Desert and Animals

8 August 2016

An Ecosystem is a biodiversity community where biotic and abiotic elements inhabit the same environment. There are many types of ecosystems located throughout the world and one of which is known as the Gobi desert. The Gobi is a large desert region that scales from 500,000 square miles and spans across two countries (China and southern Mongolia) covering parts of northern and northwestern China. Like all deserts, the Gobi desert is a cold biome desert that consists of a vast array of animals and plants that have adapted to the harsh conditions. Abiotic factors of an organism are parts of the ecosystem that are not alive.

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These can be core elements, which the entire structure of the ecosystem depends on. Whatever life exists in an ecosystem must learn to adapt and survive the abiotic factors of the certain ecosystem. Abiotic factors within the desert environment include temperature, climate, soil, and rainfall. The abiotic features all help towards making up the desert. The temperature in the Gobi desert has been known to shift 60 degrees in a matter of hours. The weather can go down to minus -40 degrees during in the winter and as hot as 122 degrees during the summer.

Although the desert only receives an average of 7.6 inches of rainfall per year, and northerly position on the globe, it’s not unheard-of to see frost or even snow atop the dunes occasionally. However, the Gobi receives most of its moisture during the winter. The Siberian Winter can cause problems in the Gobi desert, with high winds and low temperatures creating icy sandstorms or even snowstorms. High winds gather the snow from the steppes, distributing it over the dunes during the winter months. Because most of the desert is actually rock rather than sand, however, even this extra moisture has little effect on the region’s ecosystem.

These high winds are also the major cause of the temperature extremes common to the Gobi. Both cold and hot air are swept across the desert unhindered. The environment of the Gobi can be harsh and unforgiving. Biotic factors of an organism are parts of an ecosystem that are alive. These are living things that shape an ecosystem. Each biotic factor needs energy to do work and food for a proper growth. Although deserts receive around 7. 6 inches of rain per year, it is home to well over 2000 mammals consisting of snow leopards, Gobi bears, Jerboas, Camels, Wolves, Ox’s, Hawks and also humans and approximately over 400 species of plants.

Each and everyone of these entities play a role in the survival of the desert. The biotic factors affect everything that happens in the desert, they determine the food webs, food chains, the producers and the consumers. The biotic features can bring beauty into the environment but also at the same time can be deadly and dangerous. In the desert there are many non-living (abiotic) and living (biotic) organisms that interact with one another. There are 5 main types of relationships which consist of mutualism/symbiosis, commensalism, parasitism, competition, and neutralism.

Many organisms do not live on their own but interact with other organisms. Some of these interactions benefit both organisms whilst other interactions benefit one organism but harming the other. Mutualism or Symbiosis is when both species that cooperate with each other are benefited from their relationship. Symbiosis can occur in various ways, this all depends on the types of species and their ability to cooperate with the surrounding area. An example of Mutualism is when the Phainopepia bird feeds on the mistletoe berries and leaves the undigested seeds of the berries in the surroundings through their droppings.

This way the mistletoe plant provides food to the Phainopepia whilst the Phainopepia helps the plant grow in there surroundings. Commensalism is when only one of the species is benefited from the interaction between the two and the other species is neither harmed nor in danger. An example of this would be when a cactus wren builds its nest in a cholla cactus. While this is beneficial for the birds as it helps keep its young ones safe from predators as well keeping the cacti species unharmed.

Parasitism is when one of the two organisms involved in the interaction benefits at the cost of the other. In other cases, the organism which benefits from the interaction is known as the ‘parasite’ whilst the one which has to bear the force of the interaction is known as the ‘host’. An example of parasitism in the desert is between the praying mantis and wasp. In their interaction, the wasp lays its eggs in the egg cases laid by the praying mantis. When the wasp eggs hatch, it’s larvae starts to feed on the other eggs and makes it way out. Predation is an interaction in which one organism captures another and feeds on the captured organism.

