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Sample records for gopherus agassizii desert

  1. Oxalosis in wild desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobson, Elliott R.; Berry, Kristin H.; Stacy, Brian; Huzella, Louis M.; Kalasinsky, Victor F.; Fleetwood, Michelle L.; Mense, Mark G.

    2009-01-01

    We necropsied a moribund, wild adult male desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) with clinical signs of respiratory disease and elevated plasma biochemical analytes indicative of renal disease (blood urea nitrogen [415 mg/dl], uric acid [11.8 mg/dl], sodium >180 mmol/l] and chloride [139 mmol/l]). Moderate numbers of birefringent oxalate crystals, based on infrared and electron microscopy, were present within renal tubules; small numbers were seen in colloid within thyroid follicles. A retrospective analysis of 66 additional cases of wild desert tortoises was conducted to determine whether similar crystals were present in thyroid and kidney. The tortoises, from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, were necropsied between 1992 and 2003 and included juveniles and adults. Tortoises were classified as healthy (those that died due to trauma and where no disease was identified after necropsy and evaluation by standard laboratory tests used for other tortoises) or not healthy (having one or more diseases or lesions). For all 67 necropsied tortoises, small numbers of crystals of similar appearance were present in thyroid glands from 44 of 54 cases (81%) and in kidneys from three of 65 cases (5%). Presence of oxalates did not differ significantly between healthy and unhealthy tortoises, between age classes, or between desert region, and their presence was considered an incidental finding. Small numbers of oxalate crystals seen within the kidney of two additional tortoises also were considered an incidental finding. Although the source of the calcium oxalate could not be determined, desert tortoises are herbivores, and a plant origin seems most likely. Studies are needed to evaluate the oxalate content of plants consumed by desert tortoises, and particularly those in the area where the tortoise in renal failure was found.

  2. Are Wildlife Detector Dogs or People Better at Finding Desert Tortoises (Gopherus Agassizii)?

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Nussear, Kenneth E; Esque, Todd C; Heaton, Jill S; Cablk, Mary E; Drake, Kristina K; Valentin, Cindee; Yee, Julie L; Medica, Philip A

    2008-01-01

    .... Recent studies highlight the effectiveness of trained detector dogs to locate wildlife during field surveys, including Desert Tortoises in a semi-natural setting. Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii...

  3. Mycoplasma agassizii in Morafka's desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) in Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H; Brown, Mary B; Vaughn, Mercy; Gowan, Timothy A; Hasskamp, Mary Ann; Torres, Ma Cristina Meléndez

    2015-01-01

    We conducted health evaluations of 69 wild and 22 captive Morafka's desert tortoises (Gopherus morafkai) in Mexico between 2005 and 2008. The wild tortoises were from 11 sites in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa, and the captive tortoises were from the state-managed Centro Ecológico de Sonora Zoo in Hermosillo and a private residence in the town of Alamos. We tested 88 tortoises for mycoplasmal upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for specific antibody and by culture and PCR for detection of Mycoplasma agassizii and Mycoplasma testudineum. Fifteen of 22 captive tortoises had one or more positive diagnostic test results for M. agassizii whereas no wild tortoises had positive tests. Tortoises with positive tests also had significantly more moderate and severe clinical signs of mycoplasmosis on beaks and nares compared to tortoises with negative tests. Captive tortoises also exhibited significantly more clinical signs of illness than did wild tortoises, including lethargy and moderate to severe ocular signs. The severity of trauma and diseases of the shell and integument did not differ significantly among tortoises by site; however, clinical signs of moderate to severe trauma and disease were more prevalent in older tortoises. Similar to research findings for other species in the genus Gopherus in the US, we found that URTD is an important disease in captive tortoises. If they escape or are released by intention or accident to the wild, captive tortoises are likely to pose risks to healthy, naïve wild populations.

  4. Gopherus agassizii (Desert Tortoise). Non-native seed dispersal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ennen, J.R.; Loughran, Caleb L.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.

    2011-01-01

    Sahara Mustard (Brassica tournefortii) is a non-native, highly invasive weed species of southwestern U.S. deserts. Sahara Mustard is a hardy species, which flourishes under many conditions including drought and in both disturbed and undisturbed habitats (West and Nabhan 2002. In B. Tellman [ed.], Invasive Plants: Their Occurrence and Possible Impact on the Central Gulf Coast of Sonora and the Midriff Islands in the Sea of Cortes, pp. 91–111. University of Arizona Press, Tucson). Because of this species’ ability to thrive in these habitats, B. tournefortii has been able to propagate throughout the southwestern United States establishing itself in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. Unfortunately, naturally disturbed areas created by native species, such as the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), within these deserts could have facilitated the propagation of B. tournefortii. (Lovich 1998. In R. G. Westbrooks [ed.], Invasive Plants, Changing the Landscape of America: Fact Book, p. 77. Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds [FICMNEW], Washington, DC). However, Desert Tortoises have never been directly observed dispersing Sahara Mustard seeds. Here we present observations of two Desert Tortoises dispersing Sahara Mustard seeds at the interface between the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in California.

  5. Gopherus agassizii (desert tortoise). Burrow collapse

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loughran, Caleb L.; Ennen, Joshua; Lovich, Jeffrey E.

    2011-01-01

    In the deserts of the southwestern U.S., burrows are utilized by the Desert Tortoise to escape environmental extremes (reviewed by Ernst and Lovich 2009. Turtles of the United States and Canada. 2nd ed. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 827 pp.). However, the potential for mortality through burrow collapse and entrapment is poorly documented. Nicholson and Humphreys (1981. Proceedings of the Desert Tortoise Council, pp. 163−194) suggested that collapse due to livestock trampling may cause mortality. In addition, Lovich et al. (2011. Chelon. Cons. Biol. 10[1]:124–129) documented a Desert Tortoise that used a steel culvert as a burrow surrogate. The culvert filled completely with sediment following a significant rain event, entombing the animal and ultimately resulting in its death. We note that this mortality was associated with an anthropogenic structure; because tortoises are prodigious diggers, one might hypothesize that they have the ability to dig out of collapsed natural burrows in most situations. Circumstances described here presented us with an opportunity to test this hypothesis.

  6. Western blot can distinguish natural and acquired antibodies to Mycoplasma agassizii in the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, Kenneth W; Dupré, Sally A; Sharp, Tiffanny; Sandmeier, Franziska C; Tracy, C Richard

    2008-12-01

    Mycoplasma agassizi has been identified as a cause of upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) in the threatened Mojave population of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), and anti-M. agassizii antibodies have been found by ELISA in as many as 15% of these animals across their geographic range. Here we report that a cohort of 16 egg-reared desert tortoises never exposed to M. agassizii had ELISA antibody titers to this organism that overlapped with titers obtained from some M. agassizii-infected tortoises. These natural antibodies were predominantly of the IgM class. Western blots of plasma from these non-infected tortoises produced a characteristic banding pattern against M. agassizii antigens. A group of 38 wild-caught desert tortoises was tested by ELISA, and although some of these tortoises had antibody titers significantly higher than the non-infected tortoises, there was considerable overlap at the lower titer levels. However, Western blot analysis revealed distinct banding patterns that could readily distinguish between the non-infected tortoises and tortoises with acquired antibodies, regardless of ELISA antibody titers. We conclude that desert tortoises have natural antibodies to M. agassizii that can compromise the determination of infection status by ELISA. However, the Western blot technique can distinguish between natural and acquired antibody patterns and can be used to confirm the diagnosis of M. agassizii infections in the desert tortoise.

  7. Are Wildlife Detector Dogs or People Better at Finding Desert Tortoises (Gopherus Agassizii)?

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-02-01

    density and habitat use of the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in Arizona. Journal of Herpetology 39:65-72. Berna, H. 1990. Seven bat species... Journal of Herpetology 38:527–535. Brooks, S.E., F.M. Oi, and P.G. Koehler. 2003. Ability of canine termite detectors to locate live termites and...sites: death by short-term drought? Journal of Herpetology 37:169-177. Lunn, D.J., A. Thomas, N. Best, and D. Spiegelhalter. 2000. WinBUGS - a

  8. Multiple factors affect a population of Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in the Northwestern Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Yee, Julie L.; Coble, Ashley A.; Perry, William M.; Shields, Timothy A.

    2013-01-01

    Numerous factors have contributed to declines in populations of the federally threatened Agassiz's Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and continue to limit recovery. In 2010, we surveyed a low-density population on a military test facility in the northwestern Mojave Desert of California, USA, to evaluate population status and identify potential factors contributing to distribution and low densities. Estimated densities of live tortoises ranged spatially from 1.2/km2 to 15.1/km2. Although only one death of a breeding-age tortoise was recorded for the 4-yr period prior to the survey, remains of 16 juvenile and immature tortoises were found, and most showed signs of predation by Common Ravens (Corvus corax) and mammals. Predation may have limited recruitment of young tortoises into the adult size classes. To evaluate the relative importance of different types of impacts to tortoises, we developed predictive models for spatially explicit densities of tortoise sign and live tortoises using topography (i.e., slope), predators (Common Raven, signs of mammalian predators), and anthropogenic impacts (distances from paved road and denuded areas, density of ordnance fragments) as covariates. Models suggest that densities of tortoise sign increased with slope and signs of mammalian predators and decreased with Common Ravens, while also varying based on interaction effects involving these predictors as well as distances from paved roads, denuded areas, and ordnance. Similarly, densities of live tortoises varied by interaction effects among distances to denuded areas and paved roads, density of ordnance fragments, and slope. Thus multiple factors predict the densities and distribution of this population.

  9. Cutaneous adenocarcinoma in a desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ashraf Abu-Seida

    2013-06-01

    Full Text Available This report describes the clinical and histopathological findings of a rare case of cutaneous adenocarcinoma in a 40-year-old desert tortoise. Surgical excision of the neoplasm improved the general health condition and locomotion of the tortoise although recurrence of the neoplasm had been recorded 1 year post-surgery.

  10. Turtles and culverts, and alternative energy development: an unreported but potentially significant mortality threat to the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, J.E.; Ennen, J.R.; Madrak, S.; Grover, B.

    2011-01-01

    Culverts are often used to increase the permeability of roaded landscapes for wildlife, including turtles. Although the benefits of culverts as safe passages for turtles are well documented, under some conditions culverts can entrap them and cause mortality. Here we report a culvert-related mortality in the federally threatened desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) at a wind energy facility in California and offer simple recommendations to mitigate the negative effects of culverts for wildlife in general.

  11. Nest guarding by female Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) at a wind-energy facility near Palm Springs, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Wilcox, Ethan

    2013-01-01

    We observed behavior consistent with nest-guarding in Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) at two nests in a large wind-energy-generation facility near Palm Springs, California, locally known as the Mesa Wind Farm. As researchers approached the nests, female desert tortoises moved to the entrance of their burrows and positioned themselves sideways, directly over their nests. One female stretched her limbs outward and wedged herself into the burrow (her plastron directly above the nest). Guarding of nests is rarely observed in Agassiz's desert tortoise but can occur as a result of attempted predation on eggs by Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) or in direct response to the perceived threat posed by researchers. This is the first report of nest-guarding for G. agassizii in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem of California.

  12. Airborne Lidar and Aerial Imagery to Assess Potential Habitats for the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Michael; Andrews, John; Caldwell, Todd; Saylam, Kutalmis

    2017-04-01

    The desert Southwestern United States serves as the host to the habitat for several threatened and endangered species, one of which is the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). The goal in this study was to develop a fine-scale, remote sensing-based model that predicts potential habitat locations of G. agassizii in the Boulder City (Nevada) Conversation Easement area (35,500 hectares). This was done by analyzing airborne Lidar data (5-7 points/m2) and color imagery (4 bands, 0.15 m resolution) and determining percent vegetation cover, shrub height and area, NDVI, and several geomorphic characteristics including slope, azimuth, roughness, etc. Other field data used herein include estimates of canopy area and species richness using 1271 line transects, and shrub height and canopy area using plant-specific measurements of 200 plants. Larrea tridentada and Ambrosia dumosa shrubs were identified using an algorithm that obtained an optimum combination of NDVI and average reflectance of the four bands (IR, R, G, B) from pixels in each image. Results identified more than 65 million shrubs across the study area, and indicate that percent vegetation cover from the aerial imagery across the site (13.92%) compared favorably (14.52%) to the estimate obtained from the line transects, though the lidar method yielded shrub heights approximately 60% of measured shrub heights. Plants and landscape properties were combined with known locations of tortoise burrows (visually observed in 2014), yielding a predictive model of potential tortoise habitats. Masks were created using roughness coefficient, slope percent, azimuth of burrow openings, elevation and percent ground cover to isolate areas more likely to host habitats. Combined together, the masks isolated 55% of the total survey area, which would help target future field surveys. Overall, the vegetation map superimposed onto the background soil data could estimate the location of tortoise burrows.

  13. Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii dietary specialization decreases across a precipitation gradient.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ian W Murray

    Full Text Available We studied the plant resource use between and within populations of desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii across a precipitation gradient in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The carbon and nitrogen stable isotope values in animal tissues are a reflection of the carbon and nitrogen isotope values in diet, and consequently represent a powerful tool to study animal feeding ecology. We measured the δ(13C and δ(15N values in the growth rings on the shells of tortoises in different populations to characterize dietary specialization and track tortoise use of isotopically distinct C4/CAM versus C3 plant resources. Plants using C3 photosynthesis are generally more nutritious than C4 plants and these trait differences can have important growth and fitness consequences for consumers. We found that dietary specialization decreases in successively drier and less vegetated sites, and that broader population niche widths are accompanied by an increase in the dietary variability between individuals. Our results highlight how individual consumer plant resource use is bounded under a varying regime of precipitation and plant productivity, lending insight into how intra-individual dietary specialization varies over a spatial scale of environmental variability.

  14. Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) dietary specialization decreases across a precipitation gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murray, Ian W; Wolf, Blair O

    2013-01-01

    We studied the plant resource use between and within populations of desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) across a precipitation gradient in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The carbon and nitrogen stable isotope values in animal tissues are a reflection of the carbon and nitrogen isotope values in diet, and consequently represent a powerful tool to study animal feeding ecology. We measured the δ(13)C and δ(15)N values in the growth rings on the shells of tortoises in different populations to characterize dietary specialization and track tortoise use of isotopically distinct C4/CAM versus C3 plant resources. Plants using C3 photosynthesis are generally more nutritious than C4 plants and these trait differences can have important growth and fitness consequences for consumers. We found that dietary specialization decreases in successively drier and less vegetated sites, and that broader population niche widths are accompanied by an increase in the dietary variability between individuals. Our results highlight how individual consumer plant resource use is bounded under a varying regime of precipitation and plant productivity, lending insight into how intra-individual dietary specialization varies over a spatial scale of environmental variability.

  15. Long-term growth of Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in a southern Nevada population

    Science.gov (United States)

    Medica, P.A.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; Saethre, Mary B.

    2012-01-01

    Knowledge of growth rates, age at maturity, and longevity are important aspects of a species life history and are directly applicable to life table creation and population viability analyses. We measured the growth of a cohort of 17 semi-wild Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) located in Rock Valley, Nevada over a 47-yr period beginning in 1963. The tortoises were initially marked as hatchling and juvenile animals between the years 1963 and 1965 and ranged in size from 47 to 77 mm in plastron length. We assigned ages of 1-4 yr to the tortoises at initial capture based on their body size. These tortoises were recaptured, measured, and weighed approximately annually since their initial capture. Growth of male and female tortoises did not differ significantly until animals reached the age of 23-25 yr. Annual tortoise growth was correlated with the production of ephemeral vegetation, while accounting for size, sex, and repeated measurements of the animals as well as the interval between measurements. However, the production of ephemeral plants was likewise highly correlated (non-linearly) with winter rainfall. Stochastic predation events between 2003 and 2007 decimated this cohort of tortoises. The average age of the long-term surviving tortoises from this cohort was 43 yr with a range of 39-47 yr. Twelve of the tortoises survived to the age of 39 yr and 11 of the 12 reached 40 yr.

  16. Nelson's big horn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) trample Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) burrow at a California wind energy facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Delaney, David F.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Briggs, Jessica; Austin, Meaghan; Price, Steven J.

    2015-01-01

    Research on interactions between Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and ungulates has focused exclusively on the effects of livestock grazing on tortoises and their habitat (Oldemeyer, 1994). For example, during a 1980 study in San Bernardino County, California, 164 desert tortoise burrows were assessed for vulnerability to trampling by domestic sheep (Ovis aries). Herds of grazing sheep damaged 10% and destroyed 4% of the burrows (Nicholson and Humphreys 1981). In addition, a juvenile desert tortoise was trapped and an adult male was blocked from entering a burrow due to trampling by domestic sheep. Another study found that domestic cattle (Bos taurus) trampled active desert tortoise burrows and vegetation surrounding burrows (Avery and Neibergs 1997). Trampling also has negative impacts on diversity of vegetation and intershrub soil crusts in the desert southwest (Webb and Stielstra 1979). Trampling of important food plants and overgrazing has the potential to create competition between desert tortoises and domestic livestock (Berry 1978; Coombs 1979; Webb and Stielstra 1979).

  17. The desert tortoise trichotomy: Mexico hosts a third, new sister-species of tortoise in the Gopherus morafkai–G. agassizii group

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Taylor; Karl, Alice E.; Vaughn, Mercy; Rosen, Philip C.; Torres, Cristina Meléndez; Murphy, Robert W.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Desert tortoises (Testudines; Testudinidae; Gopherus agassizii group) have an extensive distribution throughout the Mojave, Colorado, and Sonoran desert regions. Not surprisingly, they exhibit a tremendous amount of ecological, behavioral, morphological and genetic variation. Gopherus agassizii was considered a single species for almost 150 years but recently the species was split into the nominate form and Morafka’s desert tortoise, Gopherus morafkai, the latter occurring south and east of the Colorado River. Whereas a large body of literature focuses on tortoises in the United States, a dearth of investigations exists for Mexican animals. Notwithstanding, Mexican populations of desert tortoises in the southern part of the range of Gopherus morafkai are distinct, particularly where the tortoises occur in tropical thornscrub and tropical deciduous forest. Recent studies have shed light on the ecology, morphology and genetics of these southern ‘desert’ tortoises. All evidence warrants recognition of this clade as a distinctive taxon and herein we describe it as Gopherus evgoodei sp. n. The description of the new species significantly reduces and limits the distribution of Gopherus morafkai to desertscrub habitat only. By contrast, Gopherus evgoodei sp. n. occurs in thornscrub and tropical deciduous forests only and this leaves it with the smallest range of the three sister species. We present conservation implications for the newly described Gopherus evgoodei, which already faces impending threats. PMID:27006625

  18. Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) survival at two eastern Mojave Desert sites: Death by short-term drought?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Longshore, Kathleen M.; Jaeger, Jef R.; Sappington, J. Mark

    2003-01-01

    Survival of adult Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) appears related to site-specific variation in precipitation and productivity of annual plants. We studied adult tortoise survival rates at two closely situated, but physiographically different, sites in the eastern Mojave Desert over a nine-year period (spring 1992 to spring 2001). Survival rates were initially derived from population surveys conducted over a three-year period and by radio-telemetry monitoring over a seven-year period beginning in 1994. After a period of initial stability, survival rates on the two sites diverged over the study period, and seven-year survival rates estimated from radio-telemetry monitoring were 0.900 and 0.269, respectively. A die-off in 1996 on the latter site appears to have been triggered by a period of drought, which began in the summer of 1995, coupled with a failure of annual vegetation production in 1996. Depressed survival rates on this site were associated with drought conditions during three of four years. Although the decline had the appearance of an epizootic, there were no clinical signs of disease. Relatively short-term drought, combined with little or no annual biomass, appears to have caused severe reductions in tortoise survival. If periods of drought-induced low survival are common over relatively small areas, then source-sink population dynamics may be an important factor determining tortoise population densities.

  19. Serologic and molecular evidence for testudinid herpesvirus 2 infection in wild Agassiz’s desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobson, Elliott R.; Berry, Kristin H.; Wellehan, James F. X.; Origgi, Francesco; Childress, April L.; Braun, Josephine; Schrenzel, Mark; Yee, Julie; Rideout, Bruce

    2012-01-01

    Following field observations of wild Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) with oral lesions similar to those seen in captive tortoises with herpesvirus infection, we measured the prevalence of antibodies to Testudinid herpesvirus (TeHV) 3 in wild populations of desert tortoises in California. The survey revealed 30.9% antibody prevalence. In 2009 and 2010, two wild adult male desert tortoises, with gross lesions consistent with trauma and puncture wounds, respectively, were necropsied. Tortoise 1 was from the central Mojave Desert and tortoise 2 was from the northeastern Mojave Desert. We extracted DNA from the tongue of tortoise 1 and from the tongue and nasal mucosa of tortoise 2. Sequencing of polymerase chain reaction products of the herpesviral DNA-dependent DNA polymerase gene and the UL39 gene respectively showed 100% nucleotide identity with TeHV2, which was previously detected in an ill captive desert tortoise in California. Although several cases of herpesvirus infection have been described in captive desert tortoises, our findings represent the first conclusive molecular evidence of TeHV2 infection in wild desert tortoises. The serologic findings support cross-reactivity between TeHV2 and TeHV3. Further studies to determine the ecology, prevalence, and clinical significance of this virus in tortoise populations are needed.

  20. COMPARISON OF CURRENT METHODS FOR THE DETECTION OF CHRONIC MYCOPLASMAL URTD IN WILD POPULATIONS OF THE MOJAVE DESERT TORTOISE (GOPHERUS AGASSIZII).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandmeier, Franziska C; Weitzman, Chava L; Maloney, K Nichole; Tracy, C Richard; Nieto, Nathan; Teglas, Mike B; Hunter, Kenneth W; DuPré, Sally; Gienger, C M; Tuma, Michael W

    2017-01-01

    Pathogens that cause subclinical diseases or exhibit low infection intensities are difficult to quantify in wild populations. Mojave desert tortoises ( Gopherus agassizii ) have been the focus of much research aimed at measuring the presence of upper respiratory disease (URTD) and URTD-associated pathogens, and techniques used to quantify disease in Gopherus species have also been used for disease surveillance in other species of turtles and tortoises of conservation concern. Published surveys of G. agassizii populations have found a relatively low prevalence of URTD, with most URTD-positive animals exhibiting moderate, intermittent signs of morbidity. Therefore, multiple tests have been developed to quantify URTD including genetic detection of the pathogens Mycoplasma agassizii and Mycoplasma testudineum , detection of M. agassizii -specific antibodies, and standardized quantification of clinical signs of URTD and body condition. These diagnostic tests have only been compared in diseased or moribund, semicaptive animals. We compared diagnostic techniques (TaqMan® and SYBR™ Green qPCR, serology, and visible examination) to detect M. agassizii -associated URTD in 126 wild desert tortoises sampled in Nevada and California, US in 2010. All had healthy body condition indices and none exhibited more than mild-to-moderate visual signs of URTD. Pairwise comparisons of diagnostic techniques indicated poor performance in diagnosing disease in individual animals. We found stronger, but inconsistent, statistical associations among diagnostic techniques at the population level. Our findings have implications for quantifying subclinical respiratory disease in tortoises.

  1. Using motion-sensor camera technology to infer seasonal activity and thermal niche of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Augustine, Benjamin; Lovich, Jeffrey E; Delaney, David; Sinervo, Barry; Murphy, Mason O; Ennen, Joshua R; Briggs, Jessica R; Cooper, Robert; Price, Steven J

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the relationships between environmental variables and wildlife activity is an important part of effective management. The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), an imperiled species of arid environments in the southwest US, may have increasingly restricted windows for activity due to current warming trends. In summer 2013, we deployed 48 motion sensor cameras at the entrances of tortoise burrows to investigate the effects of temperature, sex, and day of the year on the activity of desert tortoises. Using generalized estimating equations, we found that the relative probability of activity was associated with temperature (linear and quadratic), sex, and day of the year. Sex effects showed that male tortoises are generally more active than female tortoises. Temperature had a quadratic effect, indicating that tortoise activity was heightened at a range of temperatures. In addition, we found significant support for interactions between sex and day of the year, and sex and temperature as predictors of the probability of activity. Using our models, we were able to estimate air temperatures and times (days and hours) that were associated with maximum activity during the study. Because tortoise activity is constrained by environmental conditions such as temperature, it is increasingly vital to conduct studies on how tortoises vary their activity throughout the Sonoran Desert to better understand the effects of a changing climate. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Using motion-sensor camera technology to infer seasonal activity and thermal niche of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Augustine, Benjamin; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Delaney, David F.; Sinervo, Barry; Murphy, Mason O.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Briggs, Jessica R.; Cooper, Robert J.; Price, Steven J.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the relationships between environmental variables and wildlife activity is an important part of effective management. The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), an imperiled species of arid environments in the southwest US, may have increasingly restricted windows for activity due to current warming trends. In summer 2013, we deployed 48 motion sensor cameras at the entrances of tortoise burrows to investigate the effects of temperature, sex, and day of the year on the activity of desert tortoises. Using generalized estimating equations, we found that the relative probability of activity was associated with temperature (linear and quadratic), sex, and day of the year. Sex effects showed that male tortoises are generally more active than female tortoises. Temperature had a quadratic effect, indicating that tortoise activity was heightened at a range of temperatures. In addition, we found significant support for interactions between sex and day of the year, and sex and temperature as predictors of the probability of activity. Using our models, we were able to estimate air temperatures and times (days and hours) that were associated with maximum activity during the study. Because tortoise activity is constrained by environmental conditions such as temperature, it is increasingly vital to conduct studies on how tortoises vary their activity throughout the Sonoran Desert to better understand the effects of a changing climate.

  3. Airborne LiDAR and Aerial Imagery to Assess Potential Burrow Locations for the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael H. Young

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The Southwestern United States desert serves as the host for several threatened and endangered species, one of which is the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii. The goal of this study was to develop a fine-scale, remote-sensing-based approach that indicates favorable burrow locations for G. agassizii in the Boulder City (Nevada Conservation Easement area (35,500 ha. This was done by analyzing airborne LiDAR data (5–7 points/m2 and color imagery (four bands, 0.15-m resolution and determining the percent vegetation cover; shrub height and area; Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI; and several geomorphic characteristics including slope, azimuth, and roughness. Other field data used herein include estimates of canopy area and species richness using 1271 line transects, and shrub height and canopy area using plant-specific measurements of ~200 plants. Larrea tridentata and Ambrosia dumosa shrubs were identified using an algorithm that obtained an optimum combination of NDVI and average reflectance of the four bands (IR, R, G, and B from pixels in each image. The results, which identified more than 65 million shrubs across the study area, indicate that percent vegetation cover from aerial imagery across the site (13.92% compared favorably (14.52% to the estimate obtained from line transects, though the LiDAR method yielded shrub heights approximately 60% those of measured shrub heights. Landscape and plant properties were combined with known locations of tortoise burrows, as visually observed in 2014. Masks were created using roughness coefficient, slope percent, azimuth of burrow openings, elevation, and percent vegetation cover to isolate areas more likely to host burrows. Combined, the masks isolated 55% of the total survey area, which will help target future field surveys. Overall, the approach provides areas where tortoise burrows are more likely to be found, though additional ecological data would help refine the overall method.

  4. Protection benefits desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) abundance: the influence of three management strategies on a threatened species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Lyren, Lisa M.; Yee, Julie L.; Bailey, Tracy Y.

    2014-01-01

    We surveyed an area of ∼260 km2 in the western Mojave Desert to evaluate relationships between condition of Agassiz's Desert Tortoise populations (Gopherus agassizii) and habitat on lands that have experienced three different levels of management and protection. We established 240 1-ha plots using random sampling, with 80 plots on each of the three types of managed lands. We conducted surveys in spring 2011 and collected data on live tortoises, shell-skeletal remains, other signs of tortoises, perennial vegetation, predators, and evidence of human use. Throughout the study area and regardless of management area, tortoise abundance was positively associated with one of the more diverse associations of perennial vegetation. The management area with the longest history of protection, a fence, and legal exclusion of livestock and vehicles had significantly more live tortoises and lower death rates than the other two areas. Tortoise presence and abundance in this protected area had no significant positive or negative associations with predators or human-related impacts. In contrast, the management area with a more recent exclusion of livestock, limited vehicular traffic, and with a recent, partial fence had lower tortoise densities and high death rates. Tortoise abundance here was negatively associated with vehicle tracks and positively associated with mammalian predators and debris from firearms. The management area with the least protection—unfenced, with uncontrolled vehicle use, sheep grazing, and high trash counts—also had low tortoise densities and high death rates. Tortoise abundance was negatively associated with sheep grazing and positively associated with trash and mammalian predator scat.cat.

  5. Gopherus Agassizii (Desert Tortoise). Predation/Mountain Lions (Pre-Print)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Paul D. Greger and Philip A. Medica

    2009-01-01

    sized Mountain Lion. By comparison, a 2 year old male Mountain Lion salvaged on NTS had an upper intercanine bite width of 45 mm, and a 6 month old kitten measured 35mm respectively. The Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) is the only predator that exists in southern Nevada that could possibly have a bite with a gap between its upper canine teeth that large (Murmann et al. 2006. J. Forensic Sci. 51:846-860). The appearance of the shell remains in Figure 1A is similar to that depicting Jaguar (Panthera onca) predation, on the Amazonian Tortoise (Geochelone denticulata) as illustrated by Emmons (1989. J. Herpetol. 23:311-314) with the majority of the carapace broken open and the plastron still intact. Predation of Desert Tortoises by Mountain Lions was also documented in 1993 in southern Arizona (Little Shipp Wash Plot), where 7 of 8 carcasses found were attributed to Mountain Lion predation (Averill-Murray et al. 2002. In. T.R.Van Devender [ed.], The Sonoran Desert Tortoise: Natural History, Biology, and Conservation, pp.109-134. University of Arizona Press and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona). Similarly, predation by a Mountain Lion has been reported on the Argentine Tortoise (Chelonoidis chilensis) in Argentina (Acosta et al. 2004. Herpetol. Review 35:53-54), and a Mountain Lion kitten was observed to kill and consume a portion of the carapace of a Texas Tortoise (Gopherus berlandieri) in west Texas (Adams et al. 2006. Southwestern Nat. 51:581-581). Over the past 45 years this Desert Tortoise population has been monitored yearly, with no prior evidence of predation to tortoises within the fenced enclosures. On several occasions other predators such as Bobcats (Lynx rufus) have been observed within the study enclosures for as long as a week. Evidence of Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotus) sign has been observed on numerous occasions, and a Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius) and Longtail Weasels (Mustela frenata) have been captured and released (B.G. Maza, pers. comm

  6. Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii): Status-of-knowledge outline with references

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mark C. Grover; Lesley A. DeFalco

    1995-01-01

    Provides an overview of extant desert tortoise literature, summarizing literature on taxonomy, morphology, genetics, and paleontology and paleoecology of the desert tortoise, as well as its general ecology. Literature on desert tortoise ecology encompasses distribution and habitat, burrows and dens, reproduction, growth, physiology, feeding and nutrition, mortality...

  7. A quantitative PCR method for assessing the presence of Pasteurella testudinis DNA in nasal lavage samples from the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    duPre', S A; Tracy, C R; Sandmeier, F C; Hunter, K W

    2012-12-01

    Pasteurella testudinis has been associated with upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) in the threatened desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). Our goal was to develop a sensitive and specific qPCR method for detecting DNA from P. testudinis in nasal lavage fluid collected from desert tortoises in the field. Probes for 16S ribosomal RNA and RNA polymerase β-subunit (rpoB) genes were designed. A standard curve generated with DNA extracted from known numbers of bacterial cells determined by flow cytometry revealed a lower detection limit of 50 fg/ml (10 bacteria/ml). The nasal lavage fluid contained no interfering substances, and the qPCR method did not recognize normal flora DNA. The nasal lavage samples from 20 desert tortoises captured in Clark County, Nevada, USA in 2007 and housed at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, were all positive for P. testudinis DNA by qPCR. Another set of 19 lavage samples collected in 2010 from wild desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert were tested and 84% were positive for P. testudinis DNA. Fully validated, this qPCR method will provide a means of determining colonization rate. When used in conjunction with serological methods and clinical evaluations, both infection rate and disease rate can be determined for this potential URTD pathogen. This new assay provides an important tool for managing the threatened populations of the Mojave Desert tortoise. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Factors affecting the thermal environment of Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) cover sites in the Central Mojave Desert during periods of temperature extremes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mack, Jeremy S.; Berry, Kristin H.; Miller, David; Carlson, Andrea S.

    2015-01-01

    Agassiz's Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) spend >95% of their lives underground in cover sites that serve as thermal buffers from temperatures, which can fluctuate >40°C on a daily and seasonal basis. We monitored temperatures at 30 active tortoise cover sites within the Soda Mountains, San Bernardino County, California, from February 2004 to September 2006. Cover sites varied in type and structural characteristics, including opening height and width, soil cover depth over the opening, aspect, tunnel length, and surficial geology. We focused our analyses on periods of extreme temperature: in summer, between July 1 and September 1, and winter, between November 1 and February 15. With the use of multivariate regression tree analyses, we found cover-site temperatures were influenced largely by tunnel length and subsequently opening width and soil cover. Linear regression models further showed that increasing tunnel length increased temperature stability and dampened seasonal temperature extremes. Climate change models predict increased warming for southwestern North America. Cover sites that buffer temperature extremes and fluctuations will become increasingly important for survival of tortoises. In planning future translocation projects and conservation efforts, decision makers should consider habitats with terrain and underlying substrate that sustain cover sites with long tunnels and expanded openings for tortoises living under temperature extremes similar to those described here or as projected in the future.

  9. Gopherus agassizii (desert tortoise) and Crotalus ruber (red diamond rattlesnake). Burrow co-occupancy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.

    2011-01-01

    I observed an adult Desert Tortoise and an adult Red Diamond Rattlesnake (sexes unknown) in a shallow tortoise burrow on 6 January 1997 at a wind energy generation facility near Palm Springs, Riverside Co., California, USA (33.9599°N, 116.6613°W).

  10. Gopherus agassizii (Agassiz’s desert tortoise). scute dysecdysis/scute sloughing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nussear, Kenneth E.; Drake, Karla K.; Medica, Phil A.; Esque, Todd C.

    2012-01-01

    Desert tortoises with scute injuries due to fire or disease related processes can result in loss of the scute. These animals appear to function normally, and can replace the scute material with a keratinized layer that covers the bone. This paper describes a tortoise with severe scute loss from a wildfire in 2005, and an animal that lost its scute for unknown reasons. Both animals appeared to be healthy in all other aspects, and lived for many years afterward.

  11. Soluble scute proteins of healthy and ill desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Homer, B.L.; Li, C.; Berry, K.H.; Denslow, N.D.; Jacobson, E.R.; Sawyer, R.H.; Williams, J.E.

    2001-01-01

    Objectives - To characterize protein composition of shell scute of desert tortoises and to determine whether detectable differences could be used to identify healthy tortoises from tortoises with certain illnesses. Animals - 20 desert tortoises. Procedures - Complete postmortem examinations were performed on all tortoises. Plastron scute proteins were solubilized, scute proteins were separated by use of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and proteins were analyzed, using densitometry. Two-dimensional immobilized pH gradient-PAGE (2D IPG-PAGE) and immunoblot analysis, using polyclonal antisera to chicken-feather ?? keratin and to alligator-scale ?? keratin, were conducted on representative samples. The 14-kd proteins were analyzed for amino acid composition. Results - The SDS-PAGE and densitometry revealed 7 distinct bands, each with a mean relative protein concentration of > 1 %, ranging from 8 to 47 kd, and a major protein component of approximately 14 kd that constituted up to 75% of the scute protein. The 2D IPG-PAGE revealed additional distinct 62-and 68-kd protein bands. On immunoblot analysis, the 14-, 32-, and 45-kd proteins reacted with both antisera. The 14-kd proteins had an amino acid composition similar to that of chicken ?? keratins. There was a substantial difference in the percentage of the major 14-kd proteins from scute of ill tortoises with normal appearing shells, compared with 14-kd proteins of healthy tortoises. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - The major protein components of shell scute of desert tortoises have amino acid composition and antigenic features of ?? keratins. Scute protein composition may be altered in tortoises with certain systemic illnesses.

  12. Effects of wind energy production on growth, demography, and survivorship of a Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) population in Southern California with comparisons to natural populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, J.E.; Ennen, J.R.; Madrak, S.; Meyer, K.; Loughran, C.; Bjurlin, C.; Arundel, T.; Turner, W.; Jones, C.; Groenendaal, G.M.

    2011-01-01

    We studied a Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) population at a large wind energy generation facility near Palm Springs, California over six field seasons from 1997 to 2010. We compared growth and demographic parameters to populations living in less disturbed areas; as well as populations of the closely-related and newly-described G. morafkai elsewhere in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. We marked 69 individuals of all size classes and estimated a population size of 96 tortoises, or about 15.4/km2. Growth rates for males were lower than reported elsewhere, although maximum body size was larger. The smallest female with shelled eggs was 221 mm and males mature at over 200 mm. Mean male size was greater than that of females. The adult sex ratio was not significantly different from unity. Size frequency histograms were similar over time and when compared to most, but not all, G. morafkai populations in the Sonoran Desert. For a cohort of adult females, we estimated mortality at 8.4% annually due, in part, to site operations. This value was low in comparison to many other populations during the same time period. Other than possible differences in growth rate of males and the high survivorship of females, there appear to be few differences between this population and those in more natural areas. The high productivity of food plants at the site and its limited public access may contribute to the overall stability of the population. However, the effects of utility-scale renewable energy development on tortoises in other, less productive, areas are unknown. Additional research (especially controlled and replicated before and after studies) is urgently needed to address this deficiency because of forecasted expansion of utility-scale renewable energy development in the future.

  13. Coupling gene-based and classic veterinary diagnostics improves interpretation of health and immune function in the Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, Karla K.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lewison, Rebecca L.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Braun, Josephine; Waters, Shannon C.; Miles, A. Keith

    2017-01-01

    The analysis of blood constituents is a widely used tool to aid in monitoring of animal health and disease. However, classic blood diagnostics (i.e. hematologic and plasma biochemical values) often do not provide sufficient information to determine the state of an animal’s health. Field studies on wild tortoises and other reptiles have had limited success in drawing significant inferences between blood diagnostics and physiological and immunological condition. However, recent research using gene transcription profiling in the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) has proved useful in identifying immune or physiologic responses and overall health. To improve our understanding of health and immune function in tortoises, we evaluated both standard blood diagnostic (body condition, hematologic, plasma biochemistry values, trace elements, plasma proteins, vitamin A levels) and gene transcription profiles in 21 adult tortoises (11 clinically abnormal; 10 clinically normal) from Clark County, NV, USA. Necropsy and histology evaluations from clinically abnormal tortoises revealed multiple physiological complications, with moderate to severe rhinitis or pneumonia being the primary cause of morbidity in all but one of the examined animals. Clinically abnormal tortoises had increased transcription for four genes (SOD, MyD88, CL and Lep), increased lymphocyte production, biochemical enzymes and organics, trace elements of copper, and decreased numbers of leukocytes. We found significant positive correlations between increased transcription for SOD and increased trace elements for copper, as well as genes MyD88 and Lep with increased inflammation and microbial insults. Improved methods for health assessments are an important element of monitoring tortoise population recovery and can support the development of more robust diagnostic measures for ill animals, or individuals directly impacted by disturbance.

  14. Detection of Mycoplasma agassizii in the Texas Tortoise (Gopherus berlandieri)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guthrie, Amanda L.; White, C. LeAnn; Brown, Mary B.; deMaar, Thomas W.

    2013-01-01

    Mycoplasma agassizii causes upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) in Texas tortoises (Gopherus berlandieri). To determine exposure to and shedding of M. agassizii, we collected blood samples and nasal swabs from 40 free-ranging Texas tortoises on public and private lands in Texas, USA, from May to October 2009. We used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to detect M. agassizii–specific antibodies. Eleven (28%) tortoises were antibody positive, three (8%) were suspect, and the remaining 26 (65%) were negative. Nasal lavage samples were collected from 35 of the 40 tortoises for M. agassizii culture and PCR to detect shedding of M. agassizii. Current infection with M. agassizii was confirmed in one tortoise that had mild clinical signs of URTD and was positive by ELISA (antibody titer >512), PCR, and culture. The clinical isolate was confirmed as M. agassizii by restriction fragment length polymorphism and immunobinding.

  15. Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) are selective herbivores that track the flowering phenology of their preferred food plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jennings, W Bryan; Berry, Kristin H

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies of desert tortoise foraging ecology in the western Mojave Desert suggest that these animals are selective herbivores, which alter their diet according to the temporal availability of preferred food plants. These studies, however, did not estimate availability of potential food plants by taking into account the spatial and temporal variability in ephemeral plant abundance that occurs within the spring season. In this study, we observed 18 free-ranging adult tortoises take 35,388 bites during the spring foraging season. We also estimated the relative abundance of potential food plants by stratifying our sampling across different phenological periods of the 3-month long spring season and by different habitats and microhabitats. This methodology allowed us to conduct statistical tests comparing tortoise diet against plant abundance. Our results show that tortoises choose food plants non-randomly throughout the foraging season, a finding that corroborates the hypothesis that desert tortoises rely on key plants during different phenological periods of spring. Moreover, tortoises only consumed plants in a succulent state until the last few weeks of spring, at which time most annuals and herbaceous perennials had dried and most tortoises had ceased foraging. Many species of food plants--including several frequently eaten species--were not detected in our plant surveys, yet tortoises located these rare plants in their home ranges. Over 50% of bites consumed were in the group of undetected species. Interestingly, tortoises focused heavily on several leguminous species, which could be nutritious foods owing to their presumably high nitrogen contents. We suggest that herbaceous perennials, which were rare on our study area but represented ~30% of tortoise diet, may be important in sustaining tortoise populations during droughts when native annuals are absent. These findings highlight the vulnerability of desert tortoises to climate change if such changes alter

  16. Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) are selective herbivores that track the flowering phenology of their preferred food plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jennings, Bryan W.; Berry, Kristin H.

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies of desert tortoise foraging ecology in the western Mojave Desert suggest that these animals are selective herbivores, which alter their diet according to the temporal availability of preferred food plants. These studies, however, did not estimate availability of potential food plants by taking into account the spatial and temporal variability in ephemeral plant abundance that occurs within the spring season. In this study, we observed 18 free-ranging adult tortoises take 35,388 bites during the spring foraging season. We also estimated the relative abundance of potential food plants by stratifying our sampling across different phenological periods of the 3-month long spring season and by different habitats and microhabitats. This methodology allowed us to conduct statistical tests comparing tortoise diet against plant abundance. Our results show that tortoises choose food plants non-randomly throughout the foraging season, a finding that corroborates the hypothesis that desert tortoises rely on key plants during different phenological periods of spring. Moreover, tortoises only consumed plants in a succulent state until the last few weeks of spring, at which time most annuals and herbaceous perennials had dried and most tortoises had ceased foraging. Many species of food plants—including several frequently eaten species—were not detected in our plant surveys, yet tortoises located these rare plants in their home ranges. Over 50% of bites consumed were in the group of undetected species. Interestingly, tortoises focused heavily on several leguminous species, which could be nutritious foods owing to their presumably high nitrogen contents. We suggest that herbaceous perennials, which were rare on our study area but represented ~30% of tortoise diet, may be important in sustaining tortoise populations during droughts when native annuals are absent. These findings highlight the vulnerability of desert tortoises to climate change if such changes

  17. Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii are selective herbivores that track the flowering phenology of their preferred food plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W Bryan Jennings

    Full Text Available Previous studies of desert tortoise foraging ecology in the western Mojave Desert suggest that these animals are selective herbivores, which alter their diet according to the temporal availability of preferred food plants. These studies, however, did not estimate availability of potential food plants by taking into account the spatial and temporal variability in ephemeral plant abundance that occurs within the spring season. In this study, we observed 18 free-ranging adult tortoises take 35,388 bites during the spring foraging season. We also estimated the relative abundance of potential food plants by stratifying our sampling across different phenological periods of the 3-month long spring season and by different habitats and microhabitats. This methodology allowed us to conduct statistical tests comparing tortoise diet against plant abundance. Our results show that tortoises choose food plants non-randomly throughout the foraging season, a finding that corroborates the hypothesis that desert tortoises rely on key plants during different phenological periods of spring. Moreover, tortoises only consumed plants in a succulent state until the last few weeks of spring, at which time most annuals and herbaceous perennials had dried and most tortoises had ceased foraging. Many species of food plants--including several frequently eaten species--were not detected in our plant surveys, yet tortoises located these rare plants in their home ranges. Over 50% of bites consumed were in the group of undetected species. Interestingly, tortoises focused heavily on several leguminous species, which could be nutritious foods owing to their presumably high nitrogen contents. We suggest that herbaceous perennials, which were rare on our study area but represented ~30% of tortoise diet, may be important in sustaining tortoise populations during droughts when native annuals are absent. These findings highlight the vulnerability of desert tortoises to climate change

  18. Long-term post-fire effects on spatial ecology and reproductive output of female Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at a wind energy facility near Palm Springs, California, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Madrak, Sheila V.; Loughran, Caleb L.; Meyer, Katherin P.; Arundel, Terence R.; Bjurlin, Curtis D.

