Welcome to the Tundra!

By Linse K., Erica J., and Kirstin D.

The Tundra is a large area of cold dry land that stretches across Canada, Northern Russia, and Northern Alaska. The climate is very cold almost the entire year and there is a very short growing season in the brief summer. The average temperature is around -18.4 degrees F (-28 degrees C), sometimes as low as -58 degrees F.
A polar bear in the arctic.

Animals Some of the animals that live in the Tundra include caribou Rangifer tarandus, musk ox--Ovibos moschatus, lemmings (Lemmus sibiricus), and snowy owls (Nyctea scandiaca). In extreme conditions polar bears(Ursas maritimus), make their home.

Plants Because the Tundra contains a harsh climate trees can not live in this extreme biome, if they do the trees are very short. Nonvascular plants, like mosses and liverworts, can survive in the Tundra because they grow not but a few inches from the ground some include, caribou moss (Cladonia rangiferina), and peat moss (Sphagnum pulchrum). Heather (Erica ciliaris), labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), and tufted saxafrage (Saxfraga caepitosa), are just some of the vascular plants that can survive the harsh conditions of the Tundra.

Monera Species that are categorized underneath the Monera Kingdom are scarce in the Tundra, they can mostly be found in the animals and plants that live in this biome. Though there are some bacteria that can be found here. Some of those are Achromabacter and Alcaligenus.

Protists Protists live everywhere in the Tundra. Though there are many more, some include Tracheleugly padenata or D. ovifomis.

Fungi Every acre of the Tundra biome contains more than one ton of living bacteria. Bacteria in this biome, just like most other biomes, feed off of dead organisms. Mushrooms like the Amanita muscaria or more commonly known as the fly agaric, can be found in the Tundra biome.
fungi on a fallen tree
fungi on a fallen tree
Other organsims, such as the lichen shown at the right, are a cross between a fungi, and algae, or cyanobacteria. This is an example of mutualism, since the algae provide the fungi and bacteria with food and the fungi provide a home for the algae.

The Different Types of Tundras
The Arctic Tundra's soil is poor in nutrients leaving the land with a low amount of vegetation. Some plants such as shrubs, moss and lichens can survive in the Arctic Tundra. The Ice rivers that flow in the Arctic Tundra, along with the ocean, are homes to many fish such as salmon and trout. Once in a while rain and other forms of precipitation fall from the clear blue sky leaving the land with small ponds which serve as mating areas for incects native to the Arctic Tundra. Other animals including creatures like the polar bear or the arctic hare have adapted to the harsh climate of the Tundra. The animal population changes many times a year because of the migrating birds and hibernating animals.

The midnight sun in the Arctic

The Alpine Tundra is very similar to the Arctic Tundra except it is found on the tops of rocky mountains. The plant life includes low shrubs that serve as meals to grazing animals that can survive the harsh climates. Some of the animals include the pika--Ochotona callaris, or the elk--Cervus canadensis. Some birds such as the grouse--Falcipennis, and insects like an arctic bumblebee--B. polaris, also live on the high elevations of the Alpine Tundra.

click here for the Tundra Food Web.
click here for the Tundra Factual Page.
click here for a Fictional story about the Tundra biome.
click here for our Tundra Bibliography Page