Arctic Plants, Ecosystems and Strategies


  • Philip L. Johnson



Evolution (Biology)


Reviews and develops a perspective of what is known about the structure, function, and adaptive strategy of arctic tundra ecosystems, with emphasis on plants, the primary biological producers of an ecosystem. The short-term change in plant arrays following disturbance of the natural assemblage, due to ecological succession, is poorly understood in the tundra. Distribution and migrations of tundra flora give insight into Pleistocene events and evolutionary strategies, one clue to which is frequently of polyploidy. Implicit in understanding tundra dynamics or vegetation associations is study of topographic microrelief, soils and thaw depths, as well as description of the flora. Progress is noted in knowledge of the structure and function of vegetation in arctic ecosystems: the morphological adaptation, carbohydrate cycle, chlorophyll content, physiologic processes in adaption to severe environments such as photosynthesis, respiration, light saturation, photoperiodic requirements and temperature tolerance.