    2011-01-01

    We studied the long-term response of a cohort of eight female Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) during the first 15 years following a large fire at a wind energy generation facility near Palm Springs, California, USA. The fire burned a significant portion of the study site in 1995. Tortoise activity areas were mapped using minimum convex polygons for a proximate post-fire interval from 1997 to 2000, and a long-term post-fire interval from 2009 to 2010. In addition, we measured the annual reproductive output of eggs each year and monitored the body condition of tortoises over time. One adult female tortoise was killed by the fire and five tortoises bore exposure scars that were not fatal. Despite predictions that tortoises would make the short-distance movements from burned to nearby unburned habitats, most activity areas and their centroids remained in burned areas for the duration of the study. The percentage of activity area burned did not differ significantly between the two monitoring periods. Annual reproductive output and measures of body condition remained statistically similar throughout the monitoring period. Despite changes in plant composition, conditions at this site appeared to be suitable for survival of tortoises following a major fire. High productivity at the site may have buffered tortoises from the adverse impacts of fire if they were not killed outright. Tortoise populations at less productive desert sites may not have adequate resources to sustain normal activity areas, reproductive output, and body conditions following fire.

  19. Are captive tortoises a reservoir for conservation? An assessment of genealogical affiliation of captive Gopherus agassizii to local, wild populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Edwards, Taylor

    2013-01-01

    The conservation of tortoises poses a unique situation because several threatened species are commonly kept as pets within their native ranges. Thus, there is potential for captive populations to be a reservoir for repatriation efforts. We assess the utility of captive populations of the threatened Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) for recovery efforts based on genetic affinity to local areas. We collected samples from 130 captive desert tortoises from three desert communities: two in California (Ridgecrest and Joshua Tree) and the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center (Las Vegas) in Nevada. We tested all samples for 25 short tandem repeats and sequenced 1,109 bp of the mitochondrial genome. We compared captive genotypes to a database of 1,258 Gopherus samples, including 657 wild caught G. agassizii spanning the full range of the species. We conducted population assignment tests to determine the genetic origins of the captive individuals. For our total sample set, only 44 % of captive individuals were assigned to local populations based on genetic units derived from the reference database. One individual from Joshua Tree, California, was identified as being a Morafka’s desert tortoise, G. morafkai, a cryptic species which is not native to the Mojave Desert. Our data suggest that captive desert tortoises kept within the native range of G. agassizii cannot be presumed to have a genealogical affiliation to wild tortoises in their geographic proximity. Precautions should be taken before considering the release of captive tortoises into the wild as a management tool for recovery.

  20. The dazed and confused identity of Agassiz’s land tortoise, Gopherus agassizii (Testudines: Testudinidae with the description of a new species and its consequences for conservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert Murphy

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available We investigate a cornucopia of problems associated with the identity of the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii Cooper. The date of publication is found to be 1861, rather than 1863. Only one of the three original cotypes exists, and it is designated as the lectotype of the species. Another cotype is found to have been destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fire. The third is lost. The lectotype is genetically confirmed to be from California, and not Arizona, USA as sometimes reported. Maternally, the holotype of G. lepidocephalus Ottley et Velázques Solis, 1989 from the Cape Region of Baja California Sur, Mexico is also from the Mojavian population of the desert tortoise, and not from Tiburon Island, Sonora, Mexico as previously proposed. A suite of characters serve to diagnose tortoises west and north of the Colorado River, the Mojavian population, from those east and south of the river in Arizona, USA and Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico, the Sonoran population. Species recognition is warranted and because G. lepidocephalus is from the Mojavian population no names are available for the Sonoran species. Thus, a new species, Gopherus morafkai sp. n., is named and this action reduces the distribution of G. agassizii to only 30% of its former range. This reduction has important implications for the conservation and protection of G. agassizii, which may deserve a higher level of protection.

  1. The dazed and confused identity of Agassiz's land tortoise, Gopherus agassizii (Testudines, Testudinidae) with the description of a new species, and its consequences for conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, Robert K.; Berry, Kristin; Edwards, Taylor; Leviton, Alan E.; Lathrop, Amy; Riedle, J. Daren

    2011-01-01

    We investigate a cornucopia of problems associated with the identity of the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii Cooper. The date of publication is found to be 1861, rather than 1863. Only one of the three original cotypes exists, and it is designated as the lectotype of the species. Another cotype is found to have been destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fire. The third is lost. The lectotype is genetically confirmed to be from California, and not Arizona, USA as sometimes reported. Maternally, the holotype of G. lepidocephalus Ottley et Velázques Solis, 1989 from the Cape Region of Baja California Sur, Mexico is also from the Mojavian population of the desert tortoise, and not from Tiburon Island, Sonora, Mexico as previously proposed. A suite of characters serve to diagnose tortoises west and north of the Colorado River, the Mojavian population, from those east and south of the river in Arizona, USA and Sonora and Sinaloa, Mexico, the Sonoran population. Species recognition is warranted and because G. lepidocephalus is from the Mojavian population no names are available for the Sonoran species. Thus, a new species, Gopherus morafkai sp. n., is named and this action reduces the distribution of G. agassizii to only 30% of its former range. This reduction has important implications for the conservation and protection of G. agassizii, which may deserve a higher level of protection.

  2. Genetic and morphometric assessment of an unusual tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) population in the Black Mountains of Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLuckie, A.M.; Lamb, T.; Schwalbe, C.R.; Mccord, R.D.

    1999-01-01

    Under recent regulatory designation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) occurring east and south of the Colorado River constitute the Sonoran population, whereas those to the west and north form the Mojave population. These management units, distinguished by significant genetic, morphometric, and ecological differences, represent deep phylogenetic subdivisions within G. agassizii and are of high conservation value. We provide genetic and morphological profiles for an unusual tortoise population inhabiting the Black Mountains of Arizona, some 40 km east of the Colorado River. Both mitochondrial (mt) DNA and morphometric analyses revealed predominately Mojavean features: ten of eleven Black Mountain tortoises possessed Mojave mtDNA markers, and 24 of 37 animals exhibited Mojave morphometric phenotypes. Our results indicate west-to-east movement of tortoises across the Colorado River, though how or when a Mojave lineage became established in the Black Mountains is difficult to ascertain. Active dispersal, river meander, and human transport (early or modern peoples) serve as plausible explanations. Future management of the Black Mountain tortoises should emphasize the population's Mojavean affinities.

  3. Host contact and shedding patterns clarify variation in pathogen exposure and transmission in threatened tortoise Gopherus agassizii: implications for disease modelling and management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aiello, Christina M; Nussear, Kenneth E; Esque, Todd C; Emblidge, Patrick G; Sah, Pratha; Bansal, Shweta; Hudson, Peter J

    2016-05-01

    Most directly transmitted infections require some form of close contact between infectious and susceptible hosts to spread. Often disease models assume contacts are equal and use mean field estimates of transmission probability for all interactions with infectious hosts. Such methods may inaccurately describe transmission when interactions differ substantially in their ability to cause infection. Understanding this variation in transmission risk may be critical to properly model and manage some infectious diseases. In this study, we investigate how varying exposure and transmission may be key to understanding disease dynamics in the threatened desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii. We created heterogeneity in Mycoplasma agassizii exposure (the putative bacterial agent of a respiratory disease) by varying the duration of interactions between naturally infected and uninfected captive desert tortoises. Using qPCR, we identified new infections and compared models of transmission probability as a function of contact duration and pathogen load. We then examined the contact patterns of a wild tortoise population using proximity loggers to identify heterogeneity in contact duration. The top-ranked model predicting M. agassizii transmission included a dose term defined as the product of the number of days in proximity to an infected host and the infection level of that host. Models predicted low transmission probability for short interactions, unless the infectious host had a high load of M. agassizii: such hosts were predicted to transmit infection at higher rates with any amount of contact. We observed predominantly short-lived interactions in a free-ranging tortoise population and thus, expect transmission patterns in this population to vary considerably with the frequency and duration of high infection levels. Mean field models may misrepresent natural transmission patterns in this and other populations depending on the distribution of high-risk contact and shedding

  4. Modeling Agassiz's Desert Tortoise Population Response to Anthropogenic Stressors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mojave Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) populations are exposed to a variety of anthropogenic threats, which vary in nature, severity, and frequency. Tortoise management in conservation areas can be compromised when the relative importance of these threats is not well underst...

  5. Does protection of desert tortoise habitat generate other ecological benefits in the Mojave Desert?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthew L. Brooks

    2000-01-01

    This paper summarizes the ecological effects of fenced habitat protection for the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area in the Mojave Desert. The following were higher inside than outside the natural area: (1) annual and perennial plant biomass, cover, diversity and dominance by natives, (2) soil seed...

  6. Associating sex-biased and seasonal behaviour with contact patterns and transmission risk in Gopherus agassizii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aiello, Christina M.; Esque, Todd; Nussear, K. E.; Emblidge, P. G.; Hudson, P. J.

    2018-01-01

    Interactions between wildlife hosts act as transmission routes for directly transmitted pathogens and vary in ways that affect transmission efficiency. Identifying drivers of contact variation can allow both contact inference and estimation of transmission dynamics despite limited data. In desert tortoises, mating strategy, burrow use and seasonal change influence numerous behaviours and likely shape contact patterns. In this study, we ask to what extent tortoise contact behaviour varies between sexes and seasons, and whether space or burrow-use data can be used to infer contact characteristics consistent with those recorded by proximity loggers. We identified sex and season-biased contact behaviour in both wild and captive populations indicative of female-female avoidance and seasonal male mate-seeking behaviour. Space and burrow-use patterns were informative, but did not always predict the extent of sex or seasonal biases on contact. We discuss the implications these findings have for transmission patterns and disease mitigation in tortoise populations.

  7. A Dynamic Simulation Model of the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) Habitat in the Central Mojave Desert

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Westervelt, James

    1997-01-01

    .... Across the nation, Army and civilian land management offices responsible for the management of natural resources, endangered species, water quality, aesthetics, and economic productivity of the land...

  8. A 30-year chronosequence of burned areas in Arizona: effects of wildfires on vegetation in Sonoran Desert Tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shryock, Daniel F.; Esque, Todd C.; Chen, Felicia C.

    2015-01-01

    Fire is widely regarded as a key evolutionary force in fire-prone ecosystems, with effects spanning multiple levels of organization, from species and functional group composition through landscape-scale vegetation structure, biomass, and diversity (Pausas and others, 2004; Bond and Keeley 2005; Pausas and Verdu, 2008). Ecosystems subjected to novel fire regimes may experience profound changes that are difficult to predict, including persistent losses of vegetation cover and diversity (McLaughlin and Bowers, 1982; Brown and Minnich, 1986; Brooks, 2012), losses to seed banks (Esque and others, 2010a), changes in demographic processes (Esque and others, 2004; DeFalco and others, 2010), increased erosion (Soulard and others, 2013), changes in nutrient availability (Esque and others, 2010b), increased dominance of invasive species (Esque and others, 2002; Brooks and others, 2004), and transitions to alternative community states (Davies and others, 2012). In the deserts of the Southwestern United States, fire size and frequency have increased substantially over the last several decades because of an invasive grass/fire feedback cycle (Schmid and Rogers, 1988; D’Antonio and Vitousek, 1992; Swantek and others, 1999; Brooks and Matchett, 2006; Esque and others, 2010a), in which invasive annual species are able to establish fuel loads capable of sustaining large-scale wildfires following years of high rainfall (Esque and Schwalbe, 2002). Native perennial vegetation is not well-adapted to fire in these environments, and widespread, physiognomically dominant species such as creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia), giant saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), and paloverde (Parkinsonia spp.) may be reduced or eliminated (Brown and Minnich, 1986; Esque and others, 2006; DeFalco and others, 2010), potentially affecting wildlife populations including the Sonoran and federally threatened Mojave Desert Tortoises (Gopherus morafkai and Gopherus agassizii

  9. Variation in annual clutch phenology of desert tortoises (Gopherus morafkai) in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Averill-Murray, Roy C.; Agha, Mickey; Ennen, Joshua R.; Austin, Meaghan

    2017-01-01

    The phenology of egg production and oviposition in organisms affects survival and development of neonates and thus, both offspring and maternal fitness. In addition, in organisms with environmental sex determination, clutch phenology can affect hatchling sex ratios with attendant effects on population demography. The rapid rate of contemporary climate change might disrupt reproductive phenologies that evolved to match environmental conditions. To better understand the response of clutch phenology to annual and long-term changes in climate, we studied a population of Sonoran Desert Tortoises (Gopherus morafkai) in Arizona in 1993 and 1997–2005, specifically quantifying three phenophases, including (1) the estimated time of appearance of shelled eggs in females, (2) the estimated time that eggs were last visible in X-radiographs, and (3) the duration of the interval between the first two events. The mean date for appearance of shelled eggs was 6 June, and the mean date they were last visible was 26 June. After controlling for individual female effects, these dates were different among years. The total number of days that eggs were visible across all females within a year differed among years, but the mean duration of time that clutches were visible, after controlling for individual female effects, was similar among years. Three of 18 females exhibited interannual egg retention on 5 occasions from 52 clutches. Although G. morafkai ovulates only one clutch per year, they might oviposit up to two because of interannual egg retention. Most females produced shelled eggs through heat-unit accumulation achieving 8.3 degree days within a 14-d moving average. The ability to vary the timing of egg formation and oviposition might buffer G. morafkai from some of the effects of predicted increases in temperatures, but species-specific information on developmental temperatures and nesting behavior are needed to determine whether or not the species will be able to produce viable

  10. The Agassiz's desert tortoise genome provides a resource for the conservation of a threatened species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marc Tollis

    Full Text Available Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii is a long-lived species native to the Mojave Desert and is listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. To aid conservation efforts for preserving the genetic diversity of this species, we generated a whole genome reference sequence with an annotation based on deep transcriptome sequences of adult skeletal muscle, lung, brain, and blood. The draft genome assembly for G. agassizii has a scaffold N50 length of 252 kbp and a total length of 2.4 Gbp. Genome annotation reveals 20,172 protein-coding genes in the G. agassizii assembly, and that gene structure is more similar to chicken than other turtles. We provide a series of comparative analyses demonstrating (1 that turtles are among the slowest-evolving genome-enabled reptiles, (2 amino acid changes in genes controlling desert tortoise traits such as shell development, longevity and osmoregulation, and (3 fixed variants across the Gopherus species complex in genes related to desert adaptations, including circadian rhythm and innate immune response. This G. agassizii genome reference and annotation is the first such resource for any tortoise, and will serve as a foundation for future analysis of the genetic basis of adaptations to the desert environment, allow for investigation into genomic factors affecting tortoise health, disease and longevity, and serve as a valuable resource for additional studies in this species complex.

  11. The Agassiz's desert tortoise genome provides a resource for the conservation of a threatened species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tollis, Marc; DeNardo, Dale F; Cornelius, John A; Dolby, Greer A; Edwards, Taylor; Henen, Brian T; Karl, Alice E; Murphy, Robert W; Kusumi, Kenro

    2017-01-01

    Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is a long-lived species native to the Mojave Desert and is listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. To aid conservation efforts for preserving the genetic diversity of this species, we generated a whole genome reference sequence with an annotation based on deep transcriptome sequences of adult skeletal muscle, lung, brain, and blood. The draft genome assembly for G. agassizii has a scaffold N50 length of 252 kbp and a total length of 2.4 Gbp. Genome annotation reveals 20,172 protein-coding genes in the G. agassizii assembly, and that gene structure is more similar to chicken than other turtles. We provide a series of comparative analyses demonstrating (1) that turtles are among the slowest-evolving genome-enabled reptiles, (2) amino acid changes in genes controlling desert tortoise traits such as shell development, longevity and osmoregulation, and (3) fixed variants across the Gopherus species complex in genes related to desert adaptations, including circadian rhythm and innate immune response. This G. agassizii genome reference and annotation is the first such resource for any tortoise, and will serve as a foundation for future analysis of the genetic basis of adaptations to the desert environment, allow for investigation into genomic factors affecting tortoise health, disease and longevity, and serve as a valuable resource for additional studies in this species complex.

  12. A new species of Isospora Schneider, 1881 (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) from Morafka's desert tortoise Gopherus morafkai (Testudines: Testudinidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hnida, John A

    2015-11-01

    Isospora gopheri n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) is described from 5 of 28 (18%) Morafka's desert tortoise Gopherus morafkai Murphy, Berry, Edwards, Leviton, Lathrop & Readle, housed by the Phoenix Herpetological Society, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA. Sporulated oöcysts of this new species were spheroidal to subspheroidal, 20-27 × 19-27 (23.0 × 21.7) µm, with a smooth, bi-layered wall and 1-3 polar granules; an oöcyst residuum was absent. Sporocysts were elongate-ovoidal to ellipsoidal, 13-18 × 9-12 (15.9 × 10.2) µm, with a Stieda body, sub-Stieda body and sporocyst residuum; sporozoites were banana-shaped with an ellipsoidal posterior refractile body and a spheroidal anterior refractile body. This is both the first coccidian to be described from this host species and only the second reported from the host genus.

  13. The Agassiz’s desert tortoise genome provides a resource for the conservation of a threatened species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tollis, Marc; DeNardo, Dale F.; Cornelius, John A.; Dolby, Greer A.; Edwards, Taylor; Henen, Brian T.; Karl, Alice E.; Murphy, Robert W.

    2017-01-01

    Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is a long-lived species native to the Mojave Desert and is listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. To aid conservation efforts for preserving the genetic diversity of this species, we generated a whole genome reference sequence with an annotation based on deep transcriptome sequences of adult skeletal muscle, lung, brain, and blood. The draft genome assembly for G. agassizii has a scaffold N50 length of 252 kbp and a total length of 2.4 Gbp. Genome annotation reveals 20,172 protein-coding genes in the G. agassizii assembly, and that gene structure is more similar to chicken than other turtles. We provide a series of comparative analyses demonstrating (1) that turtles are among the slowest-evolving genome-enabled reptiles, (2) amino acid changes in genes controlling desert tortoise traits such as shell development, longevity and osmoregulation, and (3) fixed variants across the Gopherus species complex in genes related to desert adaptations, including circadian rhythm and innate immune response. This G. agassizii genome reference and annotation is the first such resource for any tortoise, and will serve as a foundation for future analysis of the genetic basis of adaptations to the desert environment, allow for investigation into genomic factors affecting tortoise health, disease and longevity, and serve as a valuable resource for additional studies in this species complex. PMID:28562605

  14. Three-year movement patterns of adult desert tortoises at Yucca Mountain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Holt, E.A.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.

    1995-01-01

    We studied the home-range size and site fidelity of adult desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, during 1992-1994. Of 67 adult tortoises monitored at Yucca Mountain during this period, we evaluated the movements of 22 female and 16 male radiomarked tortoises that were located >50 times during each of the 1992, 1993, and 1994 activity seasons. We measured annual and three-year home range sizes by either 100% minimum convex polygon (MCP) or by 95% cluster

  15. Mycoplasmal upper respiratory tract disease across the range of the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise: associations with thermal regime and natural antibodies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandmeier, Franziska C; Tracy, C Richard; Hagerty, Bridgette E; DuPré, Sally; Mohammadpour, Hamid; Hunter, Kenneth

    2013-03-01

    Most research of upper respiratory tract disease (mycoplasmal URTD) in the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) has worked under the hypothesis that the pathogen, Mycoplasma agassizii, has a relatively consistent and predictable effect on tortoise populations across their natural range. In contrast, we hypothesized that multiple factors influence the prevalence of disease and analyzed biological and environmental variables that vary significantly across the Mojave Desert. We used multiple regression models to analyze associations between mycoplasmal URTD and the genetic structure of 24 tortoise populations, levels of natural antibody (NAb) to M. agassizii in tortoises (one component of the innate immune system), precipitation, and colder thermal regimes. We detected a significant, positive association between mean levels of NAb and seroprevalence to M. agassizii. We hypothesized that NAbs may provide tolerance to mycoplasmal infections and that more tolerant populations may act as host reservoirs of disease. We also detected significant associations between colder winters and mycoplasmal URTD, suggesting that colder winters may depress tortoise immune resistance against M. agassizii or enhance conditions for the growth of M. agassizii.

  16. Daily energy expenditure in free-ranging Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jodice, P.G.R.; Epperson, D.M.; Visser, G. Henk

    2006-01-01

    Studies of ecological energetics in chelonians are rare. Here, we report the first measurements of daily energy expenditure (DEE) and water influx rates (WIRs) in free-ranging adult Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). We used the doubly labeled water (DLW) method to measure DEE in six adult tortoises during the non-breeding season in south-central Mississippi, USA. Tortoise DEE ranged from 76.7-187.5 kj/day and WIR ranged from 30.6-93.1 ml H2O/day. Daily energy expenditure did not differ between the sexes, but DEE was positively related to body mass. Water influx rates varied with the interaction of sex and body mass. We used a log/log regression model to assess the allometric relationship between DEE and body mass for Gopher Tortoises, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), and Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina), the only chelonians for which DEE has been measured. The slope of this allometric model (0.626) was less than that previously calculated for herbivorous reptiles (0.813), suggesting that chelonians may expend energy at a slower rate per unit of body mass compared to other herbivorous reptiles. We used retrospective power analyses and data from the DLW isotope analyses to develop guidelines for sample sizes and duration of measurement intervals, respectively, for larger-scale energetic studies in this species. ?? 2006 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

  17. Relative abundance of desert tortoises on the Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; O'Farrell, T.P.

    1993-01-01

    Seven hundred fifty-nine transects having a total length of 1,191 km were walked during 1981--1986 to determine the distribution and relative abundance of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The abundance of tortoises on NTS was low to very low relative to other populations in the Mojave Desert. Sign of tortoises was found from 880 to 1,570 m elevation and was more abundant above 1,200 m than has been reported previously for Nevada. Tortoises were more abundant on NTS on the upper alluvial fans and slopes of mountains than in valley bottoms. They also were more common on or near limestone and dolomite mountains than on mountains of volcanic origin

  18. Relative abundance of desert tortoises on the Nevada Test Site

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; O`Farrell, T.P.

    1993-12-31

    Seven hundred fifty-nine transects having a total length of 1,191 km were walked during 1981--1986 to determine the distribution and relative abundance of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The abundance of tortoises on NTS was low to very low relative to other populations in the Mojave Desert. Sign of tortoises was found from 880 to 1,570 m elevation and was more abundant above 1,200 m than has been reported previously for Nevada. Tortoises were more abundant on NTS on the upper alluvial fans and slopes of mountains than in valley bottoms. They also were more common on or near limestone and dolomite mountains than on mountains of volcanic origin.

  19. Distance to human populations influences epidemiology of respiratory disease in desert tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Ashley A. Coble (formerly Emerson), no longer USGS; Yee, Julie L.; Mack, Jeremy S.; Perry, William M.; Anderson, Kemp M.; Brown, Mary B.

    2014-01-01

    We explored variables likely to affect health of Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in a 1,183-km2 study area in the central Mojave Desert of California between 2005 and 2008. We evaluated 1,004 tortoises for prevalence and spatial distribution of 2 pathogens, Mycoplasma agassizii and M. testudineum, that cause upper respiratory tract disease. We defined tortoises as test-positive if they were positive by culture and/or DNA identification or positive or suspect for specific antibody for either of the two pathogens. We used covariates of habitat (vegetation, elevation, slope, and aspect), tortoise size and sex, distance from another test-positive tortoise, and anthropogenic variables (distances to roads, agricultural areas, playas, urban areas, and centroids of human-populated census blocks). We used both logistic regression models and regression trees to evaluate the 2 species of Mycoplasma separately. The prevalence of test-positive tortoises was low: 1.49% (15/1,004) for M. agassizii and 2.89% (29/1,004) for M. testudineum. The spatial distributions of test-positive tortoises for the 2 Mycoplasma species showed little overlap; only 2 tortoises were test-positive for both diseases. However, the spatial distributions did not differ statistically between the 2 species. We consistently found higher prevalence of test-positive tortoises with shorter distances to centroids of human-populated census blocks. The relationship between distance to human-populated census blocks and tortoises that are test-positive for M. agassizii and potentially M. testudineum may be related to release or escape of captive tortoises because the prevalence of M. agassizii in captive tortoises is high. Our findings have application to other species of chelonians where both domestic captive and wild populations exist. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  20. Impacts of upper respiratory tract disease on olfactory behavior of the Mojave desert tortoise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Germano, Jennifer; Van Zerr, Vanessa E; Esque, Todd C; Nussear, Ken E; Lamberski, Nadine

    2014-04-01

    Upper respiratory tract disease (URTD) caused by Mycoplasma agassizii is considered a threat to desert tortoise populations that should be addressed as part of the recovery of the species. Clinical signs can be intermittent and include serous or mucoid nasal discharge and respiratory difficulty when nares are occluded. This nasal congestion may result in a loss of the olfactory sense. Turtles are known to use olfaction to identify food items, predators, and conspecifics; therefore, it is likely that URTD affects not only their physical well-being but also their behavior and ability to perform necessary functions in the wild. To determine more specifically the impact nasal discharge might have on free-ranging tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), we compared the responses of tortoises with and without nasal discharge and both positive and negative for M. agassizii antibodies to a visually hidden olfactory food stimulus and an empty control. We found that nasal discharge did reduce sense of smell and hence the ability to locate food. Our study also showed that moderate chronic nasal discharge in the absence of other clinical signs did not affect appetite in desert tortoises.

  1. Habitat selection by juvenile Mojave Desert tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd, Brian D; Halstead, Brian J.; Chiquoine, Lindsay P.; Peaden, J. Mark; Buhlmann, Kurt A.; Tuberville, Tracey D.; Nafus, Melia G.

    2016-01-01

    Growing pressure to develop public lands for renewable energy production places several protected species at increased risk of habitat loss. One example is the Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), a species often at the center of conflicts over public land development. For this species and others on public lands, a better understanding of their habitat needs can help minimize negative impacts and facilitate protection or restoration of habitat. We used radio-telemetry to track 46 neonate and juvenile tortoises in the Eastern Mojave Desert, California, USA, to quantify habitat at tortoise locations and paired random points to assess habitat selection. Tortoise locations near burrows were more likely to be under canopy cover and had greater coverage of perennial plants (especially creosote [Larrea tridentata]), more coverage by washes, a greater number of small-mammal burrows, and fewer white bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) than random points. Active tortoise locations away from burrows were closer to washes and perennial plants than were random points. Our results can help planners locate juvenile tortoises and avoid impacts to habitat critical for this life stage. Additionally, our results provide targets for habitat protection and restoration and suggest that diverse and abundant small-mammal populations and the availability of creosote bush are vital for juvenile desert tortoises in the Eastern Mojave Desert.

  2. Effects of subsidized predators, resource variability, and human population density on desert tortoise populations in the Mojave Desert, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Drake, K. Kristina; Walde, Andrew D.; Berry, Kristin H.; Averill-Murray, Roy C.; Woodman, A. Peter; Boarman, William I.; Medica, Phil A.; Mack, Jeremy S.; Heaton, Jill S.

    2010-01-01

    Understanding predator–prey relationships can be pivotal in the conservation of species. For 2 decades, desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii populations have declined, yet quantitative evidence regarding the causes of declines is scarce. In 2005, Ft. Irwin National Training Center, California, USA, implemented a translocation project including 2 yr of baseline monitoring of desert tortoises. Unusually high predation on tortoises was observed after translocation occurred. We conducted a retrospective analysis of predation and found that translocation did not affect the probability of predation: translocated, resident, and control tortoises all had similar levels of predation. However, predation rates were higher near human population concentrations, at lower elevation sites, and for smaller tortoises and females. Furthermore, high mortality rates were not limited to the National Training Center. In 2008, elevated mortality (as high as 43%) occurred throughout the listed range of the desert tortoise. Although no temporal prey base data are available for analysis from any of the study sites, we hypothesize that low population levels of typical coyote Canis latrans prey (i.e. jackrabbits Lepus californicus and other small animals) due to drought conditions influenced high predation rates in previous years. Predation may have been exacerbated in areas with high levels of subsidized predators. Many historical reports of increased predation, and our observation of a range-wide pattern, may indicate that high predation rates are more common than generally considered and may impact recovery of the desert tortoise throughout its range.

  3. A potential predator-prey interaction of an American badger and an Agassiz's desert tortoise with a review of badger predation on turtles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Amanda L.; Puffer, Shellie R.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Tennant, Laura A.; Arundel, Terry; Vamstad, Michael S.; Brundige, Kathleen D.

    2016-01-01

    The federally threatened Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) was listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1990, but thus far, recovery efforts have been unsuccessful (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS] 2015). Predation has been identified as a contributing factor to declining G. agassizii populations range-wide (e.g., Esque et al. 2010, Lovich et al. 2014). Understanding and managing for predator-prey dynamics is thus an important part of the recovery and conservation of this threatened species (USFWS 2011). Desert tortoises have a host of predators at all stages of their life cycle. Over 20 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles have been recorded as known or suspected predators (Woodbury and Hardy 1948, Luckenbach 1982, Ernst and Lovich 2009). American badgers (Taxidea taxus, family: Mustelidae) are confirmed excavators of desert tortoise nests (Turner and Berry 1984). They are also suspected predators of adult desert tortoises, a possibility which has been presented in some studies but without empirical verification (Luckenbach 1982, Turner and Berry 1984). Active mostly at night, badgers are solitary, secretive predators (Lindzey 1978, 1982; Armitage 2004) that are extremely difficult to observe in predatory encounters. Recently, strong circumstantial evidence presented by Emblidge et al. (2015) suggests that badgers do prey on adult Agassiz’s desert tortoises based on observations of more than two dozen dead tortoises in the Western Mojave Desert of California. In this note, we present another case of potential badger predation on a large adult desert tortoise in the Sonoran Desert of California. Collectively, these recent two cases potentially indicate that badger predation may be more common and widespread than previously thought. In addition, we review the worldwide literature of badger predation on turtles in general and summarize reported badger observations in Joshua Tree National Park, where our observation occurred, over a

  4. Desert tortoise hibernation: Temperatures, timing, and environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nussear, K.E.; Esque, T.C.; Haines, D.F.; Tracy, C.R.

    2007-01-01

    This research examined the onset, duration, and termination of hibernation in Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) over several years at multiple sites in the northeastern part of their geographic range, and recorded the temperatures experienced by tortoises during winter hibernation. The timing of hibernation by Desert Tortoises differed among sites and years. Environmental cues acting over the short-term did not appear to influence the timing of the hibernation period. Different individual tortoises entered hibernation over as many as 44 days in the fall and emerged from hibernation over as many as 49 days in the spring. This range of variation in the timing of hibernation indicates a weak influence at best of exogenous cues hypothesized to trigger and terminate hibernation. There do appear to be regional trends in hibernation behavior as hibernation tended to begin earlier and continue longer at sites that were higher in elevation and generally cooler. The emergence date was generally more similar among study sites than the date of onset. While the climate and the subsequent timing of hibernation differed among sites, the average temperatures experienced by tortoises while hibernating differed by only about five degrees from the coldest site to the warmest site. ?? 2007 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

  5. Desert tortoise use of burned habitat in the Eastern Mojave desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, Karla K.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; DeFalco, Lesley; Scoles, Sara; Modlin, Andrew T.; Medica, Philip A.

    2015-01-01

    Wildfires burned 24,254 ha of critical habitat designated for the recovery of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in southern Nevada during 2005. The proliferation of non-native annual grasses has increased wildfire frequency and extent in recent decades and continues to accelerate the conversion of tortoise habitat across the Mojave Desert. Immediate changes to vegetation are expected to reduce quality of critical habitat, yet whether tortoises will use burned and recovering habitat differently from intact unburned habitat is unknown. We compared movement patterns, home-range size, behavior, microhabitat use, reproduction, and survival for adult desert tortoises located in, and adjacent to, burned habitat to understand how tortoises respond to recovering burned habitat. Approximately 45% of home ranges in the post-fire environment contained burned habitat, and numerous observations (n = 12,223) corroborated tortoise use of both habitat types (52% unburned, 48% burned). Tortoises moved progressively deeper into burned habitat during the first 5 years following the fire, frequently foraging in burned habitats that had abundant annual plants, and returning to adjacent unburned habitat for cover provided by intact perennial vegetation. However, by years 6 and 7, the live cover of the short-lived herbaceous perennial desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) that typically re-colonizes burned areas declined, resulting in a contraction of tortoise movements from the burned areas. Health and egg production were similar between burned and unburned areas indicating that tortoises were able to acquire necessary resources using both areas. This study documents that adult Mojave desert tortoises continue to use habitat burned once by wildfire. Thus, continued management of this burned habitat may contribute toward the recovery of the species in the face of many sources of habitat loss.

  6. Evaluation of evidence supporting the effectiveness of desert tortoise recovery actions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boarman, William I.; Kristan, William B.

    2006-01-01

    As a federally threatened species, the desert tortoise's (Gopherus agassizii) recovery is required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to the criteria established by the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1994) for delisting the tortoise from ESA protection, the species as a whole will be considered recovered when tortoises have exhibited a statistically significant upward trend for at least one tortoise generation (25 years), enough habitat is protected to allow persistence, provisions are in place to maintain discrete population growth rates at or above 1.0, regulatory measures are in place to ensure continued management of tortoise habitat, and there is no longer reason to believe that the species will require ESA protection in the future. Just as species extinction can be thought of as the cumulative extinction of all populations, species recovery can be thought of as recovery of constituent populations; management efforts for recovery generally are implemented and assessed at the population level. A recent review of the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan, including an exhaustive literature search, has been compiled by the Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan Assessment Committee (Tracy et al. 2004).

  7. Integrating Gene Transcription-Based Biomarkers to Understand Desert Tortoise and Ecosystem Health.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A Keith; Drake, K Kristina; Waters, Shannon C; Esque, Todd C; Nussear, Kenneth E

    2015-09-01

    Tortoises are susceptible to a wide variety of environmental stressors, and the influence of human disturbances on health and survival of tortoises is difficult to detect. As an addition to current diagnostic methods for desert tortoises, we have developed the first leukocyte gene transcription biomarker panel for the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), enhancing the ability to identify specific environmental conditions potentially linked to declining animal health. Blood leukocyte transcript profiles have the potential to identify physiologically stressed animals in lieu of clinical signs. For desert tortoises, the gene transcript profile included a combination of immune or detoxification response genes with the potential to be modified by biological or physical injury and consequently provide information on the type and magnitude of stressors present in the animal's habitat. Blood from 64 wild adult tortoises at three sites in Clark County, NV, and San Bernardino, CA, and from 19 captive tortoises in Clark County, NV, was collected and evaluated for genes indicative of physiological status. Statistical analysis using a priori groupings indicated significant differences among groups for several genes, while multidimensional scaling and cluster analyses of transcription C T values indicated strong differentiation of a large cluster and multiple outlying individual tortoises or small clusters in multidimensional space. These analyses highlight the effectiveness of the gene panel at detecting environmental perturbations as well as providing guidance in determining the health of the desert tortoise.

  8. Integrating gene transcription-based biomarkers to understand desert tortoise and ecosystem health

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Drake, Karla K.; Waters, Shannon C.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.

    2015-01-01

    Tortoises are susceptible to a wide variety of environmental stressors, and the influence of human disturbances on health and survival of tortoises is difficult to detect. As an addition to current diagnostic methods for desert tortoises, we have developed the first leukocyte gene transcription biomarker panel for the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), enhancing the ability to identify specific environmental conditions potentially linked to declining animal health. Blood leukocyte transcript profiles have the potential to identify physiologically stressed animals in lieu of clinical signs. For desert tortoises, the gene transcript profile included a combination of immune or detoxification response genes with the potential to be modified by biological or physical injury and consequently provide information on the type and magnitude of stressors present in the animal’s habitat. Blood from 64 wild adult tortoises at three sites in Clark County, NV, and San Bernardino, CA, and from 19 captive tortoises in Clark County, NV, was collected and evaluated for genes indicative of physiological status. Statistical analysis using a priori groupings indicated significant differences among groups for several genes, while multidimensional scaling and cluster analyses of transcriptionC T values indicated strong differentiation of a large cluster and multiple outlying individual tortoises or small clusters in multidimensional space. These analyses highlight the effectiveness of the gene panel at detecting environmental perturbations as well as providing guidance in determining the health of the desert tortoise.

  9. Female Agassiz’s desert tortoise activity at a wind energy facility in southern California: The influence of an El Niño event

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ennen, Josh R.; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Lovich, Jeffrey

    2012-01-01

    We compared spring-summer activity of adult female Agassiz’s Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) among three consecutive years (1997, 1998, and 1999) that differed dramatically in winter rainfall and annual plant production at a wind energy facility in the Sonoran Desert of southern California. Winter rainfall was approximately 71%, 190%, and 17% of the long-term average (October-March = 114 mm) for this area in water years (WY) 1997, 1998, and 1999, respectively. The substantial precipitation caused by an El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event in WY 1998 produced a generous annual food plant supply (138.2 g dry biomass/ m2) in the spring. Primary production of winter annuals during below average rainfall years (WY 1997 and WY 1999) was reduced to 98.3 and 0.2 g/m2, respectively. Mean rates of movement and mean body condition indices (mass/length) did not differ significantly among the years. The drought year following ENSO (WY 1999) was statistically similar to ENSO in every other measured value, while WY 1997 (end of a two year drought) was statistically different from ENSO using activity area, minimum number of burrows used, and percentage of non-movements. Our data suggest that female G. agassizii activity can be influenced by environmental conditions in previous years.

  10. Does translocation influence physiological stress in the desert tortoise?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, K.K.; Nussear, K.E.; Esque, T.C.; Barber, A.M.; Vittum, K.M.; Medica, P.A.; Tracy, C.R.; Hunter, K.W.

    2012-01-01

    Wildlife translocation is increasingly used to mitigate disturbances to animals or habitat due to human activities, yet little is known about the extent to which translocating animals causes stress. To understand the relationship between physiological stress and translocation, we conducted a multiyear study (2007–2009) using a population of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) near Fort Irwin, California. Blood samples were collected from adult tortoises in three treatment groups (resident, translocated and control) for 1 year prior to and 2 years after translocation. Samples were analyzed by radioimmunoassay for plasma total corticosterone (CORT), a glucocorticoid hormone commonly associated with stress responses in reptiles. CORT values were analyzed in relation to potential covariates (animal sex, date, behavior, treatment, handling time, air temperature, home-range size, precipitation and annual plant production) among seasons and years. CORT values in males were higher than in females, and values for both varied monthly throughout the activity season and among years. Year and sex were strong predictors of CORT, and translocation explained little in terms of CORT. Based on these results, we conclude that translocation does not elicit a physiological stress response in desert tortoises.

  11. Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Webb, Robert H.; Esque, Todd; Brooks, Matthew L.; DeFalco, Lesley; MacMahon, James A.

    2016-01-01

    The deserts of California (Lead photo, Fig. 1) occupy approximately 38% of California’s landscape (Table 1) and consist of three distinct deserts: the Great Basin Desert, Mojave Desert, and Colorado Desert, the latter of which is a subdivision of the Sonoran Desert (Brown and Lowe 1980). The wide range of climates and geology found within each of these deserts result in very different vegetative communities and ecosystem processes and therefore different ecosystem services. In deserts, extreme conditions such as very high and low temperatures and very low rainfall result in abiotic factors (climate, geology, geomorphology, and soils) controlling the composition and function of ecosystems, including plant and animal distributions. This is in contrast to wetter and milder temperatures found in other ecosystems, where biotic interactions are the dominant driving force. However, despite the harsh conditions in deserts, they are home to a surprisingly large number of plants and animals. Deserts are also places where organisms display a wide array of adaptations to the extremes they encounter, providing some of the best examples of Darwinian selection (MacMahon and Wagner 1985, Ward 2009). Humans have utilized these regions for thousands of years, despite the relatively low productivity and harsh climates of these landscapes. Unlike much of California, most of these desert lands have received little high-intensity use since European settlement, leaving large areas relatively undisturbed. Desert landscapes are being altered, however, by the introduction of fire following the recent invasion of Mediterranean annual grasses. As most native plants are not fire-adapted, they Many do not recover, whereas the non-native grasses flourish. Because desert lands are slow to recover from disturbances, energy exploration and development, recreational use, and urban development will alter these landscapes for many years to come. This chapter provides a brief description of where the

  12. Enhancing and restoring habitat for the desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abella, Scott R.; Berry, Kristin H.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat has changed unfavorably during the past 150 y for the desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii, a federally threatened species with declining populations in the Mojave Desert and western Sonoran Desert. To support recovery efforts, we synthesized published information on relationships of desert tortoises with three habitat features (cover sites, forage, and soil) and candidate management practices for improving these features for tortoises. In addition to their role in soil health and facilitating recruitment of annual forage plants, shrubs are used by desert tortoises for cover and as sites for burrows. Outplanting greenhouse-grown seedlings, protected from herbivory, has successfully restored (>50% survival) a variety of shrubs on disturbed desert soils. Additionally, salvaging and reapplying topsoil using effective techniques is among the more ecologically beneficial ways to initiate plant recovery after severe disturbance. Through differences in biochemical composition and digestibility, some plant species provide better-quality forage than others. Desert tortoises selectively forage on particular annual and herbaceous perennial species (e.g., legumes), and forage selection shifts during the year as different plants grow or mature. Nonnative grasses provide low-quality forage and contribute fuel to spreading wildfires, which damage or kill shrubs that tortoises use for cover. Maintaining a diverse “menu” of native annual forbs and decreasing nonnative grasses are priorities for restoring most desert tortoise habitats. Reducing herbivory by nonnative animals, carefully timing herbicide applications, and strategically augmenting annual forage plants via seeding show promise for improving tortoise forage quality. Roads, another disturbance, negatively affect habitat in numerous ways (e.g., compacting soil, altering hydrology). Techniques such as recontouring road berms to reestablish drainage patterns, vertical mulching (“planting” dead plant material

  13. Handbook on Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus): Health Evaluation Procedures for Use by Land Managers and Researchers

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    ERDC/CERL TR-09-1 21 References Alford, R. A. (1980). “Population structure of Gopherus polyphemus in northern Florida.” Journal of Herpetology 14...disease in gopher tortoises in Florida.” Journal of Herpetology 34(1): 5-12. Berry, K. H. (1996). Demographic consequences of disease in two desert

  14. Reference intervals and physiologic alterations in hematologic and biochemical values of free-ranging desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christopher, Mary M.; Berry, Kristin H.; Wallis, I.R.; Nagy, K.A.; Henen, B.T.; Peterson, C.C.

    1999-01-01

    Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) populations have experienced precipitous declines resulting from the cumulative impact of habitat loss, and human and disease-related mortality. Evaluation of hematologic and biochemical responses of desert tortoises to physiologic and environmental factors can facilitate the assessment of stress and disease in tortoises and contribute to management decisions and population recovery. The goal of this study was to obtain and analyze clinical laboratory data from free-ranging desert tortoises at three sites in the Mojave Desert (California, USA) between October 1990 and October 1995, to establish reference intervals, and to develop guidelines for the interpretation of laboratory data under a variety of environmental and physiologic conditions. Body weight, carapace length, and venous blood samples for a complete blood count and clinical chemistry profile were obtained from 98 clinically healthy adult desert tortoises of both sexes at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural area (western Mojave), Goffs (eastern Mojave) and Ivanpah Valley (northeastern Mojave). Samples were obtained four times per year, in winter (February/March), spring (May/June), summer (July/August), and fall (October). Years of near-, above- and below-average rainfall were represented in the 5 yr period. Minimum, maximum and median values, and central 95 percentiles were used as reference intervals and measures of central tendency for tortoises at each site and/or season. Data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance for significant (P < 0.01) variation on the basis of sex, site, season, and interactions between these variables. Significant sex differences were observed for packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, aspartate transaminase activity, and cholesterol, triglyceride, calcium, and phosphorus concentrations. Marked seasonal variation was observed in most parameters in conjunction with reproductive cycle, hibernation, or seasonal

  15. Field trials of line transect methods applied to estimation of desert tortoise abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, David R.; Burnham, Kenneth P.; Lubow, Bruce C.; Thomas, L. E. N.; Corn, Paul Stephen; Medica, Philip A.; Marlow, R.W.

