A Desert Calling: Life in a Forbidding Landscape by Michael A. Mares

By Michael A. Mares

For many folks the notice "desert" evokes photos of barren desolate tract, colossal, dry stretches inimical to lifestyles. yet for a superb array of creatures, even perhaps extra considerable than those that inhabit tropical rainforests, the wasteland is a haven and a house. commute with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the yank Southwest and you'll come across a wealthy and noteworthy number of those small, tenacious animals, a lot of them first came upon by way of Mares in parts by no means earlier than studied. Accompanying Mares on his forays into those opposed habitats, we detect the impressive behavioral, physiological, and ecological diversifications that experience allowed such little-known species of rodents, bats, and different small mammals to persist in an arid global. whilst, we see firsthand the perils and pitfalls that look ahead to biologists who enterprise into the sphere to enquire new habitats, observe new species, and upload to our wisdom of the range of existence. jam-packed with the seductions and trials that such adventures entail, A desolate tract Calling provides an intimate knowing of the biologist's vocation. As he astonishes us with the diversity and diversity of data to be received in the course of the made up our minds research of little-known habitats, Mares opens a window on his personal unusual lifestyles, in addition to at the unusual lifetime of the distant and mysterious corners of our planet. (20020401)

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For many folks the be aware "desert" evokes pictures of barren barren region, titanic, dry stretches inimical to lifestyles. yet for an outstanding array of creatures, even perhaps extra abundant than those that inhabit tropical rainforests, the wasteland is a haven and a house. go back and forth with Michael Mares into the deserts of Argentina, Iran, Egypt, and the yankee Southwest and you may come across a wealthy and noteworthy number of those small, tenacious animals, a lot of them first came across via Mares in components by no means prior to studied.

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Photo by M. A. ) We subject the chromosome collection on the microscope slides to an extensive series of chemical stains that differentially make the chromosomes visible against the background of the rest of the cell. We then examine the chromosome slides under a compound microscope to find those few chromosome sets that have gotten fixed, stained, and placed on the slide in a manner that permits them to be photographed and counted. We photograph them, store the images digitally, and compare them with known chromosome complements to help decide whether we are dealing with a new species or one that has already been described.

Since there was an economic need to discover the biological resources of the newly acquired regions, natural scientists were among the first faculty members at the developing institutions. They worked to determine the best strategies for developing farms, ranches, and forests, and for utilizing wildlife and mineral resources. 24 E L F I N FA R M E R S A N D C A C T O P H Y L I C C A R P E N T E R S Scientists in the twentieth century built upon the work of the early explorers and collectors in the Southwest.

Oxalic acid is highly toxic to mam- 34 E L F I N FA R M E R S A N D C A C T O P H Y L I C C A R P E N T E R S mals. Humans would die if they ate oxalic acid, developing such terrible symptoms as tremors, convulsions, abdominal pain, vomiting, weak pulse, low blood pressure, and shock before succumbing. As little as half an ounce can kill a person within minutes. Oxalic acid content notwithstanding, woodrats have the ability to eat as much cactus as they like. Half their diet consists of cactus.

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