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Semiarid Desert

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Braden Stutzman

on 24 May 2013

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Transcript of Semiarid Desert

Semiarid Desert Locations Description: The semiarid desert biome receives little rainfall but experiences rather average temperatures. While the temperature can stoop as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the night, the average temperatures in semiarid deserts ranges from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. The average rainfall usually amounts to 2-4 centimeters annually. These deserts can be found located around the 45th parallel, in Utah, Montana, and some parts of Europe and Northern Asia. The semiarid desert biome usually rests at lower elevations. The biotic factors in a semiarid desert are usually small plants and animals suited for the little rainfall and hot temperatures. Plants such as the mesquite, Creosote bush, and the white thorn are common in the semi arid desert. Mammals such as the jack rabbit, kangaroo rat, and skunks inhabit the biome while reptiles such as snakes and lizards also thrive. Only animals and creatures that can find some source of protection from the hot sun and are able to survive with little water inhabit the semiarid desert. Climate The temperatures of a semiarid desert in the summer range from 75-85 degrees fahrenhiet during the day but can drop below 50 degrees during the night due to the lack of moisture in the air to hold in heat. In the winter, the daytime temperatures range from 50-60 degrees and can drop to freezing during the night. The winter is cooler and is when most of the precipitation occurs. Sometimes, even snow may occur. The Greenhouse Effect Life Braden Stutzman P. 3 Semiarid Desert Location/Climate Located in Montana, Utah, and parts of the Northern realm, the semi arid desert rests at relatively low elevations. The average elevation of the Montana desert area is 3,400 feet above sea level. Further away from the equator (around the 30 degreee parallells), most semiarid deserts are cooler and have a larger variety of seasons than hot deserts. During the summer, the semiarid desert receives much direct sunlight and becomes vary hot but the winter brings along less direct sunlight and cooler temperatures. Semiarid Desert Temperature Chart With a rise in temperature comes a rise in precipitation. The summer months of Jun. Jul. and Aug. bring the warmest temperatures while the winter months of Jan. and Dec. bring the lowest temperatures. Abiotic Factors The greenhouse effect affects all climates and biomes and the semiarid desert biome is no exception. When the greenhouse gases trap in extra heat, the temperatures and climate of the semiarid desert becomes more extreme. In the summer, droughts and extreme heat is possible while extra heat in during the day could cause even colder nights, as there would be even less humidity to hold the heat close to the land. The water in the semiarid desert could possibly all dry up during the extremely hot summers and kill off the plants and animals whom call the desert their home. Biotic Factors The plants and animals living in the semiarid desert have adapted to the little rainfall and the hot direct sunlight. The producers in the biome are mainly shrub plants such as the Mesquite and the bur sage. Being plants, the Mesquite and the bur sage use the energy from sunlight to undergo photosynthesis and produce energy in the form of glucose which they can use. The low lying shrubs in the semi arid desert are the main producers of the biome. Consumers The first creatures above the producers in the food chain are the herbivores, which feed off of and obtain energy from the plants in the biome. The main herbivores in the semi arid desert are the rabbits, skunks, and insects such as grasshoppers. All the herbivores in the biome feed off of producers such as plants. Above the herbivores in the food chain are the carnivores. The carnivores in a biome eat only other consumers. The main carnivores in the semi arid desert are lizards and snakes. Lizards feed off of the many insects found in the desert while the snake will eat small prey such as rabbits and birds. Omnivores obtain energy through the consumption of both producers and other consumers. The major omnivores in the semiarid desert are the California Slasher and species of burrowing owls. These animals eat both the leaves and fruits of plants and feed off of insects and sometimes small creatures. Food Chain The most dominant carnivores in the semiarid desert biome are eagles and other predatory birds such as hawks. As these are the most dominant creatures in the biome, there are still very few of them that can survive in the same area at the same time. The reason being that when plants obtain energy from the sun and are eaten by a consumer such as a rabbit, only ten percent of the energy obtained from the plant will be used by the rabbit. When the rabbit is eaten by a snake, only ten percent of the