    2001-01-01

    We examine the degree to which field observers can meet the assumptions underlying line transect sampling to monitor populations of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii). We present the results of 2 field trials using artificial tortoise models in 3 size classes. The trials were conducted on 2 occasions on an area south of Las Vegas, Nevada, where the density of the test population was known. In the first trials, conducted largely by experienced biologists who had been involved in tortoise surveys for many years, the density of adult tortoise models was well estimated (-3.9% bias), while the bias was higher (-20%) for subadult tortoise models. The bias for combined data was -12.0%. The bias was largely attributed to the failure to detect all tortoise models on or near the transect centerline. The second trials were conducted with a group of largely inexperienced student volunteers and used somewhat different searching methods, and the results were similar to the first trials. Estimated combined density of subadult and adult tortoise models had a negative bias (-7.3%), again attributable to failure to detect some models on or near the centerline. Experience in desert tortoise biology, either comparing the first and second trials or in the second trial with 2 experienced biologists versus 16 novices, did not have an apparent effect on the quality of the data or the accuracy of the estimates. Observer training, specific to line transect sampling, and field testing are important components of a reliable survey. Line transect sampling represents a viable method for large-scale monitoring of populations of desert tortoise; however, field protocol must be improved to assure the key assumptions are met.

  16. Making molehills out of mountains: landscape genetics of the Mojave desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagerty, Bridgette E.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; Tracy, C. Richard

    2010-01-01

    Heterogeneity in habitat often influences how organisms traverse the landscape matrix that connects populations. Understanding landscape connectivity is important to determine the ecological processes that influence those movements, which lead to evolutionary change due to gene flow. Here, we used landscape genetics and statistical models to evaluate hypotheses that could explain isolation among locations of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). Within a causal modeling framework, we investigated three factors that can influence landscape connectivity: geographic distance, barriers to dispersal, and landscape friction. A statistical model of habitat suitability for the Mojave desert tortoise, based on topography, vegetation, and climate variables, was used as a proxy for landscape friction and barriers to dispersal. We quantified landscape friction with least-cost distances and with resistance distances among sampling locations. A set of diagnostic partial Mantel tests statistically separated the hypotheses of potential causes of genetic isolation. The best-supported model varied depending upon how landscape friction was quantified. Patterns of genetic structure were related to a combination of geographic distance and barriers as defined by least-cost distances, suggesting that mountain ranges and extremely low-elevation valleys influence connectivity at the regional scale beyond the tortoises' ability to disperse. However, geographic distance was the only influence detected using resistance distances, which we attributed to fundamental differences between the two ways of quantifying friction. Landscape friction, as we measured it, did not influence the observed patterns of genetic distances using either quantification. Barriers and distance may be more valuable predictors of observed population structure for species like the desert tortoise, which has high dispersal capability and a long generation time.

  17. Drawing a line in the sand: Effectiveness of off-highway vehicle management in California's Sonoran desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Custer, Nathan; Defalco, Lesley A.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.

    2017-01-01

    Public land policies manage multiple uses while striving to protect vulnerable plant and wildlife habitats from degradation; yet the effectiveness of such policies are infrequently evaluated, particularly for remote landscapes that are difficult to monitor. We assessed the use and impacts of recreational vehicles on Mojave Desert washes (intermittent streams) in the Chemehuevi Desert Wildlife Management Area (DWMA) of southern California. Wash zones designated as open and closed to off-highway vehicle (OHV) activity were designed in part to protect Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) habitat while allowing recreation in designated areas. OHV tracks were monitored in washes located near access roads during winter and early spring holidays – when recreation is typically high – and at randomly dispersed locations away from roads. Washes near access roads had fewer vehicle tracks within closed than open zones; further away from roads, OHV tracks were infrequent and their occurrence was not different between wash designations. Washes were in better condition in closed zones following major holidays as indicated by less vegetation damage, presence of trash, and wash bank damage. Furthermore, the frequency of washes with live tortoises and their sign was marginally greater in closed than open wash zones. Collectively, these results suggest that low impacts to habitats in designated closed wash zones reflect public compliance with federal OHV policy and regulations in the Chemehuevi DWMA during our study. Future monitoring to contrast wash use and impacts during other seasons as well as in other DWMAs will elucidate spatial and temporal patterns of recreation in these important conservation areas.

  18. Problems with sampling desert tortoises: A simulation analysis based on field data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Freilich, J.E.; Camp, R.J.; Duda, J.J.; Karl, A.E.

    2005-01-01

    The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) was listed as a U.S. threatened species in 1990 based largely on population declines inferred from mark-recapture surveys of 2.59-km2 (1-mi2) plots. Since then, several census methods have been proposed and tested, but all methods still pose logistical or statistical difficulties. We conducted computer simulations using actual tortoise location data from 2 1-mi2 plot surveys in southern California, USA, to identify strengths and weaknesses of current sampling strategies. We considered tortoise population estimates based on these plots as "truth" and then tested various sampling methods based on sampling smaller plots or transect lines passing through the mile squares. Data were analyzed using Schnabel's mark-recapture estimate and program CAPTURE. Experimental subsampling with replacement of the 1-mi2 data using 1-km2 and 0.25-km2 plot boundaries produced data sets of smaller plot sizes, which we compared to estimates from the 1-mi 2 plots. We also tested distance sampling by saturating a 1-mi 2 site with computer simulated transect lines, once again evaluating bias in density estimates. Subsampling estimates from 1-km2 plots did not differ significantly from the estimates derived at 1-mi2. The 0.25-km2 subsamples significantly overestimated population sizes, chiefly because too few recaptures were made. Distance sampling simulations were biased 80% of the time and had high coefficient of variation to density ratios. Furthermore, a prospective power analysis suggested limited ability to detect population declines as high as 50%. We concluded that poor performance and bias of both sampling procedures was driven by insufficient sample size, suggesting that all efforts must be directed to increasing numbers found in order to produce reliable results. Our results suggest that present methods may not be capable of accurately estimating desert tortoise populations.

  19. Climatic variation and tortoise survival: has a desert species met its match?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Yackulic, Charles B.; Freilich, Jerry; Agha, Mickey; Austin, Meaghan; Meyer, Katherine P.; Arundel, Terence R.; Hansen, Jered; Vamstad, Michael S.; Root, Stephanie A.

    2014-01-01

    While demographic changes in short-lived species may be observed relatively quickly in response to climate changes, measuring population responses of long-lived species requires long-term studies that are not always available. We analyzed data from a population of threatened Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at a 2.59 km2 study plot in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem of Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA from 1978 to 2012 to examine variation in apparent survival and demography in this long-lived species. Transect-based, mark-recapture surveys were conducted in 10 of those years to locate living and dead tortoises. Previous modeling suggested that this area would become unsuitable as tortoise habitat under a warming and drying climate scenario. Estimated adult population size declined greatly from 1996 to 2012. The population appeared to have high apparent survival from 1978 to 1996 but apparent survival decreased from 1997 to 2002, concurrent with persistent drought. The best model relating apparent survivorship of tortoises ≥18 cm over time was based on a three year moving average of estimated winter precipitation. The postures and positions of a majority of dead tortoises found in 2012 were consistent with death by dehydration and starvation. Some live and many dead tortoises found in 2012 showed signs of predation or scavenging by mammalian carnivores. Coyote (Canis latrans) scats and other evidence from the site confirmed their role as tortoise predators and scavengers. Predation rates may be exacerbated by drought if carnivores switch from preferred mammalian prey to tortoises during dry years. Climate modeling suggests that the region will be subjected to even longer duration droughts in the future and that the plot may become unsuitable for continued tortoise survival. Our results showing wide fluctuations in apparent survival and decreasing tortoise density over time may be early signals of that possible outcome.

  20. Turbines and Terrestrial Vertebrates: Variation in Tortoise Survivorship Between a Wind Energy Facility and an Adjacent Undisturbed Wildland Area in the Desert Southwest (USA)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Augustine, Benjamin; Arundel, Terence R.; Murphy, Mason O.; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Bjurlin, Curtis; Delaney, David; Briggs, Jessica; Austin, Meaghan; Madrak, Sheila V.; Price, Steven J.

    2015-08-01

    With the recent increase in utility-scale wind energy development, researchers have become increasingly concerned how this activity will affect wildlife and their habitat. To understand the potential impacts of wind energy facilities (WEF) post-construction (i.e., operation and maintenance) on wildlife, we compared differences in activity centers and survivorship of Agassiz's desert tortoises ( Gopherus agassizii) inside or near a WEF to neighboring tortoises living near a wilderness area (NWA) and farther from the WEF. We found that the size of tortoise activity centers varied, but not significantly so, between the WEF (6.25 ± 2.13 ha) and adjacent NWA (4.13 ± 1.23 ha). However, apparent survival did differ significantly between the habitat types: over the 18-year study period apparent annual survival estimates were 0.96 ± 0.01 for WEF tortoises and 0.92 ± 0.02 for tortoises in the NWA. High annual survival suggests that operation and maintenance of the WEF has not caused considerable declines in the adult population over the past two decades. Low traffic volume, enhanced resource availability, and decreased predator populations may influence annual survivorship at this WEF. Further research on these proximate mechanisms and population recruitment would be useful for mitigating and managing post-development impacts of utility-scale wind energy on long-lived terrestrial vertebrates.

  1. Turbines and Terrestrial Vertebrates: Variation in Tortoise Survivorship Between a Wind Energy Facility and an Adjacent Undisturbed Wildland Area in the Desert Southwest (USA).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Lovich, Jeffrey E; Ennen, Joshua R; Augustine, Benjamin; Arundel, Terence R; Murphy, Mason O; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Bjurlin, Curtis; Delaney, David; Briggs, Jessica; Austin, Meaghan; Madrak, Sheila V; Price, Steven J

    2015-08-01

    With the recent increase in utility-scale wind energy development, researchers have become increasingly concerned how this activity will affect wildlife and their habitat. To understand the potential impacts of wind energy facilities (WEF) post-construction (i.e., operation and maintenance) on wildlife, we compared differences in activity centers and survivorship of Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) inside or near a WEF to neighboring tortoises living near a wilderness area (NWA) and farther from the WEF. We found that the size of tortoise activity centers varied, but not significantly so, between the WEF (6.25 ± 2.13 ha) and adjacent NWA (4.13 ± 1.23 ha). However, apparent survival did differ significantly between the habitat types: over the 18-year study period apparent annual survival estimates were 0.96 ± 0.01 for WEF tortoises and 0.92 ± 0.02 for tortoises in the NWA. High annual survival suggests that operation and maintenance of the WEF has not caused considerable declines in the adult population over the past two decades. Low traffic volume, enhanced resource availability, and decreased predator populations may influence annual survivorship at this WEF. Further research on these proximate mechanisms and population recruitment would be useful for mitigating and managing post-development impacts of utility-scale wind energy on long-lived terrestrial vertebrates.

  2. Negative impacts of invasive plants on conservation of sensitive desert wildlife

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, K. Kristina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; Berger, Andrew J.; Custer, Nathan; Waters, Shannon C.; Johnson, Jay D.; Miles, A. Keith; Lewison, Rebecca L.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat disturbance from development, resource extraction, off-road vehicle use, and energy development ranks highly among threats to desert systems worldwide. In the Mojave Desert, United States, these disturbances have promoted the establishment of nonnative plants, so that native grasses and forbs are now intermixed with, or have been replaced by invasive, nonnative Mediterranean grasses. This shift in plant composition has altered food availability for Mojave Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), a federally listed species. We hypothesized that this change in forage would negatively influence the physiological ecology, immune competence, and health of neonatal and yearling tortoises. To test this, we monitored the effects of diet on growth, body condition, immunological responses (measured by gene transcription), and survival for 100 captive Mojave tortoises. Tortoises were assigned to one of five diets: native forbs, native grass, invasive grass, and native forbs combined with either the native or invasive grass. Tortoises eating native forbs had better body condition and immune functions, grew more, and had higher survival rates (>95%) than tortoises consuming any other diet. At the end of the experiment, 32% of individuals fed only native grass and 37% fed only invasive grass were found dead or removed from the experiment due to poor body conditions. In contrast, all tortoises fed either the native forb or combined native forb and native grass diets survived and were in good condition. Health and body condition quickly declined for tortoises fed only the native grass (Festuca octoflora) or invasive grass (Bromus rubens) with notable loss of fat and muscle mass and increased muscular atrophy. Bromus rubens seeds were found embedded in the oral mucosa and tongue in most individuals eating that diet, which led to mucosal inflammation. Genes indicative of physiological, immune, and metabolic functions were transcribed at lower levels for individuals fed B

  3. Not putting all their eggs in one basket: bet-hedging despite extraordinary annual reproductive output of desert tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Yackulic, Charles B.; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Agha, Mickey; Loughran, Caleb L.; Bjurlin, Curtis; Austin, Meaghan; Madrak, Sheila V.

    2015-01-01

    Bet-hedging theory makes the counter-intuitive prediction that, if juvenile survival is low and unpredictable, organisms should consistently reduce short-term reproductive output to minimize the risk of reproductive failure in the long-term. We investigated the long-term reproductive output of an Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) population and conformance to a bet-hedging strategy of reproduction in an unpredictable but comparatively productive environment. Most females reproduced every year, even during periods of low precipitation and poor germination of food plants, and the mean percentage of reproducing females did not differ significantly on an annual basis. Although mean annual egg production (clutch size × clutch frequency) differed significantly among years, mean clutch size and mean clutch frequency remained relatively constant. During an El Niño year, mean annual egg production and mean annual clutch frequency were the highest ever reported for this species. Annual egg production was positively influenced by maternal body size but clutch size and clutch frequency were not. Our long-term results confirm earlier conclusions based on short-term research that desert tortoises have a bet-hedging strategy of producing small clutches almost every year. The risk of long-term reproductive failure is minimized in unpredictable environments, both through time by annually producing multiple small clutches over a long reproductive lifespan, even in years of low resource availability, and through space by depositing multiple annual clutches in different locations. The extraordinary annual reproductive output of this population appears to be the result of a typically high but unpredictable biomass of annual food plants at the site relative to tortoise habitat in dryer regions. Under the comparatively productive but unpredictable conditions, tortoises conform to predictions of a bet-hedging strategy of reproduction with relatively small but consistent

  4. Short-Term Space-Use Patterns of Translocated Mojave Desert Tortoise in Southern California.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew L Farnsworth

    Full Text Available Increasingly, renewable energy comprises a larger share of global energy production. Across the western United States, public lands are being developed to support renewable energy production. Where there are conflicts with threatened or endangered species, translocation can be used in an attempt to mitigate negative effects. For the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii, we sought to compare habitat- and space-use patterns between short-distance translocated, resident, and control groups. We tested for differences in home range size based on utilization distributions and used linear mixed-effects models to compare space-use intensity, while controlling for demographic and environmental variables. In addition, we examined mean movement distances as well as home range overlap between years and for male and female tortoises in each study group. During the first active season post-translocation, home range size was greater and space-use intensity was lower for translocated tortoises than resident and control groups. These patterns were not present in the second season. In both years, there was no difference in home range size or space-use intensity between control and resident groups. Translocation typically resulted in one active season of questing followed by a second active season characterized by space-use patterns that were indistinguishable from control tortoises. Across both years, the number of times a tortoise was found in a burrow was positively related to greater space-use intensity. Minimizing the time required for translocated tortoises to exhibit patterns similar to non-translocated individuals may have strong implications for conservation by reducing exposure to adverse environmental conditions and predation. With ongoing development, our results can be used to guide future efforts aimed at understanding how translocation strategies influence patterns of animal space use.

  5. Short-Term Space-Use Patterns of Translocated Mojave Desert Tortoise in Southern California.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farnsworth, Matthew L; Dickson, Brett G; Zachmann, Luke J; Hegeman, Ericka E; Cangelosi, Amanda R; Jackson, Thomas G; Scheib, Amanda F

    2015-01-01

    Increasingly, renewable energy comprises a larger share of global energy production. Across the western United States, public lands are being developed to support renewable energy production. Where there are conflicts with threatened or endangered species, translocation can be used in an attempt to mitigate negative effects. For the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), we sought to compare habitat- and space-use patterns between short-distance translocated, resident, and control groups. We tested for differences in home range size based on utilization distributions and used linear mixed-effects models to compare space-use intensity, while controlling for demographic and environmental variables. In addition, we examined mean movement distances as well as home range overlap between years and for male and female tortoises in each study group. During the first active season post-translocation, home range size was greater and space-use intensity was lower for translocated tortoises than resident and control groups. These patterns were not present in the second season. In both years, there was no difference in home range size or space-use intensity between control and resident groups. Translocation typically resulted in one active season of questing followed by a second active season characterized by space-use patterns that were indistinguishable from control tortoises. Across both years, the number of times a tortoise was found in a burrow was positively related to greater space-use intensity. Minimizing the time required for translocated tortoises to exhibit patterns similar to non-translocated individuals may have strong implications for conservation by reducing exposure to adverse environmental conditions and predation. With ongoing development, our results can be used to guide future efforts aimed at understanding how translocation strategies influence patterns of animal space use.

  6. Field Test of Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus) Population Estimation Techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-04-01

    of Herpetology 14:177-182. Auffenberg, W., and R. Franz. 1982. The Status and distribution of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). 12, U.S...gopher tortoise (Gopherus-polyphemus) burrows in coastal scrub and slash pine flatwoods. Journal of Herpetology 25:317-321. Buckland, S. T., D. R... Herpetology 26:281-289. Doonan, T. J. 1986. A demographic study of an isolated population of the gopher tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus, and an assessment of a

  7. Plant cover effect on Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus Legler 1959, Testudinidae burrow use

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge Luis Becerra-López

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available The Bolson tortoise, Gopherus flavomarginatus, occurs within a restricted geographical area in the Mexican Chihuahuan Desert. We analyzed the variation in surface microhabitat with relation to the burrow occupancy for this tortoise at the Mapimí Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. In summer 2010, we monitored burrow activity (active, inactive, or abandoned and measured environmental factors that might influence the burrow’s occupancy by tortoises (air temperature, relative humidity and substrate temperature, both inside and outside the burrow, and the plant cover around it. Discriminant analysis was used to identify the importance of these variables influencing burrow occupancy. Correlation and linear regression analyses were performed to quantify the relation between environmental factors in the sampled burrows. Results. Sixty-one burrows were identified at the Tortugas locality. The first function’s auto-value analysis indicates that this function explains 97.9% of the variation in burrow activity status; high occupancy scores were associated with low substrate temperature inside the burrow. Plant cover was inversely proportional to substrate temperature inside the burrow. These results suggest the importance the density of plants surrounding the tortoise’s burrow as a key factor influencing the burrow microclimate and occupancy by the tortoises. Conclusions. Gopherus flavomarginatus inhabits burrows, in part, based on microhabitat structure, with plant cover being a main factor influencing burrow occupancy. Our findings indicate that human land use and vegetation management are important for conserving Bolson tortoises, and for understanding habitat conditions necessary for the successful establishment of populations elsewhere.

  8. Guidelines for the field evaluation of desert tortoise health and disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristin H.; Christopher, Mary M.

    2001-01-01

    Field evaluation of free-ranging wildlife requires the systematic documentation of a variety of environmental conditions and individual parameters of health and disease, particularly in the case of rare or endangered species. In addition, defined criteria are needed for the humane salvage of ill or dying animals. The purpose of this paper is to describe, in detail, the preparation, procedures, and protocols we developed and tested for the field evaluation of wild desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii). These guidelines describe: preparations for the field, including developing familiarity with tortoise behavior and ecology, and preparation of standardized data sheets; journal notes to document background data on weather conditions, temperature, rainfall, locality, and historic and recent human activities; procedures to prevent the spread of disease and parasites; data sheets for live tortoises to record tortoise identification, location, sex, body measurements and activity; health profile forms for documenting and grading physical abnormalities of tortoise posture and movements, general condition (e.g., lethargy, cachexia), external parasites, and clinical abnormalities associated with shell and upper respiratory diseases; permanent photographic records for the retrospective analysis of progression and regression of upper respiratory and eye diseases, analysis of shell lesions and evaluation of growth and age; and indications and methods for salvaging ill or dying tortoises for necropsy evaluation. These guidelines, tested on 5,000 to 20,000 tortoises over a 10 to 27 yr period, were designed to maximize acquisition of data for demographic, ecological, health and disease research projects; to reduce handling and stress of individual animals; to avoid spread of infectious disease; to promote high quality and consistent data sets; and to reduce the duration and number of field trips. The field methods are adapted for desert tortoise life cycle, behavior, anatomy

  9. Nest site characteristics, nesting movements, and lack of long-term nest site fidelity in Agassiz's desert tortoises at a wind energy facility in southern California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Agha, Mickey; Yackulic, Charles B.; Meyer-Wilkins, Kathie; Bjurlin, Curtis; Ennen, Joshua R.; Arundel, Terry R.; Austin, Meaghan

    2014-01-01

    Nest site selection has important consequences for maternal and offspring survival and fitness. Females of some species return to the same nesting areas year after year. We studied nest site characteristics, fidelity, and daily pre-nesting movements in a population of Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) at a wind energy facility in southern California during two field seasons separated by over a decade. No females returned to the same exact nest site within or between years but several nested in the same general area. However, distances between first and second clutches within a year (2000) were not significantly different from distances between nests among years (2000 and 2011) for a small sample of females, suggesting some degree of fidelity within their normal activity areas. Environmental attributes of nest sites did not differ significantly among females but did among years due largely to changes in perennial plant structure as a result of multiple fires. Daily pre-nesting distances moved by females decreased consistently from the time shelled eggs were first visible in X-radiographs until oviposition, again suggesting some degree of nest site selection. Tortoises appear to select nest sites that are within their long-term activity areas, inside the climate-moderated confines of one of their self-constructed burrows, and specifically, at a depth in the burrow that minimizes exposure of eggs and embryos to lethal incubation temperatures. Nesting in “climate-controlled” burrows and nest guarding by females relaxes some of the constraints that drive nest site selection in other oviparous species.

  10. Habitat Selection by the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-03-01

    distribution. Herpetological Review 32:191. Clark, E.E. 2003. Relocation and population modeling for gopher tortoise recovery. M.S. Thesis...Gopherus polyphemus in northern Florida. Journal of Herpetology 26:158-165. Diemer, J.E. 1992b. Demography of the tortoise Gopherus polyphemus...in northern Florida. Journal of Herpetology 26:281-289. ERDC/CERL TR-07-1 33 Dozier, J., and J. Stowe. 1999. Tillman Sand Ridge Heritage

  11. Arsenic Species in Scute (Shell Plate) and Lung Tissues of Desert Tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, A. L.; Berry, K.; Jacobson, E. R.; Rytuba, J. J.

    2009-12-01

    The desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is federally listed as a threatened species, and its numbers have been in decline for at least two decades. Portions of protected desert tortoise habitats coincide with anthropogenic features such as historic mines and military bases that are potential sources of ingested or inhaled arsenic. Previous studies of necropsied desert tortoise specimens collected from the Mojave Desert have shown a statistically significant link between elevated tissue levels of arsenic (As) and the occurrence of clinical disease states. Synchrotron-based, microbeam X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (XAFS) and X-ray fluorescence mapping (XRF) were the primary techniques used to identify As species in these tissues. Specimens have been analyzed from a mining-impacted area (Kelly-Rand Mining district, Kern County), and from sites on or adjacent to military bases (National Training Center, Ft Irwin, and Edwards AFB). XRF maps showed that scute sections sliced perpendicular to the exposed surface contain one or more diffuse bands of As(III) coordinated by oxygen instead of sulfur. This As(III) species is identical in all individuals, suggesting that it represents metabolized As. In contrast, the exterior surface and edges of scute sections contained As-rich particles of varying oxidation state and species, suggesting an exogenous origin. Particles contained reduced As in sulfides (Cu sulfide or arsenide) and As(V) in ferric sulfates and/or ferric arsenates. XAFS spectra of many As(V)-rich particles were close visual matches to spectra of known arsenic-bearing minerals or phases such as scorodite, jarosite, and arsenic adsorbed to iron (hydr)oxides. At least one, and more commonly 3-5 exogeneous As-rich particles were found in the formalin-preserved lung tissue sections examined, suggesting that such particles were relatively common. Pentavalent As was observed in forms similar to those encountered on scute sections. As(III) was observed in

  12. Using Range-Wide Abundance Modeling to Identify Key Conservation Areas for the Micro-Endemic Bolson Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cinthya A Ureña-Aranda

    Full Text Available A widespread biogeographic pattern in nature is that population abundance is not uniform across the geographic range of species: most occurrence sites have relatively low numbers, whereas a few places contain orders of magnitude more individuals. The Bolson tortoise Gopherus flavomarginatus is endemic to a small region of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, where habitat deterioration threatens this species with extinction. In this study we combined field burrows counts and the approach for modeling species abundance based on calculating the distance to the niche centroid to obtain range-wide abundance estimates. For the Bolson tortoise, we found a robust, negative relationship between observed burrows abundance and distance to the niche centroid, with a predictive capacity of 71%. Based on these results we identified four priority areas for the conservation of this microendemic and threatened tortoise. We conclude that this approach may be a useful approximation for identifying key areas for sampling and conservation efforts in elusive and rare species.

  13. Using Range-Wide Abundance Modeling to Identify Key Conservation Areas for the Micro-Endemic Bolson Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ureña-Aranda, Cinthya A; Rojas-Soto, Octavio; Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Yáñez-Arenas, Carlos; Landgrave Ramírez, Rosario; Espinosa de los Monteros, Alejandro

    2015-01-01

    A widespread biogeographic pattern in nature is that population abundance is not uniform across the geographic range of species: most occurrence sites have relatively low numbers, whereas a few places contain orders of magnitude more individuals. The Bolson tortoise Gopherus flavomarginatus is endemic to a small region of the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, where habitat deterioration threatens this species with extinction. In this study we combined field burrows counts and the approach for modeling species abundance based on calculating the distance to the niche centroid to obtain range-wide abundance estimates. For the Bolson tortoise, we found a robust, negative relationship between observed burrows abundance and distance to the niche centroid, with a predictive capacity of 71%. Based on these results we identified four priority areas for the conservation of this microendemic and threatened tortoise. We conclude that this approach may be a useful approximation for identifying key areas for sampling and conservation efforts in elusive and rare species.

  14. Daily basking patterns of the fresh-water turtle

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Department of Biological Sciences, University of Natal, Durban. Basking activity in the turtle Pelomedusa subrufa L. apparently is initiated by the presence of a ..... the desert tortoises, Gopherus berlandieri and G. agassizii. (Auffenberg & Weaver 1969). It is suggested that maximum activity in these species occurs in the early ...

  15. 76 FR 54288 - Notice of Final Federal Agency Actions on Proposed Bridge and Approach Roadways in Nevada and...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-31

    ... also issued its biological opinion (File Nos. 84320-2010-F-0423 and 84320-2011-I-0027) for the project's possible adverse effects on the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) on November 5, 2010. The USFWS biological opinion is available by contacting the USWFWS at the address provided above. This...

  16. Thar Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    2001-01-01

    This ASTER sub-scene covers an area of 12 x 15 km in NW India in the Thar Desert. The sand dunes of the Thar Desert constantly shift and take on new shapes. Located in northwestern India and eastern Pakistan, the desert is bounded on the south by a salt marsh known as the Rann of Kutch, and on the west by the Indus River plain. About 800 kilometers long and about 490 kilometers wide, the desert's terrain is mainly rolling sandhills with scattered growths of shrub and rock outcroppings. Only about 12 to 25 centimeters of rain fall on the desert each year, and temperatures rise as high as 52 degrees Celsius. Much of the population is pastoral, raising sheep for their wool. The image is located at 24.4 degrees north latitude and 69.3 degrees east longitude. The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

  17. Daily energy expenditure in free-ranging Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jodice, PGR; Epperson, DM; Visser, GH

    2006-01-01

    Studies of ecological energetics in chelonians are rare. Here, we report the first measurements of daily energy expenditure (DEE) and water influx rates (WIRS) in free-ranging adult Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). We used the doubly labeled water (DLW) method to measure DEE in six adult

  18. Testing taxon tenacity of tortoises: evidence for a geographical selection gradient at a secondary contact zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Taylor; Berry, Kristin H.; Inman, Richard D.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Jones, Cristina A.; Culver, Melanie

    2015-01-01

    We examined a secondary contact zone between two species of desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii and G. morafkai. The taxa were isolated from a common ancestor during the formation of the Colorado River (4-8 mya) and are a classic example of allopatric speciation. However, an anomalous population of G. agassizii comes into secondary contact with G. morafkai east of the Colorado River in the Black Mountains of Arizona and provides an opportunity to examine reinforcement of species' boundaries under natural conditions. We sampled 234 tortoises representing G. agassizii in California (n = 103), G. morafkai in Arizona (n = 78), and 53 individuals of undetermined assignment in the contact zone including and surrounding the Black Mountains. We genotyped individuals for 25 STR loci and determined maternal lineage using mtDNA sequence data. We performed multilocus genetic clustering analyses and used multiple statistical methods to detect levels of hybridization. We tested hypotheses about habitat use between G. agassizii and G. morafkai in the region where they co-occur using habitat suitability models. Gopherus agassizii and G. morafkai maintain independent taxonomic identities likely due to ecological niche partitioning, and the maintenance of the hybrid zone is best described by a geographical selection gradient model.

  19. Analysis of food habits of skate Rioraja agassizii (Elasmobranchii, Rajidae) from southern Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Motta, N S; Della-Fina, N; Souza, C C A; Rodrigues, E S; Amorim, A F

    2016-06-01

    Catches and exports of skate Rioraja agassizii place this species as "vulnerable to extinction" on the IUCN Red List; therefore, biological and ecological knowledge becomes an important instrument for its conservation control. This study described and quantified the diet composition of R. agassizii by means of stomach analysis contents in the periods 2005-2006 and 2012-2013. We analyzed and quantified stomach contents in terms of abundance (%N), weight (%M), frequency of occurrence (% FO), and index of relative importance (IRI). The results showed differences in the food rates between the periods. However, the groups of food items were the same: Teleostei fish, decapods, and mollusks. In 2005-2006, the diet consisted mainly of shrimp, however, in 2012-2013 it consisted of fish, followed by decapods, especially shrimps. The differences in diets may be attributed to shrimp abundance, which do not characterize a change in the eating habits in 2012-2013, because, in addition to fish, shrimps were also important food sources. The presence of a certain prey is more related to its availability rather than the feeding preference of skate. The amount of ingested items is associated to biological and environmental factors, so that further studies relating diet with capture area, seasonality, depth, and other factors should be conducted.

  20. Analysis of food habits of skate Rioraja agassizii (Elasmobranchii, Rajidae from southern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. S. Motta

    Full Text Available Abstract Catches and exports of skate Rioraja agassizii place this species as “vulnerable to extinction” on the IUCN Red List; therefore, biological and ecological knowledge becomes an important instrument for its conservation control. This study described and quantified the diet composition of R. agassizii by means of stomach analysis contents in the periods 2005-2006 and 2012-2013. We analyzed and quantified stomach contents in terms of abundance (%N, weight (%M, frequency of occurrence (% FO, and index of relative importance (IRI. The results showed differences in the food rates between the periods. However, the groups of food items were the same: Teleostei fish, decapods, and mollusks. In 2005-2006, the diet consisted mainly of shrimp, however, in 2012-2013 it consisted of fish, followed by decapods, especially shrimps. The differences in diets may be attributed to shrimp abundance, which do not characterize a change in the eating habits in 2012-2013, because, in addition to fish, shrimps were also important food sources. The presence of a certain prey is more related to its availability rather than the feeding preference of skate. The amount of ingested items is associated to biological and environmental factors, so that further studies relating diet with capture area, seasonality, depth, and other factors should be conducted.

  1. Are Food Deserts Also Play Deserts?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cohen, Deborah A; Hunter, Gerald; Williamson, Stephanie; Dubowitz, Tamara

    2016-04-01

    Although food deserts are areas that lack easy access to food outlets and considered a barrier to a healthy diet and a healthy weight among residents, food deserts typically comprise older urban areas which may have many parks and street configurations that could facilitate more physical activity. However, other conditions may limit the use of available facilities in these areas. This paper assesses the use of parks in two Pittsburgh food desert neighborhoods by using systematic observation. We found that while the local parks were accessible, they were largely underutilized. We surveyed local residents and found that only a minority considered the parks unsafe for use during the day, but a substantial proportion suffered from health limitations that interfered with physical activity. Residents also felt that parks lacked programming and other amenities that could potentially draw more park users. Parks programming and equipment in food desert areas should be addressed to account for local preferences and adjusted to meet the needs and limitations of local residents, especially seniors.

  2. Lut Desert, Iran

    Science.gov (United States)

    1981-01-01

    Iran is a large country with several desert regions. In the Dasht-E-Lut (Lut Desert) (30.5N, 58.5E) an area known as Namak-Zar, about 100 miles east of the city of Kerman, is at the center of this photograph. Some of the world's most prominent Yardangs (very long, parallel ridges and depressions) have been wind eroded in these desert dry lake bed sediments. At the left of the photo is a large field of sand dunes at right angles to the wind.

  3. Desert Pavement Studies

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Haff, Peter

    2003-01-01

    Combining plan view information from aerial photography showing details of stream channels on desert pavement surfaces with process-based erosion models, a high-resolution, synthetic topography DEM...

  4. Contributions of Private Landowners to the Conservation of the Gopher Tortoise ( Gopherus polyphemus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Underwood, Vicki J.; Ober, Holly K.; Miller, Deborah L.; Munn, Ian A.

    2012-04-01

    Private landowners play a pivotal role in determining whether or not rare species persist in regions where privately owned land is extensive. The range of the gopher tortoise ( Gopherus polyphemus) is confined to the Southeastern U.S., a region predominantly under private ownership, and thus the status of this species is largely dependent upon land management decisions made by private landowners. We sent an anonymous mail survey to 2,584 individuals to examine factors affecting gopher tortoise occurrence on private lands in Mississippi (adjusted response rate of 23%). Few respondents (19%) reported currently having tortoises on their property, although many had them in the past (30%). Tortoises were persisting primarily on larger properties with longleaf pine that were not managed chiefly for timber production. In general, respondents were largely unaware of habitat requirements of tortoises or effects of various land management practices on them, and few reported using management techniques that benefit tortoises, such as prescribed burning. Most respondents (57%) knew of wildlife incentive programs, but were hesitant to enroll because they did not want to commit to managing their property in a particular manner (34%). We suggest actions that could improve the likelihood of tortoise persistence in this region, as well as changes that could be made to incentive programs to increase landowner participation. These suggestions should be relevant to the conservation of other rare species on private lands in other regions.

  5. Intestinal parasites of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) from eight populations in Georgia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGuire, Jessica L; Miller, Elizabeth A; Norton, Terry M; Raphael, Bonnie L; Spratt, Jeffrey S; Yabsley, Michael J

    2013-12-01

    The gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), one of five tortoise species endemic in the USA, was recently classified as a candidate for federal listing as a threatened species. Fecal samples collected from 117 tortoises from eight sites in Georgia were examined for endoparasites using a combination of sedimentation and flotation. Samples from an island population were examined for parasitic oocysts and ova only by flotation, protozoan cysts by trichrome-stained direct smear, and Cryptosporidium by direct immunofluorescence assay and ProSpecT rapid assay. A total of 99 tortoises (85, range 0-100%) was infected with pinworms (Alaeuris spp.), 47 (40, 0-86%) with cestodes (Oochorstica sp.), 34 (41, 0-74%) with Chapiniella spp., 2 (3, 0-33%) with Eimeria paynei, and a single tortoise each with a capillarid and ascarid (1%). On the island, Entamoeba was detected in one tortoise (2%) while Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in eight (17%). In conclusion, at least eight species of parasites were detected including Cryptosporidium, a possible pathogen of tortoises. Interestingly, we detected spatial variation in the distribution of several parasites among populations suggesting additional work should be conducted across a gradient of tortoise densities, land use, and habitat characteristics.

  6. Management and research of desert tortoises for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Cox, M.K.; Doerr, T.B.; Green, R.A.; Mueller, J.M.; O'Farrell, T.P.; Rakestraw, D.L.

    1991-01-01

    A program has been developed for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) to manage and study the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi), a threatened species that occurs at low densities at Yucca Mountain. The goals of this program are to better understand the biology and status of the desert tortoise population at Yucca Mountain, assess impacts on tortoises of site characterization (SC) activities, and minimize those impacts. The first steps we took to develop this program were to compile the available information on the biology of tortoises at Yucca Mountain, ascertain what information was lacking, and identify the potential impacts on tortoises of SC. We then developed a technical design that can be used to identify and mitigate direct and cumulative impacts and provide information on tortoise biology. Interrelated studies were developed to achieve these objectives. The primary sampling unit for the impact monitoring studies is radiomarked tortoises. Three populations of tortoises will be sampled: Individuals isolated from disturbances (control), individuals near major SC activities (direct effects treatment and worst-case cumulative effects treatment), and individuals from throughout Yucca Mountain (cumulative effects treatment). Impacts will be studied by measuring and comparing survival, reproduction, movements, habitat use, health, and diet of these tortoises. A habitat quality model also will be developed and the efficacy of mitigation techniques, such as relocating tortoises, will be evaluated

  7. Management and research of desert tortoises for the Yucca Mountain Project

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Cox, M.K.; Doerr, T.B.; Green, R.A.; Mueller, J.M.; O'Farrell, T.P.; Rakestraw, D.L.

    1991-01-01

    A program has been developed for the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) to manage and study the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi), a threatened species that occurs at low densities at Yucca Mountain. The goals of this program are to better understand the biology and status of the desert tortoise population at Yucca Mountain, assess impacts on tortoises of site characterization (SC) activities, and minimize those impacts. The first steps we took to develop this program were to compile the available information on tortoise biology at Yucca Mountain, ascertain what information was lacking, and identify the potential impacts on tortoises of SC. We then developed a technical design for identifying and mitigating direct and cumulative impacts and providing information on tortoise biology. Interrelated studies were developed to achieve these objectives. The primary sampling unit for the impact monitoring studies is radiomarked tortoises. Three populations of tortoises will be sampled: individuals isolated from disturbances (control), individuals near major SC activities (direct effects treatment and worst-case cumulative effects treatment), and individuals from throughout Yucca Mountain (cumulative effects treatment). Impacts will be studied by measuring and comparing survival, reproduction, movements, habitat use, health, and diet of these tortoises. A habitat quality model also will be developed and the efficacy of mitigation techniques, such as relocating tortoises, will be evaluated. 29 refs

  8. Remote Sensing Field Guide - Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    1991-09-01

    kankar, kunkur, silcrete, gres polymorphe, porcellanite, sarsen, puddingstone, meulieres. SUMMARY ShEET - DESER ’ DURICRUSTS SPECIAL AND MINOR FEATURES...especially in Tunisia, Algeria, and in the coastal Namib Desert (Africa); in the Rajasthan Desert of west India; in various Middle Eastern deserts...Iran, and in crystalline rocks (granites and metamorphic rocks) in the southern coast- al Namib Desert of southwest Africa. All of these occurrences

  9. Surveys for desert tortoise on the proposed site of a high-level nuclear waste repository at the Nevada Test Site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Collins, E.; Sauls, M.L.; O'Farrell, T.P.

    1983-01-01

    The National Waste Terminal Storage Program is a national search for suitable sites to isolate commercial spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste. The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigation (NNWSI) managed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Nevada Operations Office, was initiated to study the suitability of a portion of Yucca Mountain on the DOE's Nevada Test Site (NTS) as a location for such a repository. EG and G was contracted to provide information concerning the ecosystems encountered on the site. A comprehensive literature survey was conducted to evaluate the status and completeness of the existing biological information for the previously undisturbed area. Site specific studies were begun in 1981 when preliminary field surveys confirmed the presence of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizi) within the project area FY82 studies were designed to determine the overall distribution and abundance of the tortoise within the area likely to be impacted by NNWSI activities. The Yucca Mountain area of the Nevada Test Site is situated close to the northern range limit of the desert tortoise. Prior to the 1982 surveys, the desert tortoise was reported from only nine locations on NTS. A known population had been under study in Rock Valley about 25 miles southeast of the project area. However, the distribution and population densities of tortoise in the southwest portion of NTS were virtually unknown. Results of our surveys indicate that desert tortoise can be expected, albeit in small numbers, in a wide range of Mojavean and Transitional habitats

  10. Neutral Genetic Processes Influence MHC Evolution in Threatened Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elbers, Jean P; Clostio, Rachel W; Taylor, Sabrina S

    2017-07-01

    Levels of adaptive genetic variation influence how species deal with environmental and ecological change, but these levels are frequently inferred using neutral genetic markers. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes play a key role in the adaptive branch of the immune system and have been used extensively to estimate levels of adaptive genetic variation. Parts of the peptide binding region, sites where MHC molecules directly interact with pathogen and self-proteins, were sequenced from a MHC class I (95/441 tortoises) and class II (245/441 tortoises) gene in threatened and nonthreatened populations of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus), and adaptive genetic variation at MHC genes was compared to neutral genetic variation derived from 10 microsatellite loci (441 tortoises). Genetic diversity at the MHC class II locus and microsatellites was greater in populations in the nonthreatened portion of the gopher tortoise's range (MHC class II difference in mean A = 8.11, AR = 0.79, HO = 0.51, and HE = 0.16; microsatellite difference in mean A = 1.05 and AR = 0.47). Only MHC class II sequences showed evidence of positive selection (dN/dS > 1, Z = 1.81, P = 0.04). Historical gene flow as estimated with Migrate-N was greater than recent migration estimated with BayesAss, suggesting that populations were better connected in the past when habitat was less fragmented. MHC genetic differentiation was correlated with microsatellite differentiation (Mantel r = 0.431, P = 0.001) suggesting neutral genetic processes are influencing MHC evolution, and advantageous MHC alleles could be lost due to genetic drift. © The American Genetic Association 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. Jeeps Penetrating a Hostile Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bailey, Herb

    2009-01-01

    Several jeeps are poised at base camp on the edge of a desert aiming to escort one of them as far as possible into the desert, while the others return to camp. They all have full tanks of gas and share their fuel to maximize penetration. In a friendly desert it is best to leave caches of fuel along the way to help returning jeeps. We solve the…

  12. Food Deserts and Childhood Obesity

    OpenAIRE

    Pedro A. Alviola; Rodolfo M. Nayga; Michael Thomsen

    2013-01-01

    We utilize a panel data set from 2007 to 2009 on the state of Arkansas to identify and determine the effect of food deserts on school district obesity rates. We define food deserts as low-income areas with limited food access. Using both classical panel data models and spatial error models, we find no statistically significant relationship between school district obesity rates and the existence of food deserts in Arkansas. This finding is consistent across different model specifications, in s...

  13. Nevada Test Site tortoise population monitoring study. Final report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mueller, J.M.; Zander, K.K.

    1994-12-01

    A Tortoise Population Monitoring Study was initiated to determine and monitor the density of desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) on the Nevada Test Site. Quadrat sampling was conducted following methodology described in the Draft Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan (FWS, 1993). So few tortoises were found that densities could not be calculated. Based on estimates of capture probabilities and densities from other studies, it was determined that 1-km{sup 2} (0.4 mi{sup 2}) plots did not contain enough tortoises for estimating densities with the Recovery Plan methods. It was recommended that additional surveys on the Nevada Test Site using those methods not be conducted. Any future efforts to monitor desert tortoise densities should start by identifying other possible methods, determining their relative power to detect changes, and estimating their cost.

  14. Physiological adaptation in desert birds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Williams, JB; Tieleman, BI; Williams, Joseph B.

    We call into question the idea that birds have not evolved unique physiological adaptations to desert environments. The rate at which desert larks metabolize energy is lower than in mesic species within the same family, and this lower rate of living translates into a lower overall energy requirement

  15. Root communication among desert shrubs.

    OpenAIRE

    Mahall, B E; Callaway, R M

    1991-01-01

    Descriptive and experimental studies of desert shrub distributions have revealed important questions about the mechanisms by which plants interact. For example, do roots interact by mechanisms other than simple competition for limiting resources? We investigated this question using the desert shrubs Ambrosia dumosa and Larrea tridentata grown in chambers that allowed observation of roots during intraplant and intra- and interspecific interplant encounters. Two types of root "communication" we...

  16. Genetic assessments and parentage analysis of captive Bolson tortoises (Gopherus flavomarginatus inform their "rewilding" in New Mexico.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Taylor Edwards

    Full Text Available The Bolson tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus is the first species of extirpated megafauna to be repatriated into the United States. In September 2006, 30 individuals were translocated from Arizona to New Mexico with the long-term objective of restoring wild populations via captive propagation. We evaluated mtDNA sequences and allelic diversity among 11 microsatellite loci from the captive population and archived samples collected from wild individuals in Durango, Mexico (n = 28. Both populations exhibited very low genetic diversity and the captive population captured roughly 97.5% of the total wild diversity, making it a promising founder population. Genetic screening of other captive animals (n = 26 potentially suitable for reintroduction uncovered multiple hybrid G. flavomarginatus×G. polyphemus, which were ineligible for repatriation; only three of these individuals were verified as purebred G. flavomarginatus. We used these genetic data to inform mate pairing, reduce the potential for inbreeding and to monitor the maintenance of genetic diversity in the captive population. After six years of successful propagation, we analyzed the parentage of 241 hatchlings to assess the maintenance of genetic diversity. Not all adults contributed equally to successive generations. Most yearly cohorts of hatchlings failed to capture the diversity of the parental population. However, overlapping generations of tortoises helped to alleviate genetic loss because the entire six-year cohort of hatchlings contained the allelic diversity of the parental population. Polyandry and sperm storage occurred in the captives and future management strategies must consider such events.

