Jason Li

Desert Biome Locations

Deserts are found in the Middle East, North and South Africa,central Asia, Southern South America, and central North America.

Abiotic Elements

  • Very high temperatures
  • Little water and moisture
  • Sand
  • Dry air
  • Plenty of sunlight
  • Rocks
  • Sand dunes

Desert Climate

Deserts receive less than 30 centimeters of rain per year. Temperatures are usually around 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Desert Plants

Plants in the desert have deep roots to access underground water. Some have roots that spread around a large area to capture as much rain as possible. They have small leaves that prevent water from evaporating. Many plants use their leaves as funnel to drain water to their roots. Lots of water are stored inside the plants.

Cacti are able to store lots of water in their bodies and prevent water loss from evaporation. The small needle like leaves and waxy substance on the plant keep the water from evaporating.

Australian Mulga Trees have funnel like leaves that drain water into the base of its trunk. Water travels from the leaves and along the branches to the ground.

The Agava plant has waxy leaves to keep water inside its body. The leaves are also very fleshy and able to store large amounts of water.

The Mesquite tree has large roots that extend deep into the ground to tap into water aquifers. Most of its body is made up of roots with a small part sticking out of the ground to collect sunlight.

The Palo Verde a shrub that thrives in the desert. It has a waxy green trunk where it stores water and keeps water from evaporating away. When temperatures get extremely high, the tree sheds its leaves.

Desert Animals

Desert animals have to conserve energy. Most dig into the ground where they spend most of their time, find shade, or are nocturnal. They don't sweat and have very concentrated urine. A large amount of their water comes from plants and animals they consume. Many animals, like the camel, are able to hold large amounts of water in their bodies. The key to survival in a desert is water conservation within the body.

Camels rely on the humps on their backs to store water. This allows them to go for long periods of time without needing a water source. The humps are also capable of holding nutrients.

The thorny devil has body shape that drains water into its mouth when it rains. It lives behind rocks or plants in shade to keep its body cool.

Rattlesnakes are nomadic snakes that live in the deserts. They have a rattle on their tail which is what they were named after. Their bodies are extremely efficient and able to go on for months with one meal.

Many scorpions in the deserts spend most of their time underground. Since they are nocturnal, they come out at night to feed and do other activities necessary for their survival.

Meerkats construct complex systems of tunnels underground. They spend most of their lives there living in communities of 30 to 50 meerkats. Living underground protects them from predators, the sun, and the heat of the desert.

Competition and Predator/ Prey Relationships

All animals in the desert have to compete for water. The hawks also have to compete with the rattlesnakes for wood rats.

Some predator and prey relationships include the owl and mandid and the lizard and the grasshopper.

Additional Information

Deserts account for a fifth of the world's land surface. It accounts for a third when cold deserts are added. There are also four types of deserts: cold deserts, coastal deserts, semi-arid deserts, and hot and dry deserts.

Ecological Concerns

Due to deforestation and global warming, deserts are expending around the world. They are slowly invading other biomes. The expansion of deserts increase droughts and effect the local people and animals. Plants will die from the lack of nutrients in the soil and whole food chains along with it. Efforts to stop this include planting trees to put a natural barrier to the desert's expansion.

Two endangered animals of the deserts are the desert tortious and the caracal.

Global impact:

Deserts support many ecosystems and habitats that contribute to the Earth's biodiversity. Many plants and animals rely on the desert to live. Sand from deserts also spread to other parts of the world through wind currents.