Earth is the only planet where life is possible and comprises of an atmosphere, ecosystem and various land formations that are necessary for the survival. Although deserts are not comfortable places for most living organisms, research has shown that, where soil is present, it supports a rich and diverse community of microbes, most of which are forms of bacteria. Deserts experience extreme shortages of water due to lack of precipitation. Semi-arid deserts - Semi-arid deserts are generally not as hot and dry as arid deserts. Winter temperatures are famously low, and summers are warmer but not hot. There are usually more reptiles than mammals in the desert, and desert mammals tend to be small and nocturnal. Desert rainfall is usually unpredictable. Sonoran CIS. All are arid, but each is quite different, with its own climate and species of plants and animals. Accessed 16 August 2020 from, Smith, J.M.B. Extremophiles are mostly single-celled organisms such as bacteria and archaea. Desert plants and animals must be able to tolerate extremes of both heat and cold. This causes very low temperatures at night. Click on the photo below to discover this week’s animal! The low atmospheric humidity in deserts also means there is often a lack of cloud cover to hold the warmth. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Due to the scarcity of water deserts have to face the situation of drought half of the year. Africa’s Sahara Desert is an example of a subtropical desert. Many of the species survive by desiccating (but not dying out completely) when no rain falls; others produce hardy spores that can remain dormant for years. Desert plants must obtain moisture and store it for times when no rain falls. Lizards and snakes are common. The desert biome. Desert biomes are the driest of all the biomes. Arid deserts - Arid deserts are hot, dry deserts that occur at low latitudes around the world. Plants and animals which do survive there have adapted to difficult conditions.The biotic or living components and the abiotic or non-living components of the hot desert rely on one another - a change in one will lead to a change in the other. which allow them to survive in hot and dry conditions. Cold deserts occur in the. There is virtually no water near the surface. in Africa which spans the whole width of the continent. Let’s see some reason why desert ecosystem is important for the earth-. A desert biome is a region that receives less than 50 centimeters of rain a year, sometimes much less. Here are some basic Desert ecosystem characteristics–. They often have spines that protect their leaves and stems from being eaten by herbivores looking for food and moisture. Cactus like prickly pear, and yucca, ocotillo, agave and jujube are some plants of the biome. Plants and animals have developed adaptations which allow them to survive in hot and dry conditions. Yet deserts support an array of organisms that, due to a variety of remarkable and ingenious adaptations, are able to survive in this unforgiving habitat. You can find out more about the desert biome and life in deserts on the following pages: News and facts about animals, natural history and science. Fernwood Press, Cape Town, South Africa. They provide opportunities for development but also cause challenges such as desertification. The extent and cause of the aridity varies, and this means that no single definition fully describes the conditions in all deserts. Plants of the semi-arid biome protect themselves with spines or hairs. Desert is one of the most dried land areas on this planet that receives very little precipitation annually. A thirsty camel can drink 30 gallons of water in less than 15 minutes. A desert ecosystem is basically devoid of any rainfall or precipitation. Hot deserts have distinct characteristics that allow certain species to thrive in such an extreme environment. Living organisms include all the organisms, plants and animals whereas non-living organisms include the physical environment that comprises air, water, sun, atmosphere, earth, climate etc. Polar air is very dry and produces little or no rain. Many tough plants of the semi-arid biome have a bad taste or smell, or are poisonous. Plants that store water in their stems are called succulents. The cloudless skies allow much of the sun’s radiation to reach the ground, leading to very high daytime temperatures. In addition, the polar regions spend a large part of the year in darkness. The largest hot desert biome (the subtropical Sahara) stretches over 3.5 million square miles or 9 million square kilometers. Discover The World’s Coldest, Harshest Biome, What Is The Taiga Biome? The winter is arid, possibly with small amounts of moisture from snow. Each of these types of deserts is characterized by different physical characteristics such as aridity, climate, location, and temperature. Although deserts are highly varied, there are some general characteristics that can be described. Copyright © 2020 Many specialist desert organisms have become threatened or extinct in recent years as a result of careless human use of these fragile and magical ecosystems. Hot and dry desert. There are records of deserts going without rain for hundreds of years, for example, the Atacama Desert in Chile. . This desert ecosystem is quite similar to the Hot and Dry desert ecosystem. Although they receive little or no rainfall, fog brings moisture inland, which provides a source of water for the deserts’ inhabitants. Desert Biome Characteristics: Although the daytime temperatures of the desert biome are very hot, they can get very cold at night. Desert soils are thin, sandy, rocky and generally grey in colour. But in deserts, the dry air heats up considerably during the day and cools off quickly at night. It is a land with very less rainfall throughout the year measured less than 50 cm a year. An ecosystem is a community of all the living organism and non-living organisms interacting with each other in a specific area. Therefore, deserts are important tourist locations. Different deserts have their own characteristics that distinguish them from others. The following are the key characteristics of the desert biome: They are found at the lower latitudes, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Every continent on this earth has a desert and every desert has its own ecosystem which is known as Desert ecosystem. This is the reason deserts experience sandstorms/ dust storms of high intensity resulting in the formation of huge sand dunes. Deserts are commonly defined as areas that receive less than 10 in (250 mm) of rain annually.