  17. A comparison of artificial incubation and natural incubation hatching success of gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) eggs in southern Mississippi

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noel, Krista M.; Qualls, Carl P.; Ennen, Joshua R.

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies have found that Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus, populations in southern Mississippi exhibit low recruitment, due in part to very low hatching success of their eggs. We sought to determine if the cause(s) of this low hatching success was related to egg quality (intrinsic factors), unsuitability of the nest environment (extrinsic factors), or a combination of the two. In 2003, hatching success was monitored simultaneously for eggs from the same clutches that were incubated in the laboratory and left to incubate in nests. A subset of randomly chosen eggs from each clutch was incubated in the laboratory under physical conditions that were known to be conducive to successful hatching to estimate the proportion of eggs that were capable of hatching in a controlled setting. Hatching success in the laboratory was compared with that of eggs incubated in natural nests to estimate the proportion of eggs that failed to hatch presumably from extrinsic factors. Laboratory hatching success was 58.8%, suggesting that roughly 40% of the eggs were intrinsically incapable of hatching even when incubated under controlled conditions. Hatching success in natural nests, 16.7%, was significantly lower than hatching success in the laboratory, suggesting that approximately 42.1% of eggs were capable of hatching but failed to hatch due to some extrinsic aspect(s) of the nest environment. Thus, the low hatching success of Gopher Tortoise eggs in southern Mississippi appears to be attributable to a combination of intrinsic (egg quality) and extrinsic (nest environment) factors.

  18. Multinational tagging efforts illustrate regional scale of distribution and threats for east pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Catherine E Hart

    Full Text Available To further describe movement patterns and distribution of East Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii and to determine threat levels for this species within the Eastern Pacific. In order to do this we combined published data from existing flipper tagging and early satellite tracking studies with data from an additional 12 satellite tracked green turtles (1996-2006. Three of these were tracked from their foraging grounds in the Gulf of California along the east coast of the Baja California peninsula to their breeding grounds in Michoacán (1337-2928 km. In addition, three post-nesting females were satellite tracked from Colola beach, Michoacán to their foraging grounds in southern Mexico and Central America (941.3-3020 km. A further six turtles were tracked in the Gulf of California within their foraging grounds giving insights into the scale of ranging behaviour. Turtles undertaking long-distance migrations showed a tendency to follow the coastline. Turtles tracked within foraging grounds showed that foraging individuals typically ranged up to 691.6 km (maximum from release site location. Additionally, we carried out threat analysis (using the cumulative global human impact in the Eastern Pacific clustering pre-existing satellite tracking studies from Galapagos, Costa Rica, and data obtained from this study; this indicated that turtles foraging and nesting in Central American waters are subject to the highest anthropogenic impact. Considering that turtles from all three rookeries were found to migrate towards Central America, it is highly important to implement conservation plans in Central American coastal areas to ensure the survival of the remaining green turtles in the Eastern Pacific. Finally, by combining satellite tracking data from this and previous studies, and data of tag returns we created the best available distributional patterns for this particular sea turtle species, which emphasized that conservation measures in key

  19. Multinational Tagging Efforts Illustrate Regional Scale of Distribution and Threats for East Pacific Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hart, Catherine E.; Blanco, Gabriela S.; Coyne, Michael S.; Delgado-Trejo, Carlos; Godley, Brendan J.; Jones, T. Todd; Resendiz, Antonio; Seminoff, Jeffrey A.; Witt, Matthew J.; Nichols, Wallace J.

    2015-01-01

    To further describe movement patterns and distribution of East Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii) and to determine threat levels for this species within the Eastern Pacific. In order to do this we combined published data from existing flipper tagging and early satellite tracking studies with data from an additional 12 satellite tracked green turtles (1996-2006). Three of these were tracked from their foraging grounds in the Gulf of California along the east coast of the Baja California peninsula to their breeding grounds in Michoacán (1337-2928 km). In addition, three post-nesting females were satellite tracked from Colola beach, Michoacán to their foraging grounds in southern Mexico and Central America (941.3-3020 km). A further six turtles were tracked in the Gulf of California within their foraging grounds giving insights into the scale of ranging behaviour. Turtles undertaking long-distance migrations showed a tendency to follow the coastline. Turtles tracked within foraging grounds showed that foraging individuals typically ranged up to 691.6 km (maximum) from release site location. Additionally, we carried out threat analysis (using the cumulative global human impact in the Eastern Pacific) clustering pre-existing satellite tracking studies from Galapagos, Costa Rica, and data obtained from this study; this indicated that turtles foraging and nesting in Central American waters are subject to the highest anthropogenic impact. Considering that turtles from all three rookeries were found to migrate towards Central America, it is highly important to implement conservation plans in Central American coastal areas to ensure the survival of the remaining green turtles in the Eastern Pacific. Finally, by combining satellite tracking data from this and previous studies, and data of tag returns we created the best available distributional patterns for this particular sea turtle species, which emphasized that conservation measures in key areas may have

  20. Multinational tagging efforts illustrate regional scale of distribution and threats for east pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hart, Catherine E; Blanco, Gabriela S; Coyne, Michael S; Delgado-Trejo, Carlos; Godley, Brendan J; Jones, T Todd; Resendiz, Antonio; Seminoff, Jeffrey A; Witt, Matthew J; Nichols, Wallace J

    2015-01-01

    To further describe movement patterns and distribution of East Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii) and to determine threat levels for this species within the Eastern Pacific. In order to do this we combined published data from existing flipper tagging and early satellite tracking studies with data from an additional 12 satellite tracked green turtles (1996-2006). Three of these were tracked from their foraging grounds in the Gulf of California along the east coast of the Baja California peninsula to their breeding grounds in Michoacán (1337-2928 km). In addition, three post-nesting females were satellite tracked from Colola beach, Michoacán to their foraging grounds in southern Mexico and Central America (941.3-3020 km). A further six turtles were tracked in the Gulf of California within their foraging grounds giving insights into the scale of ranging behaviour. Turtles undertaking long-distance migrations showed a tendency to follow the coastline. Turtles tracked within foraging grounds showed that foraging individuals typically ranged up to 691.6 km (maximum) from release site location. Additionally, we carried out threat analysis (using the cumulative global human impact in the Eastern Pacific) clustering pre-existing satellite tracking studies from Galapagos, Costa Rica, and data obtained from this study; this indicated that turtles foraging and nesting in Central American waters are subject to the highest anthropogenic impact. Considering that turtles from all three rookeries were found to migrate towards Central America, it is highly important to implement conservation plans in Central American coastal areas to ensure the survival of the remaining green turtles in the Eastern Pacific. Finally, by combining satellite tracking data from this and previous studies, and data of tag returns we created the best available distributional patterns for this particular sea turtle species, which emphasized that conservation measures in key areas may have

  1. New evidence of brooding in the deep-sea brittle star Astrotoma agassizii Lyman, 1876 from a South Western Atlantic Canyon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berecoechea, Juan José; Brogger, Martín I.; Penchaszadeh, Pablo E.

    2017-09-01

    The reproduction of the brittle star Astrotoma agassizii was studied from deep waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, based on samples collected in August 2012, and May and September 2013. Ten samples from 800 to 1400 m depths off Mar del Plata Canyon were studied. The species was found to be a brooding simultaneous hermaphrodite. Hermaphroditic gonads contained testis and ovaries inside the same sacs. Both, ovary and testis contained different stages of gametogenesis development simultaneously. Gonads contained several stages of oocytes in different stages of gametogenesis. The largest oocyte recorded was 800 μm diameter. Free spermatozoa were observed in the lumen of the testis, together with spermatogenic columns. Five individuals, from a total of 30 examined, resulted brooding, and most contained mature ovotestis at the same time. Incubation occurs in five of the ten bursal sacs, containing 15-20 young juveniles each. Maximum disc diameter recorded for a brood was 1100 μm. Herein we hypothesize that Astrotoma agassizii could be continuous breeder species in the deep-sea.

  2. Moving the Force: Desert Storm and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    1994-12-01

    Desert Shield~ Desert Storm, we could have met our airlift deployment requirements 20 to 35 percent faster. ~° Similar analyses of the Somalian Restore...DATE DEC 1994 2. REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED - 4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE Moving The Force: Desert Storm and Beyond 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b...MOVING THE FORCE: Desert Storm and Beyond SCOTT W. CONRAD McNair Paper 32 December 1994 INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES NATIONAL DEFENSE

  3. Integrated Desert Terrain Forecasting for Military Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-02-15

    McDonald, Todd Caldwell. Root patterns for Larrea tridentata in relation to soil morphology in Mojave desert soils of different ages, The Mojave Desert...McDonald, E.V., and Caldwell, T.G., 2009, Root patterns for Larrea tridentata in relation to soil morphology in Mojave desert soils of different ages, in

  4. On a Crowded Desert Island.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rothstein, Samuel

    1989-01-01

    Suggests reference sources most appropriate for a desert island. In addition to "Robinson Crusoe" (Daniel Defoe) and a reference guide to the literature of travel, the list includes basic books on reference work, guides to reference sources, journals, an almanac, encyclopedias, a guide to English usage, and a book of quotations. (14 references)…

  5. Food insecurity and food deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camp, Nadine L

    2015-08-15

    Food insecurity has been steadily increasing in the United States with prevalence at nearly 15% of all households. Nurse practitioners can assess for food insecurity and provide local resources for families living in neighborhoods without easy access to healthy foods, otherwise known as food deserts.

  6. Desert Pathfinder at Work

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-09-01

    The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) project celebrates the inauguration of its outstanding 12-m telescope, located on the 5100m high Chajnantor plateau in the Atacama Desert (Chile). The APEX telescope, designed to work at sub-millimetre wavelengths, in the 0.2 to 1.5 mm range, passed successfully its Science Verification phase in July, and since then is performing regular science observations. This new front-line facility provides access to the "Cold Universe" with unprecedented sensitivity and image quality. After months of careful efforts to set up the telescope to work at the best possible technical level, those involved in the project are looking with satisfaction at the fruit of their labour: APEX is not only fully operational, it has already provided important scientific results. "The superb sensitivity of our detectors together with the excellence of the site allow fantastic observations that would not be possible with any other telescope in the world," said Karl Menten, Director of the group for Millimeter and Sub-Millimeter Astronomy at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and Principal Investigator of the APEX project. ESO PR Photo 30/05 ESO PR Photo 30/05 Sub-Millimetre Image of a Stellar Cradle [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 627 pix - 200k] [Normal - JPEG: 800 x 1254 pix - 503k] [Full Res - JPEG: 1539 x 2413 pix - 1.3M] Caption: ESO PR Photo 30/05 is an image of the giant molecular cloud G327 taken with APEX. More than 5000 spectra were taken in the J=3-2 line of the carbon monoxide molecule (CO), one of the best tracers of molecular clouds, in which star formation takes place. The bright peak in the north of the cloud is an evolved star forming region, where the gas is heated by a cluster of new stars. The most interesting region in the image is totally inconspicuous in CO: the G327 hot core, as seen in methanol contours. It is a truly exceptional source, and is one of the richest sources of emission from complex organic molecules in the

  7. Diel feeding chronology of the skate raja Agassizii (Müller & Henle (Pisces, Elasmobranchii on the continental shelf off Ubatuba, Southeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucy Satiko Hashimoto Soares

    1999-03-01

    Full Text Available The diet and diel feeding pattern of the skate Raja agassizii were investigated through analysis of stomach contents. A total of 280 stomachs were collected by a series of hauls during a daily cycle in three periods, 8-10 January 1987, 22-24 July and 2-4 December 1988, from the inner continental shelf of the coastal ecosystem of Ubatuba, São Paulo State, Brazil (25º35'S; 45º00'W. According to the results of the stomach fullness and of the number of fresh prey, it is suggested that this species presents continuity in the feeding activity during a day. The stomach contents were mainly composed of crustaceans. Nematodes, polychaetes and fishes also occurred. No changes were observed in dietary composition between day and night.

  8. Dust Availability in Desert Terrains

    Science.gov (United States)

    1985-01-01

    RAVIKOVIrCIl, 1953: KAPLAN , 19119. Si ATKINE. 1960). From Yaalon & Ginzhourg (1988). B.8 AMOUNTS AND CONCENTRATIONS OFl DUST IN THE ATMOSPHERE (see also...deposits of comparable origin and age further north along the Dead Sea Rift. Another exampie is the lava flows of latest Pleisto- cene age in the Cima ...the Cima Volcanic Field in the southern Mojave Desert, located downwind of extensive dust-producing playa surfaces. More than 1 m of a gravel-free B

  9. Influence of surface roughness of a desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sud, Y. C.; Smith, W. E.

    1984-01-01

    A numerical simulation study, using the current GLAS climate GCM, was carried out to examine the influence of low bulk aerodynamic drag parameter in the deserts. The results illustrate the importance of yet another feedback effect of a desert on itself, that is produced by the reduction in surface roughness height of land once the vegetation dies and desert forms. Apart from affecting the moisture convergence, low bulk transport coefficients of a desert lead to enhanced longwave cooling and sinking which together reduce precipitation by Charney's (1975) mechanism. Thus, this effect, together with albedo and soil moisture influence, perpetuate a desert condition through its geophysical feedback effect. The study further suggests that man made deserts is a viable hypothesis.

  10. Global Diversity of Desert Hypolithic Cyanobacteria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Donnabella C. Lacap-Bugler

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Global patterns in diversity were estimated for cyanobacteria-dominated hypolithic communities that colonize ventral surfaces of quartz stones and are common in desert environments. A total of 64 hypolithic communities were recovered from deserts on every continent plus a tropical moisture sufficient location. Community diversity was estimated using a combined t-RFLP fingerprinting and high throughput sequencing approach. The t-RFLP analysis revealed desert communities were different from the single non-desert location. A striking pattern also emerged where Antarctic desert communities were clearly distinct from all other deserts. Some overlap in community similarity occurred for hot, cold and tundra deserts. A further observation was that the producer-consumer ratio displayed a significant negative correlation with growing season, such that shorter growing seasons supported communities with greater abundance of producers, and this pattern was independent of macroclimate. High-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA and nifH genes from four representative samples validated the t-RFLP study and revealed patterns of taxonomic and putative diazotrophic diversity for desert communities from the Taklimakan Desert, Tibetan Plateau, Canadian Arctic and Antarctic. All communities were dominated by cyanobacteria and among these 21 taxa were potentially endemic to any given desert location. Some others occurred in all but the most extreme hot and polar deserts suggesting they were relatively less well adapted to environmental stress. The t-RFLP and sequencing data revealed the two most abundant cyanobacterial taxa were Phormidium in Antarctic and Tibetan deserts and Chroococcidiopsis in hot and cold deserts. The Arctic tundra displayed a more heterogenous cyanobacterial assemblage and this was attributed to the maritime-influenced sampling location. The most abundant heterotrophic taxa were ubiquitous among samples and belonged to the Acidobacteria

  11. A trade-off between natural and acquired antibody production in a reptile: implications for long-term resistance to disease

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Franziska C. Sandmeier

    2012-08-01

    Vertebrate immune systems are understood to be complex and dynamic, with trade-offs among different physiological components (e.g., innate and adaptive immunity within individuals and among taxonomic lineages. Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii immunised with ovalbumin (OVA showed a clear trade-off between levels of natural antibodies (NAbs; innate immune function and the production of acquired antibodies (adaptive immune function. Once initiated, acquired antibody responses included a long-term elevation in antibodies persisting for more than one year. The occurrence of either (a high levels of NAbs or (b long-term elevations of acquired antibodies in individual tortoises suggests that long-term humoral resistance to pathogens may be especially important in this species, as well as in other vertebrates with slow metabolic rates, concomitantly slow primary adaptive immune responses, and long life-spans.

  12. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program. Progress report, October 1992--December 1993

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1994-05-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, a program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG ampersand G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG ampersand G/EM) from October 1992 through December 1993 for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the environmental program for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP): Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  13. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program; Progress report, October 1992--December 1993

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1994-05-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential geologic repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, a program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG&G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG&G/EM) from October 1992 through December 1993 for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the environmental program for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP): Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support.

  14. Rural childhoods in Egypt's desert lands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Adriansen, Hanne Kirstine

    . Many settlers move to the Mubarak villages in order to give their children a good start in life. The desert villages are associated with a type of ‘rural idyll’. The process of settling in the desert impacts upon the children’s possible pathways to adulthood and their identities and social...

  15. Divining Jordan's desert waters | IDRC - International Development ...

    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Digital Library (Canada)

    To most people, a desert — by definition — is a place where water is practically nonexistent. But a team of researchers studying Jordan's badia — a large desert in the country's northwest corner — has uncovered a secret moving slowly beneath the area's vast arid expanses. Using satellite photos, knowledge of the local ...

  16. Russian deserters of World War I

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Os'kin Maksim

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Desertion is one of the most active forms of ordinary resistance of the people to the state pressure during the low-popular war which is conducting for the purposes unclear for the people. At the same time, mass desertion is a manifestation of «total» war in the world conflicts of the XX century. During World War I in all armies of the world there was the desertion often accepting mass character. In the Russian army, as well as in other, deserters appeared from the war beginning. Desertion scales in the Russian army explained as objective factors - diffi cult fights, shortage of supply, defeat at the front, and subjective - unwillingness to participate in war, melancholy for the house, desire to help a family the work. Desertion in different years of war had various forms. If at the beginning of war there were mainly «self-arrows», in 1915, during defeats at the front - evasion from entrenchments. By the end of 1916, because of the general fatigue from war, desertion takes the real form - flight from the front to the back. After February revolution desertion becomes mass in which hundreds thousands military personnel take part already. Disorder of army and development of revolutionary process extremely strengthen desertion scales that is explained by the actual lack of punishment for this crime. Destruction of the Russian state during revolution became the main reason of coming to power of Bolsheviks, an exit of Russia from war and the army demobilization which essential part in 1917 already deserted from the front.

  17. Desert(ed geographies: cartographies of nuclear testing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joe Lockard

    2000-03-01

    Full Text Available The paper analyses cartographies of nuclearism and colonial-native relations in terms of the exclusions in nuclear testing maps. It considers maps from French and British nuclear tests at Mururoa in the South Pacific and Maralinga in Australia. The paper argues that these maps rely on older Euro-American cartographic and narrative traditions of imagining empty and deserted territories in order to advance political arguments for the displacement and deterritorialisation of native peoples who occupy nuclear testing areas. Such official government nuclear cartography reproduces a colonial narrative of native abandonment. The explicit spatial expansionism of nuclear testing maps emphasises that control of place is the crux of the struggle for an anti-nuclear narrative strategy.

  18. Deserts

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Graulund, Rune

    2016-01-01

    geographies, and the relationship between travel writing and the social, ideological and occasionally fictional constructs through which we view the different regions of the world. Covering all of the major topics and debates, this is an essential overview of the field, which will also encourage new...... and exciting directions for study. Contributors: Simon Bainbridge, Anthony Bale, Shobhana Bhattacharji, Dúnlaith Bird, Elizabeth A. Bohls, Wendy Bracewell, Kylie Cardell, Daniel Carey, Janice Cavell, Simon Cooke, Matthew Day, Kate Douglas, Justin D. Edwards, David Farley, Charles Forsdick, Corinne Fowler...

  19. Simulated climate effects of desert irrigation geoengineering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheng, Wei; Moore, John C.; Cao, Long; Ji, Duoying; Zhao, Liyun

    2017-04-01

    Geoengineering, the deliberate large-scale manipulation of earth’s energy balance to counteract global warming, is an attractive proposition for sparsely populated deserts. We use the BNU and UVic Earth system models to simulate the effects of irrigating deserts under the RCP8.5 scenario. Previous studies focused on increasing desert albedo to reduce global warming; in contrast we examine how extending afforestation and ecological projects, that successfully improve regional environments, fair for geoengineering purposes. As expected desert irrigation allows vegetation to grow, with bare soil or grass gradually becoming shrub or tree covered, with increases in terrestrial carbon storage of 90.3 Pg C (UVic-ESCM) - 143.9 Pg C (BNU-ESM). Irrigating global deserts makes the land surface temperature decrease by 0.48 °C and land precipitation increase by 100 mm yr-1. In the irrigated areas, BNU-ESM simulates significant cooling of up to 4.2 °C owing to the increases in low cloud and latent heat which counteract the warming effect due to decreased surface albedo. Large volumes of water would be required to maintain global desert irrigation, equivalent 10 mm/year of global sea level (BNU-ESM) compensate for evapotranspiration losses. Differences in climate responses between the deserts prompt research into tailored albedo-irrigation schemes.

  20. Microphytic crusts: 'topsoil' of the desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne

    1990-01-01

    Deserts throughout the world are the home of microphytic, or cryptogamic, crusts. These crusts are dominated by cyanobacteria, previously called blue-green algae, and also include lichens, mosses, green algae, microfungi and bacteria. They are critical components of desert ecosystems, significantly modifying the surfaces on which they occur. In the cold deserts of the Colorado Plateau (including parts of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico), these crusts are extraordinarily well-developed, and may represent 70-80% of the living ground cover.

  1. Does a Nutritious Diet Cost More in Food Deserts?

    OpenAIRE

    Fan, Linlin; Baylis, Kathy; Gundersen, Craig; Ver Ploeg, Michele

    2015-01-01

    Food deserts and their potential effects on diet and nutrition have received much attention from policymakers. While some research has found correlations between food deserts and consumer outcomes, it is unclear whether food deserts truly affect consumption behavior. In this paper, we compare food prices in food deserts and non-food deserts to check whether lack of access is associated with higher food prices of a complete diet, which could constrain the consumption of healthy foods in food d...

  2. Desert Dust and Monsoon Rain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lau, William K. M.; Kim, Kyu-Myong

    2014-01-01

    For centuries, inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent have know that heavy dust events brought on by strong winds occur frequently in the pre-monsoon season, before the onset of heavy rain. Yet scientists have never seriously considered the possibility that natural dust can affect monsoon rainfall. Up to now, most studies of the impacts of aerosols on Indian monsoon rainfall have focused on anthropogenic aerosols in the context of climate change. However, a few recent studies have show that aerosols from antropogenic and natural sources over the Indian subcontinent may affect the transition from break to active monsoon phases on short timescales of days to weeks. Writing in Nature Geoscience, Vinoj and colleagues describe how they have shown that desert dust aerosols over the Arabian Sea and West Asia can strenghten the summer monsoon over the Indial subcontinent in a matter of days.

  3. Microbial ecology of hot desert edaphic systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makhalanyane, Thulani P; Valverde, Angel; Gunnigle, Eoin; Frossard, Aline; Ramond, Jean-Baptiste; Cowan, Don A

    2015-03-01

    A significant proportion of the Earth's surface is desert or in the process of desertification. The extreme environmental conditions that characterize these areas result in a surface that is essentially barren, with a limited range of higher plants and animals. Microbial communities are probably the dominant drivers of these systems, mediating key ecosystem processes. In this review, we examine the microbial communities of hot desert terrestrial biotopes (including soils, cryptic and refuge niches and plant-root-associated microbes) and the processes that govern their assembly. We also assess the possible effects of global climate change on hot desert microbial communities and the resulting feedback mechanisms. We conclude by discussing current gaps in our understanding of the microbiology of hot deserts and suggest fruitful avenues for future research. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  4. Vegetation - Central Mojave Desert [ds166

    Data.gov (United States)

    California Natural Resource Agency — The Department of Defense and the other desert managers are developing and organizing scientific information needed to better manage the natural resources of the...

  5. Vegetation - Central Mojave Desert [ds166

    Data.gov (United States)

    California Department of Resources — The Department of Defense and the other desert managers are developing and organizing scientific information needed to better manage the natural resources of the...

  6. Productivity and Energy Management in Desert Urban

    OpenAIRE

    Masoud Nasri; Rahele Hekmatpanah

    2010-01-01

    Growing world population has fundamental impacts and often catastrophic on natural habitat. The immethodical consumption of energy, destruction of the forests and extinction of plant and animal species are the consequence of this experience. Urban sustainability and sustainable urban development, that is so spoken these days, should be considered as a strategy, goal and policy, beyond just considering environmental issues and protection. The desert-s climate has made a bu...

  7. Desert Shield Leader’s Safety Guide

    Science.gov (United States)

    1990-12-01

    lasers. • Caution personnel to fire lasers only at designated targets and to never fire at specular surfaces such as glass , mirrors, and windows ... windstorms ) Q Large fluctuations in day/night temperatures (up to 70°F.) • Sandy deserts Q Poor wheeled vehicle off-road mobility/stability...34 desert during the day. • Monitor shadows cast by near objects such as landing gear or skid shadows during hover. • Keep windscreen and door windows

  8. More than Fever: Thermoregulatory Responses to Immunological Stimulation and Consequences of Thermoregulatory Strategy on Innate Immunity in Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goessling, Jeffrey M; Guyer, Craig; Mendonça, Mary T

    Organisms possess a range of thermoregulatory strategies that may vary in response to sickness, thereby driving important life-history consequences. Because the immune system is vital to maintaining organism function, understanding the suite of immune responses to infection indicates basic costs and benefits of physiological strategies. Here, we assessed consequences of thermoregulation and seasonality on immune function in both immunologically stimulated and nonstimulated gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). An ectothermic vertebrate was used as an experimental model because the effects of thermoregulation on immunity remain understudied and are of increasing importance in light of anthropogenic alterations to thermal environments. We found that G. polyphemus increased body temperature (T b ) at 1 h after injection with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) when compared with saline controls (P = 0.04), consistent with behavioral fever. LPS increased plasma bactericidal ability (BA; P = 0.006), reduced plasma iron concentration (P = 0.041), and increased heterophil∶lymphocyte ratios (P innate immunity, which demonstrated that individuals have the ability to facultatively adjust immune function when infection burden is low; this relationship was not present in LPS-injected animals, which suggested that animals stimulated with LPS maximize bactericidal ability independently of temperature. Seasonal acclimation state did not influence responses to LPS, although baseline plasma iron was significantly lower in animals acclimated to winter. These results support that a trade-off exists between immunity and other conflicting physiological interests. Moreover, these results clearly demonstrate the ability of individuals to modulate immune function as a direct result of thermoregulatory decisions.

  9. Food deserts and nutritional risk in Paraguay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gartin, Meredith

    2012-01-01

    The purpose of this case study in San Lorenzo, Paraguay is to identify a food desert in a developing context and to test if food deserts shape residential obesity risk. This article reviews some of the debate surrounding whether food deserts really exist; and, if so, what are the dietary implications of living in a food desert. The research is an exploratory/explanatory design. The author mapped the downtown food retail district and the neighborhood food environment to identify what stores/markets. The author assessed each type of food store using an adapted version of the Nutrition Environment Measure Survey for Stores (NEMS-S) for Paraguay. Body mass index and household characteristics were collected with 68 households in a small neighborhood; and, the author matched the NEMS-S scores to the store reported by households as their primary grocery store for regression tests. The results suggest that a tradeoff exists in the local food environment between food stores which negatively impact obesity risk for local residents. Exposure to this tradeoff appears to worsen as people live longer in the food desert. Thus, the results support the location of a food desert finding in Paraguay. The underlying factors of a food desert extend beyond food access to focus on the issues of justice. A way to improve upon future research to build scholarship on the relationship between deprivation and obesity requires that sample sizes are either large or representative of the population and that the research should be based on multiple neighborhood and city sites. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. Desert Amplification in a Warming Climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Liming

    2016-01-01

    Here I analyze the observed and projected surface temperature anomalies over land between 50°S-50°N for the period 1950–2099 by large-scale ecoregion and find strongest warming consistently and persistently seen over driest ecoregions such as the Sahara desert and the Arabian Peninsula during various 30-year periods, pointing to desert amplification in a warming climate. This amplification enhances linearly with the global mean greenhouse gases(GHGs) radiative forcing and is attributable primarily to a stronger GHGs-enhanced downward longwave radiation forcing reaching the surface over drier ecoregions as a consequence of a warmer and thus moister atmosphere in response to increasing GHGs. These results indicate that desert amplification may represent a fundamental pattern of global warming associated with water vapor feedbacks over land in low- and mid- latitudes where surface warming rates depend inversely on ecosystem dryness. It is likely that desert amplification might involve two types of water vapor feedbacks that maximize respectively in the tropical upper troposphere and near the surface over deserts, with both being very dry and thus extremely sensitive to changes of water vapor. PMID:27538725

  11. Desert Amplification in a Warming Climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Liming

    2016-08-19

    Here I analyze the observed and projected surface temperature anomalies over land between 50°S-50°N for the period 1950-2099 by large-scale ecoregion and find strongest warming consistently and persistently seen over driest ecoregions such as the Sahara desert and the Arabian Peninsula during various 30-year periods, pointing to desert amplification in a warming climate. This amplification enhances linearly with the global mean greenhouse gases(GHGs) radiative forcing and is attributable primarily to a stronger GHGs-enhanced downward longwave radiation forcing reaching the surface over drier ecoregions as a consequence of a warmer and thus moister atmosphere in response to increasing GHGs. These results indicate that desert amplification may represent a fundamental pattern of global warming associated with water vapor feedbacks over land in low- and mid- latitudes where surface warming rates depend inversely on ecosystem dryness. It is likely that desert amplification might involve two types of water vapor feedbacks that maximize respectively in the tropical upper troposphere and near the surface over deserts, with both being very dry and thus extremely sensitive to changes of water vapor.

  12. Desert basins of the Southwest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, Stanley A.; Konieczki, Alice D.; Rees, Julie A.H.

    2000-01-01

    Ground water is among the Nation’s most important natural resources. It provides drinking water to urban and rural communities, supports irrigation and industry, sustains the flow of streams and rivers, and maintains riparian and wetland ecosystems. In many areas of the Nation, the future sustainability of ground-water resources is at risk from overuse and contamination. Because ground-water systems typically respond slowly to human actions, a long-term perspective is needed to manage this valuable resource. This publication is one in a series of fact sheets that describe ground-water-resource issues across the United States, as well as some of the activities of the U.S. Geological Survey that provide information to help others develop, manage, and protect ground-water resources in a sustainable manner. Ground-water resources in the Southwest are among the most overused in the United States. Natural recharge to aquifers is low and pumping in many areas has resulted in lowering of water tables. The consequences of large-scale removal of water from storage are becoming increasingly evident. These consequences include land subsidence; loss of springs, streams, wetlands and associated habitat; and degradation of water quality. Water managers are now seeking better ways of managing ground-water resources while looking for supplemental sources of water. This fact sheet reviews basic information on ground water in the desert basins of the Southwest. Also described are some activities of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that are providing scientific information for sustainable management of ground-water resources in the Southwest. Ground-water sustainability is defined as developing and using ground water in a way that can be maintained for an indefinite time without causing unacceptable environmental, economic, or social consequences.

  13. Ephemeral lakes and desert dust sources

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahowald, Natalie M.; Bryant, Robert G.; del Corral, John; Steinberger, Linda

    2003-01-01

    The processes that determine which areas are strong sources of mineral aerosols are not well known. In this study we consider the role of ephemeral lakes in modulating emissions of atmospheric mineral aerosols. We focus on two ephemeral lake regions that have been identified as source regions: the zone of Chotts in Tunisia and Algeria, and Etosha Pan in Namibia. Comparisons of satellite retrieved inundation data and the TOMS absorbing aerosol index suggest that during some periods of inundation, desert dust loadings are reduced. There is some indication that after flooded areas have dried there is increased dust loading. However, the role of the inundated ephemeral lake compared with nearby regions in modulating desert dust sources is unclear, in addition, problems with interpreting the TOMS AI make conclusions difficult. More research is required to understand the small-scale sources of atmospheric desert dust in dry, unvegetated, topographic lows.

  14. Mate desertion in response to female promiscuity in the socially ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Here we report a case of such a mate desertion in the aardwolf Proteles cristatus. We suggest, however, that mate desertion should occur only rarely in response to female promiscuity. This is because a cuckolded male may still be raising some of his own offspring, and should desert only on the rare occasions when an ...

  15. An Economic View of Food Deserts in the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bitler, Marianne; Haider, Steven J.

    2011-01-01

    Considerable policy and academic attention has been focused on the topic of food deserts. We consider this topic from an economic perspective. First, we consider how the components of a standard economic analysis apply to the study of food deserts. Second, using this economic lens, we revisit the empirical literature on food deserts to assess the…

  16. Jojoba could stop the desert creep

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1982-03-25

    The Sahara desert is estimated to be expanding at a rate of 5km a year. The Sudanese government is experimenting with jojoba in six different regions as the bush has the potential to stop this ''desert creep''. The plant, a native to Mexico, is long known for its resistance to drought and for the versatile liquid wax that can be extracted from its seeds. It is estimated that one hectare of mature plants could produce 3000 kg of oil, currently selling at $50 per litre, and so earn valuable foreign currency.

  17. The effects of isolation on the demography and genetic diversity of long-lived species: Implications for conservation and management of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ennen, J.R.; Birkhead, R.D.; Kreiser, B.R.; Gaillard, D.L.; Qualls, C.P.; Lovich, J.E.

    2011-01-01

    In the southeastern United States, habitat loss has fragmented the landscape and isolated many populations of this region's flora and fauna, which has presumably resulted in smaller population sizes and reduced levels of genetic diversity. For example, forestry practices and anthropogenic disturbances are both cited as factors fragmenting the once extensive range of Gopherus polyphemus. One localized, but extreme, source of fragmentation was the impoundment of the Chattahoochee River in 1963 to form Walter F. George Reservoir along the border of Georgia and Alabama. The formation of this reservoir isolated populations of G. polyphemus on two newly created islands providing a natural laboratory to explore the demographics and genetic effects of fragmentation on a long-lived species. These populations were first surveyed in 1984 and, 21 years later, we revisited them to collect demographic data and tissue samples for genetic analysis. We genotyped all individuals for 10 microsatellite loci, and we tested these data for bottlenecks and compared them to levels of genetic diversity for populations from other portions of the range. We found 45 and two individuals on the larger and smaller islands, respectively. On the large island, however, the population size was identical to the 1984 survey. Only the population structure based on estimated age differed between the 1984 and 2004 surveys, while population size structure based on carapace length, sex ratio, and sex-specific growth rates did not differ. The population of the large island showed genetic evidence of a past bottleneck. The genetic diversity indices from the population of the large island, however, were comparable to or greater than those found at mainland sites, in particular from western populations.

  18. Development and use of an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of iridovirus exposure in gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) and eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, April J; Wendland, Lori; Norton, Terry M; Belzer, Bill; Jacobson, Elliott R

    2010-05-19

    Iridoviruses, pathogens typically associated with fish and amphibians, have recently been shown to cause acute respiratory disease in chelonians including box turtles, red-eared sliders, gopher tortoises, and Burmese star tortoises. Case reports of natural infections in several chelonian species in the United States have been reported, however the prevalence remains unknown in susceptible populations of free-ranging chelonians. To determine the prevalence of iridovirus exposure in free-ranging gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) in the southeast United States, an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed and used to evaluate plasma samples from wild gopher tortoises (G. polyphemus) from: Alabama (n=9); Florida (n=658); Georgia (n=225); Louisiana (n=12); Mississippi (n=28); and unknown locations (68) collected between 2001 and 2006. Eight (1.2%) seropositive tortoises were identified from Florida and seven (3.1%) from Georgia for an overall prevalence of 1.5%. Additionally, a population of eastern box turtles was sampled from a private nature sanctuary in Pennsylvania that experienced an outbreak of iridovirus the previous year, which killed 16 turtles. Only 1 turtle out of 55 survivors tested positive (1.8%). Results suggest a low exposure rate in chelonians to this pathogen; however, it is suspected that this is an underestimate of the true prevalence. Since experimental transmission studies and past outbreaks have shown a high rate of mortality in infected turtles, turtles may die before they develop an antibody response. Further, the duration of the antibody response is unknown and may also cause an underestimate of the true prevalence. Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabo, John L.; Sinha, Tushar; Bowling, Laura C.; Schoups, Gerrit H.W.; Wallender, Wesley W.; Campana, Michael E.; Cherkauer, Keith A.; Fuller, Pam L.; Graf, William L.; Hopmans, Jan W.; Kominoski, John S.; Taylor, Carissa; Trimble, Stanley W.; Webb, Robert H.; Wohl, Ellen E.

    2010-01-01

    Increasing human appropriation of freshwater resources presents a tangible limit to the sustainability of cities, agriculture, and ecosystems in the western United States. Marc Reisner tackles this theme in his 1986 classic Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water. Reisner's analysis paints a portrait of region-wide hydrologic dysfunction in the western United States, suggesting that the storage capacity of reservoirs will be impaired by sediment infilling, croplands will be rendered infertile by salt, and water scarcity will pit growing desert cities against agribusiness in the face of dwindling water resources. Here we evaluate these claims using the best available data and scientific tools. Our analysis provides strong scientific support for many of Reisner's claims, except the notion that reservoir storage is imminently threatened by sediment. More broadly, we estimate that the equivalent of nearly 76% of streamflow in the Cadillac Desert region is currently appropriated by humans, and this figure could rise to nearly 86% under a doubling of the region's population. Thus, Reisner's incisive journalism led him to the same conclusions as those rendered by copious data, modern scientific tools, and the application of a more genuine scientific method. We close with a prospectus for reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert, including a suite of recommendations for reducing region-wide human appropriation of streamflow to a target level of 60%.

  20. The Desert Tortoise: A Delicate Balance

    Science.gov (United States)

    1992-01-01

    This award winning program looks at the efforts to preserve the desert tortoise in and around the Edwards Air Force Base, CA area. It also explains what people should do if they come in contact with a tortoise. This video was produced in cooperation with Edwards Air Force Base.

  1. Preventing desert locust plagues: optimizing management interventions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Huis, van A.; Cressman, K.; Magor, J.I.

    2007-01-01

    Solitarious desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål) (Orthoptera: Acrididae), inhabit the central, arid, and semi-arid parts of the species¿ invasion area in Africa, the Middle East, and South-West Asia. Their annual migration circuit takes them downwind to breed sequentially where winter,

  2. Abiotic drivers of Chihuahuan Desert plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laura Marie Ladwig

    2014-01-01

    Within grasslands, precipitation, fire, nitrogen (N) addition, and extreme temperatures influence community composition and ecosystem function. The differential influences of these abiotic factors on Chihuahuan Desert grassland communities was examined within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, located in central New Mexico, U.S.A. Although fire is a natural...

  3. [The relationship between teenage pregnancy and school desertion].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molina, Marta; Ferrada, Cristina; Pérez, Ruth; Cid, Luis; Casanueva, Víctor; García, Apolinaria

    2004-01-01

    In Chile, the prevalence of teenage pregnancy is 17%. To assess relationship between adolescent pregnancy and school desertion. At the Hospital Guillermo Grant Benavente's Departament of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Concepción, Chile, 2001 a comparative, cross sectional and correlational study was conducted. The study group were pregnant adolescents who deserted from school system, divided in two subgroups: 86 adolescents who deserted before pregnancy and 130 who deserted during pregnancy. Twenty percent of teenagers that deserted from school before pregnancy belonged to a sublevel of poverty, compared with 5% of those who deserted during pregnancy. Flunk was frequent in both but higher in girls that deserted before pregnancy (46.5 and 36.9% respectively, (ppregnancy (27.6%). Shame (41.6%) and obstetric complications (31.7%) were the main reasons for deserting during pregnancy. Seventy percent of adolescents who deserted before pregnancy had no educational, working or recreational activities. The parental educational level of both groups was low. There is a relationship between teenage pregnancy and school desertion. Adolescents who deserted from school before pregnancy are more vulnerable.

  4. Wood decay in desert riverine environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, Douglas; Stricker, Craig A.; Nelson, S. Mark

    2016-01-01

    Floodplain forests and the woody debris they produce are major components of riverine ecosystems in many arid and semiarid regions (drylands). We monitored breakdown and nitrogen dynamics in wood and bark from a native riparian tree, Fremont cottonwood (Populus deltoides subsp. wislizeni), along four North American desert streams. We placed locally-obtained, fresh, coarse material [disks or cylinders (∼500–2000 cm3)] along two cold-desert and two warm-desert rivers in the Colorado River Basin. Material was placed in both floodplain and aquatic environments, and left in situ for up to 12 years. We tested the hypothesis that breakdown would be fastest in relatively warm and moist aerobic environments by comparing the time required for 50% loss of initial ash-free dry matter (T50) calculated using exponential decay models incorporating a lag term. In cold-desert sites (Green and Yampa rivers, Colorado), disks of wood with bark attached exposed for up to 12 years in locations rarely inundated lost mass at a slower rate (T50 = 34 yr) than in locations inundated during most spring floods (T50 = 12 yr). At the latter locations, bark alone loss mass at a rate initially similar to whole disks (T50 = 13 yr), but which subsequently slowed. In warm-desert sites monitored for 3 years, cylinders of wood with bark removed lost mass very slowly (T50 = 60 yr) at a location never inundated (Bill Williams River, Arizona), whereas decay rate varied among aquatic locations (T50 = 20 yr in Bill Williams River; T50 = 3 yr in Las Vegas Wash, an effluent-dominated stream warmed by treated wastewater inflows). Invertebrates had a minor role in wood breakdown except at in-stream locations in Las Vegas Wash. The presence and form of change in nitrogen content during exposure varied among riverine environments. Our results suggest woody debris breakdown in desert riverine ecosystems is primarily a microbial process with rates determined by landscape position

  5. Geology and geochemistry of the Atacama Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tapia, J; González, R; Townley, B; Oliveros, V; Álvarez, F; Aguilar, G; Menzies, A; Calderón, M

    2018-02-14

    The Atacama Desert, the driest of its kind on Earth, hosts a number of unique geological and geochemical features that make it unlike any other environment on the planet. Considering its location on the western border of South America, between 17 and 28 °S, its climate has been characterized as arid to hyperarid for at least the past 10 million years. Notably dry climatic conditions of the Atacama Desert have been related to uplift of the Andes and are believed to have played an important role in the development of the most distinctive features of this desert, including: (i) nitrates and iodine deposits in the Central Depression, (ii) secondary enrichment in porphyry copper deposits in the Precordillera, (iii) Li enrichment in salt flats of the Altiplano, and (iv) life in extreme habitats. The geology and physiography of the Atacama Desert have been largely shaped by the convergent margin present since the Mesozoic era. The geochemistry of surface materials is related to rock geochemistry (Co, Cr, Fe, Mn, V, and Zn), salt flats, and evaporite compositions in endorheic basins (As, B, and Li), in addition to anthropogenic activities (Cu, Mo, and Pb). The composition of surface water is highly variable, nonetheless in general it presents a circumneutral pH with higher conductivity and total dissolved solids in brines. Major water constituents, with the exception of HCO 3 - , are generally related to the increase of salinity, and despite the fact that trace elements are not well-documented, surface waters of the Atacama Desert are enriched in As, B, and Li when compared to the average respective concentrations in rivers worldwide.

  6. Mammalian mesocarnivore visitation at tortoise burrows in a wind farm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Smith, Amanda L.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Delaney, David F.; Ennen, Joshua R.; Briggs, Jessica R.; Fleckenstein, Leo J.; Tennant, Laura A.; Puffer, Shellie R.; Walde, Andrew D.; Arundel, Terry; Price, Steven J.; Todd, Brian D.

    2017-01-01

    There is little information on predator–prey interactions in wind energy landscapes in North America, especially among terrestrial vertebrates. Here, we evaluated how proximity to roads and wind turbines affect mesocarnivore visitation with desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and their burrows in a wind energy landscape. In 2013, we placed motion-sensor cameras facing the entrances of 46 active desert tortoise burrows in a 5.2-km2 wind energy facility near Palm Springs, California, USA. Cameras recorded images of 35 species of reptiles, mammals, and birds. Counts for 4 species of mesocarnivores at desert tortoise burrows increased closer to dirt roads, and decreased closer to wind turbines. Our results suggest that anthropogenic infrastructure associated with wind energy facilities could influence the general behavior of mammalian predators and their prey. Further investigation of proximate mechanisms that underlie road and wind turbine effects (i.e., ground vibrations, sound emission, and traffic volume) and on wind energy facility spatial designs (i.e., road and wind turbine configuration) could prove useful for better understanding wildlife responses to wind energy development. © 2017 The Wildlife Society.

