Question Video: Identifying a Desert Plants Adaptations to Reduce Water Loss | Nagwa Question Video: Identifying a Desert Plants Adaptations to Reduce Water Loss | Nagwa

Question Video: Identifying a Desert Plants Adaptations to Reduce Water Loss Biology • Third Year of Secondary School

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Desert plants have different adaptations to reduce water loss and maintain cell turgidity, such as _.

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Video Transcript

Desert plants have different adaptations to reduce water loss and maintain cell turgidity, such as blank. (A) Smaller leaves with fewer stomata. (B) Leaves are modified into spines to reduce the surface area for transpiration. (C) Thick cuticles to prevent water loss. Or (D) all of the answers are correct.

The question is asking us about adaptations of desert plants to reduce water loss. Since the provided answer choices all refer to leaf structure and function, let’s start by considering the main role of leaves.

You probably know that they are the main site of photosynthesis. And photosynthesis produces glucose to provide nutrition for the plant. Because of this crucial function, many plant species have evolved to have leaves with a large surface area in order to capture as much sunlight as possible.

However, leaves are also the main site of transpiration, which results in water loss. Deserts are biomes that receive less than 25 centimeters of precipitation per year. Amazingly, the Sahara Desert receives just one to three centimeters of rain per year. In order to survive in these extremely dry climates, desert plants have evolved adaptations to reduce transpiration while maintaining photosynthesis.

Transpiration occurs when water vapor leaves the plant through openings on leaves called stomata, or singular stoma. In times of low water availability, stomata could be closed by guard cells to reduce water loss. However, for photosynthesis to occur, the stomata must be opened so that carbon dioxide can enter and oxygen can leave. Having smaller leaves with fewer stomata can reduce water loss from transpiration. And this is one of the adaptations we see in desert plants.

Cacti are common in desert biomes. These fascinating plants have taken the adaptation of smaller leaves to the extreme by modifying their leaves into spines. Spines not only have a very small surface area, which reduces transpiration, they also shade the cactus stems from harsh ultraviolet rays and provide a physical defense against herbivores.

The surface of nearly all land plants is covered by a waxy layer called the cuticle. This layer prevents water loss through evaporation as well as providing a physical barrier against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. A thicker cuticle reduces water loss better than a thin cuticle. So it makes sense that this is yet another adaptation seen in desert plants.

We’ve now learned that all of the given adaptations are used by desert plants to reduce water loss and maintain cell turgidity. So the best answer choice is (D). All of the answers are correct.

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