Sonoran Desert Journeys

Ecology and Evolution of Its Iconic Species

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Lizards dashing rapidly between plants. Songbirds and woodpeckers flying to and from their nests. Hawks perched on saguaros. What kinds of journeys have these and many other animals and plants and their ancestors taken in space and time to arrive in the Sonoran Desert? How long have these species been living together here?

In Sonoran Desert Journeys ecologist Theodore H. Fleming discusses two remarkable journeys. First, Fleming offers a brief history of our intellectual and technical journey over the past three centuries to understand the evolution of life on Earth. Next, he applies those techniques on a journey of discovery about the evolution and natural history of some of the Sonoran Desert’s most iconic animals and plants. Fleming details the daily lives of a variety of reptiles, birds, mammals, and plants, describing their basic natural and evolutionary histories and addressing intriguing issues associated with their lifestyles and how they cope with a changing climate. Finally, Fleming discusses the complexity of Sonoran Desert conservation.

This book explores the evolution and natural history of iconic animals and plants of the northern Sonoran Desert through the eyes of a curious naturalist and provides a model of how we can coexist with the unique species that call this area home.

"Fleming takes us on immense journeys, discovering desert reptiles, birds, mammals and plants, how they evolved and arrived to live in the Sonoran desert. Inspired by Loren Eiseley, Aldo Leopold, and George Gaylord Simpson, Ted Fleming, a biologist, researcher, and teacher details his path on becoming a biologist and teacher."—Stephen Buchmann, author of The Reason for Flowers

"Ted Fleming combines his mastery of science and teaching with keen observations of life in the Sonoran Desert. He traces the deep roots of ecology into the very foundations of biological science and guides us into the complexities of our most cherished desert critters and how we must save them."—David Yetman, author of Natural Landmarks of Arizona

“A delightful romp through the deep history and ecological landscape of the Sonoran Desert by one of its top ecologists.  The author’s personal stories and experiences provide a unique entry point into understanding a special place on the planet.  Anyone with a love of Sonoran Desert, or deserts in general—be they desert rat, nature lover, or drylands scientist—should have this book to their personal library.”—Richard C. Brusca, executive director emeritus of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum; research scientist, University of Arizona; and author of The Gulf of California: Biodiversity and Conservation

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