Cover image for A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
A natural history of the Sonoran Desert
Phillips, Steven.
Publication Information:
Tucson : Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum ; Berkeley : University of California Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xi, 628 pages: illustrations (some color), maps (some color) ; 24 cm
Welcome to the Sonoran Desert -- Biomes and communities of the Sonoran Desert region -- Sonoran Desert natural events calendar -- Nature watching in the Sonoran Desert region -- Desert storms -- Desert air and light -- The deep history of the Sonoran Desert -- The geologic origin of the Sonoran Desert -- Desert soils -- Human ecology of the Sonoran Desert -- Biodiversity: the variety of life that sustains our own -- Plant ecology of the Sonoran Desert region -- Flowering plants of the Sonoran Desert -- Desert grasses -- Invertebrates -- The desert adaptations of birds & mammals -- Bird accounts -- Mammal accounts -- Fishes of the desert -- Adaptations of desert amphibians & reptiles -- Reptile & amphibian accounts.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH104.5.S58 N38 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Sonoran Desert is one of the most wildly diverse and fascinating regions in the world. Covering southeastern California, the southern half of Arizona, most of Baja California, and much of the state of Sonora, Mexico, this vast area is home to an amazing variety of plants and animals. Its terrain varies dramatically, from parched desert lowlands to semiarid tropical forests and frigid subalpine meadows. A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert provides the most complete collection of Sonoran Desert natural history information ever compiled and is a perfect introduction to this biologically rich desert of North America.

The authors--experts in many fields--begin with a general look at the region's geology, paleoecology, climate, human ecology, and biodiversity. The book then looks in depth at hundreds of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, native fishes, and invertebrates that live in the northern part of the Sonoran Desert. Throughout, the text is supplemented with anecdotes, essays, color and black-and-white photographs, maps, diagrams, and 450 finely-rendered drawings. This comprehensive, accessible natural history is written for nonscientists and will surely become an invaluable companion for nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, hikers, students, and anyone interested in the desert Southwest.

A copublication with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Author Notes

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum , located 14 miles west of Tucson, is an internationally recognized leader in natural history interpretation and innovative exhibitry. This book is the result of a collaboration by staff members at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, who provided their expertise in geology, geomorphology, paleoecology, botany, ethnobotany, plant ecology, mammalogy, ornithology, herpetolgy, invertebrate zoology and ichthyology. Their work was supplemented by contributions from approximately twenty outside scholars.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The Sonoran Desert of southwestern Arizona and Baja California has its own distinct ecological "feel." Some of the distinctive plants and animals of the region are the stuff of travel brochures (think saguaro cactus); these along with hundreds of other species are featured in this important work. With witty essays intermixed with sober analyses of soil types, rainfall, geology, human history, etc. as well as sections devoted to individual birds, mammals, arthropods, fish, reptiles, and others (even bacteria and fungi!), this guide pretty much covers the Sonoran Desert as an ecosystem. This updated edition (1st ed., CH, Sep'00, 38-0279) contains a few additional chapters and takes a "fresh look at the ecological and cultural patterns which shape the richest, most complex desert in all of the Americas." The large volume is no doubt chained to tables in visitor centers throughout the region. Dozens of charts, graphs, and tables provide compact summaries of years of fieldwork (multiple citations at the end of each chapter). Over 360 pen-and-ink drawings of individual species and a massive 44-page index aid in species identification. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All library collections. --George C. Stevens, University of New Mexico