Energy Flow Among Organisms of a Food Chain in the Desert

Published: 2021-07-23 12:40:06
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The lives of the organisms in the desert require a substantial amount of survival skills. The temperature in a desert biome is always very high and it does not rain very often so it is also extremely dry. Any organisms that live in the desert must be able to adapt to these conditions in order to live. For example, one organism that can be found in the desert is cacti. Cacti roots are closer to the surface than other plants so it is able to drink the rain water.
They also have think skins which are a protection from the heat along with the fact that its stems grow upward instead of outward protecting it from the sun (Big Site of Amazing Facts, 2013). The cactus is also an expert at absorbing and storing water for long periods of time and its prickly needles protect it from animals stealing its water. Some other organisms that live in the desert are lizards, bobcats, coyotes, kangaroo rats, brittle bush, chainfruit cholla, the Joshua Tree, birds, and several insects which include (but are not limited to) beetles.
Every ecosystem has biodiversity and its biodiversity is beneficial. The benefit of a desert’s biodiversity is that each organism can help other organisms survive or, at the least, maintain. For instance, lizards eat insects and insects eat plants. So the lizards eating the insects protect the plants from any damage the insects may cause to the plants. As shown in the diagram below, three categories of a desert ecosystem are producers, consumers, and decomposers.
According to Schraer & Stoltze (1993) producers can be described as organisms that produce organic compounds from inorganic compounds (such as green plants), consumers are those who depend on plants for energy, and decomposers are those that break down the remains of dead animals and plants. In the desert, the flow of energy starts with the producers because they use the most energy from the sun, the consumers use more energy from the producers than the sun, and the decomposers use the least amount of energy from the sun. In the desert biome, no organism would be able to survive without another organism.
Their interactions are constant. Plants provide shelter and food for animals and animals help to pollinate and grow flowers (Bailey, 1999). One example of the interactions of organisms in the desert is between birds and other small animals and the cactus. Desert birds and animals that are small enough to navigate between cacti sharp needles use the cactus for shelter and for water. Another example would be how bats spread pollen from one part of a cactus to another part which helps the cactus grow flowers. The Joshua tree makes fruit in which animals eat, too. These are all examples of how organisms in the desert interact with each other.
Although animals living in the desert have had to evolve in order to adapt to the desert conditions, those conditions are very fragile. The desert may be a hard place for non-natives to survive, but the desert’s ecosystem is very sensitive and not easy to regenerate. “Development, off-highway vehicle use, livestock overgrazing, construction of roads and utilities, military training exercises, air pollution and the spread of non-native plant species have seriously altered the desert ecosystem over the last century” (Barton, 1999). These are the hazards by humans that are directly affecting the ecosystem in the desert.
According to Barton (1999) the off-highway vehicle use, construction, overgrazing, and military usage damages the desert’s soil. The trampling of the soil causes it to compact and that makes it hard for the soil to absorb the little bit of rain water the desert gets and needs to feed the plant life. Diagram: The plants in the desert survive off of the sunlight and rainwater. Plants are producers and depend on the sun for their energy. The three major producers in the desert are cacti, yuccas, and creosote bushes. Consumers in the desert are the organisms that depend on plants for their source of energy.
The major consumers in the desert are lizards, birds, locusts, kangaroo rats, and beetles. Decomposers of the desert biome are organisms that break down dead animals and plants. The two major decomposers in the desert are bacteria and insects. All of the things in this diagram are biotic, or living, factors in the desert. The abiotic, or non-living, factors in the desert are sand, sunlight, water, air, and temperature. (Information for diagram from Schraer & Stoltze, 1993) References Schraer & Stoltze (1993). Ecology. Retrieved from http://www. chs. k12. nf. ca/science/b3201/WebCT-Copy/units/unit1-05. tm Big Site of Amazing Facts (2013). How does the cactus survive in the desert?. Retrieved from http://www. bigsiteofamazingfacts. com/how-does-the-cactus-survive-in-the-desert Ling, J (2012). The flow of energy in the desert. Retrieved from http://science4jengling. wordpress. com/2012/11/16/lesson-9-the-flow-of-energy-in-a-desert/ Bailey, E (1999). How plants and animals rely on each other in the desert. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com/about_6557175_plants-animals-rely-other-desert. html Barton, K (1999). Human activity has seriously degraded deserts, studies find. Retrieved from http://newsroom. ucr. edu/421

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