Non-living things in the desert are water, air, energy, substrate and chemical constituents, also known as nutrients. The non-living elements combined with the living organisms make up the desert ecosystem.
It is fairly simple to think of living things in the desert. These include plants, animals and microorganisms. Not as obvious are the number of non-living elements, which are just as important to the ecological health of the environment.
- Water - While most deserts do not have large bodies of water, moisture can commonly be found in the form of dew, fog and torrential downpours.
- Air - Oxygen is essential for the desert's living organisms to thrive. While spores and other organisms use the air to move, the air itself is non-living.
- Energy - Examples of energy in the desert include solar energy that the plants use for photosynthesis and dust storms that are caused by the energy from the wind.
- Substrate - Substrate is simply defined as the ground in the desert. It is the material from which vegetation grows.
- Chemical constituents - There are a number of nutrients that are found in the desert, primarily in its substrate. Since there is minimal rainfall, the desert's soil has to have plenty of nutrients in order for the plant life to thrive.