  7. Biology of the Central Desert of Oman

    OpenAIRE

    GHAZANFAR, Shahina A

    2004-01-01

    A biological survey of the central desert of Oman was done using long distance transects. Vegetation was sparse and consisted of 200+ plant species, 22 species of mammals, 17 species of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 50 species of birds (migratory and resident). Three main vegetation types were identified based on ground substrate and the dominance of species. These were communities with Acacia Willd., Zygophyllum L., and open woodlands of Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce. Over-grazing a...

  8. Desert Shield - Leader’s Safety Guide

    Science.gov (United States)

    1990-08-01

    surfaces such as glass , mirrors, and windows . • Ensure laser safety filters are installed on binoculars and other optical devices when observing...wadis Q Strong winds (30 mph in p.m.; 75 mph in windstorms ) Q Large fluctuations in day/night temperatures (up to 70°F.) • Sandy deserts a Poor...Monitor shadows cast by near objects such as landing gear or skid shadows during hover. • Keep windscreen and door windows clean of sand and dust

  9. Landscape Sustainability in a Sonoran Desert City

    OpenAIRE

    Chris A. Martin

    2008-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to discuss concepts of landscape sustainability in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Phoenix is situated in the greater Salt River Valley of the lower Sonoran Desert in the southwest United States. In this paper I use the ecological frameworks of ecosystem services and resiliency as a metric for understanding landscape sustainability. An assessment of landscape sustainability performance benchmarks were made by surveying research findings of scientists affiliated ...

  10. ON PHYTOCOENOTICAL MAPPING OF CASPIAN DESERT REGION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. SAFRONOVA

    2004-05-01

    Full Text Available The phytoecological map (l :2.500.000 for Desert Region, including the Caspian Lowland and the Mangyshlak. has been compiled. It gives an idea of latitudinal differentiation cf vegetation. Edaphic variants and lithological composition in low mountains. The legend has been constructed according to zonal-typological principle e using an ecological-phytocoenotic classification. Heterogeneity of vegetation is reflected by means of territoria1 units (complex, series, combination and additional marks above the vegetation background. In the northern subzone vegetation is fairly monotonous and characterized by prevalence of wormwood communities (Artemisia of subgenus Seriphidium, joined in three formations: Artemisia lerchiana, A. arenaria. A. pauciflora. Small areas are occupied by shrub deserts of Calligollum aphyllum and Tamarix ramosissima. To southward of 47° N in the middle subzone on the Caspian Lowland the communities of halophyte perennial saltworts essential1y dominate, and to less extent-wormwood communities of hemipsammophytic Artemisia terrae-albae and psammophytic Artemisia arenaria and A. lerchiana. Deserts of Mangyshlak are much diverse. Dwarf semishrubs are presented by species of perennial saltworts (Anabasis salsa, Nanophyton erinaceum,Arthrophytum lehnwnianum, Salsola orientaUs and wonnwood (Artemisia terrae-albae, A. gurganica. A. santolina. To southward of 43° N in the southern subzone dwarf semishrub Salsola gemmascens and Artemisia kemrudica corrnnunities prevail.

  11. ON PHYTOCOENOTICAL MAPPING OF CASPIAN DESERT REGION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. SAFRONOVA

    2004-01-01

    Full Text Available The phytoecological map (l :2.500.000 for Desert Region, including the Caspian Lowland and the Mangyshlak. has been compiled. It gives an idea of latitudinal differentiation cf vegetation. Edaphic variants and lithological composition in low mountains. The legend has been constructed according to zonal-typological principle e using an ecological-phytocoenotic classification. Heterogeneity of vegetation is reflected by means of territoria1 units (complex, series, combination and additional marks above the vegetation background. In the northern subzone vegetation is fairly monotonous and characterized by prevalence of wormwood communities (Artemisia of subgenus Seriphidium, joined in three formations: Artemisia lerchiana, A. arenaria. A. pauciflora. Small areas are occupied by shrub deserts of Calligollum aphyllum and Tamarix ramosissima. To southward of 47° N in the middle subzone on the Caspian Lowland the communities of halophyte perennial saltworts essential1y dominate, and to less extent-wormwood communities of hemipsammophytic Artemisia terrae-albae and psammophytic Artemisia arenaria and A. lerchiana. Deserts of Mangyshlak are much diverse. Dwarf semishrubs are presented by species of perennial saltworts (Anabasis salsa, Nanophyton erinaceum,Arthrophytum lehnwnianum, Salsola orientaUs and wonnwood (Artemisia terrae-albae, A. gurganica. A. santolina. To southward of 43° N in the southern subzone dwarf semishrub Salsola gemmascens and Artemisia kemrudica corrnnunities prevail.

  12. CAMEL REARING IN CHOLISTAN DESERT OF PAKISTAN

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. ALI, M. SHAFIQ CHAUDHRY1 AND U. FAROOQ

    2009-05-01

    Full Text Available The camel is one of the typical and the best adopted animals of the desert, capable of enduring thirst and hunger for days and is the most patient of land animals. For desert nomads of Pakistani Cholistan, it is a beloved companion, a source of milk and meat, transport facility provider and a racing/dancing animal, thus, playing an important role in the socioeconomic uplift of the local community. Camels of Marrecha or Mahra breed are mainly used for riding and load carrying but may be trained for dancing or racing. Berella is another heavy and milch breed of camel famous for milk production and can produce upto 10-15 liters of milk per day. This breed is also suitable for draught purpose, though comparatively slow due to heavy body. The present paper also describes the traditional camel rearing system used by nomads of Cholistan desert. Some aspects of camel health, production, feeding, socio-economic values, marketing and some constraints and suggestions are also given so that the policy makers may consider them for the welfare of this animal.

  13. Contraction of the Gobi Desert, 2000–2012

    OpenAIRE

    Sternberg, Troy; Rueff, Henri; Middleton, Nick

    2015-01-01

    Deserts are critical environments because they cover 41% of the world’s land surface and are home to 2 billion residents. As highly dynamic biomes desert expansion and contraction is influenced by climate and anthropogenic factors with variability being a key part of the desertification debate across dryland regions. Evaluating a major world desert, the Gobi in East Asia, with high resolution satellite data and the meteorologically-derived Aridity Index from 2000 to 2012 identified a r...

  14. 77 FR 65133 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-10-25

    ... the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District AGENCY... limited disapproval of revisions to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) portion of.... * * * * * (c) * * * (379) * * * (i) * * * (E) Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District. (1) Rule 1159...

  15. Nationwide desert highway assessment: a case study in China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mao, Xuesong; Wang, Fuchun; Wang, Binggang

    2011-07-01

    The natural environment affects the construction of desert highways. Conversely, highway construction affects the natural environment and puts the ecological environment at a disadvantage. To satisfy the variety and hierarchy of desert highway construction and discover the spatio-temporal distribution of the natural environment and its effect on highway construction engineering, an assessment of the natural regional divisions of desert highways in China is carried out for the first time. Based on the general principles and method for the natural region division, the principles, method and index system for desert highway assessment is put forward by combining the desert highway construction features and the azonal differentiation law. The index system combines the dominant indicator and four auxiliary indicators. The dominant indicator is defined by the desert's comprehensive state index and the auxiliary indicators include the sand dune height, the blown sand strength, the vegetation coverage ratio and the annual average temperature difference. First the region is divided according to the dominant indicator. Then the region boundaries are amended according to the four auxiliary indicators. Finally the natural region division map for desert highway assessment is presented. The Chinese desert highways can be divided into three sections: the east medium effect region, the middle medium-severe effect region, and the west slight-medium effect region. The natural region division map effectively paves the way for the route planning, design, construction, maintenance and ongoing management of desert highways, and further helps environmental protection.

  16. 76 FR 45129 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Gopher...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-27

    ... one of four living North American tortoise species and the only one indigenous to the southeastern... along with its cladistic relative G. flavomarginatus should be the only members of genus Gopherus, placing the other members of this genus G. berlandieri and G. agassizii into a new genus Scaptochelys...

  17. Characterization of Morphology, Volatile Profiles, and Molecular Markers in Edible Desert Truffles from the Negev Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kamle, Madhu; Bar, Einat; Lewinsohn, Dalia; Shavit, Elinoar; Roth-Bejerano, Nurit; Kagan-Zur, Varda; Barak, Ze'ev; Guy, Ofer; Zaady, Eli; Lewinsohn, Efraim; Sitrit, Yaron

    2017-03-28

    Desert truffles are mycorrhizal, hypogeous fungi considered a delicacy. On the basis of morphological characters, we identified three desert truffle species that grow in the same habitat in the Negev desert. These include Picoa lefebvrei (Pat.), Tirmania nivea (Desf.) Trappe, and Terfezia boudieri (Chatain), all associated with Helianthemum sessiliflorum. Their taxonomy was confirmed by PCR-RFLP. The main volatiles of fruit bodies of T. boudieri and T. nivea were 1-octen-3-ol and hexanal; however, volatiles of the latter species further included branched-chain amino acid derivatives such as 2-methylbutanal and 3-methylbutanal, phenylalanine derivatives such as benzaldehyde and benzenacetaldehyde, and methionine derivatives such as methional and dimethyl disulfide. The least aromatic truffle, P. lefebvrei, contained low levels of 1-octen-3-ol as the main volatile. Axenic mycelia cultures of T. boudieri displayed a simpler volatile profile compared to its fruit bodies. This work highlights differences in the volatile profiles of desert truffles and could hence be of interest for selecting and cultivating genotypes with the most likable aroma.

  18. The total cost of father desertion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winking, Jeffrey; Gurven, Michael

    2011-01-01

    The benefits of paternal investment have long been explored by assessing the impact of father's presence on child wellbeing. Previous studies, however, have only examined the average effect of father's presence on child survivorship. Here we assess the total fitness cost to men of deserting (or the benefit of staying), by considering effects on the entire progeny. We estimate the total number of children that a deserting father can expect to lose due to reduced survivorship over the life course in five populations, and compare this loss to the benefit gains from remarrying a younger wife. We compiled the observed impacts of father's absence, as well as mortality and fertility schedules, for five foraging or foraging/horticultural populations. We calculate how many additional children a man can expect to lose due to father's absence throughout a marriage. We then calculate the minimum age difference between a first and second spouse that would be necessary to overcome this cost. Because child mortality rates drop so rapidly, the costs that men experience from desertion due to augmented child mortality are modest throughout marriage. Even hypothetically inflated father effects can be overcome with modest age differences between first and second spouses. Returns to paternal investment in terms of increased child survival are not substantial compared to those received by successfully practicing a serial mating strategy. This suggests that factors other than the ability to enhance child survival, such as female choice, are important to the evolutionary history and continued adaptive functioning of men's unique reproductive strategies. Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  19. Physiological conjunction of allelochemicals and desert plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yosef Friedjung, Avital; Choudhary, Sikander Pal; Dudai, Nativ; Rachmilevitch, Shimon

    2013-01-01

    Plants exchange signals with other physical and biological entities in their habitat, a form of communication termed allelopathy. The underlying principles of allelopathy and secondary-metabolite production are still poorly understood, especially in desert plants. The coordination and role of secondary metabolites were examined as a cause of allelopathy in plants thriving under arid and semiarid soil conditions. Desert plant species, Origanum dayi, Artemisia sieberi and Artemisia judaica from two different sources (cultivar cuttings and wild seeds) were studied in their natural habitats. Growth rate, relative water content, osmotic potential, photochemical efficiency, volatile composition and vital factors of allelopathy were analyzed at regular intervals along four seasons with winter showing optimum soil water content and summer showing water deficit conditions. A comprehensive analysis of the volatile composition of the leaves, ambient air and soil in the biological niche of the plants under study was carried out to determine the effects of soil water conditions and sample plants on the surrounding flora. Significant morpho-physiological changes were observed across the seasons and along different soil water content. Metabolic analysis showed that water deficit was the key for driving selective metabolomic shifts. A. judaica showed the least metabolic shifts, while A. sieberi showed the highest shifts. All the species exhibited high allelopathic effects; A. judaica displayed relatively higher growth-inhibition effects, while O. dayi showed comparatively higher germination-inhibition effects in germination assays. The current study may help in understanding plant behavior, mechanisms underlying secondary-metabolite production in water deficit conditions and metabolite-physiological interrelationship with allelopathy in desert plants, and can help cull economic benefits from the produced volatiles.

  20. Physiological conjunction of allelochemicals and desert plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Avital Yosef Friedjung

    Full Text Available Plants exchange signals with other physical and biological entities in their habitat, a form of communication termed allelopathy. The underlying principles of allelopathy and secondary-metabolite production are still poorly understood, especially in desert plants. The coordination and role of secondary metabolites were examined as a cause of allelopathy in plants thriving under arid and semiarid soil conditions. Desert plant species, Origanum dayi, Artemisia sieberi and Artemisia judaica from two different sources (cultivar cuttings and wild seeds were studied in their natural habitats. Growth rate, relative water content, osmotic potential, photochemical efficiency, volatile composition and vital factors of allelopathy were analyzed at regular intervals along four seasons with winter showing optimum soil water content and summer showing water deficit conditions. A comprehensive analysis of the volatile composition of the leaves, ambient air and soil in the biological niche of the plants under study was carried out to determine the effects of soil water conditions and sample plants on the surrounding flora. Significant morpho-physiological changes were observed across the seasons and along different soil water content. Metabolic analysis showed that water deficit was the key for driving selective metabolomic shifts. A. judaica showed the least metabolic shifts, while A. sieberi showed the highest shifts. All the species exhibited high allelopathic effects; A. judaica displayed relatively higher growth-inhibition effects, while O. dayi showed comparatively higher germination-inhibition effects in germination assays. The current study may help in understanding plant behavior, mechanisms underlying secondary-metabolite production in water deficit conditions and metabolite-physiological interrelationship with allelopathy in desert plants, and can help cull economic benefits from the produced volatiles.

  1. Nationwide Desert Highway Assessment: A Case Study in China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Binggang Wang

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available The natural environment affects the construction of desert highways. Conversely, highway construction affects the natural environment and puts the ecological environment at a disadvantage. To satisfy the variety and hierarchy of desert highway construction and discover the spatio-temporal distribution of the natural environment and its effect on highway construction engineering, an assessment of the natural regional divisions of desert highways in China is carried out for the first time. Based on the general principles and method for the natural region division, the principles, method and index system for desert highway assessment is put forward by combining the desert highway construction features and the azonal differentiation law. The index system combines the dominant indicator and four auxiliary indicators. The dominant indicator is defined by the desert’s comprehensive state index and the auxiliary indicators include the sand dune height, the blown sand strength, the vegetation coverage ratio and the annual average temperature difference. First the region is divided according to the dominant indicator. Then the region boundaries are amended according to the four auxiliary indicators. Finally the natural region division map for desert highway assessment is presented. The Chinese desert highways can be divided into three sections: the east medium effect region, the middle medium-severe effect region, and the west slight-medium effect region. The natural region division map effectively paves the way for the route planning, design, construction, maintenance and ongoing management of desert highways, and further helps environmental protection.

  2. Spreading Deserts--The Hand of Man. Worldwatch Paper 13.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eckholm, Erik; Brown, Lester R.

    The report identifies regions in which deserts and arid zones are increasing; discusses social and climatic causes of deserts; and suggests ways to cope with and reverse problems of famine, malnutrition, and drought. Increasingly, land is being sapped of its ability to sustain agriculture and human habitation north and south of the Sahara, in…

  3. The politics of accessing desert land in Jordan

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Naber, Al Majd; Molle, Francois

    2016-01-01

    With the dramatic increase of the population in Jordan, the value of land has rocketed up. Urban sprawl into semi-desert or desert areas, initially not surveyed or settled by the British and considered as state land, has brought to the surface the problematic status of those lands. Likewise, the

  4. Negev: Land, Water, and Life in a Desert Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Back, William

    In view of the continuing increased concern about the extreme fragility of deserts and desert margins, Negev provides a timely discussion of land-use practices compatible with the often conflicting goals of preservation and development. The success o f agricultural and hydrologic experiments in the Negev desert of Israel offers hope to the large percentage of the world's population that lives with an unacceptably low quality of life in desert margins. Deserts are the one remaining type of open space that, with proper use, has the potential for alleviating the misery often associated with expanding population.In addition to the science in the book, the author repeatedly reinforces the concept that “western civilization is inextricably bound to the Negev and its environs, from which it has drawn, via its desert-born religions—Judasium, Christianity, and Islam—many of the mores and concepts, and much of the imagery and love of the desert, including man's relation to nature and to ‘God’.” Deserts often are erroneously perceived to be areas of no water: In reality, these are areas in which a little rainfall occurs sporadically and unpredictably over time. This meager water supply can be meticulously garnered to produce nutritious crops and forage.

  5. Screening the Egyptian desert actinomycetes as candidates for new ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    In a screening program to study the antimicrobial activities of desert actinomycetes as potential producers of active metabolites, 75 actinomycete strains were isolated from the Egyptian desert habitats and tested. Out of the isolated 75 organisms, 32 (42.67%) showed activity against the used test organisms.

  6. Food Deserts and Overweight Schoolchildren: Evidence from Pennsylvania

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schafft, Kai A.; Jensen, Eric B.; Hinrichs, C. Clare

    2009-01-01

    The concept of the "food desert", an area with limited access to retail food stores, has increasingly been used within social scientific and public health research to explore the dimensions of spatial inequality and community well-being. While research has demonstrated that food deserts are frequently characterized by higher levels of…

  7. Birds and conservation significance of the Namib Desert's least ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    -long Namib Desert and it remains the least known coastal wetland on a desert coast rich in shorebirds. Two surveys of the Baia dos Tigres region in 1999 and 2001 indicated a rich wetland bird diversity consisting of 25 species, with a total of ...

  8. Aeromycobiota of Western Desert of Egypt | Ismail | African Journal ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The prevalence of airborne mycobiota at six different regions of Western desert (5 regions) and Eastern desert (1) of Egypt was determined using the exposed-plate method. A total of 44 genera, 102 species and one variety in addition to some unidentified yeasts and dark sterile mycelia were collected. Of the above, only 5 ...

  9. 75 FR 19246 - Safety Zone; Desert Storm, Lake Havasu, AZ

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-14

    ... navigable waters of the Colorado River in Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu City, Arizona in support of the Desert..., which is to be held on Thompson Bay region of the Colorado River in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. A...-AA00 Safety Zone; Desert Storm, Lake Havasu, AZ AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS. ACTION: Temporary final rule...

  10. Elevation Derivatives for Mojave Desert Tortoise Habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wallace, Cynthia S.A.; Gass, Leila

    2008-01-01

    This report describes the methods used to derive various elevation-derivative grids that were inputted to the Mojave Desert Tortoise Habitat model (L. Gass and others, unpub. data). These grids, which capture information on surface roughness and topographic characteristics, are a subset of the environmental datasets evaluated for the tortoise habitat model. This habitat model is of major importance to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is charged with management of this threatened population, including relocating displaced tortoises to areas identified as suitable habitat.

  11. NASA Desert RATS 2011 Education Pilot Project and Classroom Activities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruener, J. E.; McGlone, M.; Allen, J.; Tobola, K.; Graff, P.

    2012-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) is a multi-year series of tests of hardware and operations carried out annually in the high desert of Arizona, as an analog to future exploration activities beyond low Earth orbit [1]. For the past several years, these tests have occurred in the San Francisco Volcanic Field, north of Flagstaff. For the 2011 Desert RATS season, the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) at NASA headquarters provided support to develop an education pilot project that would include student activities to parallel the Desert RATS mission planning and exploration activities in the classroom, and educator training sessions. The development of the pilot project was a joint effort between the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Directorate and the Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP), managed at Penn State University.

  12. Fog water chemistry in the Namib desert, Namibia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eckardt, Frank D.; Schemenauer, Robert S.

    This study documents the ion concentrations and ion enrichment relative to sea water, in Namib Desert fog water, with the purpose of establishing its suitability for future fogwater collection schemes, while also examining claims that Namib Desert fog water carries exceptionally high concentrations of sulphate, which may be responsible for the formation of gypsum deposits in the desert. The work suggests that Namibian fog water is at least as clean as has been reported from other coastal deserts in South America and Arabia, and provides a source of very clean water for the coastal desert region of south-western Africa. It does not appear that fog is an efficient sulphur source for the formation of the gypsum deposits, unless rare events with high concentrations of marine sulphur compounds occur.

  13. Plant responses to an edaphic gradient across an active sand dune/desert boundary in the great basin desert.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rosenthal, D.M.; Ludwig, F.; Donovan, L.A.

    2005-01-01

    In arid ecosystems, variation in precipitation causes broad-scale spatial heterogeneity in soil moisture, but differences in soil texture, development, and plant cover can also create substantial local soil moisture heterogeneity. The boundary between inland desert sand dunes and adjacent desert

  14. Evolutionary hotspots in the Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vandergast, Amy G.; Inman, Richard D.; Barr, Kelly R.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Esque, Todd C.; Hathaway, Stacie A.; Wood, Dustin A.; Medica, Philip A.; Breinholt, Jesse W.; Stephen, Catherine L.; Gottscho, Andrew D.; Marks, Sharyn B.; Jennings, W. Bryan; Fisher, Robert N.

    2013-01-01

    Genetic diversity within species provides the raw material for adaptation and evolution. Just as regions of high species diversity are conservation targets, identifying regions containing high genetic diversity and divergence within and among populations may be important to protect future evolutionary potential. When multiple co-distributed species show spatial overlap in high genetic diversity and divergence, these regions can be considered evolutionary hotspots. We mapped spatial population genetic structure for 17 animal species across the Mojave Desert, USA. We analyzed these in concurrence and located 10 regions of high genetic diversity, divergence or both among species. These were mainly concentrated along the western and southern boundaries where ecotones between mountain, grassland and desert habitat are prevalent, and along the Colorado River. We evaluated the extent to which these hotspots overlapped protected lands and utility-scale renewable energy development projects of the Bureau of Land Management. While 30–40% of the total hotspot area was categorized as protected, between 3–7% overlapped with proposed renewable energy project footprints, and up to 17% overlapped with project footprints combined with transmission corridors. Overlap of evolutionary hotspots with renewable energy development mainly occurred in 6 of the 10 identified hotspots. Resulting GIS-based maps can be incorporated into ongoing landscape planning efforts and highlight specific regions where further investigation of impacts to population persistence and genetic connectivity may be warranted.

  15. Landscape Sustainability in a Sonoran Desert City

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chris A. Martin

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this paper is to discuss concepts of landscape sustainability in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Phoenix is situated in the greater Salt River Valley of the lower Sonoran Desert in the southwest United States. In this paper I use the ecological frameworks of ecosystem services and resiliency as a metric for understanding landscape sustainability. An assessment of landscape sustainability performance benchmarks were made by surveying research findings of scientists affiliated with the Central Arizona Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research Project (CAP LTER. In Phoenix, present day emphases on cultural, aesthetic, and habitat formation ecosystem services within an arid ecoregion of low natural resilience coupled to a complex matrix of socioeconomic stratification, excessive landscape water use and pruning practices has had the undesired effect of degrading landscape sustainability. This has been measured as mixed patterns of plant diversity and human-altered patterns of carbon regulation, microclimate control, and trophic dynamics. In the future, sustainable residential landscaping in desert cities such as Phoenix may be fostered through use of water-conserving irrigation technologies, oasis-style landscape design motifs, recycling of landscape green waste, and conservative plant pruning strategies.

  16. Observational Evidence for Desert Amplification Using Multiple Satellite Datasets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Nan; Zhou, Liming; Dai, Yongjiu; Xia, Geng; Hua, Wenjian

    2017-05-17

    Desert amplification identified in recent studies has large uncertainties due to data paucity over remote deserts. Here we present observational evidence using multiple satellite-derived datasets that desert amplification is a real large-scale pattern of warming mode in near surface and low-tropospheric temperatures. Trend analyses of three long-term temperature products consistently confirm that near-surface warming is generally strongest over the driest climate regions and this spatial pattern of warming maximizes near the surface, gradually decays with height, and disappears in the upper troposphere. Short-term anomaly analyses show a strong spatial and temporal coupling of changes in temperatures, water vapor and downward longwave radiation (DLR), indicating that the large increase in DLR drives primarily near surface warming and is tightly associated with increasing water vapor over deserts. Atmospheric soundings of temperature and water vapor anomalies support the results of the long-term temperature trend analysis and suggest that desert amplification is due to comparable warming and moistening effects of the troposphere. Likely, desert amplification results from the strongest water vapor feedbacks near the surface over the driest deserts, where the air is very sensitive to changes in water vapor and thus efficient in enhancing the longwave greenhouse effect in a warming climate.

  17. Browning in Desert Boundaries in Asia in Recent Decades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeong, Su-Jong; Ho, Chang-Hoi; Brown, Molly E.; Kug, Jong-Seong; Piao, Shilong

    2011-01-01

    In this study, the changes in desert boundaries in Asia (Gobi, Karakum, Lut, Taklimakan, and Thar deserts) during the growing season (April October) in the years 1982 2008 were investigated by analyzing the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), precipitation, and temperature. In the desert boundary regions, the domain mean NDVI values increased by 7.2% per decade in 1982 1998 but decreased by 6.8% per decade thereafter. Accordingly, the bare soil areas (or nonvegetated areas) of the inside of the desert boundaries contracted by 9.8% per decade in the 1990s and expanded by 8.7% per decade in the 2000s. It is noted that the five deserts experience nearly simultaneous NDVI changes although they cover a very diverse area of Asia. In contrast, changes in temperature and precipitation in the deserts show rather diverse results. In desert boundaries located along 40 N (Gobi, Taklimakan, and Karakum), the decadal changes in vegetation greenness were mainly related to regional climate during the entire analysis period. Precipitation increased in the 1990s, providing favorable conditions for vegetation growth (i.e., greening), but precipitation reduced (19 mm per decade) and warming intensified (0.7 C per decade) in the 2000s, causing less moisture to be available for vegetation growth (i.e., browning). In desert boundaries below 40 N (Lut and Thar), although an increase in precipitation (8 mm per decade) led to greening in the 1990s, local changes in precipitation and temperature did not necessarily cause browning in the 2000s. Observed multidecadal changes in vegetation greenness in the present study suggest that under significant global and/or regional warming, changes in moisture availability for vegetation growth in desert boundaries are an important factor when understanding decadal changes in areas vulnerable to desertification over Asia.

  18. Browning in desert boundaries in Asia in recent decades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeong, Su-Jong; Ho, Chang-Hoi; Brown, Molly E.; Kug, Jong-Seong; Piao, Shilong

    2011-01-01

    In this study, the changes in desert boundaries in Asia (Gobi, Karakum, Lut, Taklimakan, and Thar deserts) during the growing season (April-October) in the years 1982-2008 were investigated by analyzing the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), precipitation, and temperature. In the desert boundary regions, the domain mean NDVI values increased by 7.2% per decade in 1982-1998 but decreased by 6.8% per decade thereafter. Accordingly, the bare soil areas (or nonvegetated areas) of the inside of the desert boundaries contracted by 9.8% per decade in the 1990s and expanded by 8.7% per decade in the 2000s. It is noted that the five deserts experience nearly simultaneous NDVI changes although they cover a very diverse area of Asia. In contrast, changes in temperature and precipitation in the deserts show rather diverse results. In desert boundaries located along 40°N (Gobi, Taklimakan, and Karakum), the decadal changes in vegetation greenness were mainly related to regional climate during the entire analysis period. Precipitation increased in the 1990s, providing favorable conditions for vegetation growth (i.e., greening), but precipitation reduced (19 mm per decade) and warming intensified (0.7°C per decade) in the 2000s, causing less moisture to be available for vegetation growth (i.e., browning). In desert boundaries below 40°N (Lut and Thar), although an increase in precipitation (8 mm per decade) led to greening in the 1990s, local changes in precipitation and temperature did not necessarily cause browning in the 2000s. Observed multidecadal changes in vegetation greenness in the present study suggest that under significant global and/or regional warming, changes in moisture availability for vegetation growth in desert boundaries are an important factor when understanding decadal changes in areas vulnerable to desertification over Asia.

  19. Properties of Desert Sand and CMAS Glass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bansal, Narottam P.; Choi, Sung R.

    2014-01-01

    As-received desert sand from a Middle East country has been characterized for its phase composition and thermal stability. X-ray diffraction analysis showed the presence of quartz (SiO2), calcite (CaCO3), gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O), and NaAlSi3O8 phases in as-received desert sand and showed weight loss of approx. 35 percent due to decomposition of CaCO3 and CaSO4.2H2O when heated to 1400 C. A batch of as-received desert sand was melted into calcium magnesium aluminosilicate (CMAS) glass at approx. 1500 C. From inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry, chemical composition of the CMAS glass was analyzed to be 27.8CaO-4MgO-5Al2O3-61.6SiO2-0.6Fe2O3-1K2O (mole percent). Various physical, thermal and mechanical properties of the glass have been evaluated. Bulk density of CMAS glass was 2.69 g/cc, Young's modulus 92 GPa, Shear modulus 36 GPa, Poisson's ratio 0.28, dilatometric glass transition temperature (T (sub g)) 706 C, softening point (T (sub d)) 764 C, Vickers microhardness 6.3 +/- 0.4 GPa, indentation fracture toughness 0.75 +/- 0.15 MPa.m (sup 1/2), and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) 9.8 x 10 (exp -6)/degC in the temperature range 25 to 700 C. Temperature dependence of viscosity has also been estimated from various reference points of the CMAS glass using the Vogel-Fulcher-Tamman (VFT) equation. The glass remained amorphous after heat treating at 850 C for 10 hr but crystallized into CaSiO3 and Ca-Mg-Al silicate phases at 900 C or higher temperatures. Crystallization kinetics of the CMAS glass has also been investigated by differential thermal analysis (DTA). Activation energies for the crystallization of two different phases in the glass were calculated to be 403 and 483 kJ/mol, respectively.

  20. In vitro germination of desert rose varieties(

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatiane Lemos Varella

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available The drought stress resistance is a characteristic of the desert rose and its estimable beauty flowers, which gave it great relevance in the ornamental market. However, the desert rose production and germination is hampered by possible sterility of their male and female flowers and frequent problems in pollination, so the tissue culture is a promising alternative to the propagation of these plants. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of gibberellic acid on four commercial varieties of desert rose (Adenium obesum cultivated in vitro. The seeds of the varieties ‘Orange Pallet’, ‘Carnation violet’, ‘Diamond ring’ and ‘Vermiliont’ were sterilized and inoculated on Water + Agar (T0, medium MS (T1, ½ MS (T2, MS + 0.25 mg L-1 GA3 (T3, MS + 0.5 mg L-1 GA3 (T4, ½ MS + 0.25 mg L-1 GA3 (T5, ½ MS 0.5 mg L-1 GA3 (T6. The seeds germination of A. obesum was initiated on the fourth day of cultivation and on the tenth day was possible to observe the expansion of the cotyledons and leaf expansion with subsequent development of early secondary root. The ‘Orange pallet’ variety germinated 100% of seeds on water + agar and MS ½ + 0.5 mg L-1 of GA3. For ‘Diamond Ring’ and ‘Carnation violet’ the highest rate of germination occurred in treatments MS ½; 0.25 mg L-1 GA3; MS + 0.5 mg L-1 GA3 MS ½ + 0.5 mg L-1 GA3 averaging 80% and 70%, respectively. For ‘Vermiliont’ the best response was in MS and MS ½ + 0.5 mg L-1 GA3 ranging between 70-90% germinated embryos. It was registered different malformations in all treatments like absence of roots and apexes during seedling development. The concentrations of GA3 did not affect significantly the seed germination.

  1. ORIGIN OF THE FOG IN NAMIB DESERT IN DRY SEASON

    OpenAIRE

    KIMURA, Keiji

    2005-01-01

    The origin of the fog in the Namib Desert was generally considered the westerly advection fog over the Benguela cold current. When the author went to the Namib Desert in dry seasons in 2003 and 2004, the fog in the early morning, however, moved easterly from the inland to the Atlantic Ocean. It was the opposite direction of so called the sea fog. In addition to that, the fog in the Namib Desert showed the diurnal change: the fog arises in the early morning and disappeared before noon. The fog...

  2. How to identify food deserts in Amazonian cities?

    OpenAIRE

    Davies, Gemma; Frausin Bustamante, Gina Giovanna; Parry, Luke Thomas Wyn

    2016-01-01

    Food deserts are areas without affordable access to healthy foods. This paper explores whether food deserts are present within urban areas of the Brazilian Amazon. The availability and price of a variety of food products was surveyed in a total of 304 shops, across 3 cities in 2015. Least-cost distances were calculated to estimate travel distance to access products, with map overlay used to help identify areas with poor access to a variety of healthy food - these were defined as food deserts.

  3. Chemical constituents of Cenchrus ciliaris L. from the Cholistan desert, Pakistan

    OpenAIRE

    Ashraf Muhammad Aqeel; Mahmood Karamat; Yusoff Ismail; Qureshi Ahmad Kaleem

    2013-01-01

    The Cholistan Desert is an extension of the Great Indian Desert, covering an area of 26,330 km2. The desert can be divided into two main geomorphic regions: the northern region, known as Lesser Cholistan, constituting the desert margin and consisting of a series of saline alluvial flats alternating with low sand ridges/dunes; and the southern region, known as Greater Cholistan, a wind-resorted sandy desert comprised of a number of old Hakra River terraces w...

  4. Thermodynamic and pedogenic differences between desert microsites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Young, Michael; Caldwell, Todd; Lin, Henry

    2014-05-01

    Feedbacks exist between soil properties, climate and ecological productivity. In arid alluvial fan deposits common to the southwestern United States, the strength of these complex feedbacks change slowly over long time frames (e.g., 10s to 100s of millennia) as the climate has become drier and warmer. The feedbacks are also influenced by relatively short-time-frame processes of shrub establishment and subshrub processes that create distinct interspace and sub-canopy microsites. Pedogenic processes in both cases proceed at different rates—slowly in interspaces and rapidly beneath canopies—yet both are subject to similar energy and mass inputs entering the system from above the canopy. In this study, we apply a branch of non-equilibrium (open system) thermodynamics to explain desert pedogenic processes and how the two microsites are tied together. The general concept is that energy and mass flow naturally in directions that minimize gradients, hence maximizing randomness and entropy. We hypothesize that younger soils begin as random bodies, but that energy input from the sun, and mass input from water, dust and vegetation create gradients over time, leading to microsites of pavements and canopies. These features eventually reach metastability and the potential for self-destruction increases (i.e., desert pavements eventually fall apart and erode). We seek to apply these concepts to Mojave Desert soils/ecosystems that have been studied in the field and the laboratory, with the goal of explaining and/or predicting the pathways of pedogenesis in these environments. Of particular interest is how these concepts might be applied in microsite locations influence the two-way coupling of pedologic development and ecosystem functions, and whether we can predict the strength of these feedbacks and processes using knowledge of soil systems today. The field site is found in the Mojave Natural Preserve, CA, USA, where high spatial resolution infiltrometer measurements were

  5. NUWAX-83: nucleonics in the desert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lyon, W.S.

    1983-01-01

    The 6-day NUWAX-83 (Nuclear Weapon Accident Exercise) held in May 1983, formally at Port Gaston, Virginia, actually in Nevada, was organized by several Federal organizations. A helicopter crash and consequent nuclear explosion contaminating a large area with 239 Pu and 241 Am was simulated. For 239 Pu, a mixture of 223 Ra and 103 Pd was used. The author participating as a member of the ORNL staff describes his experiences, with special reference to the on-site chemical analytical work and human conditions. The author refers to the deficiencies of the analytical capability and equipment, furthermore, he doubts the transferability of surveying and analytical experiences gained in the desert to an Eastern seaboard region. (A.L.)

  6. Desert ants learn vibration and magnetic landmarks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cornelia Buehlmann

    Full Text Available The desert ants Cataglyphis navigate not only by path integration but also by using visual and olfactory landmarks to pinpoint the nest entrance. Here we show that Cataglyphis noda can additionally use magnetic and vibrational landmarks as nest-defining cues. The magnetic field may typically provide directional rather than positional information, and vibrational signals so far have been shown to be involved in social behavior. Thus it remains questionable if magnetic and vibration landmarks are usually provided by the ants' habitat as nest-defining cues. However, our results point to the flexibility of the ants' navigational system, which even makes use of cues that are probably most often sensed in a different context.

  7. Ethnomycological survey of traditional usage and indigenous knowledge on desert truffles among the native Sahara Desert people of Algeria.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradai, Lyès; Neffar, Souad; Amrani, Khaled; Bissati, Samia; Chenchouni, Haroun

    2015-03-13

    Desert truffles are edible hypogeous fungi, highly appreciated by the inhabitants of hot-desert settlements. Native Saharan people use truffles for food, promoting tourism, increasing fertility, and treatment of eye diseases and fatigue. This study consists of a cross-sectional survey focusing on the knowledge, use and ethnomycological practices of desert truffles among the native people of the Algerian Northern Sahara. The study was conducted through direct interviews with 60 truffle-hunters in the regions of Ouargla and Ghardaia. Three species were harvested and consumed by the surveyed subjects: Terfezia claveryi was the most appreciated and most expensive species, followed by Terfezia areanaria moderately preferred, then Tirmania nivea the least appreciated and least expensive. Among the 60 interviewees, 90% rely on the abundance of symbiotic plants (Helianthemum lippii) to harvest truffles, 65% begin harvesting from mid-February to March, after rains of the autumn (38%) and winter (36%), particularly in the Wadi beds (37%) and Daya landscapes (32%). Interviewees harvested truffles mainly for home consumption; however 26.7% sell any harvest surplus, and of those only 15% generate significant revenue from this source, and 73% considered the sale of desert truffles to have low financial value. Desert truffles are used in traditional medicine, especially against eye infections (22%), weakness (19%) and to promote male fertility (19%). In the case of desert truffles for consumption, the surveyed population preferred to prepare the truffles with couscous and meat, or in porridge. Respondents used price as the main criterion for deciding whether to purchase desert truffles. The surveyed trufflers use the knowledge passed from one generation to the next to help ensure a good harvest of truffles during each foray into the desert. Our findings highlight the various uses of truffles in the Sahara Desert, and how these relate to the lifestyle of local people. Copyright

  8. Military Geography: The Interaction of Desert Geomorphology and Military Operations

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Gilewitch, Daniel

    2003-01-01

    .... Battles throughout history were fought in desert regions and the future is certain to hold additional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East where Operation Iraqi Freedom currently rages at the time of this writing...

  9. Desert Peak East Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Zemach, Ezra [Ormat Technologies Inc., Reno, NV (United States); Drakos, Peter [Ormat Technologies Inc., Reno, NV (United States); Spielman, Paul [Ormat Technologies Inc., Reno, NV (United States); Akerley, John [Ormat Technologies Inc., Reno, NV (United States)

    2013-09-30

    This manuscript is a draft to replaced with a final version at a later date TBD. A summary of activities pertaining to the Desert Peak EGS project including the planning and resulting stimulation activities.

  10. Vegetation - Anza-Borrego Desert State Park [ds165

    Data.gov (United States)

    California Department of Resources — The Anza Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) Vegetation Map depicts vegetation within the Park and its surrounding environment. The map was prepared by the Department...

  11. Assessing the Benefits of Urban Forestry in Mojave Desert Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    As the climate and environment change due to human activity, an understanding of the existing natural resources becomes paramount. Urban forests of Mojave Desert communities have the potential to reduce air pollution, heat island effects, and energy consumption. Regions throughou...

  12. Biotic Processes Regulating the Carbon Balance of Desert Ecosystems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    R. S. Nowak; J. Arnone; L. Fenstermaker; and S. D. Smith

    2005-07-26

    This project provided the funding to operate and maintain the Nevada Desert FACE Facility. This support funds the CO{sub 2}, system repairs and maintenance, basic physical and biological site information, and personnel that are essential for the experiment to continue. They have continued to assess the effects of elevated CO{sub 2} on three key processes: (1) leaf- to plant-level responses of desert vegetation to elevated atmospheric CO{sub 2}; (2) ecosystem-level responses; and (3) integration of plant and ecosystem processes to understand carbon balance of deserts. The focus is the seminal interactions among atmospheric CO{sub 2}, water, and nitrogen that drive desert responses to elevated CO{sub 2} and explicitly address processes that occur across scales (biological, spatial, and temporal).

  13. Lateral migration of linear dunes in the Strzelecki Desert, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubin, D.M.

    1990-01-01

    Preferential accumulation of sand on east-facing flanks indicates that the dunes migrated eastward several metres during the Holocene. Moreover, the west-facing flanks of some dunes have experienced a minimum of tens of metres of erosion. This asymmetric erosion and deposition were caused by dune obliquity and lateral migration that may have begun as early as the Pleistocene. Dunes in the Strzelecki Desert and in the adjacent Simpson Desert display a variety of grossly different internal structures. -from Author

  14. Contraction of the Gobi Desert, 2000–2012

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Troy Sternberg

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Deserts are critical environments because they cover 41% of the world’s land surface and are home to 2 billion residents. As highly dynamic biomes desert expansion and contraction is influenced by climate and anthropogenic factors with variability being a key part of the desertification debate across dryland regions. Evaluating a major world desert, the Gobi in East Asia, with high resolution satellite data and the meteorologically-derived Aridity Index from 2000 to 2012 identified a recent contraction of the Gobi. The fluctuation in area, primarily driven by precipitation, is at odds with numerous reports of human-induced desertification in Mongolia and China. There are striking parallels between the vagueness in defining the Gobi and the imprecision and controversy surrounding the Sahara desert’s southern boundary in the 1980s and 1990s. Improved boundary definition has implications fGobi; desert boundary; expansion and contraction; Aridity Index; NDVI; Mongolia; China or understanding desert “greening” and “browning”, human action and land use, ecological productivity and changing climate parameters in the region. The Gobi’s average area of 2.3 million km2 in the 21st century places it behind only the Sahara and Arabian deserts in size.

  15. From Fireproof Desert to Flammable Grassland: Buffelgrass Invasion in the Sonoran Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Betancourt, J. L.

    2007-12-01

    Only a few decades ago, the Sonoran Desert of northwestern Mexico and southern Arizona was considered mostly fireproof, a case of not enough fine fuel to connect the dominant shrubs and cacti. This has changed with invasions by non-native, winter annual and summer-flower perennial grasses that are rapidly transforming fireproof desert into flammable grassland. Of particular concern is buffelgrass, Pennisetum ciliare, a fire-prone and invasive African perennial grass that has already converted millions of hectares across Sonora since the mid-1960s and has made quick headway in southern and central Arizona beginning in the 1980s. Near Tucson and Phoenix, AZ, buffelgrass invasion is proceeding exponentially, with population expansion (and the costs of mitigation) more than doubling every year. As this conversion progresses, there will be increased fire risks, lost tourist revenue, diminished property values, insurmountable setbacks to conservation efforts, and the threat of large ignition fronts in desert valleys routinely spreading into the mountains. Although somewhat belated, an integrated, multi-jurisdictional effort is being organized to reduce ecological and economic impacts. My presentation will summarize the history and context of buffelgrass introduction and invasion, the disconnect in attitudes and policies across state and international boundaries, ongoing management efforts, the role of science and responsibilities of scientists, accelerated spread with changing climate, and impacts to regional ecosystems and economies. This narrative may serve as a template for other semi-arid lands where buffelgrass and similar grasses have become invasive, including Australia, South America, and many islands in the Pacific Ocean (including Hawaii), Indian Ocean, and Caribbean Sea.

  16. Copper isotope fractionation by desert shrubs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Navarrete, Jesica U.; Viveros, Marian; Ellzey, Joanne T.; Borrok, David M.

    2011-01-01

    Copper has two naturally occurring stable isotopes of masses 63 and 65 which can undergo mass dependent fractionation during various biotic and abiotic chemical reactions. These interactions and their resulting Cu isotope fractionations can be used to determine the mechanisms involved in the cycling of Cu in natural systems. In this study, Cu isotope changes were investigated at the organismal level in the metal-accumulating desert plant, Prosopis pubescens. Initial results suggest that the lighter Cu isotope was preferentially incorporated into the leaves of the plant, which may suggest that Cu was actively transported via intracellular proteins. The roots and stems show a smaller degree of Cu isotope fractionation and the direction and magnitude of the fractionations was dependent upon the levels of Cu exposure. Based on this and previous work with bacteria and yeast, a trend is emerging that suggests the lighter Cu isotope is preferentially incorporated into biological components, while the heavier Cu isotope tends to become enriched in aqueous solutions. In bacteria, plants and animals, intracellular Cu concentrations are strictly regulated via dozens of enzymes that can bind, transport, and store Cu. Many of these enzymes reduce Cu(II) to Cu(I). These initial results seem to fit into a broader picture of Cu isotope cycling in natural systems where oxidation/reduction reactions are fundamental in controlling the distributions of Cu isotopes.

