Environmental Factors that Affect the Survival of Plant and Animal Species: Environmental Factors that Affect the Survival of Plant and Animal Species Michael Goldstein
Memphis and Shelby County Health Department-Pollution Control Introduction: Introduction Common climate types
How does heat affect plants and animals?
How does cold affect plants and animals?
How does drought affect plants and animals?
How does excessive precipitation/flooding affect plants and animals?
How does pollution affect plants and animals?
Climate Types: Climate Types Tropical Wet or Rain Forest (Af)
Hot Temperature and high rainfall year-round
Tall, high canopy trees, smaller shrubs that don’t need as much sunlight on rainforest floor.
Birds, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects
Many animals live in the trees
South America, Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Hawaii
Tropical Wet and Dry or Savanna (Aw)
Warm to hot temperatures, dry winters
Grasses, shrubs, with a few scattered trees
Birds, small mammals, large mammals in some places, amphibians, reptiles, insects
Africa, India, S. Florida
Climate Types: Climate Types Dry Arid or Desert (Bw)
Xerophytes (plants that can live with very little water such as cacti, scrub brush, some grasses)
Small mammals, reptiles, birds, insects
Many animals burrow underground to escape the harsh conditions
Mojave Desert (SW U.S.), Sahara Desert (N. Africa), Gobi Desert (E. Asia), Saudi Arabia, C. Australia
Dry Semiarid or Steppe (Bs)
Grasses, Shrubs, certain trees can grow near streams or gullies
Small to large mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects
U.S. (Great Plains, western areas), C. Europe , Russia, C. Africa (Sahel), Australia
Climate Types: Climate Types Humid Subtropical (Cfa)
Hot summer, cool winter, moderate precipitation
Trees, brush, and grasses
Small to to medium mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects
SE U.S., SE S. America, SE Australia, SE China
Marine West Coast (Cfb)
Cool Summer, Cool Winter, moderate to heavy precipitation
Large, old growth forests, temperate rain forests, heavy brush
Birds, amphibians, small to large mammals, insects
NW U.S., SW Canada, NW Europe
Climate Types: Climate Types Dry Subtropical or Mediterranean (Cs)
Warm to hot summers, mild winters, dry summers
Trees, shrubs, and grasses
Small to medium mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects
Mediterranean (S. Europe, N. Africa), California, Chile, Australia
Humid Continental (Df)
Warm to hot summers, cold winters, moderate precipitation
Trees, shrubs, grasses
Small to large mammals, amphibians, some reptiles, birds, insects
NE and N Central U.S., N. Europe, Russia, N. China
Climate Types: Climate Types Polar (ET)
Cold Dry Winters, Cold to cool dry summers, low precipitation
Tundra, grasses and flowers during the warmer seasons, although some areas have no vegetation
Small to large mammals (including marine mammals)
Alaska, N. Canada, N. Scandinavia, N. Russia (Siberia), Antarctica
How does heat affect plants and animals?: How does heat affect plants and animals? In the Rain Forest climate, the various plants need hot temperatures and the high sun angle.
In the Desert climate, high heat causes many animals to live underground.
Although the Savanna environment needs warm weather, hot weather combined with the seasonal dry conditions can cause fires destroying plants, and killing or displacing animals. How does heat affect plants and animals?: How does heat affect plants and animals? In the Humid Continental as well as Humid Subtropical climates, heat is normal in the summer. Excessive heat however can cause plants to wither and die. Agriculture issues can arise as well. In the food source is reduced or eliminated, animals will feel the effects all the way up the food chain.
Excessive heat in the Mediterranean climate will cause similar conditions to that of the preceding climates, but excessive heat usually occurs during the dry season, which can greatly increase the fire danger. Example-California fires in the summer. How does cold affect plants and animals?: How does cold affect plants and animals? In Polar conditions, the large animals must travel long distances. If they find an area that where there is open water, they will look for fish and marine mammals for food.
In Humid Continental conditions, some trees (deciduous) lose their leaves and go into a form of hibernation. Some animals will also find shelter and hibernate as well. Most birds will migrate to a warmer area during Fall and Winter and return for the Spring and Summer. How does cold affect plants and animals?: How does cold affect plants and animals? In the Humid Subtropical climate, cold conditions in the winter may lead to ice storms which can damage or destroy trees. Cold conditions over longer than normal periods can also delay and retard the growing conditions for agriculture. Animals that are not hibernating will not be as mobile under very cold conditions in order to save energy. How does drought affect plants and animals?: How does drought affect plants and animals? Desert plants and animals are accustomed to dry conditions, but excessive droughts can do severe damage to the desert ecology.
Mediterranean and Savanna climates are similar in that they have a wet season and a dry season. If the wet season does not bring enough moisture, the dry seasons might experience more fires. Some plants (especially grasses) can handle drier conditions, but only for a certain period of time. Mediterranean agriculture will suffer when there is not enough moisture. Animals will have harder times finding food and may venture into human habitats in search of a meal. How does drought affect plants and animals?: How does drought affect plants and animals? Humid Subtropical and Humid Continental areas in the U.S. have seen droughts in the last few years. Agriculture suffers when crops can not be irrigated, plants dry and die leaving less food for the animals, and fire danger is a real threat. As stated before, dry weather along with fires will drive animals into human habitats to search for food and water. How do floods affect plants and animals?: How do floods affect plants and animals? There are two types of floods: Flash and Normal
A Flash flood occurs rapidly when a large amount of rain falls in a short period of time. There is little warning during flash floods and many animals will not have time to escape. A flash flood will destroy plant and animal life relatively quickly.
