The Aleutian Islands support a variety of northern habitat types, ranging from coastal areas home to important sea bird populations, to bogs and low-elevation meadows, to high-elevation areas composed of tundra-like habitat. One of the main reasons for this ecosystem variability is that the Aleutians are mostly volcanic islands, with the old volcanoes forming steep mountains near the center of each island. This provides for a wide range of altitudes and temperatures, allowing several habitat types to fit together in a relatively small space. Some of the islands have their own endemic species (plant or animal species found nowhere else in the world), including the Pribilof Island shrew and Aleutian shield fern.
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