*Jordan Griffin *Tina Corbett *Hope Tilley Grassland Biome
What is a Grassland Biome? • An area that is dominated by grass or grass like vegetation. Moderately dry climatic conditions and seasonal disturbances, such as floods or fires, are generally helpful to the growth of grasses and stops the growth of trees and shrubs. Grasslands are found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions and typically occupy regions between forests and deserts. • 2 Subdivisions: • Tall Grass Prairie • Steppe We love Grasslands!
Tall Grass Prairie • They consist largely of tall grasses. They include forbs which are broad leave herbs. Trees and shrubs are absent from these prairies, but occur in the same region as the narrow patches of forest in stream valleys. The grasses are deeply rooted and form a thick and continuous turf. • Develop in regions of midlatitude and subtropical zones with well developed winter and summer seasons.
Climate • The typical climate for a Tall Grass Biome is relatively humid and very wet during the spring and for the rest of the year it is generally dry. The rain season begins in March with concentrated rainfall. Then in October the thunderstorms signal the beginning of the dry season. Due to the dry season there are a lot of fires. They are often caused by poachers or lightening strikes. The fire leaves scorched earth which enriches the earth. Average annual rainfall is 25-60in per year which makes a hot/humid summer.
We All Love Animals Burrowing Owl This animal can be found in Texas and other western portions of North America. It makes its home in regions of South America as well. The burrowing owl lives in grassland and desert biomes. It is 9 -11 inches tall and 23 inches long. It is very small and pudgy. It can often be seen in the sun because it loves heat. These owls have a loud hoot for a voice. They have long legs, a short tail, and lots of feathers. Their eyes are extremely sensitive. They eat small birds, rodents, and rarely, carrion. They bolt down on their food to kill it. Burrowing owls are not very active animals.
Tall Grass Prairie Animals • The European ferret is in the class of mammals. It is found mainly in Europe, but can be found also in parts of Asia. The European ferret is about 15" to 19" long total, with a tail that is 5-7" long. Its colors vary. These animals are slender and weigh 3-5 pounds. Their hind legs are elevated above their head and tail. The lifespan of this animal is up to fourteen years. A female is called a jill. • European ferrets squeak to each other. They also growl when they are angry or playful. They feed mainly from chicken coops and rabbit hutches. They also eat mice, rats, and voles. The European ferret does not hibernate or migrate because its body temperature does not drop enough for its body to slow down to enter the stage of hibernation. It lives with other ferrets in small groups, and also hunts together. After a gestation period of six weeks, the female gives birth to anywhere from two to twelve young, who are born blind and remain so for about twenty days. The European ferret usually breeds twice a year.
Tall Grass Prairie Animals Badger The badger is a burrowing mammal with a black-and-white striped face. Badgers are nocturnal (most active at night). They are found in tropical forests, plains, woodlands, mountains, and prairies in Asia, Europe, and North America. Badgers have a life span of 11-13 years in captivity. They are closely related to skunks, martens, and weasels. Some badgers live in groups called clans. These clans construct complex, long-lasting networks of tunnels and chambers called sets. Members of clans communicate using sounds and scents. North American badgers are solitary; European badgers are sociable. Their enemies include people, coyotes, and dogs.
The Plant Life • Over 100 types of plants can occur in the Prairies over a duration of 5 acres. Some of these plants have roots that extend 12ft below the surface. Each year the roots die which supplies the ground with fertile soil. • Tall grass prairie biome has been altered due to agriculture in these areas. • The most common plants in the Prairies are: Big and Little Bluestem Indian grass Switch grass
Tall Grass Prarie Plants Big and Little Bluestem Big bluestem is tolerant of a wide range of soils and moisture. Depending on soil and moisture conditions, it grows to a height of 1 – 3m (3 – 10 ft). Big Bluestem is a perennial grass. The stem base turns to a blue-purple as it matures. The seed heads have three spike-like projections, resulting in another common name for big bluestem — "turkey foot." The roots are deep. Big bluestem is also called tall grass or simply called prairie tall grass
Tall Grass Prairie plants Indian Grass The Indian grass, also known as Sorghastrum nutans, is a clump forming native grass that reaches 4-5' in height. Golden, plume-like seed heads are formed in the summer. Indian grass is one of the most important native tall grasses. There are prominent claw-like lobes or "rabbit-ears" at the point where the leaf blade attaches to the stem. Indian Grasses have plume-like seed heads that turn a chestnut brown, and later take on a grey coloration. This grass is fairly tolerant to drought conditions. Seeds are consumed by birds and small mammals.
Steppe Also called short grass prairies, consists of short grasses occurring in sparse clumps or bunches. Scattered shrubs and low trees may also be found in steppe. Steppe grasslands correspond well with the semiarid subtype of the dry continental climate.
Climate • This climate is characterized by hot summers and cold winters with temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to over 100 degrees in the summer. Rainfall occurs from late spring to early summer which creates ideal agricultural conditions. Average rainfall is between 10-30in per year.
Plant life in steppe grasslands • The plant cover is poor and a lot of bare soil is exposed. Many species of grass and forbs occur. • Steppe grades into semi-desert in dry environments and into prairie where rainfall is higher. • The most common plants in the Steppe are: • Buffalo grass • Sunflowers • Locoweed
Steppe Buffalo grass Buffalograss is a low growing, commonly only 8 to 10 inches high, warm season perennial grass. Individual leaf blades may reach 10 to 12 inches in length, but they fall over and give the turf a short appearance. Buffalograss has a stoloniferous growth habit, curly leaves, and both staminate and pistillate flowers.
Steppe Animals Steppe animals are distinctive and before the use of grasslands for farming there was an abundance of large grazing mammals. Today rodents and rabbits join cattle as the major grazers in the grasslands. The animals that live in steppe grasslands are: Buffalo Pronghorn antelope Rabbits Prairie dogs
Buffalo Buffalo are now nearly extinct there use to be 60 million in 1889 that number was decreased to 800 individual buffalo. Most of the buffalo left are located in the Yellowstone National Park.