Mountain Biome The Rocky Mountains, North america

Climate of the Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountain House 2013 - 521 mm of precipitation and a temperature of 1.9° C on average. A high precipitation of 101 mm in July and a low of 15 in February. The temperature peaks in July at 15° C and dips to -12° C in January.

Depending on what region of the mountain is being looked at, a wide variety of temperatures and precipitation can be found. The temperatures will drop as altitude increases and there is much more precipitation in the form of snow. However, the general highs and lows during summer and winter will show similarly shaped graphs indicating that the climate shifts in predictable ways throughout the year. The summer is warm with a large amount of precipitation gradually declining as the fall brings in more brisk temperatures. The temperatures continue to drop throughout the fall and winter as snowfall reaches its peak for the year. Throughout spring the weather can be rather unpredictable but is typically attributed with rising temperatures and rainfall.

Rocky Mountain House 2013

Net Primary Productivity

The mountain biome contains an assortment of several biomes within it. The Rocky Mountains contains a variety of biomes as well including plains, temperate forests, woodlands, and the alpine tundra. The plains are located on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and contain a variety of different plant species at an altitude of 5,900 ft. The Rocky's temperate forests inhabit the slope of the mountain and include a wide range of trees such as spruce, firs and aspens that make up a large portion of the Rocky's primary productivity. The largest portion of the Rocky Mountains is covered by the alpine tundra. The treeline of the alpine tundra begins anywhere from 11,000 to 13,000 feet depending on latitude (The latitude of the Rocky Mountains ranges from 59° N to 35° N). Sedges and fens occupy the wet soil environment while the entirety of the alpine tundra has hundreds of assorted grasses and wildflower species that make up most of the high diversity areas. Due to their variety of biomes, the Rocky Mountains make up a moderately diverse area that compares to most temperate forests.

Soil Quality

The soil in the Rocky Mountain's is very poorly developed and much too thin and young to supply a sufficient amount of nutrients to crops. Some high-valley soils can be used for irrigation but steep slopes and unstable ground can make this difficult. The soil is very rich in salts and it could be made fertile if enough water is available to flush these salts out.

Invasive Species - Cheatgrass

Bromus tectorum also known as cheatgrass is a very aggressive species that made its way from Europe to the Rockies through accidental introduction. It is specialized to drop seeds and germinate before native seeds can fall. The grass drops its seeds as early as June, during the peak heat of summer. This becomes dry fuel for forest fires and can cause the destruction of entire ecosystems.

Endangered Species - Whooping Crane

The whooping crane population has been victim to vast amounts of habitat destruction and hunting beginning in the 1800s. There population swiftly dropped from 20,000 to 1,500 by 1860 and plummeting to an all time low of 14 in 1941. Humans nurtured the survivors of the species and eventually sent them back into nature using an ultralight aircraft to teach young chicks how to flock without the aid of adult birds.

Bighorn Sheep

The winter coat of the bighorn sheep is thick, double-layered and light. This helps them survive the harsh temperatures at high altitudes. They also have specialized hooves and rough soles that provide a natural grip that helps them traverse the rocky terrain.


They hunt in packs to take down the large animals that inhabit the Rocky Mountain area. Their thick coats of fur allow them to survive the harsh winter temperatures. Coyotes also inhabit dens that allow them to avoid other harsh conditions.

Boreal Toad

The boreal toad survives winter by entering well-insulated areas and hibernating. They inhabit areas between 8,000 and 11,500 ft and breed in very large numbers (r-selected species) to survive the harsh environment of the Rocky Mountains.

Quaking Aspen

The seeds of the quaking aspen can rarely drop and survive in the short and hot dry season of the Rocky Mountains. To battle this the quaking aspen forms vertical roots known as suckers that can sometimes form into trees. This method of reproduction results in interconnected populations that can span thousands of years.

Fairy Slipper

Named after its appearance, the Fairy Slipper rarely blooms. The only time it blooms is in late spring because it cannot survive very long in the harsh conditions of the Rocky Mountains.

Boulder Raspberry

The seeds of the boulder raspberry are coarse and seedy so that they can survive long enough to bloom. The berries produced in spring attract a variety of animals that help spread the seeds of the next generation.

Created By
Tucker Hutchinson

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