Abiotic Factors Include:
~10 inches of rain/year
Direct, harsh sunlight
Cool nights due to dry air
Biotic Factors Include:
Rock Plants (Lithops)
Texas Horned Lizards
Changes in Population
What is carrying capacity? Carrying capacity is the amount of species in a certain population that an environment can support with the needed resources.
What are those resources? The resources needed to live are water, sunlight, shelter, and food.
If there was suddenly a deluge in the desert, more species of animals and plants would come in. This would mean more competition and more drastic changes in population numbers.
What are limiting factors? Limiting factors are what restrains the carrying capacity to be unlimited. They are also what makes a certain population's numbers go down or up.
Some limiting factors in a desert? Some limiting factors that might exist in the desert are constant drought and severe dust storms.
The rattle snake population is a good example of if there was a shortage of prey, the population of the snakes would go down. This would cause any of the snake's predators would also start to decrease in numbers. The snake's prey numbers, however, would increase due to one less species of predators. This, in turn, would lead to overpopulation and more competition with anything below the consumer level of the snake.
Producers are organisms that can photosynthesize, which means that they can use the sun's energy to make their own food. Some producers in the desert are the cactus or lithops.
Consumers eat or consume other organisms such as producers or other consumers. Some consumers in the desert include the mouse and snake.
Decomposers break down dead animals, and return it into the soil for energy. Decomposers in the desert include the dung beetle or some types of fungus.
Food Chain and Food Web
Food webs are more realistic than food chains in many ways. One, food chains only show the flow of energy between only one specific animal in a certain trophic level. Food webs show multiple organisms in one ecosystem and how energy flows through them.
If the hawks left this desert food web, there would start to be overpopulation of rats, lizards, and snakes. This would cause more competition between these populations, which would mean only some would survive. This would also affect anything below a rat, lizard, or snake which would mean more of the overpopulated species would eat all of its food, which would then mean scarcity of other certain things. Overall, the whole thing would fall apart.
Trophic Levels and Energy Pyramids
UNABLE TO DO STEPS ONE AND TWO
Step Three: The pyramid shape shows how the energy is much less at the top than the top.
Step Four: The base of the pyramid is the largest because the most energy is there, every time energy is transferred, only 10% is consumed. This is why at the top there are less organisms. Less energy to support less organisms.
Step Two: CO2 (does not allow subscript) + H2O + radiant energy=C6H12O6 + O2
Step Three: Carbon dioxide, radiant energy from the sun, and water are all the things required for photosynthesis to take place. Glucose and oxygen are the things that are produced after photosynthesis has taken place.
Step Four: Photosynthesis occurs in a plant cell specific organelle: the chloroplast. Within the chloroplasts is chlorophyll, which is what converts the sun's energy and other requirements into glucose and oxygen.
Step One: Upon plants there are few tropisms in the desert. One of them includes geotropism, which is the movement in response to gravity (gravitropism). The tops of the plants, like cacti, grow upwards. This is an example of negative geotropism because the plant is moving away from the external stimulus. The roots, however, have positive geotropism because they move downward towards the earth.
Step Three: These tropisms don't really help the plants in the desert much. The desert is flat and bare sometimes, so unless the plant is growing out of the side of a mountain, theses tropisms don't really help the plants in any way.
Step One: Decomposers are vital to the desert because if there were none, nutrients would not be returned to the soil, which would not allow plants to grow. This would not allow consumers to eat the plants. These consumers would die off, and in turn, everything following them would die.
Step Two: Decomposers in the desert include dung beetles and various types of fungi.
Step One: Adaptations are important to the desert because there is very little rainfall and water in the desert. Having an adaptation to store water or to dig to find it is very useful in this particular environment so they could use that water to survive like all living things.
Step Two: Plants, like the cactus, adapted to the scarcity of water, and now the water is stored inside the plant for later use when it actually does rain in the desert. Another adaptation is how most of the animals in the desert are nocturnal. They are nocturnal because the nights in the desert are actually quite cool due to the dry air.
Step Three: If the traditional cactus from the desert is moved to a rain forest, it would be overwhelmed with water. The cactus is used to little rain, so it stores it. If the cactus got too much water, in a sense, it would drown.
Step One: Natural selection is the process in which a species adapts to its surroundings and environment over a long period of time. This is useful in the desert because over time, a species could develop shorter fur length, so that they would not suffer from the intense heat of the desert.
Step Two: Take the camel for example. The camel's foot was naturally selected so that when the camel walks along the sand, the camel doesn't sink. The camel's foot spreads out and lets the camel stand on the loose sand like it's more of a hard surface.