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Biol 121 Ecology Notes.docx

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BIOL 121
Carol Pollock

Ecology- Biomes (Lecture 4) Jan. 11, 10 Terrestrial Biomes Key Distinguishing Factors (location, temperature, ppt, vegetation, etc) Tropical rainforest -also called tropical wet forests -found in equatorial regions around the world -plants in this biome have broad leaves (opposed to narrow, needle-like leaves), and are evergreen -older leaves are shed throughout year, but no complete seasonal loss of leaves -in some rainforests, monthly temperatures tend to stay within 25 and 30 C throughout the year – almost no seasonal variation in temperature -important because temperatures are high enough to support growth throughout the year -even in the driest month Nov, region receives over 5 cm (50 mm) – considerably more than the annual rainfall of many deserts -favorable year-round growing conditions produce riotous growth – high productivity and above- ground biomass - species diversity(many arthropods and trees) -diversity of plant sizes and growth forms creates extraordinary structural diversity -few extremely large trees tower over a layer of large trees that form a distinctive canopy, creating a wide array of habitat types for animals (Subtropical) desert -found in two distinctive locations: 30 degrees latitude, both N and S -mean monthly temp vary more than in tropical wet climates, and in some deserts temp is freezing at night – on average fairly warm temp. -low ppt, average annual ppt in Yuma, Arizona is 75 mm -scarcity of water means productivity of desert is little -individual plants are widely spaced – this may reflect intense competition for water -species adapt to extreme temp and aridity (dryness) in two ways: growing at a low rate year-round or breaking dormancy and growing rapidly in response to any rainfall Temperate grassland -found throughout central North America and heartland of Eurasia -known as prairies or steppes -a region is temperate if it has pronounced annual fluctuations in temp-typically hot summers and cold winters-but not the temp extremes recorded in the tropics/arctic -temp variation dictates a well-defined growing season -in temperate zone, plant growth possible during spring, summer, and some fall months -ppt at Konza Prairie near Manhattan, Kansas is 4x than Yuma, Arizona -but still quite dry, and low ppt – in no month is there more than 50 mm ppt Temperate forest -in temperate areas with relatively high ppt, grasslands give way to forests – found in eastern North America, western Europe, east Asia, Chile, New Zealand -temperate forests experience period where mean monthly temp falls below freezing and plant growth stops -compared to grassland climates, ppt is moderately high, relatively constant annually -Chicago, Illinois has annual ppt 850 mm -in N.A. and Europe, temperate forests dominated by deciduous species, which drop their leaves in autumn and grow new ones in spring -needle-leaved evergreens and in other places broad-leaved evergreens dominate -temperate forests – productivity level b/t rainforest and grassland Ecology- Biomes (Lecture 4) Jan. 11, 10 -diversity level is moderate Boreal forest (taiga) -stretches across most of Canada, Alaska, Russia, northern Europe -referred to as subarctic -cold winters and cool, short summers -temp variation is extrem
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