Biomes Biology

Topics: Climate, Tundra, Biome Pages: 5 (1711 words) Published: February 19, 2013

29/11/2012 AD

Taiga or Boreal forest
The Taiga is an area of coniferous forest that is the largest land Biome as it makes up 29% of the forest cover of the world. It constitutes most of inland Canada, Alaska and northern US states, most of Sweden, Finland and Norway, lowland and coastal areas of Iceland, Russia: from St. Petersburg to the Pacific ocean including most of Siberia, northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, and northern Japan on the island of Hokkaidō. Being a coniferous area of woodland the main tree species are: pine, larch, birch and spruce. Some of these trees (spruce and pine) are adapted to the climate by having smaller, prickly leaves with waxy cuticles to reduce water loss and do not defoliate in winter. The advantage of this being that the trees may take in all the available sunlight for photosynthesis. The branches on such trees tend to be slightly elastic and bend under the eight of snow causing it to fall off and expose the leaves to the sun. The trees also have very shallow roots due to the continuous permafrost that restricts growth and also slows down the nutritional development of the soil. Temperatures in the Taiga have a huge variation between winter and summer and may vary from −54 °C to 30 °C throughout the whole year. The summers are generally short but are humid, warm and never last more than four months. In much of the taiga, -20 °C would be an average winter day temperature and 18 °C an average summer day temperature with average annual temperatures at 3°C. In some parts of the Taiga such as the Alaska-Yukon area the annual temperatures could be as low as -10°C due to the extended winters. Precipitation is generally low in the Taiga and the majority is summer rain, in all: there is 400mm to 600mm of precipitation per year to the west and eastward it gradually falls to 200mm a year.

The Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome can be found around the world in five different locations:  Mediterranean Basin, Californian chaparral, Southwest Australia, Chilean Matorral and the Western Cape areas of South Africa. It is named Mediterranean because of the climate shared with that of the general area of the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome, are characterized by dry summers and rainy winters. Summers are typically hot in low-lying inland locations but can be cool near some seas, as near San Francisco, which have a sea of cool waters. Temperatures will frequently exceed 40°C but normally remain above 30°C. Winters are typically mild to cool in low-lying locations but can be cold in inland and higher locations such as the Appennini in Italy where it often snows in winter. Average temperatures vary between 3 to 5°C in winter but the cold does not last long because of the long summers that give the Mediterranean its characteristic appearance. The rainfall ranges from 100-150mm in winter to around 15-25mm in summer. The vegetation in the Mediterranean biome must withstand the arid soil, prolonged droughts of the summer and long periods of rainfall in winter. Pines, Oaks, Sycamores, Oaks, and Buckeyes, Olives, Figs, Citrus, Walnuts and Grapes are all prime examples of Mediterranean plants because they can survive the long droughts – citrus plants especially because water that would normally be sent to the fruit would instead be carried to the rest of the plant to stay alive. Pines as evergreens do not lose much water in the hot temperatures due to the small leaves and smaller surface area.

The Tundra is one of the coldest biomes on the planet and occupies the regions: coastal Greenland, very north of Canada and Alaska and Russia, Antarctic islands and subantarctic islands. The main characteristic is that it lacks trees due to the very low annual temperatures, poor nutritional soil, low precipitation...
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