23 March, 2017

Desert Biome

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The Desert

" The Desert "  When we say the word the desert they lead us to the introduction of the desert in all its aspects .
the desert are mainly found around the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn in Northern and Southern Hemispheres respectively. The common definition of the desert is a region that receives less than 25cm of rain a year on average.
When people think of the desert, the following image comes to their minds : hot and arid land, vast expanses of sand, soil of reddish brown color, a sky of brilliant blue, no or very few plants, cacti, spiny leaves and camel is the only animal that they can think of.

The truth is not like that. It is not very common to find sand in the desert, but small rocks, pebbles and loose gravel on the surface layer instead. Only 15% of the world' s the desert surface is pure sand. (Parts of the desert and Arabia sahara).
The Desert occupies about one fifth to one third of the earth' s surface. The rainfall pattern


basicallybio Lauren Basic
I recently embarked on an adventure, curious to learn more about biomes on earth. Because I can't stand rain, and I really hate the cold, the rainforest and tundras were immediately ruled out. Eventually I decided that the desert and xeric shrub-land regions were my only option. With my mind set on a destination, my journey began. 

Knowing only minimal information about the desert (basically only knew that it's hot) I began researching about this environment to better understand what I was getting myself into. 

With more research now being acquired, picking a definite region to travel to experience the biome was difficult. I never realized how many options there were to visit a xeric shrub-land in the world!  It is the largest terrestrial biome, responsible for covering about 19% of the earth's land surface area.


polarsoils Dr. Becky
I was asked a good question by somebody through the " Ask A Biologist" website:
"What is the biome of Antarctica? Some say it is a Tundra Biome and some say it is a Desert or Ice Biome. What is the right answer?"
It's a great question, so I thought I'd put my answer here, too! (It's also on the Ask A Biologist website.)

The important thing to remember about Antarctica is that it's a big continent. It's larger than the United States, which has many different biomes! Most of Antarctica is a desert, yes. Of course, it is a very different type of desert than most people think about, because most people think of deserts as being hot places with a lot of cacti, and that's not what Antarctica looks like! So, I think a lot of people call Antarctica a tundra because they don't know that a desert could be very cold. Scientists that work in Antarctica mostly refer to the majority of the continent as being cold desert or polar desert. The difference between cold and polar desert is very technical, mainly dealing with mineral salt chemistry. Some say that the coastal soils around the bulk of the continent are polar deserts while the rest of the continent (not near the ocean) is cold desert. Some people, though, use the terms interchangeably.


So far this month we have studied the Rainforest, Tundra, and Grassland biomes. We decided to move on to the Desert biome this week. I took some help with this weeks unit and purchased a completed unit from teachers pay teachers. I really can't say enough good things about this wonderful site. It is amazing! Included in the unit were all the things I would have covered on my own. Maps of where the deserts are located throughout the world. This one totally shocked our girls. It  took some serious convincing before they would believe that the Arctic and Antarctic were deserts. I think they finally believed me....maybe.

 There were several information sheets and activities centered around the different animals that can be found in the desert biome.
 There were also


Desert Biome Edible Plants

Desert biomes are those components of the Earth where there is always very little precipitation. There are actually four types from deserts: cold, sizzling and dry, dry and coastal deserts. The most popular theme among the numerous deserts is time rainfall and nasty living conditions that leave it hard for lots of organisms to survive there. Some plant group have adapted into the desert climate and several people are edible.


    Some sweet trees bear edible berries. Examples of such trees add some desert hackberry, hands trees, fig bushes, magaria and olive forest. The California fan palm come in the Sonoran as well as Mojave deserts. The nut on the tree can be ground to a paste used designed for preparing dishes. The fruit are usually soaked and used to generate a sweet beverage or perhaps jelly. The pith involved with the fruit can even be boiled and had. Desert hackberry can be a bushy tree which produces fruit which has a tart-sweet flavor.

