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Lecture 4

GEG 3114 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Tropical Rainforest, Growing Season, Biome


Department
Geography
Course Code
GEG 3114
Professor
Konrad Gajewski
Lecture
4

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06/10/14
Major Biomes
Biome: Large scale grouping of the world’s vegetation
-Based on plant functional types
-Species tend to have similar ecological tolerances
Not identical
-Exact composition varies within the biome
Tall vs. short grass prairies
Tundra: Far North & edge of Antarctica
-Thin band, primarily in Northern Canada
Boreal f: Just South of tundra,
-Conifer Dominated
Mixed Forest: Eastern US, Europe & China/East Asia
-Same Families and Genera found in all three
Prairies
Mediterranean: California & Mediterranean
-Extremely high diversity of vegetation
-Closely tied to climate
Desert (& Shrub land): Covers a large portion of the Earth
-One of the most extensive Biomes
Savannah: Seasonally dry
-Tend to be around deserts
-Grass & tree system
-Sub-tropical
Tropical Rain: Very wet
-Found in tropical regions
Temperate Coniferous: Looks like a boreal forest, but has different flora
-Different species (Same genera), so different biome
-Not Florida
It’s possible to be too hot, too moist, too much radiation ect.
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Biomes will be used as examples
Theme
Tundra Plant adaptation to cold temp
Boreal Forest Importance of fire
2b) Tree line The relation of biogeographic boundaries to
the macroclimate
Temp deciduous forest Patch dynamics
Mediterranean Human impacts on ecosystems
Prairies Soil & environment, drought impacts
Deserts Plant adaptation to water stress
Savannas Animal grazing
7b) Tropical Seasonal forest Seasonality
Tropical rain forest Biological interactions
Other Montane/Alpine, Coastal, Wetlands
Patches can be a single tree, or many hectares (Each burn in boreal forest)
Ecotone: Transition between biomes
-Can be very small to several degrees of latitude
-Mixture of two very different biomes
Treed systems tend to be found in moderate climates
-Take a lot of energy to maintain a tree
Sahara desert has next to no vegetation, but other deserts have herbs, shrubs, cacti etc.
Deciduousness is an adaptation to unfavorable season (dry season, cold winters)
-Evergreens are found in tropics as well as in Boreal forest (conifers)
Evergreen trees (Conifers) can begin to photosynthesize as soon as the snow
melts, deciduous trees would have to spend time & energy growing leaves
first
-Wastes a large parts of the (short) growing season
Tropical evergreens are broadleaved, boreal are needle-leaf trees
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Tropical & Subtropical Hadley regimes
-Rising air in tropics (high precipitation) sinking air in subtropics (very low
precipitation)
-Moves with seasons/solar equator
Always rising = rain for
Always sinking = deserts
Mix of rising & falling savannah & seasonality of precipitation
Temperate & Boreal Rossby regimes
-Jetstream & westerly winds (Both hemispheres)
Also meander north & south
Moves warm/cold air around
-Causes snowstorms/Precipitation, cyclones etc.
-Large variability of precipitation
-Coldest temperatures over continents
Both are caused by the way the Earth rotates as well as the position of continents & oceans
-Key to understanding biomes
High pressure cells are larger and further north during the summer
-Dry summers in the Mediterranean regions (& higher precipitation in the winter)
Growing season coincides with dry season
Systems that tend to burn in summer
Can accumulate biomass during the winter (not as much)
Air masses acquire the properties of the area they sit above
-Moist (Marine/Maritime) vs. Dry (continental)
-Warm (Tropical) vs. Cool (Polar/arctic)
-Area of influence of the air masses varies with the seasons
Arctic Continental (cP/cA) air masses extend over the Boreal forest in the
winter but not the summer (Tundra is under its influence all year)
This causes the strong seasonality in the boreal forest
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