Deserts - to life in the drylands The Sahara and a few...

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Deserts Deserts are characterized by dry conditions (usually less than 10 inches per year; 25 cm) and a wide temperature range. The dry air leads to wide daily temperature fluctuations from freezing at night to over 120 degrees during the day. Most deserts occur at latitudes of 30 o N or S where descending air masses are dry. Some deserts occur in the rainshadow of tall mountain ranges or in coastal areas near cold offshore currents. Plants in this biome have developed a series of adaptations (such as succulent stems, and small, spiny, or absent leaves) to conserve water and deal with these temperature extremes. Photosynthetic modifications (CAM) are another strategy
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Unformatted text preview: to life in the drylands. The Sahara and a few other deserts have almost no vegetation. Most deserts, however, are home to a variety of plants, all adapted to heat and lack of abundant water (succulents and cacti). A view of the Sonoran desert vegetation type in Arizona is shown by Figure 7. Animal life of the Sonoran desert includes arthropods (especially insects and spiders), reptiles (lizards and snakes), running birds (the roadrunner of the American southwest and Warner Brothers cartoon fame), rodents (kangaroo rat and pack rat), and a few larger birds and mammals (hawks, owls, and coyotes)....
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