Previous Lectures

2018March 8. Border | Boundary | Frontier: Readings by Francisco Cantú and David Taylor

As a prelude to the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books, authors Francisco Cantú and David Taylor presented a special evening of readings and visual presentations that yielded insights into the complexity of the borderlands.

listen to the audio recording

2017, December 7. 10,000 years of Field Notes: A reading by Richard Felger

A special reading that highlights Richard's explorations and experiences of a life of adventure and mischief.

watch the recording read Paul Mirocha's capturing of the event

2018, September 19. Mesquite: An Evening of Appreciation

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

A presentation from the 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!

Watch the recording

2018, April 11. No Species is an Island: A Science-Art Collaboration

Ted Fleming, Emiritus Professor of Biology, University of Miami & Kim Kanoa Duffek, Nature Artist & Illustrator, Botany Department, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Dr. Fleming and Ms. Duffek  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. 

Watch the recording

2018, March 14. The Multiple Forces of Natural Selection on Seed Size in a Desert Annual Plant

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 

2018, February 13. Oasis: Biodiversity Gems in the Southern Sonoran Desert

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.

2017, December 13. Borderlands Restoration: Bringing back Water and Wildlife to Foster a Restoration Economy along the US-Mexico Border

Ron Pulliam, Founder and Science Advisor, Borderlands Restoration

2017, November 8. Beyond Cattle and Grains: Adaptation to Global Change in Arid Rural Communities

America Lutz Ley, Assistant Professor, Center for Development Studies, El Colegio de Sonora

People in rural Sonoran communities, as in other places of the world, adjust their behaviors not only in face of climate change, but in response to the combination of multiple types of stressors. This research shows that the livelihood profile -or what people do for a living- in the rural communities, importantly influences the type of stressors they perceive as a priority for adaptation. In general, modifications in the environment and climate events are perceived widely, but climate change as a large scale process is under-recognized in the Sonoran communities analyzed.

2017, October 18. Nature, Love, Medicine – In celebration of Natural History

Thomas L. Fleischner, Ph.D., Executive Director, Natural History Institute with special guest readings by Alberto Búrquez Montijo, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, UNAM, and Gary Nabhan, UA SW Center and Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill

Join three veteran Southwest naturalists for this celebration of the healing power of natural history. Tom Fleischner is the editor, and Gary Paul Nabhan and Alberto Búrquez are contributors to the new anthology, Nature, Love, Medicine: Essays On Wildness and Wellness. All three will read excerpts from their essays, and then will engage in an open discussion with the audience.

2017, October 11. Lepus alleni – Arizona’s Super Hare

David Brown, Adjunct Faculty, UA Natural Resources Studies and ASU School of Life Sciences

This talk will summarize the natural history and habitats of the antelope jackrabbit. Past and recent studies into its ecology and biology will be presented along with some of its more interesting behaviors. We will also present what is know about the animal’s status and its successful competition with the closely related black-tailed jackrabbit.

2017. April 12. Hydrogeology of the Quitobaquito and Gran Desierto Wetlands: Insights from Environmental Isotopes and Water Chemistry

Hector A. Zamora, Ph.D. Student, UA Geosciences

2017, March 8. Continued Conservation of a Sonoran Desert Icon: The Desert Tortoise

Taylor Edwards, Assistant Staff Scientist, UA Genetics Core

2017, February 8. Columnar Cacti: Ecology, Evolution, Uses, and the Future of Latin American Great Cacti

Alberto Búrquez Montijo, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico