The Tundra Biome

On earth, there are two different types of tundra biomes: the alpine tundra and the arctic tundra. The main difference between the two is that arctic is covered in snow/ice year-round while the alpine is also snow-covered, but usually only during the winter. Alpine tundras experience cold weather because of their high atmosphere, while arctic tundras are cold because of how far from the equator they are. Tundras, especially alpines, can be found on almost every continent, they are located on the tops of mountains high in the atmosphere, up to 10,000 to 11,000 feet. In the image to the right, there are some great examples of alpine tundras all over the world, including the Andes/Patagonia, the Rockies, and the Himalayas.

Biotic Factors

  • Shrubs

  • Grasses

  • Flowers

  • Lichen

  • Herbivores

  • Carnivores

  • Migratory birds

  • Insects

  • Fish

Abiotic Factors

  • Snow

  • Permafrost

  • Wind

  • Soil

  • Rocks

  • Sunlight

  • Small amount of precipitation

Fun Fact #1

The word tundra comes from a Finnish word tunturi, which means treeless plain or barren land.

Fun Fact #2

The tundra is the one of the coldest biome in the world. The average temperature in the tundra is around -18 degrees F. It gets much colder in the winter and warmer during its short summer.

Fun Fact #3

The tundra is actually the second-most dry biome behind the desert despite it being covered in snow, this makes vegetation hard to grow.

There is not a lot of predator and prey competition in the Alpine but there are some. Some predator and prey relationships include wolves and caribou, bears and hares, snowy owls and lemmings, and polar bears and arctic foxes. For herbivores, vegetation in the alpines is scarce, so there is a lot of competition among them. The animals also fight for shelter from the harsh environments of the tundra. Animals also have to fight for food, like the musk ox and the caribou, and they have to fight for territory.

There are not many mutialism relationships in the tundra, but an example of one would be lichen. Lichen is made of both fungus and algae. The algae provides the fungus with sugar and oxygen while the fungus provides protection to the algae. An example of commensalism would be an arctic fox following a caribou. When the caribou looks for food it digs up the soil and brings up small mammals up to the surface. This makes it easier for the fox to finish digging up the animals to eat them.

To the left there is a tundra specific food web which shows the passing on of energy from producers to consumers. And to the right are three different examples of a tundra food chain. As you can see, they all start off with the sun, and end with a decomposer.

An example of a place in the Tundra would the the Alps. The Alps are the largest mountain range that is entirely in Europe. They are located in central Europe and occupy the countries of France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. There is a lot of biodiversity in the Alps due to both natural conditions as well as human activity over the past centuries.