Physical Features of the Desert Biome

Physical Features of the Desert Biome
••• 35007/E+/GettyImages

A biome is an ecosystem that includes specific characteristics relative to temperature, climate, plant life and animal life. A desert is just one of eight major biomes on Earth. Though some of the Earth's biomes look very similar to each other, some have very distinct appearances and characteristics. A desert is one biome that is vastly different from the other seven.

Rainfall and Climate

No need for one of these in the desert.
••• Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

The climate of a desert is hot and dry. The main reason for this hot climate is that deserts are tropical biomes, and are exposed to virtually direct sunlight. The amount of rain in the desert varies slightly from desert to desert, but on average, desert rainfall measures about 1 inch per year.

Animal LIfe

The gila monster flourishes in the desert.
••• Jupiterimages/ Images

Although the desert climate is very hot and dry, there is an abundance of animal life. Varieties of lizards, rats, owls, tortoises, antelopes and bobcats are just a few of the many desert dwelling animals that have had to evolve to survive. Each of these animals have evolved so that water preservation, escape from the elements and dietary concerns are not problems, even in the harsh environment.

Plant Life

A cholla cactus is a large desert cactus.
••• Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

You might expect a desert to be a place where little plant life exists. However, there are thousands of plants that flourish in a desert biome. The two most numerous are the ocotillo, a flowering plant, and the saguaro cactus. Desert plants typically have shallow, but extensive root systems. Desert plants also have either a capacity for water storage or have evolved so that their demand for water is relatively low.

Geographic Features

A desert oasis is an ecosystem within an ecosystem.
••• Jupiterimages/ Images

The vast majority of the geographic features in the desert include only sand or rocks and gravel. Vegetation, although diverse, is scare. Though there are sand dunes that appear as hills, the lie of the land is flat. A water-rich ecosystem that can be found in the desert is called an oasis. An oasis is fed by underwater streams and often occurs in a low enough area so that the water table can be tapped.

Related Articles

What Are Abiotic Factors of the Grassland Biome?
Advantages & Disadvantages of Deserts
Different Types of Ecosystems
How to Convert 220 Celsius to Fahrenheit
Definition of a Land Ecosystem
What Are Four Nonliving Things in a Desert Ecosystem?
Cold Desert Plants and Animals
Interesting Facts About Desert Plants
Main Types of Ecosystems
Gobi Desert Ecosystem
How to Make a Desert Biome in a Shoe Box
Characteristics of a Dry Climate
What are the Different Kinds of Land Called?
What Are the 8 Ecosystems?
The Characteristics of a Humid, Tropical Climate
How to Make a Biome Project Out of a Shoebox
Biotic Factors in Deserts
Weather Patterns in Deserts
Desert Biome Environmental Problems
Humidity in Deserts

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!