Tumamoc Lecture Series

Tumamoc Hill host a series of lectures as part of the College of Science, Science Café series, as well as additional lectures denoted by "***".

Speakers focus on topics that relate to the science, history, archeology, and educational and all talks are open to the public.


The talks are held in the library of the old Desert Laboratory, the buildings that are roughly half-way up the Hill. Please make a reservation for the Science Café so they can have sufficient shuttle service for the participants. Please contact Cynthia Anson at cynthiaanson@email.arizona.edu or 520-629-9455 to reserve a seat.

Past lectures 


Winter/Spring 2018 Lecture Scedule

Tuesday, February 13, 6:00 p.m.

Oasis: Biodiversity Gems in the Southern Sonoran Desert

David Brown PhotoPresenter: Michael Bogan, Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

In the arid southern Sonoran Desert, the rugged canyons of the Sierra El Aguaje contain a surprising number of freshwater oases fed by groundwater that rises through geologic faults. At least 220 species of aquatic animals, including six undescribed species, have been documented from the oases in recent years. Genetic evidence from fish and frogs suggests that these or similar spring-fed habitats have persisted in the mountain range for thousands to millions of years. Groundwater pumping, the introduction of non-native species, and unmanaged human recreation all pose threats to the biodiversity of these unique desert oases.


***Thursday, March 8th, 6:00 p.m.***

Border | Boundary | Frontier

Readings by Francisco Cantú and David Taylor

As a prelude to the Tucson Festival of Books, join authors Francisco Cantú and David Taylor for a special evening of readings and visual presentations that will yield insights into the complexity of the borderlands.

Wednesday, March 14, 6:00 p.m.

The Multiple Forces of Natural Selection on Seed Size in a Desert Annual Plant

America Lutz Ley PhotoPresenter: Eugenio Larios, Postodoctoral Fellow, Instituto de Ecologia, UNAM

Seed size is a key plant functional trait that has fitness consequences through the life cycle and therefore under selective pressure. While seed size has been of general interest to ecologists and evolutionary biologists, selection on seed size has proven to be difficult to measure in the wild. The speaker will show how selection on seed size in Dithyrea californica is influenced by three environmental; forces in the wild: water availability, intraspecific competition, and selective predation by ants and rodents.





***Wednesday, April 4, 6:00 p.m.

Book Presentation: Rattlesnakes Between Danger and Conservation / Presentación del Libro: Serpiente de Cascabel Entre Peligro y la Conservación 

Video of the presentation can be seen here: https://youtu.be/ol7zMYwmVnA

Presenter: Hector Avila


Wednesday, April 11, 6:00 p.m.

No Species is an Island: A Science-Art Collaboration

Ron Pulliam PhotoPresenter: Ted Fleming, Emiritus Professor of Biology, University of Miami

Dr. Fleming will talk about the novel discoveries that he and his research team made during an 11-year study of the pollination biology of four species of Sonoran Desert columnar cacti. These discoveries are described in the book, “No Species is an Island: Bats, Cacti, and Sonoran Desert Secrets” recently published by the University of Arizona Press. They include the odd breeding system of the cardon cactus; the highly specialized pollination system of the senita cactus; and the amazing life-history of the nectar feeding bat, Leptonycteris yerbabuenae, an important pollinator of cardon, saguaro, and organ pipe cacti. The book’s illustrator, Kim Kanoa Duffek, and Dr. Fleming will also discuss how they came to collaborate on this book. 

Presenter: Kim Kanoa Duffek,

Nature Artist & Illustrator, Botany Department, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum