Algae are also found in deserts!

As an ecologist and an artist, Juniper Harrower studies the complexities of species interactions under climate change focused on the symbiotic interactions between Joshua trees, their soil fungi, and moth pollinators in Joshua Tree National Park. She has translated her doctoral research into a narrative for stop motion animation. 

Juniper Harrower, A Joshua Tree Love Story , stop motion animation depicting Harrower and son collecting data on species interactions in Joshua Tree National Park, mixed media

In the desert photosynthesizing algal cells form symbiotic relationships with fungi to make lichen that attaches itself to rocks breaking down into nutrients that then become available to other plants. Algae can also be found in soil biological crusts (some crusts can be thousands of years old!) along with tiny lichen, mosses, and blue-green algae, that together form a surface crust on the desert soil and help to secure and nourish desert soils.