World Biomes #10: Chaparral and Caves, by Cheryl

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Photo: Lilly on a river boat ride through the karst landscape around the Meramec Caverns last summer.

If you have been following our study all year, you may notice that these two biomes are not on my original list. These are our Bonus Biomes! My method for selecting books has been to go to the library section on habitats and pick out a few books on each biome. In doing this, I noticed books on biomes and habitats not listed on my wall map! I have covered most of them in conjunction with our other biomes because they were usually just different names (Taiga and Boreal Forest) or subcategories of a bigger biome type (Wetlands: bogs, swamps, lakes, etc). Chaparral and caves, however, were not covered by any other biome we looked at.

I combined these two, not because they are related, but because I only found a book or two on each. We also looked around on the internet, mainly for pictures of the chaparral regions as we had made a visit to the karst region in Missouri and explored the Meramec Caverns ourselves last summer. The books we found were:

Chaparrals by Michael de Medeiros included a map of the world’s chaparral regions and a general description of the type of habitat.

What’s in a Cave? by Tracy Nelson Maurer has great pictures and information on a few animals living in cave habitats.

Caves by Erinn Banting goes into a little more detail on the habitat and includes maps marking some of the world’s more famous cave systems.

The Science of Life: Ecosystems by Jenny Fretland VanVoorst was a new selection on the shelves when we were at the library picking up our final books for this study. I picked it up as a review of everything we have studied. It is a nice way to close out our year of biomes.

Chaparral: A region found between 30 and 40 degrees latitude in the northern and southern hemispheres. Also called a “scrub land” it is covered in dense shrubs. It is hot and dry in the summer months. It is usually found on the western side of a continent with warm air off of the ocean. 

Animals:

Cactus wrens, california quail, bezoar goats, gray foxes, coyotes, California newt, stink beetle, rattlesnakes, and butterflies are some of the many creatures that can be found around the world in chaparral regions.

Plants:

Various shrubs, cactus, and herbs grow in these regions.

Vocabulary:

There are a few different kinds of chaparral: maquis, garigue, coastal scrub, mixed, and montane.

Fun Fact:

The chaparral regions are prone to large fires nearly every 40 years due to the hot and dry conditions.

Caves: There are several types of caves that are home to many amazing creatures. Most of the world’s caves are found in karst regions – areas where the landforms are mostly limestone. 

Lilly on a river boat ride through the karst landscape around the Meramec Caverns last summer.

Animals:

Many interesting animals make their homes in caves: raccoons, bats, barn owls, vultures, box turtles, salamanders, blind cave fish, bears, mountain lions, cave crickets, and glow worms.

 

Plants:

Caves are home to very few plants and only in the first zones. You can find moss, fungi, and lichens in the entrances to caves.

Vocabulary:

Karst, limestone, sea caves, lava tubes, sandstone, limestone, glacier, speleology, spelunking, stalactites, and stalagmites are important terms to know when looking at caves.

Fun Facts:

Caves have 3 zones: entrance zone, twilight zone, and dark zone.

Caves are not always cold! They can gain heat when wind blows warm air through the entrance, warm streams run through the cave, magma runs below the cave, and maintenance of the heat is aided by the insulation of the rocks above.

Blind cave fish have no pigment because they have never been in the sun!

Lapbook

We added a few pieces to our lapbook: Map of Chaparrals and Caves, Review Sheet, Types of Caves, Cave Dwellers, and Cave Formations.

We had a lot of fun with our study this year! I hope you have enjoyed following along. I would love to hear about your experiences with this study – books you found, fun projects, and field trips!

cheryl

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

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