The organism that captures is the predator and the captured organism is called the prey. Predators have developed skills and weapons to capture their prey, an example of predation in the desert is when the snow leopard hunts down the Gobi bear using stealth and patience as their weapon. Allelopathy is when a toxin is release by plant to suppress another plants growth. Plants in the desert that suppress another plants growth is the Salvia leucophllya. The Salvia leucophllya is a type of aromatic sage where it releases volatile compounds which suppressed the growth of other plants that surrounds the Salvia leucophllya.

Organisms form relationships with each other and help the ecosystem survive. Relationships can either are the way ecosystems survive, they help everything This is how the ecosystem survives and is preserved. Food webs consist of all the food chains which are located in the ecosystem. Each of the living organisms in the biome are apart of a food chain. Food chains create the cycle of energy and keep the nutrients flowing. Each link is called a trophic level. Trophic levels of an organism are the position in which a animal occupies. Animals that only eat plants are called herbivores or primary consumers.

Animals that eat other animals are called carnivores or second consumers. Animals that eat the remaining of the food are called the decomposers. Abiotic Factors are parts of an ecosystem that are not alive. Some impacts may consist of temperature and rainfall. Temperature and rainfall are a major downfall towards the desert ecosystem as temperatures rise to around 122 degrees during the day and drop down to -40 degrees during the night whilst rainfall dropping on average once per year, providing only 7. 2 inches of rain. Temperatures in the desert are very severe and hard to adapt too.

Although many animals live in the biome, it has created a very difficult but yet adaptable lifestyle. If the temperatures rose above 122 degrees, it can severely affect the organisms living in the ecosystem as animals would not be able to survive much more of the heat. This may cause problems for the organisms to potentially die. If these animals die, this could probably disrupt the food chain because many animals rely on the vegetation provided and if it all dies, many animals would lose their main source of food and will soon later go to the brink of extinction.

However, if the temperatures dropped, the desert would be a cooler and suitable home for animals. Although, this can lead to many pros and cons. The pros towards a colder biome is that animals can roam around without finding shelter or dig burrows to rest. Deserts don’t have much to offer when it comes to shade, so providing a colder area will be a pro towards a better lifestyle for animals. A con however, is many animals have adapted towards the heat and some animals might find it hard to adapt too.

A problem the Gobi desert faces is the during the winter; during the winter, the desert receives many sandstorms and snowstorms, with the temperatures below the average, this may be a constant thing which occurs. Rainfall is considered as an important abiotic factor as this is one of the main sources where organisms that dwell in the desert receive water. If there was an increase of rainfall, it would dramatically affect the deserts ecosystem as this may benefit a lot of the organisms living there.

Many animals will be able to survive longer due to the fact there is water to share, plants will be nourished and be able to supply animals with the nutrition needed. More rainfall will be a major and resourceful abiotic factor in the desert because deserts receive 7. 2 inches of rain. Changes can effect the way many organisms live, with a little change the ecosystem can result in a sustainable or a perfect home. If the ecosystem were to be affected by an introduced species it would severely affected or there could be a positive outcome.

If a species like a human was introduced into the desert and were found living in the desert, there are many possible outcomes that can occur. Many animals in the desert biome are endangered, so if humans used them as a source of food the population of the animal(s) will lower, causing them to go to the brink of extinction, causing a mass change in the food chain. The temperature in the desert biome is very hot and might be difficult to adapt too, water is a difficult resource to find because the biome doesn’t provide that much rainfall. Shelter is very difficult to find because the desert doesn’t provide any.

Life will be hard to adapt to due to the fact that the biome wasn’t fit for a human. Although there can be a positive outcome towards the situation. Nevertheless, humans can also bring a positive outcome towards the desert as they would be able to nurture and protect animals from its predators or from potential threats. The adaption would be difficult but nevertheless adaptable. The Gobi desert is a biodiversity community that is home to many organisms where abiotic and biotic play a major role in maintaining balance in the ecosystem. Each organism plays an important role to create what the Gobi desert is today.

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