How Do Plants & Animals Survive in the Arctic Tundra?

How Do Plants & Animals Survive in the Arctic Tundra
••• AndreAnita/iStock/GettyImages

The Arctic tundra ecosystem, found in the far north polar area of the world, is characterized by cold temperatures, frozen soil called permafrost and harsh conditions for life.


The seasons in the Arctic tundra include a long, cold winter and a short, cool summer. In the winter, few plants and animals can survive, so many plants remain dormant through winter and many Arctic tundra animals hibernate or migrate at that time.

Plant Adaptations

No trees grow in the Arctic tundra. The small plants of the tundra use the tactics of dormancy, only producing seeds every few years, turning with the sun to absorb energy and developing protective coverings.

Animal Adaptations

Animals living in the Arctic tundra have developed adaptations including heavy winter coats, camouflage that changes color with the seasons, efficient body shape to prevent heat loss and the ability to build insulated tunnels underground.

Web of Interactions

The plants and animals of the Arctic tundra interact over large areas to create a food web that helps all of its members survive the harsh conditions.

Future Problems

Climate change may present a future problem for life in the Arctic tundra. Because they are so specialized to life in tundra conditions, many animals and plants may not survive if these conditions change.

Related Articles

Alaskan Tundra Facts
How to Calculate Volume of a Circular Cylinder
How to Determine the Diameter of a Circle
Plant Adaptations in the Tundra
How to Calculate a Circular Area
Plant Life in the Coniferous Forest
Flowers & Plants Found in Temperate Forests
Why Are Ecosystems So Important?
What Are the Functions of Photosynthesis?
Which Biome Has the Least Biodiversity?
What Is Reduced & Oxidized in Photosynthesis?
The Greenhouse Effect & Photosynthesis
Plants & Animals in Deciduous Forests
Definition of a Land Ecosystem
Test Your Knowledge on Middle School Science
How to Convert Pounds Per Square Foot to PSI
How to Find the Area of a Rectangle
What Is a Temperate Forest?
The Effects of Cutting Down Trees on the Ecosystem