Flash floods tend to occur more in smaller streams and rivers and subside quickly as well How do floods affect plants and animals?: How do floods affect plants and animals? Normal flooding will rise at a slower pace than flash floods, but will also recede more slowly. These types of floods can occur in smaller streams, but more likely will occur on the larger lakes and rivers. As flood waters from other areas move toward the larger bodies of water, they will tend to rise. Animals seeing the rise in waters will have a better chance to escape harm. How do floods affect plants and animals?: How do floods affect plants and animals? Larger trees with deep root systems have better chances for survival. Still many plants, which are the food resources for animals can be damaged or destroyed by flood waters by being dislodged, battered, or drowned.
Agriculture loses millions of dollars each year to flooding.
How do floods affect plants and animals?: How do floods affect plants and animals? Desert climates can be ravaged by excessive precipitation. Because the ground is hard and water does not infiltrate very quickly, runoff or flooding can be a problem.
Arroyos which are dry river beds can quickly turn into raging rivers during and after heavy rains. Plants and animals will take whatever water they can absorb as quickly as possible. How do floods affect plants and animals?: How do floods affect plants and animals? In Marine West Coast climates, excessive rain is a normal occurrence and the plants and animals have adapted. Still, heavy rains will flood rivers and can cause some damage.
Tropical Rainforest climates also have to adapt to excessive rainfall. The trees in the rainforest absorb tremendous amounts of water, although there is plenty left over for the rivers, lakes and streams. The lush landscape relies on heavy rainfall as well as plenty of sunlight for survival.
Question: How does cutting down the rainforest affect the hydrologic cycle? Hint: rainfall and runoff How do floods affect plants and animals?: How do floods affect plants and animals? Most climate types in the U.S. have experienced flooding in recent times. Both flash floods as well as normal floods damage or destroy agriculture, as well as the native plant and animal species. Animals that survive have a hard time finding abundant food sources after a flood and might be forced to migrate in order to find food. How does air pollution affect plants and animals?: How does air pollution affect plants and animals? Common Air Pollutants
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
Nitrogen Dioxide (NOx)
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Particulate Matter (PM)
How does air pollution affect plants and animals?: How does air pollution affect plants and animals? Where does air pollution come from?
Mobile emissions (Cars, Trucks, Tractors, Lawn Mowers)
Smaller commercial sites (dry cleaners, burn sites, companies that emit large clouds of smoke, dust, etc)
Natural sources (forest fires, decaying matter, etc.) How does air pollution affect plants and animals?: How does air pollution affect plants and animals? How does air pollution form?
Ozone: Nitrogen oxides from factories, utilities, and mobile emissions combined with volatile organic compounds from factories, household cleaners, and natural sources create ozone when they photochemically react with sun.
Acid rain is created when sulfur dioxide mixes with water vapor to create H2SO4. How does air pollution affect plants and animals?: How does air pollution affect plants and animals? What are the typical conditions for ozone problems in Memphis?
Very warm temperatures, no wind or light winds (usually from the S or SW), no to little cloud cover.
When these conditions exist, there is usually a ridge of high pressure overhead along with an inversion.
How does air pollution affect plants and animals?: How does air pollution affect plants and animals? What is an inversion?
A parcel of air rises because it is less dense than its surrounding environment. Warmer air is less dense than cooler air.
When a warmer rising parcel of air meets an environment that is equal or warmer, it will stop rising. This is known as an inversion. Example-hot air balloon.
When this happens fairly close to the surface of the Earth, we are more likely to experience pollution problems because the air becomes “trapped”.
An example of this locally is when the air looks smoggy and brown. Southern California experiences this on a regular basis. How does air pollution affect plants and animals?: How does air pollution affect plants and animals? Acid rain gets it’s name from the chemical reaction that occurs when SO2 is combined with water vapor to form H2SO4 or hydrogen sulfide.
Acid rain chemically burns plants and animals killing or damaging plant life. It also has long-term effects on the animal life burning and destroying food supplies.
How does air pollution affect plants and animals?: How does air pollution affect plants and animals? Ozone can burn the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs in animals the same way it can to humans. At high levels for prolonged periods of time, ozone can act and feel like a “sunburn to the lungs”. It also can wither plants and retard their growth.
How does water pollution affect plants and animals?: How does water pollution affect plants and animals? Littering and dumping are major factors in the development of water pollution.
Gasoline, pesticides, and other liquid chemicals can seep into ground water supplies, as well as lakes and rivers killing plants and animals all the way up the food chain.
SO2, which causes acid rain as well as other gases when combined with water vapor can seep into the ground water as well and flow into rivers and lakes becoming liquid chemical pollution. This can also occur when solid waste, garbage, and other soluble solids mix with water and seep into the water supply. The result is the same as above.
Future Discussion Topics: Future Discussion Topics How do people adapt to different environments?
What can be done to reduce pollution?
Why is it important to know about the different pollutants?
Are the temperature and precipitation changes part of global warming?
How do El Nino and La Nina affect climate changes? Important Links to Get More Info: Important Links to Get More Info http://www.epa.gov