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biome: the desert January 28, 2005 7:22 AM

Here is a little bit of information about the desert habitats Deserts cover about one fifth (20 percent) of the earth's land area. The desert is a harsh environment with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. Desert plants (like cacti) are not abundant; neither is animal life. Deserts are very dry regions with limited plant and animal life. Some deserts get both very hot (during the day) and very cold (during the night, when temperatures can drop well below freezing). Some deserts, however, are always cold (for example, the Gobi Desert in Asia, and the desert on the continent of Antarctica). Different animals live in the different types of deserts. Animals that live in the desert have adaptations to cope with the lack of water, the extreme temperatures, and the shortage of food. To avoid daytime heat, many desert animals are nocturnal; they burrow beneath the surface or hide in the shade during the day, emerging at night to eat. Many desert animals do not have to drink at all; they get all the water they need from their food. Most desert animals are small. Desert Extremes: The biggest desert is northern Africa's Sahara Desert; it covers roughly 3,500,000 square miles (9,065,000 square kilometers). The driest deserts are the Atacama desert of northern Chile, South America, and the Lut Desert in eastern Iran; these extreme deserts get less than half an inch (about 1 centimeter) of precipitation each year - and it is from condensed fog, and not from rain. If anyone wished to add anything about desert life (either animals or plants), please go on.... cheers! mac.  [ send green star]
plants species in the desert January 28, 2005 12:05 PM

In deserts, plants are often scarces and mainly concentrated around waterholes (oasis). Xerophytes (dry loving plants) are a group of plants who need very little water to survive. In desert, they are the most common plants. Cacti, among other, are xerophytes and probably the best known example of that group. These plants sometimes completely dry out but are able to recover if water comes around. Most desert plants are stenohydric xerophytes which mean that they tolerate only a short range of dryness and wouldn't survive in a wetter environment. When there is no water, they "shut themselves down", do not perform photosynthesis and close themselves (plants have little holes on their leaves called stomata, when the environment is very dry, these stomata are kept close to avoid moisture loss and they open up to absorb moisture in the air surrounding the plant).  [ send green star]
 January 30, 2005 8:05 PM

The temperatures in a desert can go through a range of 30 degrees Celsius in a 24 hours period, the nights being very cold and the daytime very hot.
It is a stress for the animals and plants and often requires specific adaptations.

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