Characteristics of polar environments—the climate, substrates, elevation above sea level, slope, exposure, and proximity to other landmasses—determine the complex of plant and animal life present in the polar regions.
What are the characteristics of polar regions?
Characteristics of polar areas include: Climate – long cold winters, with annual temperatures mostly below freezing. Polar areas are often windy, with very little precipitation. Permanent ice caps cover polar landscapes.
What is the polar ecosystem like?
Polar ecosystems are unique in several respects (e.g. very low temperatures, strong seasonality in light and productivity), and polar species are often highly adapted to life in small physiological ranges and extreme environmental conditions (Peck et al., 2004).
What are the main features of polar habitats?
Polar habitats are located at the very top and very bottom of the Earth. They are cold, windy and have a lot of snow and ice. It’s even too cold for trees to grow. Tundra takes up a lot of the area of polar habitats.
Do polar seas have high or low biodiversity?
Species diversity is enhanced in the Polar seas by a system of warm water upwellings that create breaks in the ice. The corresponding open areas support numerous invertebrates, fish, sea birds, and marine mammals – the result of a broad based food chain.
What are the characteristics of polar and tundra environments?
Polar and Tundra environments
They are characterised by barren landscapes, glaciers and huge ice sheets. The average monthly temperature is always below 0°C which allows snow and ice to accumulate despite low precipitation levels. Polar areas are covered in ice with some ice-free areas called Nunataks.
What are the characteristics of the Arctic?
Conditions typical of Arctic lands are extreme fluctuations between summer and winter temperatures; permanent snow and ice in the high country and grasses, sedges, and low shrubs in the lowlands; and permanently frozen ground (permafrost), the surface layer of which is subject to summer thawing.
Where is the polar ecosystem?
Polar habitats cover the top and bottom of planet Earth at the North and South Poles. The North Pole is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean. There isn’t any land here, just a group of continually shifting ice sheets. Parts of Canada and Greenland are near the North Pole.
Why is the polar ecosystem important?
Arctic marine ecosystems are important constituents of global biodiversity. … The marine Arctic also provides habitat for large populations of marine mammals and birds (see Reid et al., Chapter 3 and Ganter & Gaston, Chapter 4), some of which form colonies that are among the largest seabird colonies on the planet.
Where are polar ecosystem found?
Polar environments are in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Arctic regions are in the Northern Hemisphere, and it contains land and the islands that surrounds it. Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere and it also contains the land mass, surrounding islands and the ocean.
What describes a polar climate?
The polar climate regions are characterized by a lack of warm summers. Every month in a polar climate has an average temperature of less than 10 °C (50 °F). … A polar climate consists of cool summers and very cold winters, which results in treeless tundra, glaciers, or a permanent or semi-permanent layer of ice.
How do polar animals adapt to their environment?
Their adaptations include: a white appearance – as camouflage from prey on the snow and ice. thick layers of fat and fur – for insulation against the cold. a small surface area to volume ratio – to minimise heat loss.
How do polar animals survive in the cold?
Polar bears live in one of the planet’s coldest environments and depend on a thick coat of insulated fur, which covers a warming layer of fat. Fur even grows on the bottom of their paws, which protects against cold surfaces and provides a good grip on ice.
What is one ecosystem services provided by the Arctic marine ecosystem?
Reindeer herding; commercial fisheries; commercial and subsistence hunting, gathering, and small-scale fishing; and recreational and sport hunting and fishing are the provisioning services addressed here. These are the main sources of food produced in the Arctic.
What is the main ecosystem in the Arctic?
The Arctic consists of taiga (or boreal forest) and tundra biomes, which also dominate very high elevations, even in the tropics. Sensitive ecosystems exist throughout the Arctic region, which are being impacted dramatically by global warming.
What is in the ocean ecosystem?
The ocean ecosystem includes everything in the oceans, as well as the saltwater bays, seas and inlets, the shorelines and salt marshes. It is home to the smallest organisms like plankton and bacteria, as well as the world’s largest living structure – the Great Barrier Reef, which can even be seen from the moon.