energy obtained from the rabbit will be used. Therefore, the snake only receives one percent of the original energy from the plant. When an eagle eats a snake, the eagle then only receives 0.1 percent of the original energy from the plant meaning that there will always be more snakes than eagles, rabbits than snakes, and plants than rabbits because they each need to obtain energy from the other. Food Web Detrivores and Decomposers The detrivores and decomposers in a biome are the creatures which break down and decay other dead creatures. The detrivores are the first creatures to start breaking down dead material. In the semiarid desert biome, the main detrivores are the millipedes and flies. Decomposers are the creatures which break down organisms back into organic materials and nutrients. The major decomposers in the semiarid desert are bacteria because they can cope with the hot temperatures and dry enviornment. Other decomposers consist of dung beetles and earthworms. The detrivores and decomposers jobs in the semiarid desert biome are extremely important in keeping the ecosystems running. The decomposers must break down dead materials into nutrients which are then transferred into the soil for the producers in the biome such as plants can use. Niche A niche is all the physical and biological conditions in which an organism lives and the way an organism uses those conditions. For example, a rabbit's niche in a semiarid desert is to burrow underground and eat plants. The rabbit searches for food during the night as it is cooler and less likely to be seen by predators. The rabbit is also meant to be eaten and consumed for energy by other consumers such as snakes or predatory birds. The rabbit's niche can only be filled by the rabbit. If more than one species tries to fill the same niche, one or both of the species will become extinct. Symbiotic Relationship The first symbiotic relationship is mutalism. Mutualism is described as a win-win relationship because both organisms in the relationship benefit from eachother. In the semiarid desert, bees get nectar from cactus flowers while pollinating the flower. Both the bee and the flower are benefited. The second symbiotic relationship is commensalism. Commensalism is the relationship between two organisms where one organism is helped and the other is neither helped nor harmed. When a rat in the semiarid desert digs a hole and then moves away, it leaves a vital source of shelter for lizards and snakes. The lizards and snakes find shelter while the rat has moved on. The last and most negative symbiotic relationship is a parasitic relationship. A parasitic relationship is when a creature harms another in order to sustain its own life. An example of a parasitic relationship is when a flea makes its home on a rabbit and sucks the rabbits blood. The flea benefits from the relationship while the rabbit is harmed. Preservation of the Semiarid Desert It is apparent that humans are changing to biosphere and the earth's climate for the worse. The semiarid desert, like all other places around the world, is greatly affected by climate change. The summers are longer, hotter, and drier while the winters become colder and have even less moisture in the air. The climate change can greatly affect all life in the semi arid desert as more extreme temperatures make it harder for animals to find shelter suitable for both extremes of temperature. Less water than the desert already has could devastate all life and leave nothing but bare ground. Few people live in the semiarid desert making the biome a victim of climate change, not an instigator. Big factories and huge CO2 emmisions in cities all around the world directly affects the climate of the climate of the semiarid desert. In order to solve this problem, companies must be forced to restrict their greenhouse gas emissions. Since companies cannot do this at the time without major loss of profit, the government must step in and offer the company a compensation for their lost profit, such as tax reductions or no taxes for a period of time. The obvious choice for the big companies would be to jump at the opportunity to increase their overall profit due to the reductions in taxes while helping the environment by filtering their greenhouse gas output. Energy Pyramid The energy pyramid to the left shows the differnt trophic levels of the semiarid desert. At the bottom are the producers which are mainly plants. The producers in the energy pyramid contain 100% of the original energy. When a primary consumer from the next trophic level eats a producer, the herbivore will only use about 10% of the original energy. When a secondary consumer eats a primary consumer, the carnivore recieves only 1% of the original energy. When the secondary consumer is eaten by a tertiary consumer, the tertiary consumer only recieves about .1% of the original energy. The reason only ten percent of the energy consumed from a higher level is used, is because 90% of the energy is lost as heat. Biogeochemical Cycles The semiarid desert receives very little