Arctic Tundra Research Paper

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The tundra is the world’s coldest biome. It is also known as the coldest desert due to its cold temperatures and the lack of rainfall. Although the temperature can go way below freezing, the tundra is home to many unique plants and animals. There are two classifications of areas that make up a tundra. The two types are the arctic tundra and the alpine tundra. Both tundra’s contain similar characteristics; the main difference is elevation. The arctic tundra is on a lower elevation. Countries that have an arctic tundra are Greenland, Canada, Russia, the Scandinavian countries in Europe such as Denmark, and Alaska in the United States. The alpine tundra is different because it is not in certain countries. Instead, it resides in high mountains…show more content…
The animals in the tundra vary. Because it is so high in elevation, and does not have a lot of resources, the alpine tundra only has a few animals. In the alpine tundra, one can find marmots, mountain goats, and sheep. The arctic tundra however, is home to many more animals. In the arctic tundra, one is able to find arctic fox, polar bears, wolves, caribou, reindeer, lemmings, musk ox, Snowshoe rabbits, and many kinds of birds and insects (“The Tundra Biome” 1). These animals are suited to live in freezing temperatures. In fact, the Snowshoe rabbit is able to change colors within seasons. During the winter, the rabbit may be white. While during the summer, the rabbit changes to a reddish-brown color (Gray 31). One of the most important animals in the tundra are lemmings. Lemmings are mice-like creatures that feed on plants. They are a food source for many carnivores that reside in the tundra such as foxes and owls (Gray 30). Without the lemmings, many animals could have the possibility of starving to death. When summer comes, and the top part of the permafrost melt, the tundra becomes home for several more critters. The bogs that are created in the summer attract many creatures such as birds, butterflies, and mosquitoes that come to lay their eggs nearby water (Gray…show more content…
However, there are not many primary producers in the tundra. Due to the permafrost layer and the lack of minerals in the soil, the tundra’s land is not sufficient enough to grow trees and a large variety of plants (Sayre 10). Most plants are short, and have characteristics that allow them to live in the tundra. Some of these characteristics include the natural ability to remain alive in the cold, having shallow roots, and being hairy and dark (Sayre 24-26). It is also important for a plant to be cushion-like. When a plant is cushion-like it is able to trap heat and is also able to provide a home for several insects .Because summer is short, and the permafrost layer is too deep for roots to grasp nutrients, the plants in the tundra are relatively short (Gray 22). Therefore, there is not a lot of variety of primary producers in the tundra. For the most part, the tundra only contains mosses, poppies, willows, and small shrubs. In addition, there are lichens, which are grown from algae and form a symbiotic relationship with fungi (Sayre 11). Both the algae and fungi live together, forming a single organism that are dependent upon each other. Many animals such as caribou rely on lichen as their food source (Gray

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