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Tundra Biomes

Updated on October 22, 2011

There are little pieces of knowledge that many of us tend to miss, simply because we failed to take interests, or sometimes because we were never informed about them. Well, for those of us who have forgotten about these details here is a reminder. And to those who do know about these little pieces of facts, well then good for you! Now let’s see if this article gives something new for you to know about.

A biome is an intricate biotic area distinguished by individualistic plant and animal types and kept under the climatic surroundings of the area. Biomes are defined by features similar to plant structures like trees and shrubs, leaf types (such as broadleaf and needle leaf), plant spacing (forest, woodland), and climate.

There are three classifications of Biomes; terrestrial (land), marine and fresh water biomes. An example of land biome is Tundra. Marine and fresh water biomes are ponds, mangrove forest and kelp forests.   

One of the coldest regions of the world, the word Tundra originates from the Finnish word “tunturi” which means treeless plain.

The Tundra is distinguished from other plains by it distinct characteristics such as low temperatures, low average precipitation, lack of nutrients and/or infertile soil.

Where Can The Tundra Biome Be Located?

The Tundra is to be found in the region of the North Pole in the Arctic Circle.

The Characteristics Of Tundra Biome

The Tundra is covered in snow mostly throughout the year. During its short summers, the snow melts forming muddy pools of water, leaving it murky and grimy.

Any industrial activity in the Tundra will indefinitely lead to global warming. The Tundra is low in its biotic diversity, or rather only the strongest organisms can survive in the Tundra. Its vegetation structure is simple with flat lands and infertile soil and has limited drainage.

How Cold Is It In The Tundra?

Fierce winds in Tundra make it cold, adding to this factor are the snow and ice covered grounds, which only cause the sea to free. Annually the Tundra receives approximately 10 inches of precipitation. The Tundra biome experiences a short summer from May to July. Its average annual temperature is 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Growth In The Tundra

Several plants are capable of surviving in the Tundra. These plants are small; therefore they stay near the ground. This helps them stay away from the high, cold winds. Some plants contain hair stem cells, which help keep warm. These plants come alive in the summer when conditions are favourable.

Tundra Snowy owl.
Tundra Snowy owl.

Animals In The Tundra

A huge diversity of animals survives in the Tundra. They have particular adjustments that let them stay alive in the wintry weather. These are short legs; long hair and a coat of thick fur.

A number of animals that survive in the tundra are polar bears, caribou, and snowy owls. Caribou are animals that are frequently called reindeer. Their thick fur keeps them safe and warm in the cold weather.

Some Interesting Facts About The Tundra

  • During the summer, the sun shines all the time, even at midnight.

  • The poles are usually not extremely cold.

  • The movements of the plates that make up the earth's surface, plus the warming and cooling of the planet, have caused the cold conditions that are present today.

  • The frozen sea raises the salt, forming little ice flowers.

  • The only tree that grows in the tundra is the dwarf willow tree as it grows to a maximum of four inches tall.

There Are Two Types Of Tundra Biomes

Arctic Tundra

Arctic tundra is found near the North Pole. This region is famous for its cold and desert-like situations. Their growing season varies from 50 to 60 days. The average winter temperature is -34° C, but the average summer temperature is 3-12° C which facilitates this biome to maintain life.

Rainfall may show a discrepancy in diverse areas of the arctic. Yearly rainfall, together with melting snow, is 15 to 25 cm. Soil is shaped gradually.

There are no unfathomable root systems in the plant life of the arctic tundra; however, there is still a broad diversity of plants that are able to resist the cold climate. There are about 1,700 kinds of plants in the arctic and subarctic, which include low shrubs, sedges, reindeer mosses etc.

Tundra Wolf
Tundra Wolf
  • Mammals: arctic foxes, reindeer, arctic hare, musk ox, wolves, lemmings and polar bears,
  • Migratory birds: ravens, snow buntings, falcons, loons, sandpipers, snow birds, and various species of gulls,
  • Insects: mosquitoes, moths, grasshoppers, black flies and arctic bumble bees
  • Fish: cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout.

These animals are made to withstand the tough climate; some of the animals hibernate to escape the harsh realities of this weather.

Tundra Swans
Tundra Swans
A view of Alpine Tundra region.
A view of Alpine Tundra region.
Flora and fauna in alpine tundra region.
Flora and fauna in alpine tundra region.

Alpine Tundra

Alpine tundra is to be found on mountains all over the world at high altitude where trees cannot grow. Their growing season is limited to 180 days. Their nighttime temperature is frequently lower than the freezing point. The soil in this region is well drained. Some of the animals found in this region are:

  • Mammals: Pika, marmots, mountain goats, chinchillas, sheep, elk and woodland caribou
  • Birds: Grouse like birds and kea parrots.
  • Insects: Beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies.

Well, now you know so many details about this one aspect and beauty of the world. So go out and explore, learn more and enjoy. Since life is short, living it is not the only offer; you can explore too and enjoy it more.

Some Facts About Tundra Biome


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    • profile image

      random person 5 years ago


    • profile image

      girl 5 years ago

      yeah what about the soil?!?!?!?!

    • profile image

      random:[ 5 years ago

      omg this is a reaally great webset (not)

    • profile image

      random 6 years ago

      what about the soil?

    • profile image

      Beast mode 32 6 years ago

      Awesome killen em with biology. Now trying to get this info on my powerpoint.

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      Jb 6 years ago

      actualy, it has a long growing season. based on how in the summer the sun shines 24/7.

    • profile image

      WTF 6 years ago


    • hassam profile image

      hassam 7 years ago from Pakistan

      Thanks for showing interest.

    • lraposo profile image

      lraposo 7 years ago from Portugal

      I already studied this type of ecosystem, and I enjoyed all the surroundings of the Tundra, since the change in soil and the atmosphere. It is very interesting!