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The tundras climate and what lives there

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      Tundra, coming from the Finnish word tunturia, meaning treeless plain, is the coldest of all biomes. The tundra has an extremely cold climate that can get as cold as – 90 degrees F. The tundra has a very low biotic diversity due to the frigidness. The drainage of water is very limited and there is a very short growing season and little precipitation. The tundra consists of snow capped mountains and treeless plains with solid dirt. The major nutrients in the tundra are nitrogen and phosphorus. Nitrogen is made by fixation and phosphorus by precipitation. There are two types of tundra: arctic tundra and alpine tundra. 
    
     The arctic tundra is located near the North Pole and extends as far south as the coniferous forests of taiga. Arctic tundra has a reputation for its cold desert like conditions. Its growing season only reaches up to 60 days a year. The temperature in the winter gets all the way down to -30 degrees F. In the summer, it can reach up to 54 degrees F. This makes it possible to have life in the arctic. It is amazing that the tundra has about 1,700 kinds of plants. This is a very wide variety for such a cold climate but nothing compared to the rainforest. The cold climate does not allow roots to go far in to the ground. This results in smaller plants such as Sedges, low shrubs, reindeer mosses, liverworts and grasses. There are almost 400 types of flowers there also. These plants have adapted to the cold climate and can carry out the process of photosynthesis in very low temperatures. The types of animals in the arctic are also somewhat diverse for such a cold climate. It has lemmings, voles, arctic hares, squirrels, foxes, wolves, polar bears, snow birds, cod, salmon, mosquitoes, flies, moths, grasshoppers, falcons, loons, ravens and a few others. These animals manage to raise their young in the brief summer. Mammals and birds also have an extra layer of fat insulation to keep them warm in the frigid winters. Overall, the arctic tundra has a diverse living population
     
     The alpine tundra is located at high altitudes on rocky mountain tops throughout the world. The growing season in the alpine is 180 days, much longer than the arctic. The nighttime temperature is typically below freezing. Unlike the arctic, the alpine tundra has well drained soil. The alpine does have similar plants to those of the arctic except for the shortage of trees. Some examples of plants in the alpine include tussock grasses, dwarf trees, small leafed shrubs and heaths. The animals of the alpine are well adapted to their surroundings. Some of these animals are pikas, marmots, mountain goats, sheep, elk, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies.
( Pullen, 2004 and SLW, 1996 )