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 at Desert Laboratory, the buildings that are roughly half-way up the Hill. Please make a reservation for the lecture so there is  sufficient shuttle service.

Please contact Cynthia Anson at desertlaboratory@gmail.com or 520-629-9455 to reserve a seat.

Past lectures 


Fall 2018 Lecture Scedule

Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill Fall 2018 Lecture Series


Since the Hornaday expedition set off from the Desert Laboratory in 1907, captured in the book Camp fires on Desert and Lava, there has been a unique connection between Tumamoc Hill and this enigmatic volcanic range in NW Mexico. Recognized by many as the desert’s heart, the Pinacate has captivated and inspired those who have traversed its rugged slopes, peaks, and dunes. Please join four of those individuals as they connect you to this special region of our desert and in celebration of the first bilingual publication of the 1928 novel Campos de Fuego: A Brief and Fantastic History of an Expedition into the Volcanic Regions of the Pinacate by Gumersindo Esquer, Contribution 2 of the Proceedings of the Desert Laboratory.

The talks are held at the Desert Laboratory, the buildings roughly half-way up Tumamoc Hill. Please reserve a space with Cynthia Anson at desertlaboratory@gmail.com or 520-629-9455, due to limited seating. 

The Pinacate Volcanoes

September 5, 2018  6:00 pm

Dan Lynch


The Pinacate Volcanic Field comprises nearly five hundred cinder cone volcanoes scattered across a distinctive gray landscape of their own creation. Eruptive activity ceased just over 10,000 years ago and Pinacate Peak is an oceanic-island volcano on continental crust with a unique cinder cone that melted inside. The field is most famous for its giant steam explosion craters. Come to learn about the inner secrets of the desert’s volcano.

Video of the Presentation: https://youtu.be/7592PB3vGfs

***Mesquite: An Evening of Appreciation***

September 19, 2018 6:00 pm

Gary Paul Nabhan, Brad Lancaster, Esperanza Arevalo, Petey Mesquitey, Muffin Burgess, Barbara Rose, and more! 

Join an amazing group of people at the center of the Mesquite and native foods revolution. The evening will honor and look into the future of the local food movement with Gary Nabhan, Desert Harvesters, Muffin Burgess, and more!

 Video of Presentation: https://youtu.be/P7hF4mnf5tk

Time Frame: An Artist’s Long-Term Relationship with Pinacate

October 3, 2018  6:00 pm

Richard Laugharn


Richard Laugharn is an artist whose current long term project involves photographing individual desert plants over time. From an early age, he has had a compulsion to honor – through repeated visits – a particular patch of land. For over thirty years, the place that he has returned to most avidly is the Pinacate region of Sonora, Mexico. In his lecture, illustrated by his stunning work, he will tell you why.

Video of Presentation: https://youtu.be/DMsCZY9-VfA

Sonoran Pronghorn in the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, a Story of Challenges and Adaptations

November 7, 2018  6:00 pm

Miguel Angel Grageda Garcia

Reserva de la Biosfera El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar, Sonora, Mexico

Sonoran pronghorn antelope are a subspecies adapted to the harsh environment of the Sonoran Desert. This species original range goes from southern Arizona to northwestern Sonora, including the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve where a subpopulation has been roaming freely without human intervention for centuries. Now they are increasingly isolated by highways, fences, the US-Mexico border, and human development. Fortunately, the number of Sonoran pronghorn within the Reserve has been increasing in recent years, but solving connectivity problems and ensuring the conservation of large continuous areas of habitat are key in preserving these incredible animals for the future.

Video of Presentation: https://youtu.be/p25KjQTWYkU

The Ties That Bind: Natural History of Plant and Animal Interactions in El Pinacate

December 5, 2018  6:00 pm

Paul Dayton

Professor, Integrative Oceanography Division at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

Why is a world renowned marine ecologist studying cactus and jackrabbits in the middle of the desert? Born and raised in Tucson with a childhood full of flying to remote corners of the desert with back country pilot Ike Russell and scuba diving off San Carlos as a teenager with home-made regulators, Paul is first and foremost a desert rat. His career has been driven by the belief that one must understand nature to protect it. Focused in the Antarctic, California kelp forests, and as you will hear, in the Pinacate, he has attempted to use analytical techniques of simplification, testing, and synthesis as an approach to understand community organization.

Video of Presentation: https://youtu.be/glbiePAENV8