Chukote Coastal Tundra

About the Area

This Global ecoregion is made up of these terrestrial ecoregions: Chukchi Peninsula tundra; Wrangel Island arctic desert.
Situated along the coast of the Bering and Chukchi Seas, the Chukote Peninsula has functioned as a distribution centre for a significant amount of arctic flora and fauna. As a result both Chukotka and the Alaskan tundra exhibit higher species richness and abundance than adjacent tundras to the east and west.

Only about 50 miles (80 km) of ocean separate the Chukote Peninsula from Alaska's Seward Peninsula. Five million years ago a land bridge existed where there is currently ocean, allowing species to migrate between what are now Asia and North America.

The result of such a movement can be seen in this ecoregion that contains a healthy mix of species with Asian and American relicts and represents the westernmost limit of distribution for many North American species.

Local Species
There is an abundance of common arctic mammals such as Polar bear (Thalarctos maritimus), Wolf (Canis lupis), Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens), and Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). Seabird colonies of Crested auklet (Aethia cristatella), Least auklet (A. pusilla), and Parakeet auklet (Cyclorrhynchus psittacula), populate the coastline along with Spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus), Horned and Tufted puffin (Fratercula corniculata and Lunda cirrhata) on the shores.

In Chukotka alone, approximately 50 plants are considered Berengian endemics. Examples of rare endemic plants in the Russian Red Book include Artemisia senjavinensis, Cardamine sphenophylla, and Arabidopsis tschuktschorum.

Threats
Industrial development, climate change, and lack of protected areas constitute threats. Increasing exploitation of wildlife is another area of concern, for instance the growing demand for eggs of rare birds by collectors now threatens several endangered species.

Resources

Size:
306,000 sq. km (118,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tundra

Geographic Location:
Northeastern tip of Eurasia, in Russia

Conservation Status:
Relatively Stable/Intact

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