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Group 5 Reporters:

Arjay E. Amba
Cleo C. Arong
Cheyenne Christine M. Villamor
 Land of extremes : extreme heat and
dryness, sudden flash floods and cold
 Region that receives 10 inches or 25 cm
of rain each year
 Not all deserts are hot, some are ice
deserts near the North and South Poles
and all moisture is frozen
 Cover 14% of the Earth’s Land Area
 Extreme weather conditions are due to
 Temperature
- 105° and 110°F (43.8° and 46.8°C) during
- 50°F (10°C) or less during night and may
drop below freezing
 Rainfall

- in some deserts 10 inches per year

- Driest deserts have no rainfall for several years
- The Atacama Desert, world’s Driest Desert
 Bare rock, boulders, gravel, and large
areas of sand
 Desert soils tend to be coarse, light
colored and high in mineral content
 Contain little organic matter, because of
little vegetation
 Desert sands – made up of mineral quartz

 Desert soils offer little help to plant life…

Many deserts are found in bands along
30 degrees latitudes north and 30
degrees latitude south.
 Hot and Dry – very warm and little rainfall

 Semi – arid – generally warm and low

amount of rainfall

 Coastal Deserts – moderately cool to

warm environment

 Cold Deserts – Like in Antarctica and

 Deserts occur mainly due to lack of
rainfall and presence of Dry air

 Lack of Rainfall and Dry Air are caused

 Rain Shadow Effect
 Dry Air Currents
 Cold Ocean Currents
 Desertification
 Arabian Deserts – Arabian Peninsula
and has some of the most extensive
stretches of sand dunes in the world
 Chihuahuan Desert – in North Central
Mexico and Southwest United States
and Largest American Desert and
where Big Bend National Park is located
 Mojave Desert – Arizona and Death
Valley is located in here
 Great Basin – Great Salt Lake Located
 Deserts are the home to many living things.
In fact, deserts are second only to tropical
rainforests in the variety of plant and animal
species that live there.
 Many of the fascinating features of desert
plants are adaptations -- traits that help the
plant survive in its harsh environment.
Desert plants have two main adaptations:
- Ability to collect and store water
- Features that reduce water loss
 1. Prickly Pear Cactus
Since many desert plants store water
in their spongy tissue, animals will eat
them for the moisture.
 2. Fish Hook Cactus

The fish hook shaped spines of the Fish

Hook Cactus help divert heat and shade
the growing tip of the plant.
 3. Desert Spoon
Desert Spoon Succulent leaves can store water inside
them. These leaves are usually thick and tough to
reduce water loss. The Desert Spoon has leaves that
are trimmed and polished for sales as curios. The
papago and Pima Indians use them in baskets. The
woody stems contain a sugary sap that can be
fermented into a drink that is called sotol.
 4. Aloe
The waxy surface of the aloe plant acts like a plastic
wrapper, keeping precious water inside. For centuries,
the juice of the aloe plant has been used by Native
Americans as a medicine. Today, doctors recognize the
healing properties of the Aloe plant. Many people keep
an aloe plant in their kitchen. Its juice is helpful to
soothe the pain of burns.
 5. Joshua Tree
The Joshua Tree grows in the Mojave
desert. It is a large desert plant with spiky
 6. Yucca
The Yucca is an amazingly hardy plant.
Not only does it grow in the desert, but it can
grow in a wide variety of other climates.

 7. Saguaro
The stem of the Saguaro Cactus stores all
of its water. The stem is green.
Photosynthesis occurs in the top layer of the
stem instead of in leaves.
This is its large net of roots -- that extend far
away from its trunk. The roots collect water after
rain. Stored in the pleated expandable stem, the
water keeps the saguaro alive until the next rain.
 8. Barrel Cactus
The pleated shape of the Barrel Cactus allows
it to expand when it rains and store water in its
spongy tissue.
 9. Old Man Cactus
The white hairy surface of the Old Man Cactus
helps the plant reflect the hot desert sun.
 Roadrunner
- run at speeds of up to
15 miles per hour
- rarely flies and does
not migrate.
- When it is in danger, it
runs or crouches to hide
- the legs are long and
make this bird a fast
 Camel
  - camel's hump contains fat
that minimizes heat-trapping
insulation throughout the rest
of their body
- Their red blood cells have an
oval shape. This is to facilitate
their flow in a dehydrated
- nostrils that can open and
close, protecting them from
the desert environment
- Bushy eyebrows and two
rows of long eyelashes protect
their eyes from sand
- Their mouth is extremely
tough, allowing camels to eat
thorny desert plants
 Vulture
- large, short-tailed,
solitary birds of prey
- feeds
on carrion (dead
- has strong gastric
- locates their food
using an acute sense
of smell, others use
keen eyesight.
 Scorpion
- resting under rocks, in
crevices, or in burrows
during the day
- stinger at the end of the
tail injects a paralyzing
poison into the prey
- Comb-like sensors on the
bottom of the body also
give information about the
- has a thick outer
covering which reduces
moisture loss.
 Rattlesnake
  - poisonous snakes that
have a rattle on their
- good swimmers
- has two hollow fangs
that inject a relatively
weak venom (poison)
into prey
- can sense the heat of
their potential prey
 Ostrich
- largest and heaviest
-the fastest-running
-can outrun most
predators, but can
also kick to protect
 Meerkat
- uses its tail to balance when
standing upright
- eyes always have black
patches around them, which
help deflect the sun's glare
- has small black crescent-
shaped ears that can close
when digging to keep sand
- have binocular vision, eyes
on the front of their faces
- have curved claw used for
digging burrows and digging
for prey
- forage in a group with one
"sentry" on guard watching
for predators while the others
search for food
 Kangaroo Rat
- have large cheek pouches that
open on either side of the mouth
and extend back to the
- fill the pouches with food , then
empty them by turning them
inside out
- cannot lose water by
perspiring, because they have
no sweat glands
- Two food-hoarding tactics are
available to kangaroo rats:
- Larderhoarding - storing food
items in large quantities at a
central location, such as a
- Scatterhoarding - involves the
making of caches (in the form of
small subsoil deposits) of food
items throughout an individual’s
home range.
 Avoiding Heat:
- Crepuscular activity - active morning and evening - one
reason, humans seldom encounter rattlesnakes and Gila
- Completely nocturnal (Bats, snakes, rodents foxes and
- Seasonal migration or soaring to higher elevations
- Use of shade and burrows or dens during the heat of the day
- Estivation - dormancy during periods of heat and dryness

 Dissipating heat:
- Open-mouthed gaping to exhaust body heat
- Long appendages and enormous ears that act like the radiator
of a car
- Lighter coloration, which reflects heat and acts as camouflage
in desert surroundings
- Urohydrosis - excreting feces on the legs, whereas
evaporation cools the rest of the body (birds)
 Retaining water:
- Burrowing into moist soil where water is absorbed
through the skin
- Obtaining their moisture needs from the food they eat
- Excreting metabolic wastes in the form of uric acid to
conserve water
 Acquiring water:
- Deriving water directly from plants, particularly
succulents, such as cactus
- Living in sealed underground dens to recycle moisture
from their own breathing
- Specialized kidneys that extract water from their urine
- Specialized organs that recapture exhaled moisture in
the nasal cavities
- Manufacturing water metabolically from digestion of dry
food items