Describing Utah Biomes


On your trip throughout this incredible state you will visit many different areas of Utah. Each of these areas has different kinds of plant and animal life. These areas are often referred to as BIOMES. A biome is a large area where certain types of plants and animals are found. For example; the plants and animals that are found in the Red Rock areas of southern Utah are very different from those found in the high Uintah Mountains. Scientists have identified seven different biomes. In Utah we can find places that have features similar to many of the biomes on this planet. 


There are two major things in nature that cause differences in plant and animal life in an area. Can you think of what they might be? Record your answer and then find the correct answer by highlighting the area below. This is done by clicking down your mouse and dragging it across the box

And the answer is: 

The amount of precipitation an area receives.
The temperature range during the year.

Well, how did you do? Even if your answer did not match the answers in the box, you may have had a good answer. One of the most important parts of "doing" science is asking good questions and then doing your best to answer them. Sometimes when you ask a question and then do an experiment to answer that question, you may not come up with the results you thought you would. Your "hypothesis" was not correct. Guess what? In science that is OKAY! In fact sometimes the best questions are the ones with no clear answers. COOL!


The climate of an area is the weather over a long period of time. Animal and plant life in biomes are affected by climate and other things such as latitude (how far north or south of the equator), and altitude (how high the biome is above sea level).


  1. What generally happens to the temperature as you move north or south of the equator?
  2. What generally happens to the air temperature as elevation increases?
Record your answer to the above questions and then highlight the box to find out if you were correct.
And the answers are:
The temperature usually drops as you move north or south of the equator.
The temperature usually drops as elevation increase
Other things in nature that affect climate are mountains and water bodies. If you live near the Great Salt Lake, you already know about the extra snow that piles up because of the "Lake Effect." Also, most of Utah's climate is affected by nearby mountain ranges. As you learn more about biomes in this unit, you will learn more about these factors. You will also learn more or may have learned about this subject in a the weather unit called "LANDFORMS AND STORMS."


As you learn about the different biomes in Utah, you are going to have the opportunity to write, illustrate and publish a book. Here is what you will need to do.

For each biome you visit, you will need to choose a plant and an animal that lives in that particular biome. The word for that is "indigenous." For example, in a desert you might choose a certain type of cactus and a desert tortoise. After you have decided on the species you would like to investigate, you will:

  1. Make an illustration of each species (or you may decide to find a picture from the Internet or a magazine).
  2. List the adaptations (physical features, food, shelter and other needs) that the plant or animal has made to live in its biome.
  3. Classify the plant or animal (that means that you put it into a group). You will find out more about that on a future page called " CHANGE IS GOOD."


All of the information should be neatly written in pen or if you have a computer, you could type and print it. When you have finished your work, you can staple it together or if you have access to a machine that binds paper into a book, you could do that. Remember, you should do your very best work on this project.

If you have any questions on these instructions, be sure to ask your teacher before you begin. Now let's continue on with the tour!

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Updated August 7, 2001 by: Glen Westbroek

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