A study by Ava gRounds, NIna Palko-Distefano and Tom truong
THE ARID DESERT
How would be an arid desert be described? Hot and dry with very little annual rain. The most referred to type when asked "What is a desert?". What are some landmarks of an arid desert? The arid desert contains sand dunes, oasis, and border. Sand dunes are area of land where the only foot hold is from sand. The sediments are very small and was shaped by wind. Sandstorm occur frequently near sand dunes. An oasis is an area of plentiful vegetation and water surrounded by barren land. Oasis usually form near sources of water visible at the surface. The border of arid desert is the perimeter, marking where the desert ends. The desert does not end abruptly, rather, the conditions become somewhat similar to those of semi-arid desert and start to become much more hospitable with more vegetation and favorable temperatures.
Where can arid deserts be found on the globe? Most arid desert are found near the equator because of the plentiful daylight the location offers. The Sahara Desert is an example of an arid desert in Africa. Another example is the Rub'Al Khali desert in Saudi Arabia famously known for its sand dunes, a well-known landmark of the arid desert. How hot or cold can arid desert become? Temperature ranges from negative 18 degrees Celsius at night and up to 49 degrees Celsius during daytime. These extreme temperatures are very common among the arid desert. The surface lacks humidity from rainfall; thus, absorbing and losing twice as much heat compared to other biomes where humidity is plentiful. What is the rainfall condition in the arid desert? The maximum rainfall recorded annually is 28 centimeters. However, there are other deserts where rainfall at 1.5 centimeters average annually are very common. Most of the rain are short outbursts followed by an extended period of drought. What are the soil conditions? Soil are course, rocky, shallow and have good drainage. There are less chemical erosion, causing coarse textured soil. Wind blows most of the sand/soil; thus, leaving heavier pieces behind. This causes areas where wind are common to contain only large pieces of sediments. What types of animals live in arid deserts? Burrowers, kangaroo rats, multiple different types of insects, arachnids, reptiles (snakes and lizards) and birds are several animals that live in arid deserts. What types of adaptations and behaviors do these animals have? Animals living in arid deserts typically tend to be smaller, since bigger animals cannot find enough shelter from the extreme hot. The animals that are small enough tend to be nocturnal, hiding out in burrows during the day and coming out during the cool night. The dominant animals in arid deserts are non-mammalian vertebrates. What types of plants live in arid deserts? Some of the plant species in arid deserts include, but are not limited to agaves, brittlebush, ephedras, false mesquite, ocotillo, prickly pears, sotol, turpentine bush, and yuccas. What types of adaptations do these plants evolve? Arid desert plants have adapted to store water and nutrients in their leaves and stems to survive in an environment with little of both. Some species even stop the process of evaporation until nightfall, when the sun is not out to cause more rapid loss of water. As for physical attributes, spines and hairs on the outside of plants prevent too much transpiration, and some plants even have shiny, reflective leaves to reflect sunlight off of them. What does an arid desert's food web look like?
Some examples of producers in arid deserts are agaves, brittlebush, ephedras, false mesquite, ocotillo, prickly pears, sotol, turpentine bush, and yuccas. These plants are eaten by kangaroo rats, insects, snakes, and lizards. These small predators are eaten by bigger birds and hawks.