Animals - Plants - People - Environment
Deserts cover more than one fifth of the Earth's land, and they are found on every continent. Deserts can be classified as "hot" or "cold". Deserts receive less than 10 inches of precipitation a year, lack of water creates a survival problem for all desert organisms, animals, plants and people.
- Desert Animal Survival - It's a miracle that life can survive in the extreme conditions of the deserts. Learn about reptiles, mammals, birds, fish and amphibians that have adapted and, in fact, thrive in the harsh ecosystems of the deserts.
- Desert Animals & Wildlife - The animals you will find within the desert environment.
- Desert Plant Survival - To survive, desert plants have adapted to extremes of heat and aridity by using both physical and behavioral mechanisms, much like desert animals.
- Desert Plants & Wildflowers - The deserts are renowned for the annual explosion of vibrant spring wildflowers and succulent cactus that adorn their landscapes. Enjoy the beautiful colors and learn about the unique characteristics of the plants that live in the deserts.
- Plants and Animals, How They Are Classified - For centuries, biological scientists have worked to classify organisms in a way that would help clarify relationships among species through time, and across different and constantly changing environments.
- Desert Food Chain in Depth - A food chain constitutes a complex network of organisms, from plants to animals, through which energy, derived from the sun, flows in the form of organic matter and dissipates in the form of waste heat.
- Desert Food Chain for the Young Student
- Need for Water in the Deserts - Learn what can happen in a desert basin where no more than a few inches of rain fall in a typical year; where dependable natural water holes and streams lie far apart; where summer daytime air temperatures can soar to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the soil temperatures to well over 150 degrees; and where small-leaf, spiny, low-growing and widely scattered plants offer scant shade or comfort.
- Desert People & Cultures - For many centuries the desert has been home to human life, from ancient hunters and farmers, to the native cultures Euro-American explorers first recorded, to settlers and modern inhabitants who enjoy its warm, dry climate and stunning vistas. Throughout the desert regions, monuments and parks have been established to preserve the record of these ancient and historic peoples, including cliff dwellings, rock art, ghost towns and historic sites commemorating all manner of human endeavors, adventures and travails.
- Desert Survival for People - Learning to be part of the desert's ecosystem is the first step of desert survival. Our philosophy is not to fight the desert, but to become part of its ecosystem. Being prepared is an obvious benefit.
- Desert Environment & Geology - Learn about the rocks, minerals and gemstones that form our North American deserts.
- Water Resources in the Southwest
- Wildfires - In some instances in the chaparral shrublands of coastal California, wildfires trigger germination of various plant seeds.
- It's Fire Season and the Santa Ana Winds Are Lurking - The Santa Ana winds have fueled some of the largest wildfires including the Cedar Fire, Laguna Fire, Old fire, Esperanza Fire, Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 and the Witch Fire.
- Seasonal Migrations - Seasonal migration is one of the most fascinating feats of the animal world. Although birds are often the most evident of the migrants, animals as small as pinhead-sized spiders and as large as blue whales migrate by land, air or water. Movements can range in length from less than a mile, for Eurasian milkweed bugs, for example, to the incredible 25,000 miles per year of the arctic tern. Migrations may only be seasonal or may take a lifetime to complete.
Deserts in the southwestern United States are areas of extreme heat and dryness, just as most of us envision them. The deserts in the United States and northern Mexico are grouped into four distinct categories. Chihuahuan Desert | Great Basin Desert | Mojave Desert | Sonoran Desert - More on these deserts.
Imperial Sand Dunes
Deserts of the World
- The Sahara Desert: Geology and Climate - One of the most storied and unforgiving lands in the world, the Sahara -- the Arabic word for "desert" -- evokes a poignant sense of time and nature's power, of antiquity and legend, of wonder and mystery.
- The Sahara Desert: Wildlife and Culture
- The Gobi Desert: Location and Landscape - The Gobi, the fifth largest desert in the world, arcs across the borderlands of northern China and southern Mongolia.
- The Gobi Desert: Wildlife, Plants and Culture
- Australia's Great Sandy Desert: Geology and Climate - The Great Sandy Desert sweeps across northwest and central Australia. It contains two of the country's most famous parks, the Rudall River National Park and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park where the famous Ayers Rock is located.
- Australia's Great Sandy Desert: Wildlife, Plants and Culture
- World Deserts and Sand Dunes
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View Video about Dust Devils. Born of the battle between the sun and sand, the dust devil is a rapidly rotating column of air that has wrapped itself around a rising thermal. The average dust devil is ten to fifty feet in diameter. The chief ingredients for a good dust devil are clear skies, a bright sun, and a dry hot surface. Click here to view video.
Desert Food Chain Video - A food chain constitutes a complex network of organisms, from plants to animals, through which energy, derived from the sun, flows in the form of organic matter and dissipates in the form of waste heat. The food chain’s biological productivity and species diversification depend on factors such as the daily duration and angle of seasonal sunlight, the timely availability of water, the daily swings of seasonal temperatures, the chemical content of the soils, and the availability of nutrients. Watch Video
Click here to see current desert temperatures!