Life in the Desert
By: Amanda & Haseeb
What are Deserts?
High High Climate
In order to live in such a harsh environment with very little rainfall, the plants and animals must adapt in order to survive. Adaptions are important features of an animal that help it survive. Whatever the feature is, it will always be past down to it's furture offspring.
One of there most common adaptation for desert plants is the spikes. The Resin Spurge (Euphorbia resinifera) have spikey leaves that cause irritation and blindness, preventing animals from eating it. An important adaption for plants is succulence. Succulence is ability to store in moisture during droughts or dry periods. The Prickly Pear Catus (Opuntia) has a wax coating that helps trap in water during the harsh times. Next, we have shallow roots and taproot. Shallow roots allow plants to retrieve water easily when it rains while taproot lets producers get water deeper under ground. A good example for taprroot would have to be Black Saxual (Haloxylon ammondendron) and for shallow root would be Creosote Bush (Larrea). Finally, small leaves. Why? Small leaves minimizes evaportation causing the leaves not to wilt. One good example of small leaves is the Ironwood (Olneya tesota).
What are some ways to stay cool? Longs appendages or ears allow some animals to circulate air flow in order to cool off. One famous animal that posesses this feature is the Jackrabbit (Lepus). Another incredible adaptation that some animals have is the ability to burrow underground. Creatures go underground because of the low tempature and moisture, such as Meerkats (Suricata suricatta). Higher core tempatures is another good adapatation for desert animals, this allows creatures to survive longer than humans, but only for a short period of time. Take Antelope ground squirrels (Ammospermophilus) for example. They have a core heat of 100-109*F while humans have a core heat of 98.3*F. All living organisms need water, right? The Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) has specialized scales that collect dew into water droplets, which the lizard can easily drink. Even a little bit of water is enough for this tiny creature. Finally not every adaptation is physical, some can be behavioral. The African Pyxie frog (Pyxicephalus adsperus) can “hibernate” within a mucus sack for up to seven years, waiting for the rainy season.
Web of Life
Pyramid of Life
The Creation of the Semi-desert
Humans Change The Desert
- True deserts cover about 14 percent of the world's land area, or about 8,000,000 square miles (20,800,000 square kilometers). Another 15 percent of the Earth's land surface possesses some desertlike characteristics.
- The largest cold desert on Earth is Antarctica.
- Joshua trees only grow in the Mojave Desert and, like other yucca species, rely upon a single species of moth to pollinate their flowers.
- The desert is home to the Greater One-Horned Rhino, which only have around 3,000 individuals still living to this day.
- The desert is also home to the Pronghorn, the fastest hoofed animal in north america, can reach speeds up to 60 mph.