Biodiversity in hot deserts
Biodiversity is low in hot desert ecosystems. There are far fewer species supported by the extreme climate compared to other biomes. This is due to the high temperatures, low rainfall and a lack of available water. However, biodiversity increases close to desert water sources such as seasonal rivers and lakes and near to an oasis.
The dry conditions are suitable for xerophytes, plants that are able to survive through adaptations such as thick, waxy cuticles and the loss of leaves to reduce water loss through transpiration.
Some plants have the bulk of their biomass below the surface of the Earth where temperatures are cooler.
Some areas of desert bloom following short periods of rainfall. Plants with a short life cycle and dormant seeds respond well to these conditions.
Deserts are very fragile ecosystems. A small change in biotic or abiotic conditions can have a significant impact on the ecosystem. Human activity is the greatest threat to biodiversity in hot deserts.
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