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Ecosystem
Coniferous (Boreal) Forest
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Cold winter Climate
Climax Vegetation: Evergreen Trees
Location: Only in the Northern
hemisphere and is located in a broad
band across Northern North America
and Northern Eurasia
Tundra
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Tundra Climate
Climax Vegetation: Grasses shrubs
and low plants
Location: Northern Hemisphere,
north of the boreal forest across
Northern North America and
Northern Eurasia
Plant Adaptation
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Polar Ice Caps
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Polar (Ice Cap) Climate
Climax Vegetation: Phytoplankton
beneath the ice
Location: Extremely High Latitudes
in both hemispheres
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Coniferous tress are well adapted to
lack of water in the winter
They have needle leaves which
reduce surface area for transpiration
Drooping branches and a conical
shape allow heavy snow to fall off
relieving the pressure
Shrubs and bushes are adapted to an
extremely cold climate where
winter is long and summer is short
Shallow roots because 1-3 metres
below the surface the soil is
completely frozen (permafrost)
Fast flowering and reproduction
cycle (growing season is 1-2
months)
Conserve moisture
Extreme adaptations
No land for the producers to grow
Small Phytoplankton form the base
of the food chain
Animal Adaptations
N/A
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Hibernation in the winter
Migration in for the summer season
and out for the winter season
Develop insulating features (thick
fur, fat insulation) i.e. polar bears
White fur/feathers for camouflage
Limited blood circulation to
extremities
Ptarmigan feet enlarge to walk on
the snow
Migration in for the summer and out
for the winter
Insulation features (thick fur and fat
insulation) i.e. polar bears
White fur/feathers for camouflage
Temperate Grasslands
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Semi-arid in most areas, but in some
regions it is temperate cold winter
Climax Vegetation: Grass
Location: Found in North America,
South America, Australia and
Eurasia
Temperate Deciduous Forest
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Temperate Mild Winter
Climax Vegetation: Deciduous Tress
(oak, birch and maple)
Location: Predominantly in North
America and South America but is
present in Australia, Europe and
Asia.
Tropical Rain Forests
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Tropical Wet climate in most
locations, but in some regions it is
tropical wet and dry
Climax Vegetation: Evergreen
Broadleaf Trees
Location: South America, Africa,
Australia, and South East Asia
(contained within the tropics)
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Shallow Roots
Small water requirement
The small size of the plant means it
requires less water
N/A
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Trees are well adapted to lack of
water
They lose their leaves to prevent
water loss (most water loss occurs
through leaves).
Lose their leaves in the winter
N/A
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Tall trees are adapted to thin soil
Buttress roots (large wide) to
support their height
Plants have to reach high into the
canopy to get sunlight while at the
same time reaching water from the
ground
Some develop long vines so leaves
can be at the top of the canopy while
roots can be on the forest floor
Epiphytes have specialized roots that
allow them to absorb water from the
air (they reach the sun by lying in
the canopy, and they get water from
the roots that hang in the air)
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Some animals are adapted to spend
their entire life in the canopy
Savana Grasslands
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Tropical wet and dry in most
locations, but in some it is semi-arid
Climax Vegetation: Grass
Location: Found in South America,
Australia, Africa and South East
Asia
Deserts
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Arid
Climax Vegetation: cacti and fleshy
plants
Location: Two bands around the
earth 10-30 North and South
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Grasses are adapted to lack of water
Small plants require less water
N/A
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Cacti are adapted to lack of water
(often called Xerophytes)
Deep root systems help them obtain
water
Water storage capability gives them
the ability to go a long time without
rain
Some plants prevent water loss with
needle leaves and thick skin
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Deer mice can get all the water from
the food they eat (do not need to
drink water)
Toads have the behavioural
adaptations of hibernating through
the driest seasons
Some animals are only active at
night (nocturnal) to keep them out of
the daytime heat
Some animals have large extremities
with high blood circulation to help
with heat loss
Some reptiles reduce water loss by
excreting solid uric acid crystals
instead of water containing urine
Mountain Ecosystems
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Not exclusively low latitudes
The occur in most latitudes
They can contain all types of ecosystems from all latitudes
Figure 6.10 on page 104 illustrates the fact that latitudinal succession closely parallels altitudinal succession
The changes in ecosystems move up a mountain are the same as when you move north of the equator
Mountain ecosystems vary with altitude and temperature