Living things are made up of chemical compounds, most of which are organic compounds. Organic compounds consist mainly of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. After a plant or animal dies, it decomposes. As organisms decompose, their organic compounds change into simpler compounds like carbon dioxide and water. Decomposition is fastest when the organisms are in water that contains dissolved oxygen. Organisms can also decompose even without oxygen. Some kinds of bacteria feed on plant and animal tissues even though there is no oxygen. These are called anaerobic ("no air") bacteria.