Desert and steppe biomes
Essential elements from today’s lecture:
1. Desert biomes are characterized by climate diagrams in which there is an evapotranspiration deficit most months of the year.
2. Desert biomes can be classified as either coastal (moderate annual temperature fluctuations) and interior (large annual temperature fluctuations).
3. There can be high inter-annual variations in total precipitation, leading to annuals as a dominant life form.
4. Photosynthetic pathway types and life forms exhibit distinct patterns in deserts, particularly in regions with bimodal precipitation.
5. The deserts of northern western Utah are dominated by winter precipitation (often as snow from frontal storms).
6. The deserts of southeastern Utah experience both winter (frontal storms) and summer (monsoonal storms) precipitation.
7. There are many unusual adaptations of plants to desert environments, including unusual life forms, succulence, highly reflective surfaces, and leaf movements.
In the independent module associated with this lecture, we learn that the Atacama Desert of South America is one of the driest places on Earth. The plants there display a wide range of adaptations to survive this hyper-arid environment.
Terms to know from today's lecture
Readings for today's lecture