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The Tundra  (Arctic or Antarctic)

 

 

 

Tundra in Antarctica

Animals

  • How are penguins well-adapted to cold water and icy environments?
  • In which part of the world do penguins live?
  • Why are their wings so short?

Plants

Arctic Moss- Adaptations:

  • Arctic Moss can grow under fresh water that is left on the surface of the tundra after the summer thaw. Because of the permafrost, the water does not sink into the soil. Because it can grow under water, the moss is protected from cold, wind and the dry air of the tundra.
  • Arctic moss grows close to the ground. This way it is protected from the the drying wind and gets warmth from the soil.
  • Arctic Moss grows in very shallow soil. It is often found in cracks in rocks. These cracks are a result of the freezing and thawing of the tundra.
  • Arctic Moss has rhizoids instead of roots. These shallow little rootlets allow the moss to get nutrients from shallow soil in rocks and hold onto the rock in the windy tundra.
  • Arctic Moss has many little leaves. The little leaves help the plant conserve moisture. More leaves allow the plant to photosynthesize more, which is useful in the short days of the tundra.
  • Arctic moss grows very slowly. This way, the plant stores most of the nutrients it makes and takes from the soil. The nutrients saved help the plant to grow new leaves quickly the following spring.

Antarctic hair grass  and Antarctic pearlwort - Adaptations:

  • These are two of very few plants to grow in the Antarctic. 
  • Both of these plants  are specially adapted to surviving in extreme environments, in particular, tolerating low temperatures and dehydration.

 

Tundra in the Arctic

Animals

Polar Bear

  • Why do polar bears have such big feet?
  • How do they adapt to the cold?

Arctic Fox

  • How does its color help this animal?
  • How does it survive in extreme cold?

Arctic Hare

  •  How does its color help this animal?
  • How does it survive in extreme cold

Plants

Arctic Lupine - Adaptations:

  • Lupines are short and grow together in groups to be protected from the wind.
  • Lupines are short. This means they are near the soil which gets warm in the sunlight.
  • This plant moves slowly throughout the day to follow the sun and get the most sunlight in the short days.
  • Lupines produce flowers quickly, since the growing season in the tundra is short and lasts only about 60 days.
  • Lupines can grow at temperatures 15 degrees F to 4 degrees F, which is cooler than plants in any other region in the world.
  • Lupines get their energy from the sun through photosynthesis like all other plants, but do this in low temperatures and with low light.
  • Shallow root systems allow lupines to grow in thin soil because deeper soil is always frozen (permafrost).
  • Their root system is made of runners that spread out on the surface. These runners are called rhizomes. Rhizomes reach out for water over a wide area.
  • Lupines have 5 to 10 pointy, oval, little leaves that make them look like tiny palm trees. The little leaves help the plant conserve moisture
  • Lupines are pollinated by bees, which are attracted to the lovely colorful flowers. Also, seeds sit on the top of the plant to be blown by the wind.
  • Lupines have tough seeds that survive many seasons and are still alive. Some lupine seeds that have been found were more than 10,000 years old, and still germinated in the laboratory and grew to healthy plants
  • Lupine is poisonous which protects it from being eaten by grazing animals.

Arctic Moss- Adaptations:

  • Arctic Moss can grow under fresh water that is left on the surface of the tundra after the summer thaw. Because of the permafrost, the water does not sink into the soil. Because it can grow under water, the moss is protected from cold, wind and the dry air of the tundra.
  • Arctic moss grows close to the ground. This way it is protected from the the drying wind and gets warmth from the soil.
  • Arctic Moss grows in very shallow soil. It is often found in cracks in rocks. These cracks are a result of the freezing and thawing of the tundra.
  • Arctic Moss has rhizoids instead of roots. These shallow little rootlets allow the moss to get nutrients from shallow soil in rocks and hold onto the rock in the windy tundra.
  • Arctic Moss has many little leaves. The little leaves help the plant conserve moisture. More leaves allow the plant to photosynthesize more, which is useful in the short days of the tundra.
  • Arctic moss grows very slowly. This way, the plant stores most of the nutrients it makes and takes from the soil. The nutrients saved help the plant to grow new leaves quickly the following spring.
  • Antarctic hair grass (Deschampsia antarctica) and Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis) are found, occurring on the South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands and along the western Antarctic Peninsula. The vegetation is predominantly made up of lower plant groups (mosses, liverworts, lichens and fungi) which are specially adapted to surviving in extreme environments, in particular, tolerating low temperatures and dehydration.
Arctic Poppy - Adaptations:
  • Arctic Poppies are short and grow in groups close together to get protection from the wind.
  • They are short to be near the soil and gather its heat.
  • Arctic Poppies produce flowers quickly, since the growing season in the tundra is short and lasts only about 60 days.
  • Arctic poppies revolve slowly to face the sun throughout the long days of summer.
  • Poppies have colorful flowers that absorb heat and attract insects.
  • Arctic Poppies can grow at temperatures 15ºC to 20ºC (27ºF to 36ºF), which is cooler than plants in any other region in the world.
  • Arctic Poppies get their energy from the sun through photosynthesis like all other plants, but can do this in low temperatures and low light.
  • Shallow root systems allow plants to grow in thin soil because deeper soil is always frozen (permafrost).
  • Their root system is made of runners that spread out on the surface. These runners are called rhizomes. Rhizomes reach out for water over a wide area.
  • Arctic Poppies have little leaves that make them look like ferns. The little leaves help the plant conserve moisture.
  • Seeds are on the top of the plant to be blown by the wind.
  • Seeds are tough and can survive years before germinating.

Arctic Willow (Rock Willow) - Adaptations:

  • This plant can grow in wet or dry areas, clay, sand, and shallow soils.
  • Arctic Willow is short and grows like a carpet on the ground to be protected from the wind and be near the soil, which gets warm in the sunlight.
  • This plant makes a poison in the growing season to keep some insects away.
  • Their root systems are shallow because the permafrost prevents the roots from growing deeply.
  • Each Arctic Willow has either male or female flowers. These plants grow very close together for pollination.
  • This plant multiplies by seeds, but can also grow roots in its stems and form new plants.
  •  The Arctic Willow leaves are covered by long, fuzzy hairs. These hairs act like a sweater, they keep the plant warm and prevent loss of moisture.

 

 

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Did You Know?

Whitby has always been an innovative leader in education as the birthplace of the American Montessori Society and the only school in America accredited by both the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate for both the primary and middle years.

 


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