Ice Ice Baby - Mercer Island School District

Ice Ice Baby
brought to you by
Rachel, Peter, Jeffery
Arctic Tundra
 Features of landscape
 Flat
 No trees
 Swampy in summer after melting of permafrost
 Description of soil type
 Poor in nutrients, which accounts for the low amount of vegetation
 Vegetation
 Very limited
 Fun fact
 The word tundra is believed to come from the Finnish word
"tunturia" which refers to a treeless plain. This feature helps define
the tundra. In transition zones from other biomes, such as the taiga
or coniferous forests, stunted trees and shrubs are all that grows.
 Northern hemisphere:
 Northern Canada, parts of Alaska, southern Greenland,
northern Europe, Russia, and North Pole
 Southern hemisphere:
 Isolated islands of the coast of Antarctica and the Antarctic
 Two seasons
 Winter
 Sun absent almost 24 hours a day
 Average temperature ~-28°C
 Extremes can dip to -70°C
 Summer
 Sun is present almost 24 hours a day
 Sun only warms up to a range of ~3°C to 12°C
 Less than 10 inches of precipitation per year, most of this falls as
 A cold desert with dry winds
 Each summer, the upper layer melts just enough to create small
bogs and pools. The water will not soak into the ground however,
because the permafrost blocks it. In the winter these pools
freeze and the cycle repeats itself. Very little moisture is lost to
Seasonal Information
 Best time to visit: Summer
 In order to view the wildlife and enjoy the
biome when there is sunlight
 In the winter the animals migrate or go into
Unique Features
 Limited amount of sunlight
 Due to the position of the sun in the sky
 The sun can remain below the horizon for up to 2 months, leaving the arctic
tundra in darkness
 However, in the summer the sun remains in the sky for 24 hours a day,
it stays close to the horizon and provides only low intensity sunlight
 Permafrost
A layer of permanently frozen subsoil called permafrost exists,
consisting mostly of gravel and finer material and is constantly
frozen, nothing can penetrate it because it has no cracks or pores
 The active layer is the surface layer above the permafrost that thaws each
summer. Pools of water form on the active layer when the snow melts and
cant penetrate through the permafrost layer
Native Species
 Plant
 There are about 1,700 kinds of plants in the arctic and
subarctic, and these include: low shrubs, sedges, reindeer
mosses, liverworts, and grasses 400 varieties of
flowerscrustose and foliose lichen
 Animal
 Herbivorous mammals: lemmings, voles, caribou, arctic hares
and squirrels
 Carnivorous mammals: arctic foxes, wolves, and polar bears
 Migratory birds: ravens, snow buntings, falcons, loons,
sandpipers, terns, snow birds, and various species of gulls
 Insects: mosquitoes, flies, moths, grasshoppers, blackflies and
arctic bumble bees
 Fish: cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout
 Plants
 All of the plants are adapted to sweeping winds and disturbances of the
 Plants are short and group together to resist the cold temperatures and
are protected by the snow during the winter.
 They can carry out photosynthesis at low temperatures and low light
 The growing seasons are short and most plants reproduce by budding and
division rather than sexually by flowering.
 Animals
 Animals are adapted to handle long, cold winters and to breed and raise
young quickly in the summer.
 Animals such as mammals and birds also have additional insulation from
 Many animals hibernate during the winter because food is not abundant.
 Another alternative is to migrate south in the winter, like birds do.
 Reptiles and amphibians are few or absent because of the extremely cold
Suggestive Tourism Activities
 Hiking and backpacking
 River floating
 Through the Thomsen River
 Takes paddlers through a diversity of landscapes where
they can see animals on its banks
 Wild life watching
 Tourists can see: grey wolves, wolverines, elk, grizzly
bears, caribou, eagles, mountain goats, penguins, polar
Significant Environmental Issues
 Rising global temperatures are leading to the
melting of ice caps
 This leads to climate loss for many species, which is
making survival for these species very difficult and
thus endangering these species
Negative Characteristics of the Biome
 It is known to be a bit chilly at times and some people
do not like the cold. (If you don’t like cold weather, we
advice against traveling here).
 Polar bears are known to be quite violent as well as may
other animals in the Tundra, so be careful and always
travel with a guide in dangerous areas.

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