  17. Closed bioregenerative life support systems: Applicability to hot deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polyakov, Yuriy S.; Musaev, Ibrahim; Polyakov, Sergey V.

    2010-09-01

    Water scarcity in hot deserts, which cover about one-fifth of the Earth's land area, along with rapid expansion of hot deserts into arable lands is one of the key global environmental problems. As hot deserts are extreme habitats characterized by the availability of solar energy with a nearly complete absence of organic life and water, space technology achievements in designing closed ecological systems may be applicable to the design of sustainable settlements in the deserts. This review discusses the key space technology findings for closed biogenerative life support systems (CBLSS), which can simultaneously produce food, water, nutrients, fertilizers, process wastes, and revitalize air, that can be applied to hot deserts. Among them are the closed cycle of water and the acceleration of the cycling times of carbon, biogenic compounds, and nutrients by adjusting the levels of light intensity, temperature, carbon dioxide, and air velocity over plant canopies. Enhanced growth of algae and duckweed at higher levels of carbon dioxide and light intensity can be important to provide complete water recycling and augment biomass production. The production of fertilizers and nutrients can be enhanced by applying the subsurface flow wetland technology and hyper-thermophilic aerobic bacteria for treating liquid and solid wastes. The mathematical models, optimization techniques, and non-invasive measuring techniques developed for CBLSS make it possible to monitor and optimize the performance of such closed ecological systems. The results of long-duration experiments performed in BIOS-3, Biosphere 2, Laboratory Biosphere, and other ground-based closed test facilities suggest that closed water cycle can be achieved in hot-desert bioregenerative systems using the pathways of evapotranspiration, condensation, and biological wastewater treatment technologies. We suggest that the state of the art in the CBLSS design along with the possibility of using direct sunlight for

  18. Workshop on Extraterrestrial Materials from Cold and Hot Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schultz, Ludolf (Editor); Franchi, Ian A. (Editor); Reid, Arch M. (Editor); Zolensky, Michael E. (Editor)

    1999-01-01

    Since 1969 expeditions from Japan, the United States, and European countries have recovered more than 20,000 meteorite specimens from remote ice fields of Antarctica. They represent approximately 4000-6000 distinct falls, more than all non-Antarctic meteorite falls and finds combined. Recently many meteorite specimens of a new "population" have become available: meteorites from hot deserts. It turned out that suitable surfaces in hot deserts, like the Sahara in Africa, the Nullarbor Plain in Western and South Australia, or desert high plains of the U.S. (e.g., Roosevelt County, New Mexico), contain relatively high meteorite concentrations. For example, the 1985 Catalog of Meteorites of the British Museum lists 20 meteorites from Algeria and Libya. Today, 1246 meteorites finds from these two countries have been published in MetBase 4.0. Four workshops in 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1989 have discussed the connections between Antarctic glaciology and Antarctic meteorites, and the differences between Antarctic meteorites and modern falls. In 1995, a workshop addressed differences between meteorites from Antarctica, hot deserts, and modem falls, and the implications of possible different parent populations, infall rates, and weathering processes. Since 1995 many more meteorites have been recovered from new areas of Antarctica and hot deserts around the world. Among these finds are several unusual and interesting specimens like lunar meteorites or SNCs of probable martian origin. The Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society took place in 1999 in Johannesburg, South Africa. As most of the recent desert finds originate from the Sahara, a special workshop was planned prior to this meeting in Africa. Topics discussed included micrometeorites, which have been collected in polar regions as well as directly in the upper atmosphere. The title "Workshop on Extraterrestrial Materials from Cold and Hot Deserts" was chosen and the following points were emphasized: (1) weathering

  19. Workshop on Extraterrestrial Materials from Cold and Hot Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schultz, Ludolf (Editor); Franchi, Ian A. (Editor); Reid, Arch M. (Editor); Zolensky, Michael E. (Editor)

    2000-01-01

    Since 1969 expeditions from Japan, the United States, and European countries have recovered more than 20,000 meteorite specimens from remote ice fields of Antarctica. They represent approximately 4000-6000 distinct falls, more than all non-Antarctic meteorite falls and finds combined. Recently many meteorite specimens of a new "population" have become available: meteorites from hot deserts. It turned out that suitable surfaces in hot deserts, like the Sahara in Africa, the Nullarbor Plain in Western and South Australia, or desert high plains of the U.S. (e.g., Roosevelt County, New Mexico), contain relatively high meteorite concentrations. For example, the 1985 Catalogue of Meteorites of the British Museum lists 20 meteorites from Algeria and Libya. Today, 1246 meteorites finds from these two countries have been published in MetBase 4.0. Four workshops in 1982, 1985, 1988, and 1989 have discussed the connections between Antarctic glaciology and Antarctic meteorites, and the differences between Antarctic meteorites and modem falls. In 1995, a workshop addressed differences between meteorites from Antarctica, hot deserts, and modem falls, and the implications of possible different parent populations, infall rates, and weathering processes. Since 1995 many more meteorites have been recovered from new areas of Antarctica and hot deserts around the world. Among these finds are several unusual and interesting specimens like lunar meteorites or SNCs of probable martian origin. The Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society took place in 1999 in Johannesburg, South Africa. As most of the recent desert finds originate from the Sahara, a special workshop was planned prior to this meeting in Africa. Topics discussed included micrometeorites, which have been collected in polar regions as well as directly in the upper atmosphere. The title "Workshop on Extraterrestrial Materials from Cold and Hot Deserts" was chosen and the following points were emphasized: (1) weathering

  20. Water Sources for Cyanobacteria Below Desert Rocks in the Negev Desert Determined by Conductivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKay, Christopher P.

    2016-01-01

    We present year round meteorological and conductivity measurements of colonized hypolithic rocks in the Arava Valley, Negev Desert, Israel. The data indicate that while dew is common in the Negev it is not an important source of moisture for hypolithic organisms at this site. The dominance of cyanobacteria in the hypolithic community are consistent with predictions that cyanobacteria are confined to habitats supplied by rain. To monitor the presence of liquid water under the small Negev rocks we developed and tested a simple field conductivity system based on two wires placed about 0.5 cm apart. Based on 21 replicates recorded for one year in the Negev we conclude that in natural rains (0.25 mm to 6 mm) the variability between sensor readings is between 20 and 60% decreasing with increasing rain amount. We conclude that the simple small electrical conductivity system described here can be used effectively to monitor liquid water levels in lithic habitats. However, the natural variability of these sensors indicates that several replicates should be deployed. The results and method presented have use in arid desert reclamation programs.

  1. Monitoring of desert dune topography by multi angle sensors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yun, J.; Kim, J.; Choi, Y.; Yun, H.

    2011-12-01

    Nowadays, the sandy desert is rapidly expanding world widely and results in a lot of risks in the socio-econimical aspects as well as the anthropogenic activities. For example, the increasing occurrences of mineral dust storm which presumably originated from the sandy deserts in northwest China become a serious threat in human activities as well as public health over Far East Asian area as the interpretation by the MODIS analysis (Zhang et al., 2007) and the particle trajectory simulation with HYSPLYT (HYbrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory) (Kim et al., 2011) identified. Since the sand dune activity has been recognized as an essential indicator of the progressive desertification, it is important to establish the monitoring method for the variations of topographic properties by the dune activities such as local roughness. Thus it will provide the crucial data about the extent and the transition of sandy desert. For example, it is well known the aerodynamic roughness lengths Zo which can be driven from the specialized sensor such as POLDER (POLarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectances) is essential to understand desert dune characteristics. However, for the multi temporal observation of dune fields, the availability of data set to extract Zo is limited. Therefore, we employed MISR (Multi angle imaging Spectro Radiometer) image sequence to extract multi angle topographic parameters such as NDAI (Normalized Difference Angular Index) or the variation of radiance with the viewing geometry which are representing the characteristics of target desert topography instead of Zo. In our approach, NDAI were expanded to the all viewing angles and then compared over the target sandy desert and the surrounding land covers. It showed very strong consistencies according to the land cover type and especially over the dynamic dune fields. On the other hands, the variation of NDAIs of sandy desert combining with the metrological observations were

  2. Production of desert rose seedlings in different potting media

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ronan Carlos Colombo

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Over the past decade the desert rose received fame in the flower market due to its striking and sculptural forms; however, the commercial production of these species is quite recent and little is known about its crop management, including substrates recommendation. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effect of different substrates on desert rose seed germination and production of its seedlings. Experiment I: freshly harvested seeds of desert rose were sown in different substrates e.g. sand, coconut fiber, semi-composted pine bark, sand + coconut fiber, semi-composted pine bark + sand and coconut fiber + semicomposted pine bark. These substrates were evaluated to study the emergence percentage of seeds, initial growth of seedlings and seedling emergence speed index (ESI. Experiment II: desert rose from the experiment I were transferred to plastic pots filled with the same substrates as in experiment I. The pH and electrical conductivity (EC of the substrates were noted every 30 days while the growth parameters of seedlings were recorded after 240 days. Results from experiment I showed higher germination rate and seedling growth in substrates containing semi-composted pine bark. Similarly, in experiment II, better quality seedlings were observed in substrates containing semi-composted pine bark. Thus, for desert rose seed germination and seedling growth, it is recommended to use substrates containing semi-composted pine bark.

  3. A systematic review of food deserts, 1966-2007.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beaulac, Julie; Kristjansson, Elizabeth; Cummins, Steven

    2009-07-01

    "Food deserts," areas characterized by poor access to healthy and affordable food, may contribute to social and spatial disparities in diet and diet-related health outcomes. However, the extent to which food deserts exist is debated. We review the evidence for the existence of food deserts in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. We conducted a systematic review of primary, quantitative, observational studies, published in English or French, that used geographic or market-basket approaches in high-income countries. The literature search included electronic and hand searches and peer-reviewed and grey literature from 1966 through 2007. We also contacted key researchers to identify other studies. We analyzed the findings and quality of the studies qualitatively. Forty-nine studies in 5 countries met inclusion criteria; the amount and consistency of the evidence varied by country. These studies were a mix of geographic and market-basket approaches, but the methodologic quality of studies and completeness of reported findings were mixed. We found clear evidence for disparities in food access in the United States by income and race. Findings from other high-income countries were sparse and equivocal. This review suggests that food deserts exist in the United States, where area-level deprivation compounds individual disadvantage. Evidence for the existence of food deserts in other high-income nations is weak.

  4. The Ocean deserts:salt budgets of northern subtropical oceans and their

    KAUST Repository

    Carton, Jim

    2011-04-09

    The Ocean deserts: salt budgets of northern subtropical oceans and their relationship to climate variability The high salinity near surface pools of the subtropical oceans are the oceanic deserts, with high levels of evaporation and low levels of precip

  5. Cryophenomena in the Cold Desert of Atacama

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchroithner, Dr.; Trombotto, Dr.

    2012-04-01

    The study area of the Valle de Barrancas Blancas in the High Atacama Andes of Chile (68°39' W, 27°02' S), a kind of Patagonian "bajo sin salida", shows well preserved landforms resulting from a combination of slope, eolian, lacustrine/litoral, fluvial, glacial and periglacial regimes. They permit the reconstruction of geomorphological processes within this isolated catchment of approximately 160 km2. The mean annual air temperature varies between -2 and -4 °C and the precipitation is approximately 150 mm/a. Snowfall is frequent but the snow is quickly sublimated, redeposited and/or covered by cryosediments, i.e. mainly pumice pebbles. Water bodies present icings, even in summer. Regarding its climatic conditions the study area represents an extremely cold desertic region. Extremophile microfauna was also found. The area displays both in situ mountain permafrost and creeping permafrost. The active layer is 30 to 45 cm thick. It is a periglacial macro-environment where interdependent processes, and not only cryogenic processes but also erosion and eolian deposition and the action of fluvial washout mainly caused by precipitation, accumulation, retransportation/redeposition and melting of snow, play an important role. The cryogenic geomorphology of the Valle de Barrancas Blancas is varied and contains microforms such as patterned ground and microforms caused by cryoturbation, as well as mesoforms like rockglaciers and cryoplanation surfaces. Slopes are strongly affected by gelifluction. New cryoforms in South America and in the Southern Hemisphere like the Atacama Pingo (Pingo atacamensis) and Permafrosted Dunes ("Dunas heladas") were found. Intense niveo-eolian processes participate in the erosion of preexisting landforms, in the formation of subterraneous ice layers, and the retransportation/redeposition of snow and sediments. Studies of this periglacial environment are crucial for the understanding of Tundrean paleoenvironments and Martian conditions.

  6. Growth responses of five desert plants as influenced by biological soil crusts from a temperate desert, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yuanming; Belnap, Jayne

    2015-01-01

    In almost all dryland systems, biological soil crusts (biocrusts) coexist alongside herbaceous and woody vegetation, creating landscape mosaics of vegetated and biocrusted patches. Results from past studies on the interaction between biocrusts and vascular plants have been contradictory. In the Gurbantunggut desert, a large temperate desert in northwestern China, well-developed lichen-dominated crusts dominate the areas at the base and between the sand dunes. We examined the influence of these lichen-dominated biocrusts on the germination, growth, biomass accumulation, and elemental content of five common plants in this desert: two shrubs (Haloxylon persicum, Ephedra distachya) and three herbaceous plants (Ceratocarpus arenarius, Malcolmia africana and Lappula semiglabra) under greenhouse conditions. The influence of biocrusts on seed germination was species-specific. Biocrusts did not affect percent germination in plants with smooth seeds, but inhibited germination of seeds with appendages that reduced or eliminated contact with the soil surface or prevented seeds from slipping into soil cracks. Once seeds had germinated, biocrusts had different influences on growth of shrub and herbaceous plants. The presence of biocrusts increased concentrations of nitrogen but did not affect phosphorus or potassium in tissue of all tested species, while the uptake of the other tested nutrients was species-specific. Our study showed that biocrusts can serve as a biological filter during seed germination and also can influence growth and elemental uptake. Therefore, they may be an important trigger for determining desert plant diversity and community composition in deserts.

  7. Concentration of plutonium in desert plants from contaminated area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Xu Hui; Jin Yuren; Tian Mei; Li Weiping; Zeng Ke; Wang Yaoqin; Wang Yu

    2012-01-01

    The investigation of plutonium in desert plants from contaminated sites contributes to the evaluation of its pollution situation and to the survey of plutonium hyper accumulator. The concentration of 239 Pu in desert plants collected from a contaminated site was determined, and the influence factors were studied. The concentration of 239 Pu in plants was (1.8±4.9) Bq/kg in dry weight, and it means that the plants were contaminated, moreover, the resuspension results in dramatic plutonium pollution of plant surface. The concentration of plutonium in plants depends on species, live stages and the content of plutonium in the rhizosphere soil. The concentration of plutonium in herbage is higher than that in woody plant, and for the seven species of desert plants investigated, it decreases in the order of Hexinia polydichotoma, Phragmites australis, Halostashys caspica, Halogeton arachnoideus, Lycium ruthenicum, Tamarix hispida and Calligonum aphyllum. (authors)

  8. [Ecophysiological Characteristics of actinomycetes of desert soils of Mongolia].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zenova, G M; Kozhevin, P A; Manucharova, N A; Lubsanova, D A; Dubrova, M S

    2014-01-01

    It is shown that the actinomycete complex in steppe-desert light brown salty soil of desert steppes of Mongolia is represented by the genera Streptomyces and Micromonospora. The species diversity of the genus Streptomyces, which dominates the complex, decreases with increasing osmolarity of the medium. The influence of environmental factors--temperature and osmolarity of medium--on the development of metabolically active members of the phylum Actinobacteria in the domain Bacteria of the prokaryotic microbial soil community was established. The proportion of metabolically active bacteria belonging to Actinobacteria increases with increasing osmolarity and incubation temperature of soil. The dominance of the filamentous metabolically active members of the phylum Actinobacteria over the unicellular organisms was shown. The halotolerant actinomycetes isolated from the steppe-desert soils were alkalotolerant, xerophilic, and thermotolerant and exhibited antimicrobial activity with respect to Gram-positive bacteria and actinomycetes.

  9. 76 FR 29153 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-20

    ... the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District AGENCY... approve revisions to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) portion of the California... approving with the dates that they were adopted by the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD...

  10. A comparison of Bromus tectorum growth and mycorrhizal colonization in salt desert versus sagebrush habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheatgrass has recently invaded marginal low elevation salt desert habitats across the Great Basin, USA. We tested the hypothesis that cheatgrass seed produced in populations from the more stressful salt desert versus upland sagebrush habitats should grow differently in salt desert soils compared to...

  11. 76 FR 8730 - Desert Southwest Customer Service Region-Rate Order No. WAPA-151

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-15

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Desert Southwest Customer Service Region.... Jack Murray, Rates Manager, Desert Southwest Customer Service Region, Western Area Power Administration... ancillary service rates for the Desert Southwest Customer Service Region in accordance with section 302 of...

  12. 76 FR 45606 - Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, Habitat Conservation Plan and Possible Land Use Plan...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-29

    ... biological resource conservation across the Mojave and Colorado Desert regions of southern California. The...-N131; 80221-1112-80221-F2] Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, Habitat Conservation Plan and..., as amended, for the proposed Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The EIS will be a...

  13. 76 FR 21402 - Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Desert Sunlight...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-15

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [CACA 048649, LLCAD06000, L51010000.FX0000, LVRWB09B2490] Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Desert Sunlight Holdings, LLC, Desert Sunlight Solar Farm and Proposed California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment...

  14. 75 FR 52776 - Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Desert Sunlight...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-08-27

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [CACA 048649, LLCAD06000, L51010000.FX0000, LVRWB09B2490] Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Desert Sunlight Holdings, LLC Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project and Possible California Desert Conservation Area Plan...

  15. Natural product diversity of actinobacteria in the Atacama Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rateb, Mostafa E; Ebel, Rainer; Jaspars, Marcel

    2018-02-14

    The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is considered one of the most arid and extreme environment on Earth. Its core region was described as featuring "Mars-like" soils that were at one point deemed too extreme for life to exist. However, recent investigations confirmed the presence of diverse culturable actinobacteria. In the current review, we discuss a total of 46 natural products isolated to date representing diverse chemical classes characterized from different actinobacteria isolated from various locations in the Atacama Desert. Their reported biological activities are also discussed.

  16. Provenance and recycling of Arabian desert sand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garzanti, Eduardo; Vermeesch, Pieter; Andò, Sergio; Vezzoli, Giovanni; Valagussa, Manuel; Allen, Kate; Kadi, Khalid A.; Al-Juboury, Ali I. A.

    2013-05-01

    This study seeks to determine the ultimate origin of aeolian sand in Arabian deserts by high-resolution petrographic and heavy-mineral techniques combined with zircon U-Pb geochronology. Point-counting is used here as the sole method by which unbiased volume percentages of heavy minerals can be obtained. A comprehensive analysis of river and wadi sands from the Red Sea to the Bitlis-Zagros orogen allowed us to characterize all potential sediment sources, and thus to quantitatively constrain provenance of Arabian dune fields. Two main types of aeolian sand can be distinguished. Quartzose sands with very poor heavy-mineral suites including zircon occupy most of the region comprising the Great Nafud and Rub' al-Khali Sand Seas, and are largely recycled from thick Lower Palaeozoic quartzarenites with very minor first-cycle contributions from Precambrian basement, Mesozoic carbonate rocks, or Neogene basalts. Instead, carbonaticlastic sands with richer lithic and heavy-mineral populations characterize coastal dunes bordering the Arabian Gulf from the Jafurah Sand Sea of Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates. The similarity with detritus carried by the axial Tigris-Euphrates system and by transverse rivers draining carbonate rocks of the Zagros indicates that Arabian coastal dunes largely consist of far-travelled sand, deposited on the exposed floor of the Gulf during Pleistocene lowstands and blown inland by dominant Shamal northerly winds. A dataset of detrital zircon U-Pb ages measured on twelve dune samples and two Lower Palaeozoic sandstones yielded fourteen identical age spectra. The age distributions all show a major Neoproterozoic peak corresponding to the Pan-African magmatic and tectonic events by which the Arabian Shield was assembled, with minor late Palaeoproterozoic and Neoarchean peaks. A similar U-Pb signature characterizes also Jafurah dune sands, suggesting that zircons are dominantly derived from interior Arabia, possibly deflated from the Wadi al

  17. Ground-water data, Sevier Desert, Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mower, Reed W.; Feltis, Richard D.

    1964-01-01

    This report is intended to serve two purposes: (1) to make available to the public basic ground-water data useful in planning and studying development of water resources, and (2) to supplement an interpretive report that will be published later.Records were collected during the period 1935-64 by the U.S. Geological survey in cooperation with the Utah State Engineer as part of the investigation of ground-water conditions in the Sevier Desert, in Juab and Millard Counties, Utah. The interpretive material will be published in a companion report by R. W. Mower and R. D. Feltis.This report is most useful in predicting conditions likely to be found in areas that are being considered as well sites. The person considering the new well can spot the proposed site on plate 1 and examine the records of nearby wells as shown in the tables and figures. From table 1 he can note such things as depth, diameter, water level, yield, use of water, temperature of water, and depth of perforations. By comparing the depth of perforations with the drillers' logs in table 3 he can note the type of material that yields water to the wells. Table 2 and figure 2 show the historic fluctuations and trends of water levels in the vicinity. From table 4 he can note the chemical quality of the water from wells in the vicinity. Table 5 shows the amount of water discharged during 1951-63 from the pumped irrigation, public supply, and industrial wells. If the reader decides from his examination that conditions are favorable, he can place an application to drill a well with the state Engineer. If the State Engineer believes unappropriated water is available, the application may be approved after minimum statutory requirements have been satisfied.The report is also useful when planning large-scale developments of water supply. This and other uses of the report will be helped by use of the interpretive report upon its release.

  18. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program. Progress report, January 1994--December 1994

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    1995-07-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential geological repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, a program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG and G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG and G/EM) from January 1994 through December 1994 for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the environmental program for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP): Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support

  19. Book review: Biology and conservation of North American tortoises

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munoz, David; Aiello, Christina M.

    2015-01-01

    The charismatic North American tortoises hold a special place in our culture and natural history. Despite the perseverance of these tortoises over millions of years, biologists now question their ability to persist into the future. In light of documented declines, habitat loss, and numerous threats to tortoise populations, the editors gathered a diverse group of researchers to review what we have learned about this group after decades of study, to summarize gaps in the literature, and to reflect on how we may use the current state of knowledge to conserve these fascinating species. Initially intended as a focused review of the two most well-studied species in the genus Gopherus, G. agassizii (Mohave Desert Tortoise) and G. polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise), the book developed into a comprehensive treatment of the entire genus. The editors offer the work as a resource to professional biologists and agencies working with North American tortoises as well as a teaching aid, hobbyist’s reference, and casual read for nature-lovers—although we presume that the former group is more likely to benefit than the latter. Although the book’s size appears modest, the content delivers an in-depth look at the five recognized tortoise species.

  20. Yucca Mountain Biological Resources Monitoring Program. Progress report, January 1994--December 1994

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1995-07-01

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) to study and characterize the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential geological repository for high-level nuclear waste. During site characterization, the DOE will conduct a variety of geotechnical, geochemical, geological, and hydrological studies to determine the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential repository. To ensure that site characterization activities do not adversely affect the environment at Yucca Mountain, a program has been implemented to monitor and mitigate potential impacts and ensure activities comply with applicable environmental regulations. This report describes the activities and accomplishments of EG and G Energy Measurements, Inc. (EG and G/EM) from January 1994 through December 1994 for six program areas within the Terrestrial Ecosystem component of the environmental program for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP): Site Characterization Effects, Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii), Habitat Reclamation, Monitoring and Mitigation, Radiological Monitoring, and Biological Support.

  1. Amphibians and land use in the Chihuahuan Desert border region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paulette L. Ford; Deborah M. Finch

    1999-01-01

    The pressures of growing borderland populations, increased land use, and Increased water use are threatening amphibians in the Chihuahuan Desert border area. In this paper, we describe potential direct threats such as loss or contamination of aquatic habitats, and indirect threats such as the sublethal effects of pesticides on developing larvae and tadpoles. More...

  2. Characterization of natural habitats and diversity of Libyan desert truffles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouzadi, Mozidi; Grebenc, Tine; Turunen, Ossi; Kraigher, Hojka; Taib, Hassan; Alafai, Abdulhafied; Sbissi, Imed; Assad, Mamdouh El Haj; Bedade, Dattatray; Shamekh, Salem

    2017-10-01

    Desert truffles have traditionally been used as food in Libya. Desert truffle grows and gives fruit sporadically when adequate and properly distributed rainfall occurs with existence of suitable soil and mycorrhizal host plant. The present study aimed to identify and characterize two kinds of wild desert truffles from ecological and nutritional points that were collected from the studied area. The truffle samples were identified as Terfezia (known as red or black truffle) and Tirmania (known as white truffle). The nutritional values (protein, lipid and carbohydrate) of both Libyan wild truffle ( Terfezia and Tirmania) were determined on a dry weight basis and result showed that Tirmania and Terfezia contained 16.3 and 18.5% protein, 6.2 and 5.9% lipid, 67.2 and 65% carbohydrate, respectively, in ascocarp biomass. The soil pH of the upper and lower regions of the Hamada Al-Hamra ranged between 8.2 and 8.5 giving suitable conditions for fructification. The plants, Helianthemum kahiricum and Helianthemum lippii were the dominant plants in Hamada Al-Hamra region found to form a mycorrhiza with desert truffles. The phylogenetic analysis of the genomic rDNA ITS region showed that, out of five collections three represented Tirmania pinoyi (Maire) Malencon, one Tirmania nivea (Desf.) Trappe, and one Terfezia boudieri Chatin.

  3. Erosion resistance of bionic functional surfaces inspired from desert scorpions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhiwu, Han; Junqiu, Zhang; Chao, Ge; Li, Wen; Ren, Luquan

    2012-02-07

    In this paper, a bionic method is presented to improve the erosion resistance of machine components. Desert scorpion (Androctonus australis) is a typical animal living in sandy deserts, and may face erosive action of blowing sand at a high speed. Based on the idea of bionics and biologic experimental techniques, the mechanisms of the sand erosion resistance of desert scorpion were investigated. Results showed that the desert scorpions used special microtextures such as bumps and grooves to construct the functional surfaces to achieve the erosion resistance. In order to understand the erosion resistance mechanisms of such functional surfaces, the combination of computational and experimental research were carried out in this paper. The Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method was applied to predict the erosion performance of the bionic functional surfaces. The result demonstrated that the microtextured surfaces exhibited better erosion resistance than the smooth surfaces. The further erosion tests indicated that the groove surfaces exhibited better erosion performance at 30° injection angle. In order to determine the effect of the groove dimensions on the erosion resistance, regression analysis of orthogonal multinomials was also performed under a certain erosion condition, and the regression equation between the erosion rate and groove distance, width, and height was established.

  4. Cultural and religious unification through music in Desert Rose's ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Silence of the Musicis a musical theatre piece produced by Desert Rose in 2010. The production not only addresses themes of prejudice and intercultural discrepancies in post-apartheid South Africa, but also carries a message of love and unity. The unifying factor in the show is music – the fusing together of the musics of ...

  5. Zimbabwean army deserters in South Africa: military bonding and survival

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Maringira, G.; Richters, A.; Gibson, D.

    2013-01-01

    Accounts of Zimbabwe's political crisis have mostly presented soldiers in the army as defenders of President Robert Mugabe's regime without any mention of the regime's victimization of its own soldiers. To escape further victimization many of these soldiers deserted and migrated to South Africa. In

  6. Book Review Nomadic Desert Birds By D Oschadleus (2004 ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Abstract. Adaptations of Desert Organisms series, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany ISBN 3540403930 e-mail: orders@springer.de 185 pages, hardcover: EUR 99.95; £77.00; sFr 166. Ostrich 2005, 76(1&2): 93 ...

  7. Forager abundance and dietary relationships Namib Desert ant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    variation in diet through time and no consistent patterns were apparent. Diet niche breadth and overlap also exhibited considerable variation between species at anyone time and within a species through time. There was no consistent relationship between ant size and the size of food particle utilized. Namib Desert ants are ...

  8. Ecological and evolutionary physiology of desert birds : A progress report

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Williams, JB; Tieleman, BI

    The adaptive significance of mechanisms of energy and water conservation among species of desert rodents, which avoid temperature extremes by remaining within a burrow during the day, is well established. Conventional wisdom holds that arid-zone birds, diurnal organisms that endure the brunt of

  9. Solar power at the edge of the Sahara desert

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bresler, Ines

    2012-07-01

    In Morocco, the turn in the energy sector is overseen by His Majesty the King himself: in 2009, the King introduced the Moroccan Solar Plan and created the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) for its implementation. This year, the construction work for the first project complex will commence at the edge of the Sahara desert. (orig.)

  10. Academic Performance, School Desertion and Emotional Paradigm in University Students

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sosa, Emma Rosa Cruz; Barrientos, Laura Gática; Castro, Patricia Eugenia García; García, Jesús Hernández

    2010-01-01

    The present work aims to describe academic performance, school desertion and the emotional paradigm of the university students of the accounting school of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (FCPBUAP). We have found that low academic performance is related to students' economic deficiency, which affects their concentration on their…

  11. i SOME ASPECTS OF ADAPTATION IN DESERT MAMMALS I ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    adaptation to environment, mostly in desert mammals. There does not appear to be ... Waddington (1959) then took the problem of the apparently Lamarckian adaptations further, and showed in ..... food resources is generally a bad thing since it leads to violent fluctuations in numbers, perhaps. R ep rod u ced b y Sa b in.

  12. Biology of larks (Aves: Alaudidae) in the central Namib Desert ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The biology of six species of larks in the Namib Desert near Walvis Bay, South West Africa, was studied in 1964, 1965 and 1966. 2. All species reproduced following rainfall in summer and autumn months, with the appearance of green grass and abundant insects on which the birds fed. 3. The primarily insectivorous species ...

  13. Analysis of "The Wonderful Desert." Technical Report No. 170.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, G. M.; And Others

    This report presents a text analysis of "The Wonderful Desert," a brief selection from the "Reader's Digest Skill Builder" series. (The techniques used in arriving at the analysis are presented in a Reading Center Technical Report, Number 168, "Problems and Techniques of Text Analysis.") Tables are given for a…

  14. Forager abundance and dietary relationships in a Namib Desert ant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Thirteen ant species coexist on a barren gravel plain habitat in the central Namib Desert. Numerical density of foragers of all species fluctuated considerably over a 17-month period. Peaks in abundance correlated to rainfall events and hence primary production pulses. The majority of foragers were nocturnal in summer and ...

  15. Activity of the Namib Desert dune ant, Camponotus detritus | Curtis ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The activity of the ant Camponotus detritus was studied in the dunes of the central Namib Desert. Activity was divided into two components: transit activity and honeydew collection. Temperature governed both forms, but light controlled the initiation and termination of transit activity, which was bimodal in warm conditions and ...

  16. Trajectory and rate of desert vegetation response following cattle removal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robert L. Minckley

    2013-01-01

    Cattle have grazed continuously over the past three centuries in the Sky Island region and most work has focused on how these grazers have affected riparian and grassland habitats. I examined the effects of grazing on a fuller spectrum of desert habitats that occur in the close proximity to the San Bernardino Valley of Mexico and the United States. Plots in each of...

  17. Palynology in a polar desert, eastern North Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Funder, Svend Visby; Abrahamsen, Niels

    1988-01-01

    history back to c. 7,000 years calBP (6,000 years convBP) in this·extreme environment, which presents the coldest thermal regime where vascular plants can grow. The diagram shows that polar desert developed from sparse high arctic tundra at c. 4,300 years calBP (3,900 years convBP), owing...

  18. Dynamic response of desert wetlands to abrupt climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Springer, Kathleen; Manker, Craig; Pigati, Jeffrey S.

    2015-01-01

    Desert wetlands are keystone ecosystems in arid environments and are preserved in the geologic record as groundwater discharge (GWD) deposits. GWD deposits are inherently discontinuous and stratigraphically complex, which has limited our understanding of how desert wetlands responded to past episodes of rapid climate change. Previous studies have shown that wetlands responded to climate change on glacial to interglacial timescales, but their sensitivity to short-lived climate perturbations is largely unknown. Here, we show that GWD deposits in the Las Vegas Valley (southern Nevada, United States) provide a detailed and nearly complete record of dynamic hydrologic changes during the past 35 ka (thousands of calibrated 14C years before present), including cycles of wetland expansion and contraction that correlate tightly with climatic oscillations recorded in the Greenland ice cores. Cessation of discharge associated with rapid warming events resulted in the collapse of entire wetland systems in the Las Vegas Valley at multiple times during the late Quaternary. On average, drought-like conditions, as recorded by widespread erosion and the formation of desert soils, lasted for a few centuries. This record illustrates the vulnerability of desert wetland flora and fauna to abrupt climate change. It also shows that GWD deposits can be used to reconstruct paleohydrologic conditions at millennial to submillennial timescales and informs conservation efforts aimed at protecting these fragile ecosystems in the face of anthropogenic warming.

  19. Calcretes in the Thar desert: Genesis, chronology and ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    R. Narasimhan (Krishtel eMaging) 1461 1996 Oct 15 13:05:22

    The calcretes in the Thar desert occur in a variety of settings, including the piedmonts, sheet- wash aggraded plains; and this study adds calcretes in regolith and colluvio-alluvial plains to the group of settings in which calcretes occur in the region. Field logs, morphological details and analytical data such as petrographic, ...

  20. Who Needs Religion When You Have The Desert?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sørensen, Bent

    In my paper I propose to read so-called ‘post-ironic’ texts by authors associated with the Blank Generation and Generation X (including Bret Easton Ellis and Douglas Coupland, as well as less well-known authors such as K.S. Haddock) and examine their use of the desert as a trope for identity test...

  1. Mechanisms for maintenance of dominance in a nonclonal desert shrub

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stanley G. Kitchen; Susan E. Meyer; Stephanie L. Carlson

    2015-01-01

    Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima: Rosaceae) is a slow-growing, non-clonal shrub that is regionally dominant on xeric, shallow soils in the North American Mojave Desert-Great Basin transition zone and southern Colorado Plateau. Blackbrush seed production is concentrated in mast years, and most seeds are cached and later consumed by heteromyid rodents....

  2. The meaning of desert color in earth orbital photographs

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Baz, F.

    1978-01-01

    The color of desert surfaces as seen in earth orbital photographs is indicative of soil composition. Apollo-Soyuz photographs of the Sturt and Simpson Deserts of Australia confirm that sand grains become redder as the distance from the source increases. Reddening is caused by a thin iron-oxide coating on individual sand grains and can be used, in some cases, to map relative-age zones. Photographs of the Western (Libyan) Desert of Egypt indicate three distinct and nearly parallel color zones that have been correlated in the field with: (1) arable soil composed of quartz, clay, and calcium carbonate particles; (2) relatively active sand with or without sparse vegetation; and (3) relatively inactive sand mixed with dark (desert-varnished) pebbles. The youngest sands are in the form of longitudinal dunes, which are migrating to the south-southeast along the prevailing wind direction. Some of the young dune fields are encroaching on the western boundary of the fertile Nile Valley.

  3. The aeolian sedimentation record of the Thar desert

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    R. Narasimhan (Krishtel eMaging) 1461 1996 Oct 15 13:05:22

    Quaternary geology. Studies by the Geological Survey of India sug- gest that the Quaternary sedimentation in west- ern Rajasthan occurred in three large basins on ... Aeolian activity in the Thar desert is mainly restricted to the period of summer winds associ- ated with the south west monsoon. The north east- ern wind of ...

  4. Naturalisation, Desert, and the Symbolic Meaning of Citizenship

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lægaard, Sune

    2012-01-01

    of naturalisation requirements as involving notions of desert and asks what these developments imply about the meaning of citizenship. Naturalisation marks the boundary of society understood as a political community, i.e. a civic rather than territorial boundary. How this boundary is policed and on the basis...

  5. Sandgrouse as models of avian adaptations to deserts

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    desert environments: dry atmospheres allow large upward and downward radiant heat fluxes (Figure 1), which are expressed mostly in extremes of ambient temperature, since there is lit- tle moisture in the environment to act as a temperature buffer by absorbing or releasing latent heat of vaporization. Low biological ...

  6. Antimicrobial Screening of Some Exotic Tree Species of Rajasthan Desert

    OpenAIRE

    B.B.S. Kapoor* and Shelja Pandita

    2013-01-01

    Antimicrobial screening of ethyl ether and alcoholic extracts of leaves of four selected exotic tree species growing inRajasthan Desert was carried out. Colophospermum mopane, Holoptelea integrifolia, Kigelia pinnata andPutranjiva roxburghii showed positive reactions against bacterial pathogens i.e. Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichiacoli and a fungal pathogen Candida albicans.

  7. Growth differentiation factor 9 gene variants in Sudanese desert ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Certain variants in the growth differentiation factor 9 (GDF9) gene have major effects on the ovulation rate in sheep. The aim of this study was to analyse GDF9 variability in the Sudanese desert sheep ecotypes Ashgar, Dubasi and Watish, and to test identified variants for association with litter size. For this purpose, ewes of ...

  8. Nutritional value of commonly consumed desert date tree products ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The desert date (Balanites aegyptiaca, Del. L.) is one of the neglected staple crops of growing importance in the drought and famine-prone areas of Uganda. Unfortunately, information on its nutritional composition is still lacking, thus limiting their wider use and promotion. This study was designed to determine the nutritional ...

  9. Chronology of Desert Margin in Western India using Improved ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    27

    Chronology of Desert Margin in Western India using Improved. Luminescence Dating Protocols. Naveen Chauhan*1, P. Morthekai1,2,#. 1 AMOPH, Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad - 380 009, India. 2 Institute of Seismological Research, Raisan, Gandhinagar - 382 009, India. # Present Address: ...

  10. Nadine Gordimer's The Pickup and the Desert Romance Tradition in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The paper shows how Nadine Gordimer's novel The Pickup can be read as a radical reworking of the traditions of romance, most specifically of the colonial desert romance. E M Hull's novel The Sheik is discussed in order to highlight key patterns of this genre, particularly with reference to Rachel Blau DuPlessis' distinction ...

  11. Aggregation pheromone complex of the desert locust, Schistocerca ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The most striking feature of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskal), is its ability to reversibly transform between two morphologically, physiologically and behaviourlly distinct phases: solitaria and gregaria. The solitary phase prevails in the recession areas as dispersed individuals in very low densities in scattered ...

  12. Impacts of tracked vehicles on sediment from a desert soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erek H. Fuchs; Karl M. Wood; Tim L. Jones; Brent Racher

    2003-01-01

    Off-road military vehicle traffic is a major consideration in the management of military lands. The objective of this study was to determine the impacts of military tracked M1A1 heavy combat tank vehicles on sediment loss from runoff, surface plant cover, and surface microtopography in a desert military training environment. A randomized block design was used which had...

  13. Extreme Arthropods: Exploring Evolutionary Adaptations to Polar and Temperate Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandro, Luke; Constible, Juanita M.; Lee, Richard E., Jr.

    2007-01-01

    In this activity, Namib and Antarctic arthropods are used to illustrate several important biological principles. Among these are the key ideas that form follows function and that the environment drives evolution. In addition, students will discover that the climates of the Namib Desert and the Antarctic Peninsula are similar in several ways, and…

  14. (Teleostei: Mormyridae), a mormyrid fish from the Namib desert

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    We critically compared Marcusenius specimens from the mouth of the Cunene River on the Namibia/Angola border, a harsh desert environment on the Atlantic Ocean coast virtually devoid of aerial insects with aquatic larvae which are an important food item, with Marcusenius multisquamatus Kramer & Wink, 2013 from the ...

  15. Identifying rural food deserts: Methodological considerations for food environment interventions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebel, Alexandre; Noreau, David; Tremblay, Lucie; Oberlé, Céline; Girard-Gadreau, Maurie; Duguay, Mathieu; Block, Jason P

    2016-06-09

    Food insecurity in an important public health issue and affects 13% of Canadian households. It is associated with poor accessibility to fresh, diverse and affordable food products. However, measurement of the food environment is challenging in rural settings since the proximity of food supply sources is unevenly distributed. The objective of this study was to develop a methodology to identify food deserts in rural environments. In-store evaluations of 25 food products were performed for all food stores located in four contiguous rural counties in Quebec. The quality of food products was estimated using four indices: freshness, affordability, diversity and the relative availability. Road network distance between all residences to the closest food store with a favourable score on the four dimensions was mapped to identify residential clusters located in deprived communities without reasonable access to a "good" food source. The result was compared with the food desert parameters proposed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as with the perceptions of a group of regional stakeholders. When food quality was considered, food deserts appeared more prevalent than when only the USDA definition was used. Objective measurements of the food environment matched stakeholders' perceptions. Food stores' characteristics are different in rural areas and require an in-store estimation to identify potential rural food deserts. The objective measurements of the food environment combined with the field knowledge of stakeholders may help to shape stronger arguments to gain the support of decision-makers to develop relevant interventions.

  16. Reestablishing healthy food retail: changing the landscape of food deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karpyn, Allison; Young, Candace; Weiss, Stephanie

    2012-02-01

    The term "food desert" was formally introduced into the lexicon in 1995 and has come to describe areas with limited access to affordable nutritious foods, particularly areas in lower-income neighborhoods. The definition has led to the development of national and regional maps that focus efforts on equity in food access. Recognition of food deserts also marks a strategic change in public health's approach to obesity prevention. Today's emphasis on prevention has shifted away from individual responsibility to the role of the environment in health promotion. A number of solutions are underway to address food deserts, including public–private financing programs, industry commitments, as well as local and regional efforts to put healthy food within reach. The promise of financing programs to facilitate development of healthy food markets in underserved communities is rooted in their potential to alleviate the grocery gap and address underlying environmental contributors to obesity and diet-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. As food desert mapping and related interventions expand, there remains a need for ongoing investigation of impacts and the mechanisms by which impacts are achieved.

  17. Resource inventory techniques used in the California Desert Conservation Area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mcleod, R. G.; Johnson, H. B.

    1981-01-01

    A variety of conventional and remotely sensed data for the 25 million acre California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) have been integrated and analyzed to estimate range carrying capacity. Multispectral classification was performed on a digital mosaic of ten Landsat frames. Multispectral classes were correlated with low level aerial photography, quantified and aggregated by grazing allotment, land ownership, and slope.

  18. Distribution and status of the desert-dwelling giraffe ( Giraffa ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The population density and distribution of desert dwelling giraffes was estimated in three study areas in the Hoanib River catchment, northwestern Namibia. Giraffe population densities (0.01 giraffe/km2) were equal to the lowest recorded in Africa with population numbers fluctuating over past decades. Sex ratios, herd sizes ...

  19. Effects of altered temperature and precipitation on desert protozoa associated with biological soil crusts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darby, Brian J; Housman, David C; Zaki, Amr M; Shamout, Yassein; Adl, Sina M; Belnap, Jayne; Neher, Deborah A

    2006-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are diverse assemblages of bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, lichens, and mosses that cover much of arid land soils. The objective of this study was to quantify protozoa associated with biological soil crusts and test the response of protozoa to increased temperature and precipitation as is predicted by some global climate models. Protozoa were more abundant when associated with cyanobacteria/lichen crusts than with cyanobacteria crusts alone. Amoebae, flagellates, and ciliates originating from the Colorado Plateau desert (cool desert, primarily winter precipitation) declined 50-, 10-, and 100-fold, respectively, when moved in field mesocosms to the Chihuahuan Desert (hot desert, primarily summer rain). However, this was not observed in protozoa collected from the Chihuahuan Desert and moved to the Sonoran desert (hot desert, also summer rain, but warmer than Chihuahuan Desert). Protozoa in culture began to encyst at 37 degrees C. Cysts survived the upper end of daily temperatures (37-55 degrees C), and could be stimulated to excyst if temperatures were reduced to 15 degrees C or lower. Results from this study suggest that cool desert protozoa are influenced negatively by increased summer precipitation during excessive summer temperatures, and that desert protozoa may be adapted to a specific desert's temperature and precipitation regime.

  20. Pollen spectrum, a cornerstone for tracing the evolution of the eastern Central Asian desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Kai-Qing; Xie, Gan; Li, Min; Li, Jin-Feng; Trivedi, Anjali; Ferguson, David K.; Yao, Yi-Feng; Wang, Yu-Fei

    2018-04-01

    The temperate desert in arid Central Asia (ACA) has acted as a thoroughfare for the ancient Silk Road and today's Belt and Road, linking economic and cultural exchanges between East and West. The interaction between human sustainable development and the dynamic change in the desert ecosystem in this region is an area of concern for governments and scientific communities. Nevertheless, the lack of a pollen spectrum of the dominant taxa within the temperate desert vegetation and a corresponding relation between pollen assemblages and specific desert vegetation types is an obstacle to further understanding the formation and maintenance of this desert ecosystem. In this work, we link pollen assemblages to specific desert vegetation types with a new pollen spectrum with specific pollen grains, specific plant taxa and related habitats, providing a solid foundation for further tracing the evolution of the desert ecosystem in eastern arid Central Asia.

