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The Desert Biome. *Less than 15 inches of rain annually. *Generally has some types of trees, shrubs, and grasses. *Vegetation adapts to survive the dry season. *May have a short rainy season.

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The Desert Biome


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    1. The Desert Biome *Less than 15 inches of rain annually. *Generally has some types of trees, shrubs, and grasses. *Vegetation adapts to survive the dry season. *May have a short rainy season.

    2. *Due to the classification of deserts being areas that get less than 15 inches of rain, we can see a great range in differences between certain deserts. *Tucson receives about 13 inches of rain a year, classifying it as a desert biome, but 13 inches of rain is vastly different than a desert such as the Sahara, which receives 3 inches or less of rain a year.

    3. Deserts of Africa *There are three deserts in Africa including the Sahara, the Kalahari, and the Namib. *The Sahara stretches over eleven Northern African countries. *The Kalahari is located in Southern African countries such as Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and Zambia. *The Namib is located along the coastline of the Southeastern African country of Namibia. *The Sahara and the Kalahari deserts grow about 100 miles closer to each other each year due to desertification and erosion.

    4. The Kalahari Desert *Yearly rainfall averages 5 inches. *Latitude of 20-28 degrees South *Elevation of 3,000 feet. *Vegetation consists of dry grasslands, and shrubby acacia trees, which thrive during the summer rainy season. *Animals include hyenas, lions, meerkats, many species of antelope, and many types of birds and reptiles.

    5. The Sahara Desert *Averages 3 inches of rain a year. *35-15 degrees North latitude. *1,000 square miles. *Average elevation from 1,300-1,600 feet. *Temperatures range daily from 130 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and below freezing temperatures at night. *Most of the Sahara is sparse and not much vegetation grows, except for some grasses and shrubs, which have adapted to the high heat. *The animal population of the Sahara is limited, but includes gazelles, ostriches, and jackals.

    6. The Namib Desert *Unpredictable rainfall which ranges from 5mm to 85 mm. *About 23 degrees South latitude *Elevation of 3,000 feet. *64% of the Namib desert is savannah, dry woodlands and forests make up 20%, and desert vegetation such as acacia trees makes up 16% of the Namib. *The animals in the Namib are mostly made up of reptiles including the web footed gecko, and other animals that dwell in the Namib include jackals, and elephants.

    7. Deserts of Asia • There are many deserts in Asia. Three of the most prominent deserts include the Gobi, the Taklamakan, and the Karakum. • Gobi: Located in Northern parts of China and into Southern Mongolia. • Taklamakan: Located in Southeastern China. • Karakum: Located in Turkmenistan

    8. The Gobi Desert • Latitude is 40-50 degrees North. • Considered a “rain shadow desert” due to the Himalayas blocking most of the rain clouds from entering it. • Average annual rainfall at only about 7.6 inches. • Positioned on a plateau, giving it elevation ranging from about 3000-5000 ft. above sea level. • Due to this higher elevation it is often a cold desert, and it’s not uncommon for there to be frost or even snow on its dunes. • Vegetation is rare except for near riverbeds, where there are various shrubs such as the saxaul, and other salt tolerant plants. • Host to various animals including snow leapords, the highly endangered Gobi Bear, and the wild camel.

    9. The Taklamakan Desert • Literally translates to “go in and never come out” due to it’s vastness and lack of water. • Sparse vegetation, besides in depressions among sand dunes where the groundwater is not as deep from the surface. Here thickets of tamarisks, nitre bushes, and reeds can be found. • Sparse animal life as well, with herds of gazelles found in open spaces, and wild boars in river valley thickets. Carnivores include wolves and foxes. • Latitudes are from 55-60 degrees N.

    10. The Karakum Desert • Occupies about 70 percent of the area of Turkmenistan. • Varied vegetation, consisting of mainly grass, small shrubs, bushes and trees. The most common of the bushes being the Astragalus, Calligonum, and Saltwort. This vegetation is used as hay in winter by camels, sheep, and goats. • Animals species are greatly varied. There are many insects including ants, termites, beetles, spiders, and more. There are also various lizards, snakes, and turtles. There are many species of birds as well, the most common being the skylarks. • Annual rainfall varies from 2.75-6 inches.

    11. North American Deserts

    12. The Great Basin • The largest desert in North America, located primarily in the northern three-quarters of Nevada, western and southern Utah, to the southern third of Idaho and the southeastern corner of Oregon.

    13. The Great Basin • Elevations of at least 3000ft but generally higher in the 4000 to 6500ft range • Precipitation of the area is 7 – 12 inches annually

    14. Great Basin Vegetation • Great Basin vegetation is low and homogeneous, often with a single dominant species of bush for miles. • Sagebrush is the indicator species of this desert.

    15. Great Basin animals • There are many animals in the great basin including bighorn sheep, kit fox, coyote, skunk, black-tailed jackrabbit, ground squirrels, kangaroo rat and many species of mice.

    16. Mojave desert • The transition area from the hot Sonoran Desert to the cooler and higher Great Basin is called the Mojave Desert. This arid region of southeastern California and portions of Nevada, Arizona and Utah, occupies more than 25,000 square miles and is located between 34 and 38°N latitudes. • The Mojave is a rainshadow desert with elevations between 3000 and 6000 feet, though Death Valley national park includes the lowest point in the united states, 282 feet below sea level at Badwater.

    17. Mojave Vegetation • The Mojave Desert has about 200 endemic plant species found in neither of the adjacent deserts. Prominent plants include Desert Spanish Bayonet, a narrow leafed yucca, Creosote bush and Blackbush. • There are very few trees with a notable exception in the Joshua-tree which is the prime indicator of Mojave desert vegetation.

    18. Mojave Animals • The Mojave is home to many animals including cougars, coyotes, Gila monsters, humming birds, Tarantulas and Mojave green rattlesnakes to name a few.

    19. The SonoranDesert • The Sonoran Desert is an arid region covering 120,000 square miles in southwestern Arizona and southeastern California , as well as most of Baja California and the western half of the state of Sonora, Mexico. • The Sonoran Desert is a subtropical desert receiving most of its moisture during the Monsoon season, but also gets a good amount of moisture from the winter rains giving the Sonoran two distinct and substantial rainy seasons.

    20. The Sonoran and Mojave

    21. Sonoran Animals and Vegetation • The Sonoran Desert includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, 100+ reptile species, 30 native fish species, and more than 2000 native plant species. The Sonoran Desert is also home to Jaguars and the Saguaro cactus.

    22. The Chihuahuan Desert • The Chihuahuan is the second largest desert in North America and lies primarily in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosi with a small northern portion extending into Arizona and New Mexico. Rainfall of the Chihuahuan averages between 8 and 12 inches and is primarily in the summer.

    23. The Chihuahuan desert

    24. Chihuahuan Vegetation • The Chihuahuan desert is a shrub desert with Tarbush being the dominant shrub. Yuccas and Agaves, growing with grasses and often Creosote Bushes, give this desert its characteristic appearance.

    25. Chihuahuan Animals • Animals of the Chihuahuan desert include the Kit fox, Cactus Mouse, Cactus Wren, Greater Roadrunner, and the Tiger Salamander.