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A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert

Steven John Phillips (Editor), Patricia Wentworth Comus (Editor), Mark Alan Dimmitt (Editor), Linda M. Brewer (Editor)

Available worldwide
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Paperback, 590 pages
ISBN: 9780520287471
November 2015
$39.95, £29.95
The landscape of the Sonoran Desert Region varies dramatically from parched desert lowlands to semiarid tropical forests and frigid subalpine meadows. Covering southeasternmost California, much of southern and central Arizona, most of Baja California, and much of the state of Sonora, Mexico, it is home to an extraordinary variety of plants and animals. A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert takes readers deep into its vast expanse, looking closely at the relationships of plants and animals with the land and people, through time and across landscapes.

In accessible language, more than forty scientists and/or naturalists examine the region’s biodiversity, geology, weather, plants, and animals (from invertebrates to fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals), as well as potential threats to the species and habitats. The text is supplemented throughout with anecdotes, essays, photographs, maps, diagrams, and 450 finely rendered drawings.

This new edition adds chapters on the Sky Islands, Sea of Cortez, desert pollinators, and conservation issues. Taxonomic nomenclature has been updated and new color plates and figures have been added. This comprehensive natural history, like the original edition, will surely become an invaluable companion for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, hikers, students, naturalists, and anyone interested in the desert Southwest.

Published in association with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
 
Preface
Acknowledgments

1 • Welcome to the Sonoran Desert

Part One • The Big Picture
2 • Biomes and Communities of the Sonoran Desert Region
3 • Sky Islands
4 • Sea of Cortez
5 • Sonoran Desert Natural Events Calendar
6 • Nature Watching in the Sonoran Desert Region
7 • Desert Storms
8 • Desert Air and Light
9 • Deep History of the Sonoran Desert
10 • Geologic Origin of the Sonoran Desert
11 • Desert Soils
12 • Human Ecology of the Sonoran Desert
13 • Conservation Iss ues in the Sonoran Desert Region: Protecting Our Future
14 • Pollination in the Sonoran Desert Region
15 • Biodiversity: The Variety of Life that Sustains Our Own

Part Two • Plants
16 • Plant Ecology of the Sonoran Desert Region
17 • Flowering Plants of the Sonoran Desert
18 • Desert Grasses

Part Three • Animals
19 • A Vertebrate Looks at Arthropods
20 • Desert Ad aptations of Birds and Mammals
21 • Desert Ad aptations of Amphibians and Reptiles
22 • Sonoran Desert Arthropods
23 • Sonoran Desert Birds
24 • Sonoran Desert Mammals
25 • Sonoran Desert Fishes
26 • Sonoran Desert Reptiles and Amphibians

Afterword
List of Species
Glossary
Editors
Contributors
Credits
Index
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, located fourteen miles west of Tucson, is an internationally recognized leader in natural history interpretation and innovative exhibitry.
"If I were forced to limit my southwestern library to one book, this would be it. In just under 600 pages, handsomely illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, and prcise pen-and-ink drawings, 35 experts share their considerable knowledge of man and nature in the Sonoran Desert." —Southwest Books of the Year
"An indispensable guide for any desert visitor. . . . It offers a complete look at Sonoran Desert ecology, with details on individual species and essays that bring the desert alive."—Sunset Magazine
"The award-winning text includes a calendar of natural events highlighting animal migrations, full moons, and the Sonoran Desert's awesome spring flower show." —Outside Magazine
"A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert is a monumental work, accessible to amateurs and professionals alike; it is a must for anyone planning to visit the deserts of southwestern United States."—Environmental Practice
". . . immaculately produced. . . . Put together by the museum's exceptional academic and curatorial staff, Natural History is a storybook, a field guide, a lay geology, paleontology, and human ecology textbook, and a handy encyclopedia - and it reads as enjoyable as fiction." —The Americus Journal
"If I am exiled to a desert isle, I now have that proverbial one book to take along: A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert. . . . It's all here. It's like sitting on the patio with the best experts and having a private tutorial."—The Journal of Arizona History
"Never before has a book appeared that so deserved a place on the bookshelf of every desert aficionado. . . . This book is destined to become the bible of Sonoran Desert nature literature."—Jim Cornett, Plam Springs Desert Museum The Desert Sun
"This compendium [is] destined to become the mandatory reference for the Sonoran Desert for years to come."—New Mexico Magazine
". . . an authoritative introduction to the Sonoran Desert. . . . remarkably thorough . . . the one book on the Sonoran Desert I'd recommend to both novice and experienced naturalists." —George Middendorf, Howard University Audubon Naturalist News
"This book is the next best thing to going there. . . . Thought the emphasis is on the well-known and often-seen organisms of the region, the depth of coverage of those organisms is remarkable for its completeness." —G. Stevens, University of New Mexico CHOICE
"Everything the traveler, birdwatcher, hiker, student, desert-dweller and desert-lover will ever need to know about this region . . . is painstakingly presented in clear prose, maps and pictures." —Rocky Mountain News
"This book is a long, long, love letter. . . . [It] tells you just about all you can think to ask about this lush and most beautiful of America's four deserts."—The Sonoran Quarterly
"A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert provides a collection of Sonoran Desert natural history information and is a pefect introduction to the most biologically rich desert in North America."—AZA Communique
"It is heartening to read a no-nonsense and comprehensive description of the natural history of the Sonoran Desert. . . . There is little missing in this book and much to recommend it."—Julio Betancourt, Desert Laboratory Geotimes
"Exquisitly produced, richly illustrated . . . definitive account of this hot desert."—Taxon 49
"Thirty experts contributed to this 628-page volume - the most complete collection of natural history available on this region."—Wildlife Conservation
"A Natural History will go with me on my next road trip west." —New Mexican
"This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the natural history of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts . . . It would be an ideal text for a community college or undergraduate course on desert ecology." —Matthew L. Brooks, USGS Western Ecological Research Center Madrono
Praise for the First Edition

"An indispensable guide for any desert visitor."—Sunset Magazine

"The award-winning text includes a calendar of natural events highlighting animal migrations, full moons, and the Sonoran Desert's awesome spring flower show."—Outside Magazine

"Never before has a book appeared that so deserved a place on the bookshelf of every desert aficionado. This book is destined to become the bible of Sonoran Desert nature literature."—The Desert Sun

"Everything the traveler, birdwatcher, hiker, student, desert-dweller, and desert-lover will ever need to know about this region is painstakingly presented in clear prose, maps and pictures."—Rocky Mountain News 

"Immaculately produced. Put together by the museum's exceptional academic and curatorial staff, Natural History is a storybook, a field guide, a lay geology, a paleontology and human ecology textbook, and a handy encyclopedia—and it reads as enjoyably as fiction."—The Americus Journal

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