  1. The effect of drought on four plant communities in the northern Mojave Desert

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schultz, B.W. [Desert Research Inst., Reno, NV (United States); Ostler, W.K. [EG and G Energy Measurements, Inc., Las Vegas, NV (United States)

    1993-12-31

    Desert plant communities contain many perennial plant species that are well adapted to arid environments; therefore, one would intuitively believe that perennial desert species readily survive drought conditions. Abundant research on plant-soil-water relationships in North American deserts has shown that many species can maintain water uptake and growth when the soil-water potential is low. Little research, however, has focused on how prolonged drought conditions affect plant species in vegetation associations in desert ecosystems. A prolonged and widespread drought occurred in much of the western United States, including the Northern Mojave Desert, from 1987 through 1991. During this drought period vegetation characterization studies, initiated in 1990, by the US Department of Energy (DOE) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, allowed EG and G Energy Measurements to collect data that could be used to infer how both desert vegetation associations and desert plant species reacted to a prolonged drought. This paper presents the preliminary results.

  2. Biological soil crusts as an integral component of desert environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Weber, Bettina

    2013-01-01

    The biology and ecology of biological soil crusts, a soil surface community of mosses, lichens, cyanobacteria, green algae, fungi, and bacteria, have only recently been a topic of research. Most efforts began in the western U.S. (Cameron, Harper, Rushforth, and St. Clair), Australia (Rogers), and Israel (Friedmann, Evenari, and Lange) in the late 1960s and 1970s (e.g., Friedmann et al. 1967; Evenari 1985reviewed in Harper and Marble 1988). However, these groups worked independently of each other and, in fact, were often not aware of each other’s work. In addition, biological soil crust communities were seen as more a novelty than a critical component of dryland ecosystems. Since then, researchers have investigated many different aspects of these communities and have shown that although small to microscopic, biological soil crusts are critical in many ecological processes of deserts. They often cover most of desert soil surfaces and substantially mediate inputs and outputs from desert soils (Belnap et al. 2003). They can be a large source of biodiversity for deserts, as they can contain more species than the surrounding vascular plant community (Rosentreter 1986). These communities are important in reducing soil erosion and increasing soil fertility through the capture of dust and the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen and carbon into forms available to other life forms (Elbert et al. 2012). Because of their many effects on soil characteristics, such as external and internal morphological characteristics, aggregate stability, soil moisture, and permeability, they also affect seed germination and establishment and local hydrological cycles. Covering up to 70% of the surface area in many arid and semi-arid regions around the world (Belnap and Lange 2003), biological soil crusts are a key component within desert environments.

  3. Goods and services provided by native plants in desert ecosystems: Examples from the northwestern coastal desert of Egypt

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laila M. Bidak

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available About one third of the earth’s land surface is covered by deserts that have low and variable rainfall, nutrient-poor soils, and little vegetation cover. Here, we focus on the goods and services offered by desert ecosystems using the northwestern coastal desert of Egypt extending from Burg El-Arab to El-Salloum as an example. We conducted field surveys and collected other data to identify the goods services and provided by native plant species. A total of 322 native plant species were compiled. The direct services provided by these native plants included sources of food, medicine, and energy; indirect vegetation services included promotion of biodiversity, water storage, and soil fertility. The plant diversity in this ecosystem provided economic service benefits, such as sources of fodder, fuel-wood, and traditional medicinal plants. Changes in land use and recent ill-managed human activities may influence the availability of these services and strongly impact biodiversity and habitat availability. Although deserts are fragile and support low levels of productivity, they provide a variety of goods and services whose continuing availability is contingent upon the adoption of rational land management practices.

  4. 76 FR 50493 - Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for the Desert Sunlight Holdings, LLC, Desert...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-15

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [CACA-48649, LLCAD06000 L51010000 ER0000... right-of-way (ROW) application CACA-48649 for the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm Project (DSSF). The DSSF is... (CACA-052682) where the project would interconnect with the SCE regional transmission system. The DSSF...

  5. Impact and monitoring of dust storms in Taklimakan desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, G. G.; Li, X.; Zheng, Z.

    2012-12-01

    The Taklimakan is China's largest, driest, and warmest desert in total area of 338000km^2 with perimeter of 436 km, it is also known as one of the world's largest shifting-sand deserts. Fully 85 percent of the total area consists of mobile, crescent-shaped sand dunes and are virtually devoid of vegetation. The abundant sand provides material for frequent intense dust storms. The Taklimakan desert fills the expansive Tarim Basin between the Kunlun Mountains and the Tibet Plateau to the south and the Tian Shan Mountains to the north. The Tarim River flows across the basin from west-to-east. In these places, the oases created by fresh surface water support agriculture. Studies outside Xinjiang indicated that 80% dust source of storms was from farmland. Dust storms in the Tarim Basin occur for 20 to 59 days, mainly in spring every year. However, little effort was taken to investigate soil wind erosion and dust emission around the desert. Quantitative understanding of individual dust events in the arid Taklimakan desert, for example, the dust emission rates and the long-range transport, are still incomplete. Therefore, the dust events were observed through routine satellite sensors, lidar instruments, airborne samplers, and surface-based aerosol monitors. Soil wind erosion and suspended particulates emission of four major dust storms from the desert and the typical oasis farmlands at the north rim of the desert were measured using creep sampler, BSNE and TSP at eight heights in 2012. In addition, Aqua satellite AOD data, the NAAPS Global Aeosol model, the CALIPSO satellite products, EPA's AirNow AQI of PM2.5 and HYSPLIT Back Trajectory model were applied to analyze dust transport across the Pacific. Four significant dust storms were observed at the north rim of Taklimakan desert in the spring, 2012. During those events, predominant wind direction ranged from 296 to 334°, wind speed over 7 m/s at 2 m lasted for 471-1074 min, gust wind speed ranged from 11-18m/s. It was

  6. Mineral compositions and sources of the riverbed sediment in the desert channel of Yellow River.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jia, Xiaopeng; Wang, Haibing

    2011-02-01

    The Yellow River flows through an extensive, aeolian desert area and extends from Xiaheyan, Ningxia Province, to Toudaoguai, Inner Mongolia Province, with a total length of 1,000 km. Due to the construction and operation of large reservoirs in the upstream of the Yellow River, most water and sediment from upstream were stored in these reservoirs, which leads to the declining flow in the desert channel that has no capability to scour large amount of input of desert sands from the desert regions. By analyzing and comparing the spatial distribution of weight percent of mineral compositions between sediment sources and riverbed sediment of the main tributaries and the desert channel of the Yellow River, we concluded that the coarse sediment deposited in the desert channel of the Yellow River were mostly controlled by the local sediment sources. The analyzed results of the Quartz-Feldspar-Mica (QFM) triangular diagram and the R-factor models of the coarse sediment in the Gansu reach and the desert channel of the Yellow River further confirm that the Ningxia Hedong desert and the Inner Mongolian Wulanbuhe and Kubuqi deserts are the main provenances of the coarse sediment in the desert channel of the Yellow River. Due to the higher fluidity of the fine sediment, they are mainly contributed by the local sediment sources and the tributaries that originated from the loess area of the upper reach of the Yellow River.

  7. Dramatic Demand Reduction In The Desert Southwest

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Boehm, Robert [Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States); Hsieh, Sean [Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States); Lee, Joon [Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States); Baghzouz, Yahia [Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States); Cross, Andrew [Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States); Chatterjee, Sarah [NV Energy, Las Vegas, NV (United States)

    2015-07-06

    This report summarizes a project that was funded to the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), with subcontractors Pulte Homes and NV Energy. The project was motivated by the fact that locations in the Desert Southwest portion of the US demonstrate very high peak electrical demands, typically in the late afternoons in the summer. These high demands often require high priced power to supply the needs, and the large loads can cause grid supply problems. An approach was proposed through this contact that would reduce the peak electrical demands to an anticipated 65% of what code-built houses of the similar size would have. It was proposed to achieve energy reduction through four approaches applied to a development of 185 homes in northwest part of Las Vegas named Villa Trieste. First, the homes would all be highly energy efficient. Secondly, each house would have a PV array installed on it. Third, an advanced demand response technique would be developed to allow the resident to have some control over the energy used. Finally, some type of battery storage would be used in the project. Pulte Homes designed the houses. The company considered initial cost vs. long-term savings and chose options that had relatively short paybacks. HERS (Home Energy Rating Service) ratings for the homes are approximately 43 on this scale. On this scale, code-built homes rate at 100, zero energy homes rate a 0, and Energy Star homes are 85. In addition a 1.764 Wp (peak Watt) rated PV array was used on each house. This was made up of solar shakes that were in visual harmony with the roofing material used. A demand response tool was developed to control the amount of electricity used during times of peak demand. While demand response techniques have been used in the utility industry for some time, this particular approach is designed to allow the customer to decide the degree of participation in the response activity. The temperature change in the residence can be decided by the residents by

  8. Ancient photosynthetic eukaryote biofilms in an Atacama Desert coastal cave

    Science.gov (United States)

    Azua-Bustos, A.; Gonzalez-Silva, C.; Mancilla, R.A.; Salas, L.; Palma, R.E.; Wynne, J.J.; McKay, C.P.; Vicuna, R.

    2009-01-01

    Caves offer a stable and protected environment from harsh and changing outside prevailing conditions. Hence, they represent an interesting habitat for studying life in extreme environments. Here, we report the presence of a member of the ancient eukaryote red algae Cyanidium group in a coastal cave of the hyperarid Atacama Desert. This microorganism was found to form a seemingly monospecific biofilm growing under extremely low photon flux levels. Our work suggests that this species, Cyanidium sp. Atacama, is a new member of a recently proposed novel monophyletic lineage of mesophilic "cave" Cyanidium sp., distinct from the remaining three other lineages which are all thermo-acidophilic. The cave described in this work may represent an evolutionary island for life in the midst of the Atacama Desert. ?? Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009.

  9. Biotechnological Applications Derived from Microorganisms of the Atacama Desert

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Armando Azua-Bustos

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The Atacama Desert in Chile is well known for being the driest and oldest desert on Earth. For these same reasons, it is also considered a good analog model of the planet Mars. Only a few decades ago, it was thought that this was a sterile place, but in the past years fascinating adaptations have been reported in the members of the three domains of life: low water availability, high UV radiation, high salinity, and other environmental stresses. However, the biotechnological applications derived from the basic understanding and characterization of these species, with the notable exception of copper bioleaching, are still in its infancy, thus offering an immense potential for future development.

  10. The Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory For Desert Adaptation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kemp, John D.; Phillips, Gregory C.

    1985-11-01

    The Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory for Desert Adaptation (PGEL) is one of five Centers of Technical Excellence established as a part of the state of New Mexico's Rio Grande Research Corridor (RGRC). The scientific mission of PGEL is to bring innovative advances in plant biotechnology to bear on agricultural productivity in arid and semi-arid regions. Research activities focus on molecular and cellular genetics technology development in model systems, but also include stress physiology investigations and development of desert plant resources. PGEL interacts with the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a national laboratory participating in the RGRC. PGEL also has an economic development mission, which is being pursued through technology transfer activities to private companies and public agencies.

  11. DESERT ECOSYSTEMS: MAPPING, MONITORING & ASSESSMENT USING SATELLITE REMOTE SENSING

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. S. Arya

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available Desert ecosystems are unique but fragile ecosystems , mostly vulnerable to a variety of degradational processes like water erosion, vegetal degradation, salinity, wind erosion , water logging etc. Some researchers consider desertification to be a process of change, while others view it as the end result of a process of change. There is an urgent need to arrest the process of desertification and combat land degradation. Under the auspices of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad has undertaken the task of mapping, monitoring and assessment of desertification carrying out pilot project in hot and cold desert regions in drylands on 1:50,000 scale followed by systematic Desertification Status Mappaing (DSM of India on 1:500,000 scale.

  12. |XAM SKYLORE OF THE KAROO DESERT, SOUTH AFRICA

    OpenAIRE

    Holbrook, J.; de Prada-Samper, J. Μ.

    2016-01-01

    The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be the largest radio telescope facility in Africa when it is completed which is estimated to be a decade into the future. The |Xam group of the San people of South Africa lived in the region of the Karoo Desert where the Square Kilometre Array is being built. Several European countries are part of the SKA collaboration (Spain, Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Malta, France), Asian countries (China, India, Japan, and South Kore...

  13. Desert ‘trash’ : posthumanism, border struggles, and humanitarian politics

    OpenAIRE

    Squire, Vicki

    2014-01-01

    What is the political significance of humanitarian activist engagements with the discarded belongings of migrants? This article explores how bordering practices between states resonate with bordering practices between the human and non-human. It argues that attempts to transform ‘desert/ed trash’ into objects of value are nothing less than struggles over the very category of ‘the human’ itself. Focusing on humanitarian engagements with the objects that migrants leave behind across the Mexico-...

  14. Study on Biopesticidal Potential of Some Desert Plants.

    OpenAIRE

    Meera Srivastava; Amandeep Kaur Mann

    2013-01-01

    This study was conducted to determine the biopesticidal potential of extracts of some desert plants against mortality of three stored grain pests Tribolium castaneum Herbst., Rhizopertha dominica Fab. and Callasobruchus chinensis Linn. The study was done by treating them with various formulations of different parts (leaf, stem, root and fruit) of plants Aerva tomentosa Linn, Peganum harmala Linn. and Fagonia critica Linn. using ether extract, aqueous extract and aqueous suspension at various ...

  15. Palynology in a polar desert, eastern North Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Funder, Svend Visby; Abrahamsen, Niels

    1988-01-01

    history back to c. 7,000 years calBP (6,000 years convBP) in this·extreme environment, which presents the coldest thermal regime where vascular plants can grow. The diagram shows that polar desert developed from sparse high arctic tundra at c. 4,300 years calBP (3,900 years convBP), owing to redu...

  16. Impacts of feral horses on a desert environment

    OpenAIRE

    Hendrickson Larry E; Rubin Esther S; Atwill Edward A; Ostermann-Kelm Stacey D; Boyce Walter M

    2009-01-01

    Abstract Background Free-ranging horses (Equus caballus) in North America are considered to be feral animals since they are descendents of non-native domestic horses introduced to the continent. We conducted a study in a southern California desert to understand how feral horse movements and horse feces impacted this arid ecosystem. We evaluated five parameters susceptible to horse trampling: soil strength, vegetation cover, percent of nonnative vegetation, plant species diversity, and macroin...

  17. Density and diversity of the desert Arthropoda of Qatar

    OpenAIRE

    Abu Shama, F. T. [فيصل تاج الدين ابو شامة

    1997-01-01

    Density and diversity of arthropods were studied at different habitats of the Qatari desert. Diurnal sampling was conducted at two seasons of the year, the end of the dry season, at the beginning of autumn (October) in 1995-1996, and in spring (April) in 1996-1997. The habitats selected included land-depressions (roda), sand dunes (nijyan) and salt mud flats (sabkha). Variations in macroclimate were apparent in the records of air temperature, relative humidity, soil surface temperature and wi...

  18. The Mystery of the Gun Turret in the Desert

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hoffman, R. D. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)

    2015-11-30

    The mystery of the gun turret in the desert began with an ingenious idea: to develop a reusable open-air line of sight diagnostic device to support LLNL’s early nuclear weapons development efforts. Obtained from the Mare Island Navy Shipyard (MINS) in January 1957, the gun turret traveled by ship to the Naval Construction Battalion base at Port Hueneme, California, and then by truck to Area 2 in the Yucca Flats valley at the Nevada Nuclear Security Site (NNSS).

  19. Corps G-2 Staff Competencies: A Desert Storm Case Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-06-09

    need. Written accounts highlight challenges analyzing near-real-time information, producing updated analysis products, informing decision makers, and... Accounting Education.” Accounting Education 4, no. 1 (March):43-53. Cross, C. F. 1995. The Dragon Lady Meets the Challenge : The U-2 in Desert...Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited 13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES An Army Warfighting Challenge asks what Soldier, leader, and unit

  20. Ground-water quality and geochemistry, Carson Desert, western Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lico, Michael S.; Seiler, R.L.

    1994-01-01

    Aquifers in the Carson Desert are the primary source of drinking water, which is highly variable in chemical composition. In the shallow basin-fill aquifers, water chemistyr varies from a dilute calcium bicarbonate-dominated water beneath the irrigated areas to a saline sodium chloride- dominated water beneath unirrigated areas. Water samples from the shallow aquifers commonly have dissolved solids, chloride, magnesium, sulfate, arsenic, and manganese concentrations that exceed State of Nevada drinking-water standards. Water in the intermediante basin-fill aquifers is a dilute sodium bicarbonate type in the Fallon area and a distinctly more saline sodium chloride type in the Soda Lake-Upsal Hogback area. Dissolved solids, chloride, arsenic, fluoride, and manganese concen- trations commonly exceed drinking-water standards. The basalt aquifer contains a dilute sodium bicarbonate chloride water. Arsenic concentrations exceed standards in all sampled wells. The concen- trations of major constituents in ground water beneath the southern Carson Desert are the result of evapotranspiration and natural geochemical reactions with minerals derived mostly from igneous rocks. Water with higher concentrations of iron and manganese is near thermodynamic equilibrium with siderite and rhodochrosite and indicates that these elements may be limited by the solubility of their respective carbonate minerals. Naturally occurring radionuclides (uranium and radon-222) are present in ground water from the Carson Desert in concen- tratons higher than proposed drinking-water standards. High uranium concentrations in the shallow aquifers may be caused by evaporative concentration and the release of uranium during dissolution of iron and manganese oxides or the oxidation of sedimentary organic matter that typically has elevated uranium concentrations. Ground water in the Carson Desert does not appear to have be contaminated by synthetic organic chemicals.

  1. Varanus exanthematicus (Bosc, 1792, Apalone spinifera emoryi (Le Sueur, 1827 y Gopherus berlandieri (Agassiz, 1857: reptiles exóticos en el área urbana de Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cupul-Magaña, Fabio Germán

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Varanus exanthematicus (Bosc, 1792; Material examinado: 1 ejemplar, hembra, longitud hocico-punta de la cola 628 mm, colectado el 8 de febrero del 2011 en una calle del área urbana de Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 20º 35' 48" N y 105º 13' 52" O, col. personal de la Subdirección de Ecología Municipal del H. Ayuntamiento de Puerto Vallarta, depositado y en resguardo del Reptilario Cipactli del Centro Universitario de la Costa de la Universidad de Guadalajara en Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México (permiso de funcionamiento del reptilario INE/ CITES/DGVS-CR-IN-0610-JAL./00; no hay número de registro individual del ejemplar. Gopherus berlandieri (Agassiz, 1857; Material examinado: 1 ejemplar, macho, longitud de caparazón 270 mm, colectado el 4 de mayo del 2005 en un parque urbano del Barrio Santa María de Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 20º 37' 53" N y 105º 12' 4" O, col. personal de la Policía Ecológica del H. Ayuntamiento de Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, depositada y en resguardo en una casa particular en la ciudad de León, Guanajuato (esta ciudad se encuentra aproximadamente a 370 km al noreste de Puerto Vallarta; no hay más datos del registro. Apalone spinifera emoryi (Le Sueur, 1827; Material examinado: 1 ejemplar, macho, longitud del caparazón 240 mm, capturado el 20 de mayo del 2011 en una laguna artificial de agua dulce del área suburbana de Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 20º 42' 15" N y 105º 13' 18" O, col. Helios Hernández, depositado y en resguardo del Reptilario Cipactli del Centro Universitario de la Costa de la Universidad de Guadalajara en Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México (permiso de funcionamiento del reptilario INE/ CITES/DGVS-CR-IN-0610-JAL./00; no hay número de registro individual del ejemplar.

  2. Interannual variations of the Gobi Desert area from 1982-1999

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Fangfang; Price, Kevin P.; Ellis, James; Feddema, Johannes J.

    2003-07-01

    There continues to be controversies among scientists whether humans are contributing to land degradation (desertification) in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. One area of considerable interest is the Gobi desert of central Asia, which is one of the largest deserts on Earth. The Gobi Desert is of particular value for addressing this question because it is divided by two countries that employ vastly different land management practices. Land use in China is high intensity and in Mongolia land use is of low intensity. In this study, climate and satellite remotely sensed data from 1982-1999 were used to investigate interannual variations in the areal extent the Gobi Desert boundary. Our results show substantial year-to-year variations in the size of the Gobi desert which was strongly correlated with annual precipitation (R2 = 0.81, PGobi Desert boundary response to interannual climatic variation will require studies extended over a longer time period.

  3. Fog deposition to a Tillandsia carpet in the Atacama Desert

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Osses

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available In the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth, fog deposition plays an important role for the water balance and for the survival of vulnerable ecosystems. The eddy covariance method, previously applied for the quantification of fog deposition to forests in various parts of the world, was used for the first time to measure deposition of fog water to a desert. In this exploratory study we estimate the amount of water available for the ecosystem by deposition and determine the relevant processes driving fog deposition. This is especially important for the species Tillandsia landbecki living in coastal Atacama at the limit of plant existence with fog and dew being the only sources of water. Between 31 July and 19 August 2008 approximately 2.5 L m−2 of water were made available through deposition. Whole-year deposition was estimated as 25 L m−2. Turbulent upward fluxes occurred several times during the evenings and are explained by the formation of radiation fog. In connection with that, underestimates of the deposition are assumed. More detailed studies covering various seasons and all parameters and fluxes contributing to the local energy balance are suggested. This will help to further develop understanding about the processes of (i deposition of water to the desert, and (ii intensification of advection fog through additional formation of radiation fog.

  4. Study of the microwave emissivity characteristics over Gobi Desert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yubao, Qiu; Lijuan, Shi; Wenbo, Wu

    2014-01-01

    The microwave emissivity represents the capacity of the thermal radiation of the surface, and it is the significant parameter for understanding the geophysical processes such as surface energy budget and surface radiation. Different land covers have different emissivity properties, and the Gobi Desert in Central Asia seriously impact the sandstorms occur and develop in China, because of its special geographical environment and surface soil characteristics. In this study half-month averaged microwave emissivity from March 2003 to February 2004 over the Gobi Desert has been estimated. Emissivities in this area at different frequencies, polarization and their seasonal variations are discussed respectively. The results showed that emissivity polarization difference decrease as the frequency increases, and the polarization difference is large (0.03–0.127). The H polarization emissivity increases with increasing frequency, but the V-polarized microwave emissivity is reduced with increasing frequency because of the body scattering. In winter, emissivity decreases sharply in snow covered area, especially for higher frequencies (such as 89GHz). In addition, we compared emissivity with MODIS NDVI data at the same time in the Gobi Desert, and the results indicate that NDVI derived the good negative correlation with microwave emissivity polarization difference at 37GHz

  5. Fog deposition to a Tillandsia carpet in the Atacama Desert

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Westbeld, A.; Klemm, O.; Griessbaum, F.; Straeter, E. [Muenster Univ. (Germany). Inst. of Landscape Ecology; Larrain, H. [Pontificia Univ. Catolica de Chile (Chile). Atacama Desert Center ADC; Univ. Bolivariana, Iquique (Chile); Osses, P.; Cereceda, P. [Pontificia Univ. Catolica de Chile, Santiago de Chile (Chile). Inst. of Geography

    2009-07-01

    In the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth, fog deposition plays an important role for the water balance and for the survival of vulnerable ecosystems. The eddy covariance method, previously applied for the quantification of fog deposition to forests in various parts of the world, was used for the first time to measure deposition of fog water to a desert. In this exploratory study we estimate the amount of water available for the ecosystem by deposition and determine the relevant processes driving fog deposition. This is especially important for the species Tillandsia landbecki living in coastal Atacama at the limit of plant existence with fog and dew being the only sources of water. Between 31 July and 19 August 2008 approximately 2.5 L m{sup -2} of water were made available through deposition. Whole-year deposition was estimated as 25 L m{sup -2}. Turbulent upward fluxes occurred several times during the evenings and are explained by the formation of radiation fog. In connection with that, underestimates of the deposition are assumed. More detailed studies covering various seasons and all parameters and fluxes contributing to the local energy balance are suggested. This will help to further develop understanding about the processes of (i) deposition of water to the desert, and (ii) intensification of advection fog through additional formation of radiation fog. (orig.)

  6. Energy-efficiency urban center in the Egyptian desert

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Albis, A.H.A.

    1985-01-01

    This research effort is concerned with the identification and utilization of practical design guidelines to meet the demand for guidance in innovative planning and building design for Egyptian desert conditions. An energy-conscious design can be realized with a minimum expenditure of exhaustible energy resources and maximum utilization of the natural energies for cooling and heating. The energy design guidelines developed will be applied to an Urban Center, on a site selected to alleviate the stress on Cairo, which has been suffering for over two decades from housing shortages due to overpopulation. Design criteria to meet the challenges of this research include: neighborhood planning; orientation; building details; shading; colors of walls and roofs; materials; and massing configuration. In this research, desert construction and its aspects, use of building materials, approaches to energy conservation, and architectural principles for neighborhood planning are identified. The human requirement for thermal comfort specific to desert environments are analyzed and related to diurnal and annual patterns of outdoor conditions, and to the potential for modifying indoor thermal conditions by designs suitable to prevailing climatic conditions.

  7. Transitory microbial habitat in the hyperarid Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Wagner, Dirk; Kounaves, Samuel P.; Mangelsdorf, Kai; Devine, Kevin G.; de Vera, Jean-Pierre; Schmitt-Kopplin, Philippe; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Parro, Victor; Kaupenjohann, Martin; Galy, Albert; Schneider, Beate; Airo, Alessandro; Frösler, Jan; Davila, Alfonso F.; Arens, Felix L.; Cáceres, Luis; Solís Cornejo, Francisco; Carrizo, Daniel; Dartnell, Lewis; DiRuggiero, Jocelyne; Flury, Markus; Ganzert, Lars; Gessner, Mark O.; Grathwohl, Peter; Guan, Lisa; Heinz, Jacob; Hess, Matthias; Keppler, Frank; Maus, Deborah; McKay, Christopher P.; Meckenstock, Rainer U.; Montgomery, Wren; Oberlin, Elizabeth A.; Probst, Alexander J.; Sáenz, Johan S.; Sattler, Tobias; Schirmack, Janosch; Sephton, Mark A.; Schloter, Michael; Uhl, Jenny; Valenzuela, Bernardita; Vestergaard, Gisle; Wörmer, Lars; Zamorano, Pedro

    2018-03-01

    Traces of life are nearly ubiquitous on Earth. However, a central unresolved question is whether these traces always indicate an active microbial community or whether, in extreme environments, such as hyperarid deserts, they instead reflect just dormant or dead cells. Although microbial biomass and diversity decrease with increasing aridity in the Atacama Desert, we provide multiple lines of evidence for the presence of an at times metabolically active, microbial community in one of the driest places on Earth. We base this observation on four major lines of evidence: (i) a physico-chemical characterization of the soil habitability after an exceptional rain event, (ii) identified biomolecules indicative of potentially active cells [e.g., presence of ATP, phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), metabolites, and enzymatic activity], (iii) measurements of in situ replication rates of genomes of uncultivated bacteria reconstructed from selected samples, and (iv) microbial community patterns specific to soil parameters and depths. We infer that the microbial populations have undergone selection and adaptation in response to their specific soil microenvironment and in particular to the degree of aridity. Collectively, our results highlight that even the hyperarid Atacama Desert can provide a habitable environment for microorganisms that allows them to become metabolically active following an episodic increase in moisture and that once it decreases, so does the activity of the microbiota. These results have implications for the prospect of life on other planets such as Mars, which has transitioned from an earlier wetter environment to today’s extreme hyperaridity.

  8. Microbial communities in a High Arctic polar desert landscape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clare M McCann

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The High Arctic is dominated by polar desert habitats whose microbial communities are poorly understood. In this study, we used next generation sequencing to describe the α- and β-diversity of polar desert soils from the Kongsfjorden region of Svalbard. Ten phyla consistently dominated the soils and accounted for 95 % of all sequences, with Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi being the dominant lineages. In contrast to previous investigations of Arctic soils, Acidobacterial relative abundances were low as were the Archaea throughout the Kongsfjorden polar desert landscape. Lower Acidobacterial abundances were attributed to the circumneutral soil pH in this region which has resulted from the weathering of the underlying carbonate geology. In addition, we correlated previously measured geochemical variables to determine potential controls on the communities. Soil phosphorus, pH, nitrogen and calcium significantly correlated with β-diversity indicating a landscape scale lithological control of soil nutrients which in turn influenced community composition. In addition, soil phosphorus and pH significantly correlated with α- diversity, specifically the Shannon diversity and Chao 1 richness indices.

  9. [Research advance in seed germination of desert woody plants].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chang, Wei; Wu, Jian-guo; Liu, Yan-hong

    2007-02-01

    This paper reviewed the research methods of desert woody plants seed germination, and the effects of internal and external ecological factors on it. Most researchers use incubator and artificial climate chamber to dispose the seeds, while field investigation was few involved. Seed dormancy is the important physiological factor affecting germination, while seed size, mass and color are closely correlated with its maturity and vigor. The poor permeability of seed capsule is a barrier that restrains the germination, which can be weakened or eliminated by shaving, cutting, treating with low temperature, and dipping in chemical reagent, etc. Seed water content has a close correlation with its storage life and water-absorbing capability. Suitable temperature is the prerequisite of seed germination, while changing temperature can accelerate the germination. Soil moisture content is a limiting factor, while illumination is not so essential to the seed germination of most desert woody plants. Sand-burying plays an important role in the seed germination through regulating illumination, temperature, and soil moisture content. Salinity stress restrains the seed germination of desert woody plants observably. In further studies, the effects of multi-factors and the eco-physiological and molecular biological mechanisms of germination should be more concerned.

  10. Mapping of Grocery Stores in Slovak Countryside in Context of Food Deserts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristína Bilková

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available The paper is focused on mapping grocery stores in the Slovak countryside with an emphasis on identifying potential food deserts in rural areas. Grocery stores are analyzed in the time period 2001–2011. Food deserts in rural areas are identified by two accessibility measures. The results show the development of food retailing in the Slovak countryside and in potentially threatened localities which can be defined as food deserts.

  11. diurnal and seasonal water relations of the desert phreatophyte prosopis-glandulosa (honey mesquite) in the Sonoran Desert of California

    OpenAIRE

    Nilsen, E. T.; Sharifi, M. R.; Rundel, P. W.; Jarrell, W. M.; Virginia, R. A.

    1983-01-01

    Diurnal and Seasonal water relations were monitored in a population of Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana in the Sonoran Desert of southern California. Prosopis glandulosa at this research site acquired its water from a ground water source 4-6 m deep. Measurements of diurnal and seasonal cycles of aboveground environmental conditions, soil moisture, and soil water potential (to 6 m depth) were taken to ascertain environmental water availability and water stress. Leaf water potential, leaf con...

  12. Fire Impacts on the Mojave Desert Ecosystem: Literature Review

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fenstermaker Lynn

    2012-01-01

    The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is located within the Mojave Desert, which is the driest region in North America. Precipitation on the NNSS varies from an annual average of 130 millimeters (mm; 5.1 inches) with a minimum of 47 mm (1.9 inches) and maximum of 328 mm (12.9 inches) over the past 15 year period to an annual average of 205 mm (8.1 inches) with an annual minimum of 89 mm (3.5 inches) and maximum of 391 mm (15.4 inches) for the same time period; for a Frenchman Flat location at 970 meters (m; 3182 feet) and a Pahute Mesa location at 1986 m (6516 feet), respectively. The combination of aridity and temperature extremes has resulted in sparsely vegetated basins (desert shrub plant communities) to moderately vegetated mountains (mixed coniferous forest plant communities); both plant density and precipitation increase with increasing elevation. Whereas some plant communities have evolved under fire regimes and are dependent upon fire for seed germination, plant communities within the Mojave Desert are not dependent on a fire regime and therefore are highly impacted by fire (Brown and Minnich, 1986; Brooks, 1999). As noted by Johansen (2003) natural range fires are not prevalent in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts because there is not enough vegetation present (too many shrub interspaces) to sustain a fire. Fire research and hence publications addressing fires in the Southwestern United States (U.S.) have therefore focused on forest, shrub-steppe and grassland fires caused by both natural and anthropogenic ignition sources. In the last few decades, however, invasion of mid-elevation shrublands by non-native Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens and Bromus tectorum (Hunter, 1991) have been highly correlated with increased fire frequency (Brooks and Berry, 2006; Brooks and Matchett, 2006). Coupled with the impact of climate change, which has already been shown to be playing a role in increased forest fires (Westerling et al., 2006), it is likely that the fire

  13. Medicinal flora of the Cholistan desert: a review

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hmeed, M.; Ashraf, M.; Nawaz, T.; Naz, N.; Ahmad, M.S.A.; Al-Quriany, F.; Younis, A.

    2011-01-01

    The Cholistan desert can be divided into two distinct regions on the basis of topography, soil type and texture, and vegetation structure: the northern Lesser Cholistan and southern Greater Cholistan. The desert is characterized by large saline compacted areas with alluvial clay, sandy ridges and dunes, and semi-stabilized to frequently shifting dunes. The climate is subtropical, harsh, hot and arid, and influenced by seasonal monsoons. Vegetation cover on the sand dunes is comprised by a few tussock-forming grasses including Cenchrus ciliaris, Panicum turgidum and Lasiurus scindicus, along with perennial shrubs Calligonum polygonoides, Leptadenia pyrotechnica and Aerva javanica. Interdunal flats are dominated by grasses, mainly Cymbopogon jwarancusa, Sporobolus ioclados, Panicum antidotale, and Ochthochloa compressa, and tall shrubs Calligonum polygonoides and Capparis decidua. Vegetation of saline patches is specific, dominated by halophytes mainly belonging to family Chenopodiaceae (Amaranthaceae). Many plants of the Cholistan desert, including Neurada procumbens, Aerva javanica, Capparis decidua, Cleome brachycarpa, Dipterygium glaucum, Gisekia pharnacioides, Suaeda fruticosa, Achyranthes aspera, Aerva javanica, Alhagi maurorum, Calotropis procera, Capparis decidua, Zaleya pentandra, Mollugo cerviana, Ziziphus mauritiana, Boerhavia procumbens, Cressa cretica and Crotalaria burhia, are frequently used by the local inhabitants to cure chronic and acute diseases. A variety of medicinally important chemical compounds have been extracted and identified from the plants of the Cholistan desert, including terpenes and triterpenoids, sterols and steroids, phenolics, flavonoids, gums and resins, quinones, anthocyanidines, saponins, antioxidants and fatty acids. Habitat degradation, intensive agricultural practices and over exploitation of resources pose a serious threat to the diversity of ethno botanically important plant species. Allopathic medicines are generally

  14. Epifluorescent direct counts of bacteria and viruses from topsoil of various desert dust storm regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzalez-Martin, Cristina; Teigell-Perez, Nuria; Lyles, Mark; Valladares, Basilio; Griffin, Dale W.

    2013-01-01

    Topsoil from arid regions is the main source of dust clouds that move through the earth's atmosphere, and microbial communities within these soils can survive long-range dispersion. Microbial abundance and chemical composition were analyzed in topsoil from various desert regions. Statistical analyses showed that microbial direct counts were strongly positively correlated with calcium concentrations and negatively correlated with silicon concentrations. While variance between deserts was expected, it was interesting to note differences between sample sites within a given desert region, illustrating the 'patchy' nature of microbial communities in desert environments.

  15. Tritium water as a marker for the measurement of body water turnover rates in desert livestock, rodent and bird species

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Khan, M.S.; Ghosh, P.K.; Bohra, R.C.

    1990-01-01

    Tritiated water has been used for estimating body water turnover rates (BWTRs) in desert livestock, rodent and birds. BWTRs in relation to adaption of these animal species to desert environment have been discussed. (author). 5 refs., 2 tabs

  16. Risk assessment of desert pollution on composite high voltage insulators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Shahat, Mohammed; Anis, Hussein

    2014-09-01

    Transmission lines located in the desert are subjected to desert climate, one of whose features is sandstorms. With long accumulation of sand and with the advent of moisture from rain, ambient humidity and dew, a conductive layer forms and the subsequent leakage current may lead to surface discharge, which may shorten the insulator life or lead to flashover thus interrupting the power supply. Strategically erected power lines in the Egyptian Sinai desert are typically subject to such a risk, where sandstorms are known to be common especially in the spring. In view of the very high cost of insulator cleaning operation, composite (silicon rubber) insulators are nominated to replace ceramic insulators on transmission lines in Sinai. This paper examines the flow of leakage current on sand-polluted composite insulators, which in turn enables a risk assessment of insulator failure. The study uses realistic data compiled and reported in an earlier research project about Sinai, which primarily included grain sizes of polluting sand as well as their salinity content. The paper also uses as a case study an ABB-designed composite insulator. A three-dimensional finite element technique is used to simulate the insulator and seek the potential and electric field distribution as well as the resulting leakage current flow on its polluted surface. A novel method is used to derive the probabilistic features of the insulator's leakage current, which in turn enables a risk assessment of insulator failure. This study is expected to help in critically assessing - and thus justifying - the use of this type of insulators in Sinai and similar critical areas.

  17. Reduced wind speed improves plant growth in a desert city.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christofer Bang

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The often dramatic effects of urbanization on community and ecosystem properties, such as primary productivity, abundances, and diversity are now well-established. In most cities local primary productivity increases and this extra energy flows upwards to alter diversity and relative abundances in higher trophic levels. The abiotic mechanisms thought to be responsible for increases in urban productivity are altered temperatures and light regimes, and increased nutrient and water inputs. However, another abiotic factor, wind speed, is also influenced by urbanization and well known for altering primary productivity in agricultural systems. Wind effects on primary productivity have heretofore not been studied in the context of urbanization.We designed a field experiment to test if increased plant growth often observed in cities is explained by the sheltering effects of built structures. Wind speed was reduced by protecting Encelia farinosa (brittlebush plants in urban, desert remnant and outlying desert localities via windbreaks while controlling for water availability and nutrient content. In all three habitats, we compared E. farinosa growth when protected by experimental windbreaks and in the open. E. farinosa plants protected against ambient wind in the desert and remnant areas grew faster in terms of biomass and height than exposed plants. As predicted, sheltered plants did not differ from unprotected plants in urban areas where wind speed is already reduced.Our results indicate that reductions in wind speed due to built structures in cities contribute to increased plant productivity and thus also to changes in abundances and diversity of higher trophic levels. Our study emphasizes the need to incorporate wind speed in future urban ecological studies, as well as in planning for green space and sustainable cities.

  18. Reduced wind speed improves plant growth in a desert city.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bang, Christofer; Sabo, John L; Faeth, Stanley H

    2010-06-10

    The often dramatic effects of urbanization on community and ecosystem properties, such as primary productivity, abundances, and diversity are now well-established. In most cities local primary productivity increases and this extra energy flows upwards to alter diversity and relative abundances in higher trophic levels. The abiotic mechanisms thought to be responsible for increases in urban productivity are altered temperatures and light regimes, and increased nutrient and water inputs. However, another abiotic factor, wind speed, is also influenced by urbanization and well known for altering primary productivity in agricultural systems. Wind effects on primary productivity have heretofore not been studied in the context of urbanization. We designed a field experiment to test if increased plant growth often observed in cities is explained by the sheltering effects of built structures. Wind speed was reduced by protecting Encelia farinosa (brittlebush) plants in urban, desert remnant and outlying desert localities via windbreaks while controlling for water availability and nutrient content. In all three habitats, we compared E. farinosa growth when protected by experimental windbreaks and in the open. E. farinosa plants protected against ambient wind in the desert and remnant areas grew faster in terms of biomass and height than exposed plants. As predicted, sheltered plants did not differ from unprotected plants in urban areas where wind speed is already reduced. Our results indicate that reductions in wind speed due to built structures in cities contribute to increased plant productivity and thus also to changes in abundances and diversity of higher trophic levels. Our study emphasizes the need to incorporate wind speed in future urban ecological studies, as well as in planning for green space and sustainable cities.

  19. Spectral identification and quantification of salts in the Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, J. K.; Cousins, C. R.; Claire, M. W.

    2016-10-01

    Salt minerals are an important natural resource. The ability to quickly and remotely identify and quantify salt deposits and salt contaminated soils and sands is therefore a priority goal for the various industries and agencies that utilise salts. The advent of global hyperspectral imagery from instruments such as Hyperion on NASA's Earth-Observing 1 satellite has opened up a new source of data that can potentially be used for just this task. This study aims to assess the ability of Visible and Near Infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy to identify and quantify salt minerals through the use of spectral mixture analysis. The surface and near-surface soils of the Atacama Desert in Chile contain a variety of well-studied salts, which together with low cloud coverage, and high aridity, makes this region an ideal testbed for this technique. Two forms of spectral data ranging 0.35 - 2.5 μm were collected: laboratory spectra acquired using an ASD FieldSpec Pro instrument on samples from four locations in the Atacama desert known to have surface concentrations of sulfates, nitrates, chlorides and perchlorates; and images from the EO-1 satellite's Hyperion instrument taken over the same four locations. Mineral identifications and abundances were confirmed using quantitative XRD of the physical samples. Spectral endmembers were extracted from within the laboratory and Hyperion spectral datasets and together with additional spectral library endmembers fed into a linear mixture model. The resulting identification and abundances from both dataset types were verified against the sample XRD values. Issues of spectral scale, SNR and how different mineral spectra interact are considered, and the utility of VNIR spectroscopy and Hyperion in particular for mapping specific salt concentrations in desert environments is established. Overall, SMA was successful at estimating abundances of sulfate minerals, particularly calcium sulfate, from both hyperspectral image and laboratory sample spectra

  20. The corrosive well waters of Egypt's western desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, Frank Eldridge

    1979-01-01

    The discovery that ground waters of Egypt's Western Desert are highly corrosive is lost in antiquity. Inhabitants of the oases have been aware of the troublesome property for many decades and early investigators mention it in their reports concerning the area. Introduction of modern well-drilling techniques and replacements of native wood casing with steel during the 20th century increased corrosion problems and, in what is called the New Valley Project, led to an intense search for causes and corrective treatments. This revealed that extreme corrosiveness results from combined effects of relatively acidic waters with significant concentrations of destructive sulfide ion; unfavorable ratios of sulfate and chloride to less aggressive ions; mineral equilibria and electrode potential which hinder formation of protective films; relative high chemical reaction rates because of abnormal temperatures, and high surface velocities related to well design. There is general agreement among investigators that conventional corrosion control methods such as coating metal surfaces, chemical treatment of the water, and electrolytic protection with impressed current and sacrificial electrodes are ineffective or impracticable for wells in the Western Desert's New Valley. Thus, control must be sought through the use of materials more resistant to corrosion than plain carbon steel wherever well screens and casings are necessary. Of the alternatives considered, stainless steel appears to. be the most promising where high strength and long-term services are required and the alloy's relatively high cost is acceptable. Epoxy resin-bonded fiberglass and wood appear to be practicable, relatively inexpensive alternatives for installations which do. not exceed their strength limitations. Other materials such as high strength aluminum and Monel Metal have shown sufficient promise to. merit their consideration in particular locations and uses. The limited experience with pumping in these desert

  1. Substrates and irrigation levels for growing desert rose in pots

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ronan Carlos Colombo

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT In the past decades, desert rose has become a very popular ornamental plant, especially among collectors, due to its exotic and sculptural forms. However, it has been grown on a commercial scale only recently, and little is known about how to best manage it as a container-grown plant, or even which potting medium (substrate to recommend. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the interactions between potting media and irrigation levels for growing desert rose as a potted ornamental plant. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse using a 6 x 2 factorial arrangement with six replications, six potting media and two irrigation levels. The mixes were characterized by measuring their physical properties, specifically the density and water retention capacity (WRC, as well as chemical properties, such as the pH and electrical conductivity (EC. After 210 days, plant growth and plant water consumption were evaluated and measured. A lower dry density for the vermiculite mixes was observed in comparison to that for the sand mixes. However, WRC ranged from 428 to 528 mL L-1 among the mixes, values considered close to ideal. In general, plant growth exhibited higher increases in mixes consisting of coconut fiber + sand or vermiculite, regardless of the irrigation level. Mixes of vermiculite + coconut fiber and sand + coconut fiber can be used to grow desert rose in pots, as long as irrigation is used to maintain the moisture content of the potting medium (mix between 60-70% and 80-90% of the WRC.

