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Mojave Desert Biome



    A major biotic community characterized by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate.
    (Princeton Word Net)


    The study of the natural interaction of organisms to one another within their environment.

Defining an Ecosystem

    An ecosystem is a biotic community together with its physical environment, considered as an integrated unit. Implied within this definition is the concept of a structural and functional whole unified through life processes. An ecosystem may be characterized as a viable unit of community and interactive habitat. Ecosystems are hierarchical and can be viewed as nested sets of open systems in which physical, chemical, and biological processes form interactive subsystems. Some ecosystems are microscopic and the largest comprises the biosphere. Ecosystem restoration can be directed at different-sized ecosystems within the nested set, and many encompass multiple states, more localized watersheds, or a smaller complex of aquatic habitat.

    Put another way, each organism (including humans) is affected by and interacts with its environment. That environment is formed from a combination of interactive non-living and living elements. The non-living elements include: energy, water, air, substrate, and chemical constituents such as nutrients. The living elements include plants, vertebrate animals, invertebrates, and microorganisms. When we consider both forms of elements and their interactions as a single entity, we have an ecosystem at some level of organization.¹

    1. Definition source - US Army Corps of Engineers EP 1165-2-502, Supporting Policy Information for Ecosystem Restoration.

Life at the Extremes

    The Mojave Desert, the driest and smallest of the North American deserts, occupies only ...

Desert Water Sources

    Spring, creeks, rivers, lakes, marshes & waterholes.

California's Natural Diversity

    Its varied topography and climate have given rise to a remarkable diversity of habitats and a correspondingly diverse array of both plant and animal species. California has more ...

Desert Ecosystems

A closer look at similar, but very different desert ecosystems in two of our desert national parks

    Joshua Tree National Park Ecosystems

    Deserts host plants and animals living in what strikes many humans as oppressive environments. Solar energy that green plants convert into food fuels life here. Although in most ecosystems plants compete for sunlight, here most plants are adapted to minimize the effects of too much solar energy.

    Death Valley National Park Ecosystems

    An ecosystem is how it all works together. The geology of region provide for the plants, which provide for the animals that eat the plants and animals that eat ...


An area or region of land designated for study purposes that has distinct characteristics setting it apart from others. In the Mojave, two general ecosections, separated by geomorphic boundaries, are further classified into ecosubsections.


Habitats are environments that are inhabited by a specific plant species or animal.

Flora & Fauna

Specific plant and animal species, and communities within, and around desert ecosystems.

Ecology Outline

Reference for development²


  • Inhabitants of the Environment
  • Natural Order
    • Patterns in nature
    • Diversity & complexity
    • Dynamic, stable and self-replenishing
    • Organization
    • Limits of perception
    • Observation, theory, and experiment
  • Natural History

Life and Physical Systems

  • Life and the Environment
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Adaptation
  • Variation and Response
  • Biological Components
  • Climate, Topography & Natural Diversity

Energy and Materials

  • Ecosystems
  • Flow of Energy
  • Elemental Paths & Cycles
  • Nutrient Regeneration Processes
  • Ecosystem Regulation

Ecology of Populations

  • Structure
  • Growth
  • Regulation
  • Fluctuations and Cycles
  • Evolution and Social Behavior

Ecosystem Interactions of Populations

  • Consumers
  • Predation, Herbivory, and Parsitism
  • Competition
  • Natural Competition
  • Complex Interactions
  • Responses and Extinction

Evolution of the Ecosystem

  • Adaptation
  • Adaptation to Varying Environments
  • Life History Evolution
  • Sexual Reproduction & Adaptation
  • Family and Social Behavior
  • Biological Coevolution

Communities within an Ecosystem

  • Community Concept
  • Development
  • Structure
  • Niches within Communities
  • Maintaining Structure
Reference - Ecology, Robert E. Ricklefs - 3rd Ed.

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