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Saharan Desert

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Alex Lampell

on 2 May 2013

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Transcript of Saharan Desert

Adaptations The Saharan
Desert Biome Animals of the Sahara Description of
Physical Landscape Location Northern portion of Africa.
Covers 9,000,000 square kilometers or 10% of the continent. Temperature Range Dry deserts: 20 to 25° C.
Hot deserts: 43.5 to 49° C. Average Precipitation Very little rainfall or concentrated rainfall in short periods between rainless long periods.
The average amount of rain per year on a desert is 15 cm. Elevation Average Sahara desert elevation:
1,300-1,600 feet above sea level Plants of
the Sahara Not a lot of vegetation is found in the Sahara Desert due to its harsh environment, but because of this, many wild plant species have adaptations so that they can live in these places. Wild plants in the Sahara are usually scattered, but communities of these plants can be found in oasis, in highlands, and in wadis as there is more water available to these plants in those places. The Date Palm Tree is one of the most common trees that grows in the Sahara Desert. For centuries, people in the desert have eaten the fruit which this tree produces, which are called dates, and they also use them to create juices and syrups. The Date Palm tree has a brown trunk with upward pointing leaf bases and at the top has big green leaves. These trees usually grow to be around 60 feet tall. Date Palm Tree The formation of the leaves at the top creates a nice shade for the trunk and therefore less water evaporates..
The trunk of this tree is long and thin so that it can get more moisture from the air and so that it can store the starch which it needs to keep its leaves growing.
The roots of this tree have also adapted so that they don't go very deep into the ground, but spread over large amounts of land so that they can absorb lots of water when it rains.
The Date Palm Tree has some adaptations to keep animals away such as the spines that can be found in the trunk and leaves of the tree which make it less attractive to animals.
The leaves of this tree grow fast and become hard, to keep the herbivores from eating them. Adaptations Description Limiting Factors: Hot climate
Scarcity of water
Not enough nutrients in the soil Cypress Trees The Saharan Cypress Tree is an evergreen tree that lives in the highlands of the world’s largest desert, the Sahara.
These trees can grow to be 20 meters tall and have a diameter of 4 meters at the trunk.
The branches in this tree grow in opposite directions with small green leaves coming out from the branches that create a dense net of leaves at the top of the tree. The Cypress Tree has developed an extensive root system that spans over a long distance to absorb the rain that hits the ground
This tree has adapted to the environment by growing at a slow rate in drought years and growing at a faster rate when there is more water
This tree has also evolved a rare form of reproduction where the seeds get fertilized by the pollen from the same individual.
This means that there is no need for pollination and therefore these trees can release germinated seeds once the raining season comes. Description Adaptations
The Umbrella Thorn Acacia: The Umbrella Thorn Acacia is a very common tree in Africa that is found in both the Saharan deserts and the savannas more to the south.
This plant starts off as a bush and then grows to be a tree of about 3-5 meters tall.
This tree usually has multiple trunks that spread out in different directions to create a canopy of leaves at the top which gives the tree its appearance of an umbrella.
The trunk is brown in color while the leaves are green at the top. Description The Umbrella Thorn Acacia grows well in the arid conditions of the Saharan Desert due to this tree’s canopy of leaves at the top which is almost parallel to the ground and therefore protects the roots of the tree from the hot sun.
The canopy of leaves also serves as a net for which this tree uses to trap as much rain as it can.
This tree like the Date Palm tree has an extensive root system that spreads out far so that it can catch as much rain as possible, but also there are some roots that go deeper down and try to find sources of water underground.
These trees have come to produce thorns in their trunks and leaves to keep animals away. Adaptations African Peyote Cactus The African Peyote Cactus is a type of cactus that has been able to survive in the harsh conditions of the Saharan desert due to its physical composition.
This type of cactus only grows to be about 2-7 centimeters and a flower comes out of its top during the rainy season. Description The small height of the African Peyote Cactus is an adaptation to the hot environment as the plant is able to conserve more energy when it isn’t spending it on growing.
This plant has a big barrel and it has thick stems inside of its barrel shape to help store the water that it receives from the occasional rains.
Like all cacti, the African Peyote is covered in spines that help keep animals away by making the plant more unattractive.
Besides that, the spines provide shade for the plant without there being much water loss.