Edible Cacti

    Cacti are several desert plants that remain in the plant relatives Cactaceae. These plants have adapted actually to survive while in the desert. They have modified leaves such as prickly spines


What Is a Desert Biome?

A biome is defined as a regional ecosystem containing a distinctive group of flora and fauna that has developed to suit the environment's specific climatic and soil conditions. There are five kinds of biome on planet earth: aquatic, forest, grassland, tundra and desert. Desert biomes cover approximately one-fifth of the world's surface.

Environmental Characteristics

    Desert biomes are characterized as regions which receive less than 20 inches of rainfall annually, but most only receive around half that amount. There are four types of deserts. Hot and dry deserts are warm throughout the year, with very hot summers and extremes in temperatures between night and day. Semiarid deserts have moderately dry, long summers with low concentrations of rainfall. Coastal deserts have cool winters followed by long, warm summers. Cold deserts have long chilly winters and although they receive more precipitation than other types of deserts through snow and rainfall, the amount is less than 20 inches annually.

Geographical Locations

    According to ThinkQuest, around 8.6 million square miles of the earth's surface is covered with desert biomes, most of which are geographically in the middle of continents between 25 to 40 north and


What happens if there's Climate Change?
Desert plants go wild during wet years when treated to excess carbon dioxide, researchers say. The finding backs up climate change models, which predict that rising levels of atmospheric CO2 will disrupt the ecology of sensitive desert ecosystems. Experts fear that the change will favor invasive plants given to triggering wildfires.  Long-term elevated CO2 levels could give exotic species a boost, Smith says 'The deserts of the world are threatened by a combination of human exploitation and climate change that could, within decades, wipe out many unique habitats and rare species'.

Sustainable Development:

Desert irrigation is something that's being used in the Saudi Arabian desert to grow wheat with a roving sprinkler system. Since feeding a great mass of 7 billion people isn't easy, the Saudi's and others, have taken to greening the desert. Their putting their efforts of turning sand into what now is used for farming wheat, through using modern irrigation technology and methods. Even though most of Saudi Arabia is a sandy desert, they obtain a massive aquifer. This is only one example, there's also crop circles.


There are lots of abiotic factors in the desert, some examples are sand, lack of moisture and temperature.

  • Sand
    • The soil of a desert is mainly comprised of vast sections of sand spanning over miles of land. The sand is dry and not mineral rich, enabling very little plant life to thrive on its foundation. Sometimes in cold deserts, moss and grass will join sand to make up the land and create very mineral-rich soil.
  • Lack of Soil Moisture
    • Precipitation of deserts vary. Depending on if the desert is dry, semiarid, coastal, or cold, the amount of rainfall is different. Hot and dry deserts yield usually only yield less than 10 inches or rain per year. Cold deserts may not receive much more, but it could be in the occasional form of snow as opposed to rain.
  • Temperature
    • Hot/ dry deserts are located very near to the equator and have a very warm temperature range: 20-25° C, with an extreme of about 45 degrees Celsius. Cold deserts, like in the Antarctic and Central Asia, are different from hot deserts in that their temperatures drop down much more in winter. Cold deserts' temperatures range from from -2 to 4° C in winter and



The desert's climate is very hot and dry. Not many plants and animals can survive, but the ones that do are adapted to the torturous climate. As if the heat were not enough, at night it cools down to very cold temperatures. Deserts are usually located in areas near the equator. Most are just barren land with sand that strecthes for miles. The climate controls for this region are latitude because they are positioned near the equator. Another control is land & water because land heats up and cools down much faster than water making the climate more extreme.

There is a shortage of precipitation in the desert receiving less than 25 centimeters a year, receiving the least rain in the spring & summer. Although August is one of the months that receives the most rain with up to 1.3 centimeters of rain. The months of December to March is the time period when the desert receives the most precipitation. In May and June it does not receive any precipitation at all.

The temperatures for the desert fluctuate from day to night. The temperatures get so hot that they sometimes cause you to hallucinate. During winter the temperatures are lower than usual, in spring and summer it gets hotter, and in the