TUNDRA FOOD CHAIN

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Saturday, 10 January 2009

TUNDRA FOOD CHAINS

TUNDRA FOOD CHAINS

There are two different types of animals in this biome: migratory and permanent . Some of the most common permanent tundra animals found are some bird species as well as mammals such as the Arctic fox, the Arctic hare, and caribou. Most tundra animals are large. The weather conditions of the tundra biome require these species to have a large amount of feathers or fur to provide thick body insulation. In addition, as winter covers the land, their insulated coats turn from summer brown to entirely white. The short growing season enables these animals to feed enough to form the thick layer of fat. It will provide them both energy and a protection against the cold.

In the tundra food chain biomes, the animal population varies in size, sometimes in response to the change in population in other species. For example, the lemming consumes some of the plain vegetation. During the summer when there is food, they breed with astounding speed. One female produces five or six babies in a litter and does so, four or five times in a single season. In a few months, she may have produced thirty young. The babies grow so quickly that the first to be born in the spring can themselves reproduce before the winter returns. If vegetation is insufficient, some of the newborn will die and the population will decrease.

Fluctuations in the number of predators can also greatly affect species existence. The snowy owl is a predator of the lemming. It will emigrate from the tundra if the lemming is scarce, and might travel south, sometimes beyond South-Virginia. Many of these snowy owls die when they attempt to return to the plains.

The migratory species such as the caribou will only remain in the tundra plains during the summer season. The herd moves as much as 50 miles a day (over 80 km) following the same route each year. In places, paths have been worn 18 inches deep (45 cm) where the animals have passed century after century. They have to keep traveling in order to find enough food to sustain them all. Caribous will migrate south to avoid winter but will return to the plains to breed when the winter ends. The Arctic tern, a white seabird, migrates from the Arctic where it breeds, to the Antarctic.

external image HS_10-2.gifProducer: Algae, Primary Consumer: Plankton, Secondary Consumer: Cod, Ringed Seal, Polar Bear.

external image A0196_min.jpg

Tundra Food Chain....
tundra-food-web.

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