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Mojave Desert Biome


Ecology: A branch of biology that deals with the relationships of organisms to one another and to their environments. - Ed.

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

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

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 ...

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.


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.

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 ...


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.


Within the environment lie the ecologies of biomes composed of habitats forming thier own environment. This is scaleable to all levels of environmental habitats. - Ed.

Desert Habitat Summaries

Desert Habitats

Coyote at Furnace Creek, Death Valley Biome

A major biotic community characterized by the dominant plant life and the climate that generally prevails.


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

Food Chains

A food chain, in ecology, is a hierarchical series of transfers of energy in an ecological community according to the order of predation using the next usually lower member as a food source. - Ed.

Mojave Desert and adjacent California Ecosections map

Last Chance Spring, El Paso Mountains - riparian habitat
Last Chance Spring

Round-tailed rat at Johua Tree National Park
Round-tailed Squirrel

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