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When the Rains Come: A Naturalist's Year in the Sonoran Desert

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When the Rains Come: A Naturalist's Year in the Sonoran Desert Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Life in the desert is a waiting game: waiting for rain. And in a year of drought, the stakes are especially high.

John Alcock knows the Sonoran Desert better than just about anyone else, and in this book he tracks the changes he observes in plant and animal life over the course of a drought year. Combining scientific knowledge with years of exploring the desert, he describes the variety of ways in which the wait for rain takes place—and what happens when it finally comes.

The desert is a land of five seasons, featuring two summers—hot, dry months followed by monsoon—and Alcock looks at the changes that take place in an entire desert community over the course of all five. He describes what he finds on hikes in the Usery Mountains near Phoenix, where he has studied desert life over three decades and where frequent visits have enabled him to notice effects of seasonal variation that might escape a casual glance.

Blending a personal perspective with field observation, Alcock shows how desert ecology depends entirely on rainfall. He touches on a wide range of topics concerning the deserts natural history, noting the response of saguaro flowers to heat and the habits of predators, whether soaring red-tailed hawk or tiny horned lizard. He also describes unusual aspects of insects that few desert hikers will have noticed, such as the disruptive color pattern of certain grasshoppers that is more effective than most camouflage.

When the Rains Come is brimming with new insights into the desert, from the mating behaviors of insects to urban sprawl, and features photographs that document changes in the landscape as drought years come and go. It brings us the desert in the harshest of times—and shows that it is still teeming with life.

Book News Annotation:

Centered on Arizona's Usery Mountains (where the author has hiked for 30 years), Alcock's account of the drought year of 2006 shows what happens to the desert's plants and animals when their annual wait for rain goes on for way too long, and how they respond when the rains finally arrive. One of the most knowledgeable observers of Arizona's Sonoran Desert, the author covers a range of natural history topics, including the mating behaviors of insects, the habits of the red-tailed hawk and other predators, the effects of urban sprawl, and how it is that the Sonoran Desert has five seasons instead of the usual four. Alcock's lively writing and his many color photographs will greatly interest anyone who's lived in the desert Southwest, and let everyone else in on what they've been missing. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

John Alcock is Professor of Zoology at Arizona State University.

Table of Contents

The desert is a land of five seasons, featuring two summers—hot, dry months followed by monsoon—and Alcock looks at the changes that take place in an entire desert community over the course of all five. He describes what he finds on hikes in the Usery Mountains near Phoenix, where he has studied desert life over three decades and where frequent visits have enabled him to notice effects of seasonal variation that might escape a casual glance.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780816527625
Author:
Alcock, John
Publisher:
University of Arizona Press
Subject:
Natural history
Subject:
Desert ecology
Subject:
General
Subject:
Ecology
Subject:
Desert ecology -- Sonoran Desert.
Subject:
Natural history -- Sonoran Desert.
Subject:
Naturalists, Gardeners, Environmentalists
Subject:
Nature
Subject:
Biography-Gardeners and Naturalists
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.5 x 8.5 in

Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Law » General
Science and Mathematics » Botany » Deserts
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

When the Rains Come: A Naturalist's Year in the Sonoran Desert New Trade Paper
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