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Tundra vs. Desert - Opposite worlds or Sister lands.

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Introduction

Tundra vs. Desert: Opposite worlds or Sister lands Our planet exhibits several different biomes, each one defining its self by the area's unique climate, weather, geological history, biotic and abiotic factors and much more. By observing the many biomes it may seem apparent that the desert and the tundra are the most unlike, however they may be more similar than it seems. How can arctic areas with temperatures normally sitting at -40 compare with regions whose temperature is about 80 degrees higher? The most significant similarity is the lack of precipitation. You may imagine the tundra as a land covered in mass amounts of snow and ice, but actually both desert and the tundra usually receive less than 25cm of precipitation per year. This affects a great deal of the factors that make up a biome. Firstly, the organisms living in these biomes all need to be adapt to finding and retaining water. Plants of both the desert and the tundra, although are quite different due to temperature, have some common characteristics in order to survive with the lack of water. Most of these plants have few or no leaves in order to reduce transpiration and avoid loosing their water to the atmosphere. Their roots or stems may be swollen with the water stored in Its cells. Most other water-conservation adaptations are specific to the biome. ...read more.

Middle

Contrary from the arctic lands, desert plants have very long roots allowing them to obtain moisture from where the ground below the land surface which is saturated with water (a water table)after rainfall. Most desert perennial seeds have a behavioral adaptation which enables them to be dormant during the dry periods of the year and come to life after heavy rainfall when water becomes available. Most annual plants also only germinate after a heavy rainfall and then reproduce quickly in order to bloom for a few weeks. When thinking of the desert, cacti often comes to mind. This is for a good reason because cacti is one of the most adapt plants in the desert. A cactus stores water in its stem, has waxy skin to seal in moisture and has spines to protect it from animals and shade it from the sun. In addition, its roots can not only suck up a lot of water in a short time (since it will quickly dry up) but can store the water from one rainfall for years of drought enabling it to survive. The Cactus is not the only well adapted desert plant; The Creosote Bush has the ability to close its small leaves during the day to avoid water loss through transpiration, and open them at dusk to absorb any humidity in the atmosphere. Although they are quite resilient, even bacteria take action against the intense conditions found in these biomes. ...read more.

Conclusion

As for the desert animals, they too have a wide variety of adaptations. These creatures include coyotes, foxes, bobcats, many species of reptiles including snakes and lizards, along with many more. These animals survive in many ways, many types of desert animals find ways to dissipate heat. The jackrabbit releases heat through its large ears when resting in a shady area, while vultures and storks urinate on their legs to cool down through its evaporation. A more common escape from the heat is to live nocturnally as to avoid the sun and conserve the body's energy. During the day many small animals and reptiles burrow into the sand/soil, while larger mammals retreat to caves or lay in the shade of the scarce vegetation. At night when the desert comes alive, the sand cools quickly because it cannot hold in heat after the sun has fallen. There are countless ways in which animals, plants, bacteria and all branches of life adapt to the conditions of the biome in which it lives. They are all in need of the abiotic factors which help make up our world, in order to live and sustain their species. As you can see there are many similarities between the lands which seem so different. Their differences however are needed to make up the world as it was meant to be before humans interfered. Let us not destroy these lands with our carelessness, let us instead use our growth and knowledge to help our environment, because we too rely on every natural living and nonliving factor in this world. ...read more.

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