga- Most of the organisms in this biome is medium sized and they are all fur bearing animals. This includes rodents, rabbits, lynx, sable, and mink. Many of these organisms migrated from the tundra to the taiga for the winter. Temperate deciduous forest- This biome contains large mammals such as puma, wolves, bison and deer’s. This biome could sustain so much life because the topsoil is so rich in nutrients. The plant eaters are very large and so are the meat eaters. Temperate rain forest- This biome is represented mainly by small organisms such as squirrels, wood rats, and numerous amounts of reptiles. Tropical Rain Forest- The rain forest has so much diversity that there are organisms living everywhere. In the trees, there are monkeys and sloth’s and on the ground there are organisms ranging from elephants to gorillas. 3) I live in the temperate deciduous rain forest biome. There are seasons and the leaves fall off the trees in autumn. 4) The biome best suited for agriculture is the temperate grassland. It has a lot of precipitation and there is a reasonable amount of minerals in the soil. 5) The most important limiting factors in aquatic ecosystems are Salinity, pH, and waves.


A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. II. A. 1. 2. B. 1.

A biome is a large, relatively distinct terrestrial region with characteristic climate, soil, plants, and animals, regardless of where it occurs. A biome encompasses many interacting ecosystems. Temperature and precipitation are important abiotic factors that influence biome distribution. Tundra, the northern most biome, is characterized by a permanently frozen layer of subsoil called the permafrost, by low-growing vegetation adapted to extreme cold, and by a very short growing season. The taiga, or boreal forest, lies south of the tundra and is dominated by coniferous tress that are adapted to the cold winters, a short growing season, and acidic, mineral-poor soil. Temperate rain forest such as occurs on the northwest coast of North America, receives very high precipitation and is dominated by large conifers. Temperate deciduous forest occurs where precipitation is relatively high and soils are rich in organic matter. Broad-leaf trees that lose their leaves seasonally dominate this biome. Temperate grassland typically possesses deep, mineral-rich soil and has moderate but uncertain precipitation. Temperate grassland is well suited to growing grain crops. Tropical grassland, called savanna, has widely scattered trees interspersed with grassy areas. It occurs in tropical areas with low or seasonal rainfall. Thickets of small-leaf evergreen shrubs and trees and a climate of wet, mild winters and dry summers characterize the chaparral. Desert, found in both temperate (cold desert) and subtropical or tropical regions (warm desert) with low levels of precipitation, contains organisms with specialized water-conserving adaptations. A tropical environment with mineral-poor soil and very high rainfall that is evenly distributed through the year characterizes tropical rain forest. Tropical rain forest has a high species diversity and high productivity. In aquatic ecosystems, important environmental factors include salinity, amount of dissolved oxygen, and availability of light for photosynthesis. Aquatic life is ecologically divided into plankton (free-floating), nekton (strongly swimming), and benthos (bottom-dwelling). The microscopic phytoplanktons are photosynthetic and are the base of the food web in most aquatic communities. Zooplanktons are nonphotosynthetic organisms that include protozoa, tiny crustaceans, and the immature stages of many animals. Freshwater ecosystems include flowing- water (rivers and smaller streams), standing-water (lakes and ponds), and freshwater wetlands. In flowing-water ecosystems, the water flows in a current, which is swifter in headwaters than downstream. Flowing-water ecosystems have few phytoplankton and depend on detritus from the land fro much of the energy.

2. Large standing-water ecosystems (freshwater lakes) are divided into zones on the basis of water depth. a. The marginal littoral zone contains both emergent vegetation and algae and is very productive. b. The limnetic zone is open water away from the shore that extends down as far as sunlight penetrates to permit photosynthesis. Organisms in the limnetic zone include phytoplankton, zooplankton, and larger fishes. c. The deep, dark profundal zone holds little life other than bacterial decomposers. 3. Freshwater wetlands, lands that are transitional between freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, are usually covered by shallow water and have characteristic soils and vegetation. They are highly productive areas that perform many valuable ecosystem services. C. An estuary is a coastal body of water, partly surrounded by land, with access to the ocean and a large supply of fresh water from rivers. 1. Water levels in an estuary rise and fall with the tides. 2. Salinity fluctuates with tidal cycles, the time of year, and precipitation. Within the estuary salinity also changes gradually, from unsalty fresh water at the river entrance to salty ocean water at the estuary’s mouth. 3. Estuaries are very productive, in part because they receive a high input of nutrients from the adjacent land. D. Four important marine environments are the intertidal zone, benthic environment, neritic province, and oceanic province. 1. The intertidal zone is the shoreline area between low and high tides. It is a very productive area. Organisms of the intertidal zone possess adaptations to resist wave action and the extremes of being covered by water ( high tides) and exposed to air (low tide). 2. The benthic environment is the ocean floor. a. Sea grasses are flowering plants that have adapted to complete submersion in salty ocean water. They have a high primary productivity and are ecologically important in shallow marine areas. b. Kelps, the largest brown algae, are common in cooler temperate marine waters, particularly in relatively shallow waters along rocky coastlines. Kelp forests provide food and habitats for many marine animals. c. Coral reefs are important benthic communities in shallow tropical ocean waters. Coral reefs, which have high species diversity and high productivity, are classified as fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls. 3. The neritic province is open ocean that overlies the ocean floor from the shoreline to a depth of 200 m. Organisms that live in the neritic province are all floaters or swimmers. Phytoplankton in the euphotic zone are the base of the food web. 4. The oceanic province is that part of the open ocean that overlies the ocean floor at depths greater than 200 m. The uniform environment beneath the surface waters of the oceanic province is dark, cold, and under high pressure. Animal inhabitants are predators or scavengers that subsist on detritus that drifts in from surface waters.


The everglades in the southernmost part of Florida are a vast expanse of sawgrass wetlands dotted with small islands of trees. Called the “river of grass,” it is a slow-moving sheet of water that drifts from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. A. The everglade today is about half its original size and has many serious environmental problems. Most water bird populations are down by 90% in recent decades. B. Engineering projects have reduced the quantity of water flowing into the Everglades, and the water that does enter is polluted from agricultural runoff. Urbanization has fragmented the ecosystem. C. Although the Everglades will never return completely to its original natural condition, it can be partially restored. Florida and the U.S. government began a massive restoration project in 1996.

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