The Arctic Tundra: Home To The Polar Bears

943 words - 4 pages

The Arctic tundra, a vast plain of ice and water, is located on the northern poles of the Earth. Characterized by its low precipitation, minimum sunlight, and a layer of permafrost- a thick layer of ice that never thaws away- this biome is very cold, with temperatures as low as negative 70oC. One specific population that has adapted to this harsh environment is the polar bears.
The Arctic tundra’s extreme temperatures have caused species, specifically polar bears, to adapt to it. Polar bears feed on animals that live underwater; therefore, they are extremely strong swimmers. Their front paws propel them through the water, and their hind legs are used as rudders. Additionally, they have a thick layer of fat, keeping them warm in the chilly waters of the Arctic. This layer of fat maintains body temperature around 37oC through a process known as thermoregulation, so as to keep polar bears warm, even in the harshest weather.
Polar bears, the largest land carnivores, feed on species, such as seals, fish, young walruses, and, sometimes, choose to scavenge on carcasses of different types of whales. Seeing as most of these animals live underwater, polar bears’ habitat is along the coastal areas of the Arctic tundra. They prefer areas with leads- water channels or cracks through ice which remain open to hunt seals- and polynyas- areas of water, surrounded by ice, that remain open year-round. The niche of male polar bears is to obtain food and protect their families. They can become so vicious that they kill other polar bears to obtain basic items, such as food. Female polar bears’ job is to protect their young and teach them how to survive in the Arctic tundra, so they can be prepared to live on their own when they leave their parents. Additionally, the niche of all polar bears, in general, is to eat seals and fish so as to maintain balance in the ecosystem.
The community that polar bears live in involves many different species of plants and animals. All of these animals come together and create a food web. One specific food chain starts with plants, such as mosses, which are autotrophs, meaning they receive energy from the sun, or through a process known as chemosynthesis, and convert it into food for themselves. Then, some types of fish feed on plants. These fish are known as herbivores, meaning they feed on nothing but plants. Seals feed on the fish; however, they also feed on different types of plants; therefore, they are known as omnivores. Finally, polar bears come into the picture. They are at the top of the food chain and feed on seals. The fish, seals, and polar bears are known as heterotrophs, meaning they cannot convert the sun’s energy into food for themselves. They have to consume other plants and/or animals to receive energy. The food chain is not complete yet, as there has to be an organism that breaks down dead matter and releases chemicals back into the air. This...

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