Temperate Grasslands

Climate Description:
- Winters are bitterly cold
- Summers are hot and dry
- Annual precipitation is very sparse and falls unevenly through the earth
- Drought, occasional fires, intense grazing inhibit growth of trees and bushes except along rivers

Food Web

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- Producer
  • Prairie Coneflower
  • Blue Stem Grass
- Primary Consumers
  • Prairie Dog
  • Grasshopper
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
  • Pronghorn Antelope
- Secondary
  • Coyote
  • Golden Eagle
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
- Tertiary:
  • Golden Eagle

Plant Adaptations
- Prairie grasses
  • Narrow leaves minimize water loss
- Blazing Stars
  • Can bend in the wind
- Big Bluestem
  • Have extensive roots to protect from damage to fires
- Coneflowers
  • Grasses grow from near base not tip to protect from grazing animals
- Beak Grass
  • Deep, fertile soil to retain soil in case of drought

Animal Adaptations

- Aardvarks
  • Use large claws to dig into anthills and termite mounds
  • Use long sticky tongues to lap up the insects
- Prairie Dog
  • Have sharp teeth that are able to easily gnaw through grass
- Bison
  • Grow a thicker coat for surviving winter and foraging for food
- Coyote
  • Camouflage to escape predators due to open nature of grasslands
- Mice
  • Have pouch-like cheeks to stockpile large amounts of seeds to bring back to their burrow for later eating

Symbolic Relationships

- Predation
  • Snakes are preyed on by owls
- Mutualism
  • Bees pollinate the flowers and receive food
- Commensalism
  • Large nurseplant protects small seedlings growing under the leaves of the nurseplant
- Parasitism
  • The bush tick latches on to an organism and feeds on their blood

Work Cited


3rd hour Temperate grasslands

Hot summers (can be well over 100 degrees fahrenhiet) and cold winters (as low as -40 degrees fahrenhiet).
Typically between 10 and 35 inches of precipitation per year, mostly in the late spring and early summer.
Grasslands experience seasonal floods and fires.

Plant adaptaions:
Perenial grasses are adapted to drought, fire and cold because their growth buds are at the surface of the soil.
Perenial grasses have a tall, narrow, upright stem that reduces heat-gain in the hot summers. The intricate root systems trap moisture and nutrients and keep grazing animals from pulling them up.
Prairie shrubs resprout after fires.
Prairie trees have thick bark to resist fires.
Many grasses take advantage of windy conditions and are pollinated by wind.

Animal adaptations:
Black-footed ferret has short legs with large paws and claws for digging, and a large skull with strong jaw for eating meat.
Chipmonks have adapted pouch-like cheeks which allow them to stock a lot of food for the future.
Kangaroos have sharp incisors which are used to cut off the tops of grasses.
Aardvarks have large claws for digging into ant hills and termite mounds and have long sticky tounges to eat the insects.
Many prairie animals like prairie dogs have dull, nuetral colored coats to blend into their backgrounds.

Symbiotic relationships:
Mutualism: bacteria lives in the stomach of large herbivores such as bison and breaks down cellulose. The bacteria gets a place to live and the bison is able to digest its food.
Commensalism: large nurseplants provide young seedlings with protection from grazers, heat, and frost but do not get anything in return.
Parasitism: rattle lives on the roots of grasses and feeds on nutrients flowing to the grasses. The grasses are harmed because they get less nutrients.
Predation: Black-footed ferrets prey on prarie dogs.

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