Deserts and dryland habitats are – as their name suggests – largely waterless, but they are able to support a great variety of life.
Deserts are found on every single continent on the planet. Desert types include the subtropical deserts of the Sahara and the Kalahari, cold winter deserts such as the Gobi in Central Asia, and cool coastal deserts such as the Namib in southern Africa and the Atacama of northern Chile.
Only 10% of the world’s deserts are sandy; the rest come in many forms including salt flats such as Great Salt Lake in the USA and Etosha Pan in Namibia; areas covered in vegetation such as brush and dry grasses; expanses of ice; and the pebbly, rocky, cobbled terrain known as desert pavement.
Since these areas are defined by their relative lack of rainfall and short growing seasons, places such as the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica also qualify as deserts.