Deserts are found occupying a fifth of the earth’s surface and are located on all continents. Any area that receives an amount of rainfall less than 250 mm is considered desert. Although, normally, it is a tendency to think of deserts as dry and hot biomes, there are also very cold ones. In addition, deserts are differentiated by their type of soil, which can be sandy or rocky or even ice.
If you want to know more about the desert ecosystem, about abiotic factors and the desert animals and plants, be sure to read this AgroCorrn article because in it we talk in detail about what are the biotic and abiotic factors in a desert .
Biotic factors of the desert
The biotic factors of the desert are all the living beings that are part of it, such as fauna, flora and other organisms, as well as their interactions between the same species and between different species. These living organisms must have physiological characteristics and behaviors that allow them to survive in a given environment, in this case being the desert environment, which stands out for having extreme conditions. Both the vegetation and the animals that inhabit the desert are conditioned to survive extreme temperatures and water scarcity .
Examples of desert biotic factors
Among the desert flora you can find well-adapted species that survive these extreme conditions such as:
- Cactus, like the famous nopales or the candelabra.
- Weeds in the oases.
Here you can learn more about Desert Plants .
In the same way, among the desert fauna there are only species that manage to survive these extreme conditions, such as:
- Snakes, such as the rattlesnake and cobras.
- Desert foxes, such as fennec foxes or arctic foxes.
If you want to learn more about what animals are in the desert , we recommend you read this other post. Also, if you are looking to learn more about factors of this type in ecosystems, go ahead and read this specific article on Biotic Factors: what they are, characteristics, classification and examples
Desert abiotic factors
While biotic factors are those with life, abiotic factors are those that do not have life and that determine the habitat of living organisms. Those that most characterize a biome such as deserts are water, light and temperature. Here are some examples of desert abiotic factors :
- The temperature of an area depends fundamentally on the amount of radiation it receives from the Sun. In the hot desert there are extreme temperatures, these being very high during the day and very low at night. Also in cold deserts there is a great thermal amplitude between winter and summer, the summer being hot or not too cold and the winter being very cold and extreme.
- Sunlight in the desert is a very characteristic factor of the biome, having a great intensity. In addition, the scarcity of vegetation means that the surface is much more exposed to sunlight.
- The presence of water in the desert is scarce, with an average annual rainfall of 200 to 500 mm.
- Desert soil can be sandy or stony, as well as being very dry.
- It has a very strong barometric pressure.
- The humidity of the desert is very low.
- In them there are wind processes that are very important for the formation of the landscape.
- Nutrients in the desert are scarce, as a result of its low biodiversity and scarcity of water.
- Atmospheric gases are another abiotic component of the desert.
- Ice is an abiotic factor in cold deserts.
Learn much more about abiotic factors: what they are, characteristics and examples .
What is the abiotic factor that determines the absence of plants in a desert
The vegetation of the desert is not abundant or very varied , which leads us to wonder what factors are responsible for it.
Although the lack of rainfall , or the lack of water in general, in deserts is one of the abiotic factors that most influences the absence of plants in deserts, it is true that also extreme temperatures, intense sunlight and low humidity are determining factors in this situation.
The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world , with more than 9,400,000 km2, being the habitat of the Berber and Tuarec tribes. The climate of the Sahara is currently considered to be one of the harshest in the world. In addition, in this desert, there are geographical features such as mountain ranges, dissected plateaus, dry valleys, dune fields or volcanoes, as well as seasonal rivers, aquifers and oases. Regarding the vegetation and fauna present in this region of the planet, it should be noted that they are scarce, but goats, camels and dromedaries are the animals that are most frequently found.
One of the most important deserts in Peru , located in the northwest of the country with a width of 100 km and a length of 150 km. The Sechura desert has sparse vegetation and some intermittent lagoons. It is a desert very rich in phosphates and, although superficially the water is scarce, it is crossed by underground water currents .
The Antarctic desert is an ice desert , with annual rainfall that does not reach 200 mm. It is the largest in the world and is considered the driest, coldest and windiest territory of all those that make up our planet. Some of the animals that can be found there are the emperor penguin and the sea leopard, while among the vegetation of the area the Antarctic carnation and Antarctic grass stand out, as well as ferns, mosses and lichens.
If you want to discover more characteristics of the desert, do not hesitate to read our other article on the Desert Ecosystem: characteristics, flora and fauna . Now that you have learned all this about the biotic and abiotic factors of the desert ecosystem, we encourage you to continue learning about the factors of ecosystems and biomes with this other article on the Difference between biotic and abiotic factors .