Adaptations

Organisms adapt to their environment in order to survive and reproduce. In the case of the tundra, the organisms must adapt to harsh freezing conditions, and then the short two month growing season. Here are some ways that ten different organisms found in the Tundra adapt to their environment.


Arctic Willow- Although the arctic willow is a plant, it has still adapted to the Tundra's environment. During the growth season, it creates a kind of pesticide to keep insects away from it. The plant also adapts to the permafrost by growing a root system. Finally, like how animals grow more fur in cold weather, the arctic willow has adapted to the harsh conditions by growing small hairs on its leaves. If the plant could not adapt, it could easily die in the freezing conditions.

Pasque Flower- Similarly to the arctic willow, the pasque flower would not be able to survive in such a cold place if not for its adaptations. Right under the flower part of the plant, the stem and leaves have all grown silk like hairs for insulation. It is also grown low to the ground to stay out of colder climate.

Reindeer- This animal is in the deer family and is medium sized. It has adapted to the cold weather by growing a thick coat for the majority of the year (the long winter) and then has a very thin layer during the short summer. This helps them keep cool and warm when they need to. In addition, they have strong legs and wide feet with hooves, so they are good runners and swimmers in order to get away from their predators.

Hare- The hare has also made adaptations. It's ability, like other animal's, to store fat as insulation helps greatly to warm its body up during the cold winters. Also, its fur changes from a white color to a brownish gray in the summer season. Its main reason for doing this is to blend with its environment and avoid predators.


Lemming- Like the hare, the lemming also stores its fat as insulation, which is used as a warming system. They also have whiskers that can aid them with their senses. With these whiskers, they can sense when animals are coming, sense vibrations and feel around their surroundings with ease to improve their chances of survival.

Ermine- This secondary consumer also has to adapt to survive and reproduce. It also has the ability to change color in the summer and winter from yellowish-brown to white to blend in. It also has sensory whiskers similar to the lemming. Finally, the ermine has short legs in order to stay low to the ground. This improves their survival because it will not cast a big shadow so other animals, like a hawk might not be able to see it and kill it.

Quoll- This animal also has sensory whiskers to help it live a longer life. In addition, quolls are nocturnal, so it is less likely to be eaten in the day time when most animals hunt, and it is more likely to find food since they are one of the few scavengers at night.

Arctic Fox- The arctic fox also changes color in the winter and summer. Also, it has adapted to have a long, bushy tail. This tail helps them to keep their feet and nose warm while asleep, and it also helps the fox change direction quickly. This can be useful when it is in a dangerous situation and it needs to get out quickly, thus increasing their chances of survival.

Polar Bear- This tertiary consumer has unique adaptations in the sense that for a bear, it is such a great swimmer. Its large body and wide front paws with slightly webbed toes makes swimming very easy for the polar bear. It also has a very good sense of smell which helps them hunt their prey in the water. It also has a thick, white layer of fur to keep themselves warm and camouflaged. They also have clear, hallow hairs to protect them from when they go swimming so often. Because the polar bear's diet consists of marine life, the fact that it can swim to retrieve its food with ease makes survival and reproduction much easier for the polar bear.

Arctic Wolf- Even though the arctic wolf is high in the Tundra's food chain, it still has its own adaptations for survival and reproduction. It has long, white thick fur to keep warm. The purpose of its white fur as opposed to any other color is not to blend in because of another predator's threat, but to camouflage itself so its prey does not see it coming. Hunting is made simpler to them because of their acute vision, keen sense of hearing and good sense of smell. After they have hunted, they use their strong jaws and sharp teeth to consume their food. The arctic wolf's hunting and consuming adaptations are key to its survival because if they hadn't adapted as well to their environment, they would have all been extinct.