rain in the summers but with the winters come some precipitation. Water from nearby lakes or rivers evaporates and rises as water vapor into the air. When there is too much moisture for the clouds to hold and the temperature is cool enough for water to be in liquid form, precipitation occurs. The water cycle keeps everything in the semiarid desert alive, as precipitation is usually the creatures only source of water. The Water Cycle The Carbon Cycle The Nitrogen Cycle The natural cycle of carbon consists of plants taking in carbon from the atmosphere to do photosynthesis. The carbon is then stored in the plants makeups and is deposited in one of two ways. Either the plant is eaten by an animal and the carbon is released through respiration, or the plants decay and the carbon is deposited under the ground as fossil fuels. The natural carbon cycle is essential for life in the semiarid desert biome but when humans dig up fossil fuels and use then, the effects can be devastating. The nitrogen cycle allows all organisms to grow and produce organic materials such as amino acids and proteins. The air that all creatures breath is 80% nitrogen, but the creatures cannot use nitrogen when it is in gas form. Therefore it is up to bacteria and other organisms to break it down into a solid form for all creatures to be able to use it; in the form of food. Humans can disrupt the natural cycle of the transfer of nitrogen from gas to a solid when they apply fertilizers to land. The fertilization can run off and find its way into rivers or lakes, devastating the ecosystem there. When there is too much nitrogen in an ecosystem, there is a burst in population until there are too many individuals for the ecosystem to handle; all the organisms then die at once.
http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/9s.html Human Impact As the human population climbs, so does the demand for land. When cities become overcrowded, people are forced to expand and move outward and the semiarid desert biome is going to be greatly affected. The expansion of humans into the semiarid desert will devastate the biome as people will bring urbanization to the area. The natural plants and animals will not be able to handle the sudden changes in the ecosystem and will either have to move or die off. Humans are already changing the natural cycles of matter as they continue to release harmful greenhouse gasses into the air and inducing more and more nitrogen into the soil. With the changes in the natural cycles of matter, the biodiversity of creatures in the semiarid desert is going down. The rapid climate changes all around the world affect biodiversity because animals do not have enough time to adapt to the changes in the environment. The species that can't adapt, ultimately die out and there becomes less biodiversity in the ecosystem. The best way to fight against the loss of biodiversity is to set up protected areas for endangered species where humans are not allowed to interfere with. The second best way for humans to sustain biodiversity is to stop climate change by stopping the input of greenhouse gasses into the air. Without the influence of people and the sudden changes in climate, species would be able to adapt and thrive naturally in their environments. Saving the Semiarid Desert The negative effects humans are inducing upon the semiarid desert as well as the world are drawing the attention of millions of people and plans to suppress the effects are already being put in place. Conservation areas are being set up to preserve the semiarid desert biome as it naturally is and species are constantly being put on the endangered list; raising awareness of the loss of biodiversity. It is a good thing humans are finally taking the step to conserving the very limited biomes on the earth, but what is happening is still not enough. In order to conserve the earth as humans know it today, it is obvious climate change needs to be kept in check. Greenhouse gasses and other harmful chemicals need to stop filling up our atmosphere and the challenge is up to everyone. Everyday things such as taking shorter showers, turning off the lights in houses, and riding one's bike to school can make big differences, but the major influences lie with the big companies such as coal and oil companies. Oil ultimately rules the U.S. economy and the government needs to take back control. Enforcing companies that produce a lot of greenhouse gasses to reduce their emissions and ultimately eliminate their wastes will make the greatest impact. Also, looking for alternative sources of power, such as Germany has, to power our daily homes and businesses will also make a huge difference. The earth can only sustain so much abuse. It is up to the human race to protect and preserve the great earth they were so graciously given. "The Desert Biome." University of California Museum of Paleontology. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2013.
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Work Cited
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