Deserts North america - the great basin

Climate of the Great Basin Desert

Average Rainfall: 7(min) to 12(max) inches per year

Average Temperature: 47.35°F

Average high: 58.8°F

Average Low: 35.9°F

General Explanation:

Deserts mainly have only a summer and a winter season, the summers long, hot and dry, and the winters fairly dry as well. Very little precipitation exists all year round.

Net Primary Productivity

The primary productivity of deserts is much lower than other biomes. This is because the soil is not very fertile and the biome is not very diverse. Only certain species of plants and animals can endure the hot and dry climates of desert regions, so there is not a wide range of species that live there. Deserts typically exist near or along the equator.

Soil Quality

The soil of deserts is commonly sandy, and lacking in nutrients. It is very difficult to farm in desert soil. Only certain, specific types of plants can survive in the soil and conditions of this biome.

Invasive Species: Quagga Mussels

Quagga Mussels were accidentally brought to the Great Basin area, most likely through boats. These mussels eat a large amount of phytoplankton, which disrupts the natural aquatic food chains in this area.

Endangered Species: Springsnails

Springsnails are endangered in the Great Basin Desert because groundwater pumping for human usage in the area reduces the volume that water rises to the surface of the ground to form springs, which causes a decrease in the volume of water needed to form the snails’ habitats. Therefore, springsnails are endangered as a result of habitat destruction (H in HIPPCO)

Animals in the Great Basin Desert

Chuckwalla Lizard

The Chuckwalla Lizard's color pattern allows it to blend in with its surroundings in the desert, helping it to hide from predators.

Round-tailed Ground Squirrel

The round-tailed ground squirrel enters a long period of sleep similar to hibernation called estivation during the hottest and driest periods of the summer in order to survive when it cannot find much food. It also hibernates during the winters to avoid cold spells.

Great Basin Spadefoot

Great Basin Spadefoots have hard spades on their toes, which they use to dig burrows in the desert ground and to keep themselves safe in during cold and dry weather.

Plants in the Great Basin Desert

Plains Prickly Pear

The plains prickly pear has leaf pads that store water, allowing it to survive in this region that receives little rainfall. These pads also have sharp spikes on them that encourage predators not to eat them.

Bristlecone Pine

Bristlecone pines grow very slowly in the Great Basin Desert area, which makes their wood very dense and therefore more resistant to insects, fungi, rot and erosion in the desert.

Big Sagebrush

Big sagebrush have small hairs on their leaves that help to prevent it from drying out in the harsh heat and wind of the desert.


Created with images by Moyan_Brenn - "Desert"

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