The African Peyote Cactus also has an extensive root system which spreads over long distances and acts as a net to capture all of the rain that hits the ground. Adaptations Human Interactions Dromedary camels Dromedary camels are one of the biggest species of animals that live in the Sahara Desert.
They have a brown coat that looks shaggy from seasonal shedding, and both genders have one single hump on their back. Description How Humans Have Adapted to Live in This Biome Dorcas Gazelle Humans have developed specific kinds of architecture that help keep temperatures down
Air conditioning cools rooms
People living in the Sahara wear special linen clothing which filters out excess body heat easily and protects the skin from the sun
Since ancient times, people have used camels as a source of transportation in the desert (camels have high resistance to heat and can walk for long distances without rest. They also need very little water)
Most people living in the Sahara are not city-dwellers, but rather members of a nomadic clan. They migrate along with the seasons to get water and food
Many cities also have large pools of water where people can cool off Dorcas Gazelle are one of the most famous species in the gazelle family due to the fact that they can survive in the sand dunes of the Sahara.
When there are rough conditions they tend to live in small groups, so that there is less competition, but when things are better they will usually make small herds.
Males are extremely territorial during mating season and they mark their territory with poop piles.
Newborns are born in about 6 months and can stand within an hour of being born.
They spend the first few weeks of their life hiding in bushes while their mothers graze and after 2 weeks they can finally follow their mother more actively. How Humans Have Affected/Changed This Biome Because water in the Sahara is a scarce resource, people have developed efficient irrigation systems which deliver water from natural springs or underground wells to the surface. Deforestation is not really a problem in the Sahara because there are scarce trees there to start with. Description Adaptations hello The Deathstalker scorpion is a terrestrial arachnid that lives in the Sahara Desert and lives off eating other small insects
They need high levels of humidity and they do well in areas of 40% humidity or more.
They also need a temperature of at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
These scorpions will eat what they can get, but prefer killing things themselves and eating their prey fresh, than eating something already found dead. Deathstalker scorpion- One of these adaptations of these scorpions is their color which blends in with the background and therefore allows them to pass other animals without being noticed.
Another adaptation is their venomous sting which keeps many predators away and allows them to paralyze their prey. Description Adaptations Dorcas Gazelle don't have to drink actual water, since they get all their liquids from the plants that they eat.
They can withstand the hot Saharan temperatures, but they are mostly only active at dawn, dusk, and at night.
They tend to meet in large groups where rain has recently fallen, causing more plants to grow. Dung beetle Dung beetles get all the necessities they need in life from the poop of other animals.
Dung beetles get their nutrients from poop.
They stay cool in the desert by digging into their poop ball that they make, and live inside of it while they're not rolling in it or looking for more.
They lay their eggs inside the ball of poop and when the larvaes hatch, they eat it for nutrients.
The dung beetle's only necessity in life is literally only poop; they eat the poop, they live in the poop, and they mate depending on the size of the poop ball. Limiting Factors In the Sahara Desert animals have little to no available water, because rarely is there rain and when there is it evaporates fast.
Organisms have adapted to survive with almost no water, and can hold in water for a long time.
The temperatures are also too hot for most organisms, reaching as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Its hard for animals to find a place to live, since the desert is mostly just nothing, but empty space. Limiting Factors
There is a small variety of plants in the Sahara Desert due to the fact that there are so many limiting factors in the environment
Some of the limiting factors are the hot temperature and also the limited amount of water that plants receive, which can sometimes slow down their growth
Also another limiting factor for these plants is the soil that does not provide the nutrients that they need to grow
Finally another limiting factor for some of these plants is human interaction which usually takes away many of the vital parts of a plant The camels' humps are used to store fat, up to 80 lbs, which can be broken down into water and nutrients for energy when they can't find any food.
Camels forage for 8-12 hours a day, with 70% of their food being from shrubs and weeds.
Camels eat a lot of salt-loving plants, since they need 6-8 times the salt intake of other animals
The dromedary camel can lose 30% of its body's water without harm, while other animals die if they lose 15% of their body's water.
The dromedary camel will also drink up to 30 gallons of water to replace its water loss.
Their body temperatures vary widely compared to other animals, and they sweat very little to conserve water. hello!!!
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