Biogeography Field Study: The Sonoran Desert

GEO 385/585
Biogeography Field Study -- 3 Credits
The Sonoran Desert

Saguaros at Gates
Saguaro cacti at Gates Pass outside of Tucson Arizona

The field course will leave Valparaiso and fly to Tucson, Arizona. We will stay at one motel for a week. Each day we will study the physical landscape of the Sonoran Desert Community--the cacti, the desert trees and shrubs, and the animals. We will investigate the following sites which are nicely located only an hour from Tucson:

Day 1 Saguaro National Park
Day 2: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Day 3 Chiricahua National Monument
Day 4 Biosphere 2
Day 5 Sabino Canyon
Day 6 Coronado National Forest

A bird rests near a saguaro cactusThe Sonoran Desert teams with life.

In lushness and variety of life, the Sonoran Desert far surpasses all other North American deserts. The plants and animals able to survive in this enviornment make up one of the most interesting and unusual collections of life in the United States.

Be Aware: The course will require considerable walking at high elevations. Sometimes the heat is extreme, and there is no water available along most trails. you need to be aware of painful enocounters with cacti such as the cholla cactus spines that, with just the slightest touch, can become embedded in your skin. Also, you need to avoid encountering poisonous rattlesnakes, scorpions, or Gila monsters.

Besides these encounters, a research paper on some aspect of the desert environment is also required.

Trip cost includes ground transportation from Valpariaso to Chicago and back, van rental costs to airport and around Tucson, hotel for one week (four persons per room), and all park fees. You will need to pay for food and your plane ticket.

See Dr. Ronald Janke for full details.
Kallay-Christopher Hall
Room 201-H Phone: 464-5139

The entrance to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is an excellent place to learn about the Sonoran Desert