Desert

By: Sandra Hanna and Sienna Snowden

Locations of Deserts

Antarctic, the worlds largest cold desert, while the Sahara is in Africa and is the largest hot desert. There are also deserts close to Santa Barbara, such as the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert, which goes through parts of Southern California. There are four major hot deserts in North America, they include the Great Basin and Mojave. Outside of the U.S you can find hot deserts in the Southern Asian realm, South and Central America, Ethiopia, and Australia. Coastal Deserts such as Atacama Desert in Chile of South America is another type of desert. Cold deserts are mainly in Antarctica and Greenland.

Weather

Weather is different in all types of deserts, for example the seasons for hot deserts are normally hot in the summer and warm the rest of the year, getting little rainfall. The rain is normally short and light, while most of the time the rainfall rates are lower than the evaporation rates. Coastal deserts are in moderately cool or warm areas. They normally have fairly long, warm summers and cool winters. In the winter the temperature is normally around 41°F of below, while around 55°-75°F in the summer, and the average rainfall is usually 3-5 inches. The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the Earth, with a millimeter or more of rainfall every 5-20 years. Cold deserts have short, moist and moderately warm summers, and long cold winters. In the winter the temperature is -5° to -110°F, while summer can be around 35°F. The coldest day ever in Antarctica was -113°F.

Weather, Location, and Adaptations

Adaptations

Since a desert is such a dry environment, the plants there have to adapt to it. Of course different kinds of plants have different types of ways to adapt. For example, some plants have seeds that can make them stay in the sand, until it can find enough water (like rain) to grow. Most plants are good at finding and storing water, like cacti. Since they have a waxy coating, the water cant escape. Also, their spine protects them from anyone that can be a predator to them. There are other plants you might find in the hot desert, like a creosote bush, sagebrush, and a ocotillo plant. Anyways, coastal deserts have a variety of plants. Now since the coastal deserts barely have any rainfall, the plants adapt by having a root system that comes to surface to absorb any rainfall it can get. They also have thick leaves that absorb and store water. Some of the plants that live in the coastal deserts include salt bush, rice grass, black sage and chrysothamnus. Finally, the cold deserts include algae, grasses, and plants with spiny thin leaves. Usually these plants grow only in the summer of the cold deserts.

Variations

Some animals that live in the desert, like snakes, lizards, and insects, are cold-blooded animals. On the other hand, animals that are mammals and live in the desert, are usually small. All the animals in the desert, have different ways to survive in their home. For example, some mice build their home out of fallen cactus spines to protect themselves from coyotes and hawks. In cold deserts, like Antarctica, most animals live near the ocean shore. They do this because the animals that live there, like penguins, seals, and birds, depend on fish, squid and other sea creatures for their food. So as you can see different types of deserts and different types of animals equals different types of survival skills.
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Interdependency between Organisms

The cold desert biomes have organisms that feed on fish and other sea animals, while the organisms at hot deserts feed on plants and the carnivores feed on the smaller animals that hide in the sand and plants. The plants in the hot deserts have a root system that grabs any water it can get and have spikes on it to protect them selves, while plants in the cold desert only grow in the summer and have shorter roots.

The grizzly bears would lessen the population of the cacti because they would eat it for food, and this will cause other animals to go extinct. The other animals would soon become extinct with the grizzly bears being in their habitat, because the bears would not only eat many of the animals, but also destroy many animals homes and protection by eating the cacti that many animals depend on.

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Native Species

Cacti

If the cacti disappeared from the desert habit many animals would become endangered or extinct. The cacti is a home, food and water source, and protection to many desert animals and without it they would die. Cacti can serve as food to many animals along with a juice inside of the cacti and it's spike keeps animals that live in it protected from predators; so without it animals and the predators that rely on the animals would die, causing a increase of the population to the animals that are hunted by the same predators but don't rely on the cacti.

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