Plants and Animals Adaptations to the Desert Biome

Information on animal and plants adaptations to the desert biome.

Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earths surface. Deserts are very harsh and dry. Deserts usually receive only twenty five centimeters of rain per year. The maximum temperature in the desert is about fifty degrees Celsius.

Some times when it rains in the desert the rain is evaporated before it even hits the ground. Animals and plants have found ways to adapt to the Earths driest and hottest deserts.

Plants Adaptation to the Desert Biome:

Different plants have different ways to adapt to the desert. They have their own way to preserve and get water. Some plants have developed tap roots. These tap roots can extend to thirty meters below the surface to draw water out of the water table. Other plants have shallow roots to catch water as soon as it lands. Desert sand is well drained and water doesn’t sit around on top. This means water can soak into the ground very fast.

Some plants such as the spines or fur trees reduce the heat by facing leaves directly up or down to minimize surface area hit by the sun so less water is evaporated.

Other plants like the Joshua tree have small knife like leaves that have a very small surface area. The small surface area means that less water is evaporated. This tree also has a waxy resin that prevents much water from evaporating.

Another plant called the living stones exposes only a few of its leaves. Most of them are underground along with the main body. This is done so it doesn’t loose all its precious water to the sun. The tree is also kept cooler.

The Mosquite tree has adapted to the desert by having roots that can extend 30m into the ground. This is so it can tap into the underground water supply.

Living Stones

Joshua Tree

In the desert many plants space out from each other because the water is scarce. If the plants were close together like the bush around Northam many wouldn’t survive. The plants would be competing for water and only the hardiest would survive. Another adaptation is that some kinds of plants have chemicals or poisons in its roots to keep other plants from growing nearby.

A tree called the Creosote has adapted a taste and smell that wild life find unpleasant. It has leaves that closes in the day and stays close to the stem to reduce water evaporation, and that open at night to absorb moisture. This plant has also adapted duel root systems that tap deep in the underground water and radial roots that collect the surface water.

Some plants only open their stomata at night time for gas exchange this is because evaporation rates are lower than day time and there is less chance of water been lost.

Some plants that do this are the cactus and the agaves

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111 Responses to “Plants and Animals Adaptations to the Desert Biome”
  1. Lucy Lockett Says...

    On August 12, 2007 at 8:20 pm

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  3. johnny Says...

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  28. Lucy Says...

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  61. Awesome-o Says...

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