Types of Food && Plants
In tundra, the vegetation is composed of woody (dwarf) shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens.
Woody Shrubs are dwarfed because of the extreme cold and winds. They are only a few inches tall and are protected from extreme weather by only a cover of dead and living, non-woody plants.
Sedges are a part of the (flowering) plant family Cyperacaeae. Two important types to the arctic tundra are Carex and Cottongrass (Eriophorum). During cold months, Perennial Forbs are vacant and shrink down to small leaves or die completely. When the growing season returns, the energy stored in the plant’s bulbs makes it grow tremendously when the temperature reaches 50ºF (10ºC) and above.
Lichens are typically bare rock pioneers which are found in all biomes. Lichens are actually an association of fungi and algae which live together as one organism. One type common to the arctic tundra is Reindeer lichen; which is an important food for many arctic herbivores.
Animals && Predator/Prey Relationship
The alpine and arctic tundra’s animals must adapt around the seasons and the availability of food. Many animals that can’t adapt to the arctic and alpine tundra’s extreme winter weather, migrate to the tundra during the spring and summer each year. A variety of birds make the arctic tundra their top choice for nesting spots and food during the spring and summer seasons. Millions of ducks, loons, gulls, geese and sandpipers migrate from the South just for this purpose. An example of a migrating bird is the arctic tern. The arctic tern migrates from the Arctic to Antarctica and back all to the arctic. They travel more than 22,000 miles (36,000 km), a distance longer than any other migrating animal. Of course there are other animals that come to the arctic tundra during the spring and summer seasons to take advantage of the agreeable weather and bountiful food. Animals like the caribou travel thousands of miles to graze on plants and raise their young. Other migrators include buffalo, wolf, bald eagles, gray falcons, ducks, gulls, geese, swans, waterfowl, and polar bears.