  2. Transitory microbial habitat in the hyperarid Atacama Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Wagner, Dirk; Kounaves, Samuel P; Mangelsdorf, Kai; Devine, Kevin G; de Vera, Jean-Pierre; Schmitt-Kopplin, Philippe; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Parro, Victor; Kaupenjohann, Martin; Galy, Albert; Schneider, Beate; Airo, Alessandro; Frösler, Jan; Davila, Alfonso F; Arens, Felix L; Cáceres, Luis; Cornejo, Francisco Solís; Carrizo, Daniel; Dartnell, Lewis; DiRuggiero, Jocelyne; Flury, Markus; Ganzert, Lars; Gessner, Mark O; Grathwohl, Peter; Guan, Lisa; Heinz, Jacob; Hess, Matthias; Keppler, Frank; Maus, Deborah; McKay, Christopher P; Meckenstock, Rainer U; Montgomery, Wren; Oberlin, Elizabeth A; Probst, Alexander J; Sáenz, Johan S; Sattler, Tobias; Schirmack, Janosch; Sephton, Mark A; Schloter, Michael; Uhl, Jenny; Valenzuela, Bernardita; Vestergaard, Gisle; Wörmer, Lars; Zamorano, Pedro

    2018-03-13

    Traces of life are nearly ubiquitous on Earth. However, a central unresolved question is whether these traces always indicate an active microbial community or whether, in extreme environments, such as hyperarid deserts, they instead reflect just dormant or dead cells. Although microbial biomass and diversity decrease with increasing aridity in the Atacama Desert, we provide multiple lines of evidence for the presence of an at times metabolically active, microbial community in one of the driest places on Earth. We base this observation on four major lines of evidence: ( i ) a physico-chemical characterization of the soil habitability after an exceptional rain event, ( ii ) identified biomolecules indicative of potentially active cells [e.g., presence of ATP, phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), metabolites, and enzymatic activity], ( iii ) measurements of in situ replication rates of genomes of uncultivated bacteria reconstructed from selected samples, and ( iv ) microbial community patterns specific to soil parameters and depths. We infer that the microbial populations have undergone selection and adaptation in response to their specific soil microenvironment and in particular to the degree of aridity. Collectively, our results highlight that even the hyperarid Atacama Desert can provide a habitable environment for microorganisms that allows them to become metabolically active following an episodic increase in moisture and that once it decreases, so does the activity of the microbiota. These results have implications for the prospect of life on other planets such as Mars, which has transitioned from an earlier wetter environment to today's extreme hyperaridity. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.

  3. Diversity and Community Composition of Vertebrates in Desert River Habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Free, C. L.; Baxter, G. S.; Dickman, C. R.; Lisle, A.; Leung, L. K.-P.

    2015-01-01

    Animal species are seldom distributed evenly at either local or larger spatial scales, and instead tend to aggregate in sites that meet their resource requirements and maximise fitness. This tendency is likely to be especially marked in arid regions where species could be expected to concentrate at resource-rich oases. In this study, we first test the hypothesis that productive riparian sites in arid Australia support higher vertebrate diversity than other desert habitats, and then elucidate the habitats selected by different species. We addressed the first aim by examining the diversity and composition of vertebrate assemblages inhabiting the Field River and adjacent sand dunes in the Simpson Desert, western Queensland, over a period of two and a half years. The second aim was addressed by examining species composition in riparian and sand dune habitats in dry and wet years. Vertebrate species richness was estimated to be highest (54 species) in the riverine habitats and lowest on the surrounding dune habitats (45 species). The riverine habitats had different species pools compared to the dune habitats. Several species, including the agamid Gowidon longirostris and tree frog Litoria rubella, inhabited the riverine habitats exclusively, while others such as the skinks Ctenotus ariadnae and C. dux were captured only in the dune habitats. The results suggest that, on a local scale, diversity is higher along riparian corridors and that riparian woodland is important for tree-dependent species. Further, the distribution of some species, such as Mus musculus, may be governed by environmental variables (e.g. soil moisture) associated with riparian corridors that are not available in the surrounding desert environment. We conclude that inland river systems may be often of high conservation value, and that management should be initiated where possible to alleviate threats to their continued functioning. PMID:26637127

  4. Sympatric cattle grazing and desert bighorn sheep foraging

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garrison, Kyle R.; Cain, James W.; Rominger, Eric M.; Goldstein, Elise J.

    2015-01-01

    Foraging behavior affects animal fitness and is largely dictated by the resources available to an animal. Understanding factors that affect forage resources is important for conservation and management of wildlife. Cattle sympatry is proposed to limit desert bighorn population performance, but few studies have quantified the effect of cattle foraging on bighorn forage resources or foraging behavior by desert bighorn. We estimated forage biomass for desert bighorn sheep in 2 mountain ranges: the cattle-grazed Caballo Mountains and the ungrazed San Andres Mountains, New Mexico. We recorded foraging bout efficiency of adult females by recording feeding time/step while foraging, and activity budgets of 3 age-sex classes (i.e., adult males, adult females, yearlings). We also estimated forage biomass at sites where bighorn were observed foraging. We expected lower forage biomass in the cattle-grazed Caballo range than in the ungrazed San Andres range and lower biomass at cattle-accessible versus inaccessible areas within the Caballo range. We predicted bighorn would be less efficient foragers in the Caballo range. Groundcover forage biomass was low in both ranges throughout the study (Jun 2012–Nov 2013). Browse biomass, however, was 4.7 times lower in the Caballo range versus the San Andres range. Bighorn in the Caballo range exhibited greater overall daily travel time, presumably to locate areas of higher forage abundance. By selecting areas with greater forage abundance, adult females in the Caballo range exhibited foraging bout efficiency similar to their San Andres counterparts but lower overall daily browsing time. We did not find a significant reduction in forage biomass at cattle-accessible areas in the Caballo range. Only the most rugged areas in the Caballo range had abundant forage, potentially a result of intensive historical livestock use in less rugged areas. Forage conditions in the Caballo range apparently force bighorn to increase foraging effort by

  5. Desert bighorn sheep lambing habitat: Parturition, nursery, and predation sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karsch, Rebekah C.; Cain, James W.; Rominger, Eric M.; Goldstein, Elise J.

    2016-01-01

    Fitness of female ungulates is determined by neonate survival and lifetime reproductive success. Therefore, adult female ungulates should adopt behaviors and habitat selection patterns that enhance survival of neonates during parturition and lactation. Parturition site location may play an important role in neonatal mortality of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana) when lambs are especially vulnerable to predation, but parturition sites are rarely documented for this species. Our objectives were to assess environmental characteristics at desert bighorn parturition, lamb nursery, and predation sites and to assess differences in habitat characteristics between parturition sites and nursery group sites, and predation sites and nursery group sites. We used vaginal implant transmitters (VITs) to identify parturition sites and capture neonates. We then compared elevation, slope, terrain ruggedness, and visibility at parturition, nursery, and lamb predation sites with paired random sites and compared characteristics of parturition sites and lamb predation sites to those of nursery sites. When compared to random sites, odds of a site being a parturition site were highest at intermediate slopes and decreased with increasing female visibility. Odds of a site being a predation site increased with decreasing visibility. When compared to nursery group sites, odds of a site being a parturition site had a quadratic relationship with elevation and slope, with odds being highest at intermediate elevations and intermediate slopes. When we compared predation sites to nursery sites, odds of a site being a predation were highest at low elevation areas with high visibility and high elevation areas with low visibility likely because of differences in hunting strategies of coyote (Canis latrans) and puma (Puma concolor). Parturition sites were lower in elevation and slope than nursery sites. Understanding selection of parturition sites by adult females and how habitat

  6. Biparentally deserted offspring are viable in a species with intense sexual conflict over care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pogány, Ákos; Kosztolányi, András; Miklósi, Ádám; Komdeur, Jan; Székely, Tamás

    2015-07-01

    Desertion of clutch (or brood) by both parents often leads to breeding failure, since in vast majority of birds care by at least one parent is required for any young to fledge. Recent works in a highly polygamous passerine bird, the Eurasian penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus), suggest that biparental clutch desertion is due to intense sexual conflict over care. However, an alternative yet untested hypothesis for biparental desertion is low offspring viability so that the parents abandon the offspring that have poor prospect for survival. Here we test the latter hypothesis in a common garden experiment by comparing the viability of deserted and cared for eggs. We show that embryonic development does not differ between deserted and cared for eggs. Therefore, sexual conflict over care remains the best supported hypothesis for biparental clutch desertion in penduline tits. Our work points out that conflict over care is a potential - yet rarely considered - cause of biparental nest desertion, and a strong alternative for the traditional explanations of low offspring viability, human disturbance or deteriorating ambient environment. Apart from a handful of species, the intensity of sexual conflict has not been quantified, and we call for further studies to consider sexual conflict as a cause of nest desertion. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. 77 FR 11990 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-28

    ... the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District and Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. SUMMARY: EPA is proposing to approve revisions to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management...

  8. 77 FR 11992 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-28

    ... the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District AGENCY... limited disapproval of revisions to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) portion of...,'' Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, December 2000. B. Does the rule meet the evaluation...

  9. 76 FR 29182 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-20

    ... ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2011-0030; FRL-9308-4] Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District AGENCY... the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) portion of the California State...

  10. Influence of shrubs on soil chemical properties in Alxa desert steppe, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hua Fu; Shifang Pei; Yaming Chen; Changgui Wan

    2007-01-01

    Alxa desert steppe is one of severely the degraded rangelands in the Northwest China. Shrubs, as the dominant life form in the desert steppe, play an important role in protecting this region from further desertification. Chemical properties of three soil layers (0 to 10, 10 to 20 and 20 to 30 cm) at three locations (the clump center [A], in the periphery of shrub...

  11. Effects of climate on the productivity of desert truffles beneath hyper-arid conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bradai, Lyès; Bissati, Samia; Chenchouni, Haroun; Amrani, Khaled

    2015-07-01

    Desert truffles are edible hypogenous fungi that are very well adapted to conditions of aridity in arid and semi-arid regions. This study aims to highlight the influence of climatic factors on the productivity of desert truffles under hyper-arid climatic conditions of the Sahara Desert in Algeria, with assumptions that the more varying climatic factors, mainly rainfall, are more crucial for the development and production of desert truffles. At seven separate sites, desert truffles were collected by systematic sampling between 2006 and 2012. The effects of climate parameters of each site on the productivities (g/ha/year) of desert truffle species were tested using generalized linear models (GLMs). The annual mean of the total production recorded for all three harvested species ( Terfezia arenaria, Terfezia claveryi, and Tirmania nivea) was 785.43 ± 743.39 g/ha. Tirmania nivea was commonly present over the sampled sites with an occurrence of 70 ± 10.1 %. GLMs revealed that total and specific productivities were closely positively related to autumnal precipitations occurring during October-December, which is the critical pre-breeding period for both desert truffles and host plant species. The other climatic parameters have statistically no effect on the annual variation of desert truffle productivity.

  12. Seeing desert as wilderness and as landscape—an exercise in visual thinking approaches

    Science.gov (United States)

    John Opie

    1979-01-01

    Based on the components and program of VRVA (Visual Resources Values Assessment), a behavioral history of the visitor's perception of the American desert is examined. Emphasis is placed upon contrasts between traditional eastern "garden-park" viewpoints and contemporary desert scenery experiences. Special attention is given to the influence of John...

  13. 76 FR 51053 - Meeting of the California Desert District Advisory Council

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-08-17

    ... California Desert District Advisory Council SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given, in accordance with Public Laws 92-463 and 94-579, that the California Desert District Advisory Council (DAC) to the Bureau of Land... field trip on Friday, Sept. 9, that will include Sawtooth Canyon Campground and El Mirage Dry Lake Off...

  14. Wilderness restoration: Bureau of Land Management and the Student Conservation Association in the California Desert District

    Science.gov (United States)

    J. Dan Abbe

    2007-01-01

    The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 was the largest park and wilderness legislation passed in the Lower 48 States since the Wilderness Act of 1964. It designated three national parks and 69 Bureau of Land Management wilderness areas. The California Desert and Wilderness Restoration Project is working to restore and revitalize these lands through a public/...

  15. Total vertical sediment flux and PM10 emissions from disturbed Chihuahuan Desert Surfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Desert surfaces are typically stable and represent some of the oldest landforms on Earth. For surfaces without vegetation, the evolution of a desert pavements of gravel protects the surface from erosive forces and vegetation further protects the surface in arid and semi-arid rangelands. The suscep...

  16. Translocation as a conservation tool for Agassiz's desert tortoises: Survivorship, reproduction, and movements

    Science.gov (United States)

    K. E. Nussear; C. R. Tracy; P. A. Medica; D. S. Wilson; R. W. Marlow; P. S. Corn

    2012-01-01

    We translocated 120 Agassiz's desert tortoises to 5 sites in Nevada and Utah to evaluate the effects of translocation on tortoise survivorship, reproduction, and habitat use. Translocation sites included several elevations, and extended to sites with vegetation assemblages not typically associated with desert tortoises in order to explore the possibility of moving...

  17. Preliminary survey of bee (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) richness in the northwestern Chihuahuan Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robert L. Minckley; John S. Ascher

    2013-01-01

    Museum records indicate that the peak number of bee species occurs around the Mediterranean Sea and in the warm desert areas of North America, whereas flowering plants are most diverse in the tropics. We examine this biogeographic pattern for the bee species known from a limited area of northeastern Chihuahuan Desert, Mexico/United States. This topographically complex...

  18. Cytogeography of Larrea tridentata at the Chihuahuan-Sonoran Desert ecotone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robert G. Laport; Robert L.. Minckley

    2013-01-01

    The long separation of the Chihuahuan and Sonoran Deserts is reflected in the high species richness and endemism of their floras. Although many endemic species from both deserts reach their distributional limits where the Sierra Madre Occidental massif fragments into smaller mountain complexes in northern Mexico and adjoining areas of the United States, indicator...

  19. 76 FR 28767 - Desert Southwest Customer Service Region-Rate Order No. WAPA-152

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-18

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration Desert Southwest Customer Service Region..., Desert Southwest Customer Service Region, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 6457, Phoenix, AZ... Customer Service Region, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 6457, Phoenix, AZ 85005-6457, (602...

  20. Clutch desertion and re-nesting in pied flycatchers: an experiment with progressive clutch removal

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bauchau, V.; Seinen, I.

    1997-01-01

    Clutch desertion and re-nesting are important components of fitness when predation is frequent. In nestbox populations however, nest predation and desertion are rare but can be studied by experimental manipulations. We experimentally reduced clutches of pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca, by

  1. Coyote Creek (San Diego County) Management and Restoration at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    David H. Van Cleve; Lyann A. Comrack; Wier Harold A.

    1989-01-01

    Coyote Creek, along with its associated watershed in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is an extremely rich riparian system in the Colorado Desert of California. It provides habitat for the least Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), is used as a critical summer watering site for the peninsular bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis cremnobates), and was...

  2. Hydrological indications of aeolian salts in mid-latitude deserts of ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Figure S2. Sketch maps of the sedimentary profiles studied in this study. (a) Lacustrine sediments interbedded by aeolian sand layers with 14C ages at the Arerjilin-I section in the Badanjilin Desert, (b) interbedding of aeolian and lacustrine deposits and their OSL ages at the Tazhong-XIII section in the Taklamakan Desert, ...

  3. Giant desiccation fissures on the Black Rock and Smoke Creek Deserts, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Willden, R.; Mabey, D.R.

    1961-01-01

    Open fissures, from 100 to several hundred feet apart, that have produced polygonal patterns on the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, are believed to be giant desiccation cracks resulting from a secular trend toward aridity in the last few decades. Similar features on the Smoke Creek Desert probably have the same origin.

  4. Resistance to invasion and resilience to fire in desert shrublands of North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthew L. Brooks; Jeanne C. Chambers

    2011-01-01

    Settlement by Anglo-Americans in the desert shrublands of North America resulted in the introduction and subsequent invasion of multiple nonnative grass species. These invasions have altered presettlement fire regimes, resulted in conversion of native perennial shrublands to nonnative annual grasslands, and placed many native desert species at risk. Effective...

  5. Hydrological indications of aeolian salts in mid-latitude deserts of ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Hydrological indications of aeolian salts in mid-latitude deserts of northwestern China. B Q Zhu. Supplementary data. Figure S1. Photograph views of Quaternary and modern sediments of aeolian and lacustrine/fluvial facies that consisted of clay and sand/silt sand alternations in the Taklamakan and Badanjilin Deserts.

  6. 78 FR 143 - Desert Mining, Inc., Eagle Broadband, Inc., Endovasc, Inc., Environmental Oil Processing...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-02

    ... SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [File No. 500-1] Desert Mining, Inc., Eagle Broadband, Inc., Endovasc, Inc., Environmental Oil Processing Technology Corp., Falcon Ridge Development, Inc., Fellows... that there is a lack of current and accurate information concerning the securities of Desert Mining...

  7. 77 FR 67662 - Notice of Availability of the Desert Harvest Solar Project Final Environmental Impact Statement...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-11-13

    ... DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLCAD06000 L51010000.FX0000.LVRWB12B4920 CACA 49491] Notice of Availability of the Desert Harvest Solar Project Final Environmental Impact Statement, Riverside County, CA and the Proposed California Desert Conservation Area Plan Amendment AGENCY...

  8. Responses of desert bighorn sheep to increased human recreation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Papouchis, C.M.; Singer, F.J.; Sloan, W.B.

    2001-01-01

    Human recreation has been implicated in the decline of several populations of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni). Managers are concerned about the impact of increased recreation on desert bighorn sheep in Canyonlands National Park (NP), Utah, USA, where visitation increased 325% from 1979 to 1994. We compared behavioral responses of sheep to recreational activity between a low visitor use area and a high visitor use area during 1993 and 1994 by observing behavioral responses, distances moved, and duration of responses to vehicles, mountain bikers, and humans on foot. Hikers caused the most severe responses in desert bighorn sheep (animals fled in 61% of encounters), followed by vehicles (17% fled) and mountain bikers (6% fled), apparently because hikers were more likely to be in unpredictable locations and often directly approached sheep. We observed considerable individual heterogeneity in responses of bighorn sheep to the greater human use: some animals lived close to the road corridor and were apparently habituated to the human activities, but other animals avoided the road corridor. In the high-use area, we observed 3 radiocollared sheep that lived closer to the road than expected and found evidence of fewer responses to vehicles by females in spring, less response time of all sheep to vehicles in spring, and fewer responses to mountain bikers compared to the low-use area. Overall, there was an avoidance of the road corridor by most other bighorn sheep in the high-use area where all animals, on average, were found 39% farther from roads (490 ± 19 m vs. 354 ± 36 m) than in the low-use area. This avoidance of the road corridor by some animals represented 15% less use of potential suitable habitat in the high-use area over the low-use area. Increased sensitivity to hikers in the high-use area was suggested by a greater responsiveness by males in autumn and greater distance fled by females in spring. Responses of bighorn sheep were greater when human

  9. Science synergism study for EOS on evolution of desert surfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farr, Tom G.

    1987-01-01

    The effectiveness of EOS data as a basis for the study of desert surfaces' evolution is presently evaluated for both long and short term geomorphic evolution. Attention is given to the usefulness of such sensor systems planned for EOS as MODIS for regional vegetation distribution/variability monitoring, HIRIS for visible-near IR observations, TIMS for lithological identification, HMMR and SSMI for soil characteristics, LASA for atmospheric profiles, SAR for surface roughness, ALT for two-dimensional topography, ACR for the calibration of imaging sensors, and ERBE for climate modeling and regional surface albedo variation determinations.

  10. Robot Science Autonomy in the Atacama Desert and Beyond

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, David R.; Wettergreen, David S.

    2013-01-01

    Science-guided autonomy augments rovers with reasoning to make observations and take actions related to the objectives of scientific exploration. When rovers can directly interpret instrument measurements then scientific goals can inform and adapt ongoing navigation decisions. These autonomous explorers will make better scientific observations and collect massive, accurate datasets. In current astrobiology studies in the Atacama Desert we are applying algorithms for science autonomy to choose effective observations and measurements. Rovers are able to decide when and where to take follow-up actions that deepen scientific understanding. These techniques apply to planetary rovers, which we can illustrate with algorithms now used by Mars rovers and by discussing future missions.

  11. Impact of Precipitation Fluctuation on Desert-Grassland ANPP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liangxu Liu

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Precipitation change has significantly influenced annual net primary productivity (ANPP at either annual or seasonal scales in desert steppes in arid and semi-arid regions. In order to reveal the process of precipitation driving ANPP at different time scales, responses of different ANPP levels to the inter-annual and intra-annual precipitation fluctuations were analyzed. ANPP was reversed by building a ground reflectance spectrum model, from 2000 to 2015, using the normalized differential vegetation index of the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS-NDVI data at 250 m × 250 m spatial resolution. Since the description of the differently expressing forms of precipitation are not sufficient in former studies in order to overcome the deficiency of former studies, in this study, intra-annual precipitation fluctuations were analyzed not only with precipitation of May–August, June–August, July–August, and August, respectively, which have direct influence on vegetation productivity within the year, but quantitative description, vector precipitation (R, concentration ratio (Cd, and concentration period (D, were also used to describe the overall characteristics of intra-annual precipitation fluctuations. The concentration ratio and the maximum precipitation period of the intra-annual precipitation were represented by using monthly precipitation. The results showed that: (1 in the period from 1971 to 2015, the maximum annual precipitation is 3.76 times that of the minimum in the Urat desert steppe; (2 vector precipitation is more significantly related to ANPP (r = 0.7724, p = 0.000 compared to meteorological annual precipitation and real annual precipitation influence; and (3 annual precipitation is almost concentrated in 5–8 months and monthly precipitation accumulation has significantly effected ANPP, especially in the period of June–August, since the vegetation composition in the study area was mainly sub-shrubs and perennial

  12. Geophysical Reservoir Evaluation of Obaiyed Field, Western Desert, Egypt

    OpenAIRE

    Farag, Mohamed Ibrahim Abdel-Fattah Ibrahim

    2010-01-01

    Die Obaiyed-Gaslagerstätte liegt in der westlichen Wüste Ägyptens, etwa 50 km südlich der Mittelmeerküste. Das produzierte Gas entstammt dem oberen Safa-Member der Khatatba Formation (Mitteljura). Das obere Safa Reservoir ist zu einem wichtigen Ziel in der Erforschung des Obaiyed-Feldes geworden und hat dazu beigetragen, die Exploration im nordwestlichen Teil der Western Desert in Ägypten neu zu beleben. Daher ist das Hauptziel dieser Arbeit ist die Bewertung des Kohlenwasserstoff-Potentials ...

  13. Atmospheric movement of microorganisms in clouds of desert dust and implications for human health

    Science.gov (United States)

    Griffin, Dale W.

    2007-01-01

    Billions of tons of desert dust move through the atmosphere each year. The primary source regions, which include the Sahara and Sahel regions of North Africa and the Gobi and Takla Makan regions of Asia, are capable of dispersing significant quantities of desert dust across the traditionally viewed oceanic barriers. While a considerable amount of research by scientists has addressed atmospheric pathways and aerosol chemistry, very few studies to determine the numbers and types of microorganisms transported within these desert dust clouds and the roles that they may play in human health have been conducted. This review is a summary of the current state of knowledge of desert dust microbiology and the health impact that desert dust and its microbial constituents may have in downwind environments both close to and far from their sources.

  14. Long-Term Observations of Dust Storms in Sandy Desert Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yun, Hye-Won; Kim, Jung-Rack; Choi, Yun-Soo

    2015-04-01

    Mineral dust occupies the largest portion of atmospheric aerosol. Considering the numerous risks that dust poses for socioeconomic and anthropogenic activities, it is crucial to understand sandy desert environments, which frequently generate dust storms and act as a primary source of atmospheric aerosol. To identify mineral aerosol mechanisms, it is essential to monitor desert environmental factors involving dust storm generation in the long term. In this study, we focused on two major environmental factors: local surface roughness and soil moisture. Since installments of ground observation networks in sandy deserts are unfeasible, remote sensing techniques for mining desert environmental factors were employed. The test area was established within the Badain Jaran and Kubuqi Deserts in Inner Mongolia, China, where significant seasonal aeolian processes emit mineral dust that influences all of East Asia. To trace local surface roughness, we employed a multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) image sequence to extract multi-angle viewing (MAV) topographic parameters such as normalized difference angular index, which represents characteristics of the target desert topography. The backscattering coefficient from various space-borne SAR and stereotopography were compared with MAV observations to determine calibrated local surface roughness. Soil moisture extraction techniques from InSAR-phase coherence stacks were developed and compiled with advanced scatterometer (ASCAT) soil moisture data. Combined with metrological information such as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA interim, correlations between intensity of sand dune activity as a proxy of aeolian processes in desert environments, surface wind conditions, and surface soil moisture were traced. Overall, we have confirmed that tracking sandy desert aeolian environments for long-term observations is feasible with space-borne, multi-sensor observations when combined with

  15. NASA's Desert RATS Science Backroom: Remotely Supporting Planetary Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cohen, Barbara A.; Eppler, Dean; Gruener, John; Horz, Fred; Ming, Doug; Yingst, R. Aileen

    2012-01-01

    NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) is a multi-year series of tests designed to exercise planetary surface hardware and operations in conditions where long-distance, multi-day roving is achievable. In recent years, a D-RATS science backroom has conducted science operations and tested specific operational approaches. Approaches from the Apollo, Mars Exploration Rovers and Phoenix missions were merged to become the baseline for these tests. In 2010, six days of lunar-analog traverse operations were conducted during each week of the 2-week test, with three traverse days each week conducted with voice and data communications continuously available, and three traverse days conducted with only two 1-hour communications periods per day. In 2011, a variety of exploration science scenarios that tested operations for a near-earth asteroid using several small exploration vehicles and a single habitat. Communications between the ground and the crew in the field used a 50-second one-way delay, while communications between crewmembers in the exploration vehicles and the habitat were instantaneous. Within these frameworks, the team evaluated integrated science operations management using real-time science operations to oversee daily crew activities, and strategic level evaluations of science data and daily traverse results. Exploration scenarios for Mars may include architectural similarities such as crew in a habitat communicating with crew in a vehicle, but significantly more autonomy will have to be given to the crew rather than step-by-step interaction with a science backroom on Earth.

  16. Radon concentration measurements in the desert caves of Saudi Arabia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Al-Mustafa, Hanan; Al-Jarallah, M.I.; Fazal-ur-Rehman; Abu-Jarad, F.

    2005-01-01

    Beneath the harsh deserts of Saudi Arabia lie dark chambers and complex mazes filled with strange shapes and wondrous beauty. Radon concentration measurements have been carried out in the desert caves of Al-Somman Plateau in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Passive radon dosimeters, based on alpha particle etch track detectors with an inlet filter, were used in this study. A total of 59 dosimeters were placed in five caves for a period of six months. Out of 59 dosimeters, 37 could be collected for analysis. Measurements showed significant variations in radon concentrations in caves depending upon their natural ventilation. The results of the study show that the average radon concentration in the different caves ranges from 74 up to 451Bqm -3 . The average radon concentration in four of the caves was low in the range 74-114Bqm -3 . However, one cave showed an average radon concentration of 451Bqm -3 . Radon is not a problem for tourists in the majority of caves. However, sometimes it may imply some limitation to the working time of guides

  17. Some ice nucleation characteristics of Asian and Saharan desert dust

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. R. Field

    2006-01-01

    Full Text Available The large (7 m×4 m cylinder, 84 m3 AIDA (Aerosol Interactions and Dynamics in the Atmosphere cloud chamber facility at Forschungszentrum, Karlsruhe, Germany was used to test the ice nucleating ability of two desert dust samples from the Sahara and Asia. Aerosol samples were lognormally distributed with a mode diameter of 0.4(±0.1 μm and geometric standard deviation of ~1.7(±0.2. At temperatures warmer than −40°C droplets were formed before ice crystals formed and there was generally no deposition nucleation observed. At temperatures colder than −40°C both dust samples exhibited dual nucleation events that were observed during the same expansion experiment. The primary nucleation event occurred at ice saturation ratios of 1.1 to 1.3 and is likely to be a deposition nucleation mode. The secondary nucleation event occurred at ice saturation ratios between 1.35 and 1.5. We cannot categorically determine whether this ice nucleation event is via a further deposition mode or a condensation mode, but the presence of some soluble material in the dust samples leads us to favour the latter process. The activated fractions of desert dust ranged from ~5–10% at −20°C to 20–40% at temperatures colder than −40°C. There was no obvious difference between the nucleation behaviour of the two dust samples.

  18. Hybridogenesis through thelytokous parthenogenesis in two Cataglyphis desert ants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eyer, P A; Leniaud, L; Darras, H; Aron, S

    2013-02-01

    Hybridogenesis is a sexual reproductive system, whereby parents from different genetic origin hybridize. Both the maternal and paternal genomes are expressed in somatic tissues, but the paternal genome is systematically excluded from the germ line, which is therefore purely maternal. Recently, a unique case of hybridogenesis at a social level was reported in the desert ant Cataglyphis hispanica. All workers are sexually produced hybridogens, whereas sexual forms (new queens and males) are produced by queens through parthenogenesis. Thus, only maternal genes are perpetuated across generations. Here, we show that such an unusual reproductive strategy also evolved in two other species of Cataglyphis belonging to the same phylogenetic group, Cataglyphis velox and Cataglyphis mauritanica. In both species, queens mate exclusively with males originating from a different genetic lineage than their own to produce hybrid workers, while they use parthenogenesis to produce the male and female reproductive castes. In contrast to single-queen colonies of C. hispanica, colonies of C. velox and C. mauritanica are headed by several queens. Most queens within colonies share the same multilocus genotype and never transmit their mates' alleles to the reproductive castes. Social hybridogenesis in the desert ants has direct consequences on the genetic variability of populations and on caste determination. We also discuss the maintenance of this reproductive strategy within the genus Cataglyphis. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  19. Injury occurrence and mood states during a desert ultramarathon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Scott M; McKinley, Mairi; Chris, Connaboy C; Westbury, Tony; Baker, Julien S; Kilgore, Lon; Florida-James, Geraint

    2012-11-01

    To describe injuries and illnesses presented and profile mood states and sleep patterns during a desert environment ultramarathon. Prospective study gathering data on mood states and injury patterns. : Gobi Desert, Mongolia. Eleven male competitors (mean mass, 83.7 ± 7.1 kg; body mass index, 24 ± 1.79 kg/m; age, 33 ± 11 years). Injuries were clinically assessed and recorded each day. Mood state was assessed using the Brunel Mood Scale. All subjects presented with abrasion injuries, dehydration, and heat stress. Vigor decreased over the first 6 days while fatigue increased (P mood alterations (P < 0.05). Increased anger and fatigue correlated strongly with sleep disruption (r = 0.736 and 0.768, respectively). Vigor and depression displayed a moderately strong correlation to sleep (r = 0.564 and -0.530). Injury patterns were similar to those reported in other adventure/ultradistance events. Consistent with previous work, data show increased fatigue and reduced vigor in response to an arduous physical challenge.

  20. Renal lithiasis: addressing the risks of austere desert deployments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cramer, J Steven; Forrest, Kelly

    2006-06-01

    Renal lithiasis affects approximately 5% of the general population, with higher risks for men and increasing risks with increasing age. The forward deployment of the Air Force into austere desert environments with integration of the active duty, Reserves, and Guard presents increasing risks to mission accomplishment with the increased risk of developing renal lithiasis. This paper describes seven cases of presumed renal lithiasis in a deployed desert setting in Air Force personnel on flying status. Their status and the location of the base acted as a focus for a review of the literature on kidney stone causation, prevention, diagnosis, and management. A review of the literature revealed that current military recommendations to hydrate in the field may not be sufficient for the primary prevention of kidney stones. Beverage choice may prove more useful for prevention. Situations precipitating voluntary dehydration need to be prevented. Although there are superior ways to diagnose renal lithiasis, in the deployed setting patient history and physical examination are usually the only available means. Ultrasound is a viable diagnostic option for use in the deployed setting based on its portability, affordability, and ease of use. Additions to the standard management of renal lithiasis, such as subcutaneous Lidocaine and heat may have value in the deployed setting if the supply of narcotics is limited. In the deployed setting, hydration choices, the addition of portable ultrasound to the diagnostic process, and pain management with nontraditional therapies need to be explored.

  1. Microfossils in the Antarctic cold desert: Possible implications for Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedmann, E. I.; Ocampo-Friedmann, R.

    1986-01-01

    In the Ross Desert of Antarctica, the principal life form is the cryptoendolithic microbial community in the near-surface layers of porous sandstone rocks. Biological, geological, and climatic factors interact in a complex and precarious balance, making life possible in an otherwise hostile environment. Once this balance is tipped, fossilization sets in. In the reverse case, new colonization of the rock surface may be initiated. As a result, fossilization is contemporary with modern life and both may be simultaneously present in a mosaic pattern. Also, different stages of fossilization are present. The process of fossilization takes place in a nonaquatic environment. If primitive life ever appeared on Mars, it is possible that with increasing aridity, life withdrew into an endolithic niche similar to that in the Antarctic desert. Fossilization in a nonaquatic environment may have set in with the result that traces of past life could be preserved. If such was the case, the study of the fossilization process in Antarctica may hold useful information for the analysis of Martian samples for microfossils.

  2. Microenvironments and microscale productivity of cyanobacterial desert crusts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia-Pichel, F.; Belnap, Jayne

    1996-01-01

    We used microsensors to characterize physicochemical microenvironments and photosynthesis occurring immediately after water saturation in two desert soil crusts from southeastern Utah, which were formed by the cyanobacteria Microcoleus vaginatus Gomont, Nostoc spp., and Scytonema sp. The light fields within the crusts presented steep vertical gradients in magnitude and spectral composition. Near-surface light-trapping zones were formed due to the scattering nature of the sand particles, but strong light attenuation resulted in euphotic zones only ca. 1 mm deep, which were progressively enriched in longer wavelengths with depth. Rates of gross photosynthesis (3.4a??9.4 mmol O2A?ma??2A?ha??1) and dark respiration (0.81a??3.1 mmol Oa??2A?ma??2A?ha??1) occurring within 1 to several mm from the surface were high enough to drive the formation of marked oxygen microenvironments that ranged from oxygen supersaturation to anoxia. The photosynthetic activity also resulted in localized pH values in excess of 10, 2a??3 units above the soil pH. Differences in metabolic parameters and community structure between two types of crusts were consistent with a successional pattern, which could be partially explained on the basis of the microenvironments. We discuss the significance of high metabolic rates and the formation of microenvironments for the ecology of desert crusts, as well as the advantages and limitations of microsensor-based methods for crust investigation.

  3. Seed mucilage improves seedling emergence of a sand desert shrub.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xuejun Yang

    Full Text Available The success of seedling establishment of desert plants is determined by seedling emergence response to an unpredictable precipitation regime. Sand burial is a crucial and frequent environmental stress that impacts seedling establishment on sand dunes. However, little is known about the ecological role of seed mucilage in seedling emergence in arid sandy environments. We hypothesized that seed mucilage enhances seedling emergence in a low precipitation regime and under conditions of sand burial. In a greenhouse experiment, two types of Artemisia sphaerocephala achenes (intact and demucilaged were exposed to different combinations of burial depth (0, 5, 10, 20, 40 and 60 mm and irrigation regimes (low, medium and high, which simulated the precipitation amount and frequency in May, June and July in the natural habitat, respectively. Seedling emergence increased with increasing irrigation. It was highest at 5 mm sand burial depth and ceased at burial depths greater than 20 mm in all irrigation regimes. Mucilage significantly enhanced seedling emergence at 0, 5 and 10 mm burial depths in low irrigation, at 0 and 5 mm burial depths in medium irrigation and at 0 and 10 mm burial depths in high irrigation. Seed mucilage also reduced seedling mortality at the shallow sand burial depths. Moreover, mucilage significantly affected seedling emergence time and quiescence and dormancy percentages. Our findings suggest that seed mucilage plays an ecologically important role in successful seedling establishment of A. sphaerocephala by improving seedling emergence and reducing seedling mortality in stressful habitats of the sandy desert environment.

  4. Prevalence of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in desert bighorn sheep in Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    Justice-Allen, Anne E.; Luedtke, Clint J.; Overstreet, Matthew; Cain, James W.; Stephenson, Thomas R.

    2011-01-01

    To assess the potential for an epizootic of pneumonia to result from either natural immigration or translocation, we compared the seroprevalence to Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in several populations of desert bighorn sheep in Arizona. We collected blood samples and nasal or oropharyngeal swabs from 124 desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) from 6 populations in Arizona in 2009 and 2010. M. ovipneumoniae organisms were detected by PCR in 22%, whereas antibodies to M. ovipneumoniae were detected in 47% of tested bighorn sheep. Mycoplasma antibodies were not found in 2 of 6 populations, indicating some bighorn sheep populations in Arizona are naïve to this bacterium. In contrast, others had seroprevalence rates up to 80%. We were able to compare seroprevalence rates and titers over time in 9 individuals (7 individuals included in the 124 bighorn sheep sampled in 2009 and 2010, and 2 individuals originally captured in 2006). Antibody titers persisted for 12 months in individuals from the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (n = 7) while antibody titers appeared to decline in the Kanab Creek population (n = 2). M. ovipneumoniae is present or has been present in several, but not all, populations of bighorn sheep in Arizona. The results demonstrate the importance of routine health testing for future translocation efforts to reduce disease risk for naive populations.

  5. Food Environments and Obesity: Household Diet Expenditure Versus Food Deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Danhong; Jaenicke, Edward C; Volpe, Richard J

    2016-05-01

    To examine the associations between obesity and multiple aspects of the food environments, at home and in the neighborhood. Our study included 38,650 individuals nested in 18,381 households located in 2104 US counties. Our novel home food environment measure, USDAScore, evaluated the adherence of a household's monthly expenditure shares of 24 aggregated food categories to the recommended values based on US Department of Agriculture food plans. The US Census Bureau's County Business Patterns (2008), the detailed food purchase information in the IRi Consumer Panel scanner data (2008-2012), and its associated MedProfiler data set (2012) constituted the main sources for neighborhood-, household-, and individual-level data, respectively. After we controlled for a number of confounders at the individual, household, and neighborhood levels, USDAScore was negatively linked with obesity status, and a census tract-level indicator of food desert status was positively associated with obesity status. Neighborhood food environment factors, such as food desert status, were associated with obesity status even after we controlled for home food environment factors.

  6. Biological Soil Crusts: Webs of Life in the Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne

    2001-01-01

    Although the soil surface may look like dirt to you, it is full of living organisms that are a vital part of desert ecosystems. This veneer of life is called a biological soil crust. These crusts are found throughout the world, from hot deserts to polar regions. Crusts generally cover all soil spaces not occupied by green plants. In many areas, they comprise over 70% of the living ground cover and are key in reducing erosion, increasing water retention, and increasing soil fertility. In most dry regions, these crusts are dominated by cyanobacteria (previously called blue-green algae), which are one of the oldest known life forms. Communities of soil crusts also include lichens, mosses, microfungi, bacteria, and green algae. These living organisms and their by-products create a continuous crust on the soil surface. The general color, surface appearance, and amount of coverage of these crusts vary depending on climate and disturbance patterns. Immature crusts are generally flat and the color of the soil, which makes them difficult to distinguish from bare ground. Mature crusts, in contrast, are usually bumpy and dark-colored due to the presence of lichens, mosses, and high densities of cyanobacteria and other organisms.

  7. Characteristics of moisture and salinity of soil in Taklimakan Desert, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zhimin; Li, Guomin; Li, Xue; Shan, Shuo; Zhang, Jiangyi; Li, Shengyu; Fan, Jinglong

    2012-01-01

    The Taklimakan desert is known as the largest dunefield in China and also as the world's second largest shifting sand desert. The Tarim Desert Highway, which is the first highway to cross the Taklimakan desert, was built for the purpose of oil and gas resources extraction in the Tarim area, as well as for the development of the southern area of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Shelterbelts have been planted along the highway to prevent shifting sand from burying the road. This paper analyzes the variations of moisture and salinity of the unirrigated desert soil under natural conditions in the center of Taklimakan Desert. A number of important findings indicating the moisture and salinity of the soil at capillary saturation zone were determined by the groundwater and related to the evaporation on the top. Salinity could be affected by vegetation, which was different from moisture in the soil. Meanwhile, clay layer played an important role in water preservation in the soil, which was also beneficial to the accumulation of salinity in soil. Compared with clay layer, vegetation was a decisive factor for the gathering of salinity. The findings were significant for reasonable adjustment of irrigation in the shelterbelts for the further development of the Tarim Desert Highway.

  8. Evaluation of great deserts of the world for perpetual radiowaste storage

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Libby, L.M.; Wurtele, M.G.; Whipple, C.G.

    1982-01-01

    Desert sites with a history of seismic stability were studied for storage of radioactive wastes because of the attractive meteorology, proven longterm geological stability, and distance from human population centers. Specific deserts were to be representative of various kinds of world deserts, if substantial information about each desert was available, to examine with respect to transporting, handling, storing, and cooling the radioactive waste, and the site suitability as to geological conditions, water availability, alternative land use, airborne emissions of heat, accidental radioactive emission, and possible socioeonomic impacts. No significant technical obstacles to the use of the world deserts as sites for a retrievable storage facility for 500 years were found. However, given the relatively low level of effort that was allocated between the many technical issues listed above, this study is neither a full risk assessment nor a full environmental impact analysis of such a facility. Assessments for siting the facility were made for five deserts, chosen to be representative of Old World, New World, Australian, interior, coastal, foggy, hot and cold: the Nullarbor Plain of Australia, the Namib in Africa, the Great Basin of the United States represented by the Nevada Test Site, the North Slope of Alaska and Canada, and the Egyptian desert

  9. Identification of debris-flow hazards in warm deserts through analyzing past occurrences: Case study in South Mountain, Sonoran Desert, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dorn, Ronald I.

    2016-11-01

    After recognition that debris flows co-occur with human activities, the next step in a hazards analysis involves estimating debris-flow probability. Prior research published in this journal in 2010 used varnish microlamination (VML) dating to determine a minimum occurrence of 5 flows per century over the last 8100 years in a small mountain range of South Mountain adjacent to neighborhoods of Phoenix, Arizona. This analysis led to the conclusion that debris flows originating in small mountain ranges in arid regions like the Sonoran Desert could pose a hazard. Two major precipitation events in the summer of 2014 generated 35 debris flows in the same study area of South Mountain-providing support for the importance of probability analysis as a key step in a hazards analysis in warm desert settings. Two distinct mechanisms generated the 2014 debris flows: intense precipitation on steep slopes in the first storm; and a firehose effect whereby runoff from the second storm was funneled rapidly by cleaned-out debris-flow chutes to remobilize Pleistocene debris-flow deposits. When compared to a global database on debris flows, the 2014 storms were among the most intense to generate desert debris flows - indicating that storms of lesser intensity are capable of generating debris flows in warm desert settings. The 87Sr/86Sr analyses of fines and clasts in South Mountain debris flows of different ages reveal that desert dust supplies the fines. Thus, wetter climatic periods of intense rock decay are not needed to resupply desert slopes with fines; instead, a combination of dust deposition supplying fines and dirt cracking generating coarse clasts can re-arm chutes in a warm desert setting with abundant dust.

  10. Loess deposits since early Pleistocene in northeast China and implications for desert evolution in east China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Miao; Zhang, Xujiao; Tian, Mingzhong; Liu, Ru; He, Zexin; Qi, Lin; Qiao, Yansong

    2018-04-01

    Loess deposits and deserts are regarded as coupled geological systems and loess deposits on the periphery of deserts can often be used to reconstruct desert evolution. Previous studies of desert evolution in Asia are mainly concentrated in northwest China and the China Loess Plateau, and little is known about long-term desert evolution in east China. In this study, we selected the Sishijiazi loess section in the Chifeng area in northeast China to study the long-term evolution of the desert in east China. A high-resolution magnetostratigraphy combined with optically stimulated luminescence dating indicated that the age of the section base is approximately 1.02 Ma. The Brunhes-Matuyama boundary is at the depth of 39.8 m in loess unit L8, and the upper boundary of the Jaramillo Subchron is at the depth of 60.8 m in paleosol S10. The results of grain-size analysis indicate a coarsening grain-size trend in the past 1.0 Ma. In addition, based on grain-size variations, the desert evolution in east China since ∼1.0 Ma can be divided into three stages: stability from 1.0 to 0.8 Ma, desert recession from 0.8 to 0.5 Ma, and gradual expansion since 0.5 Ma. Our results further indicate that the evolution of desert in east China was mainly controlled by changes in global ice volume, and that the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau may have had an additional effect.

  11. Food deserts in Winnipeg, Canada: a novel method for measuring a complex and contested construct

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joyce Slater

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: "Food deserts" have emerged over the past 20 years as spaces of concern for communities, public health authorities and researchers because of their potential negative impact on dietary quality and subsequent health outcomes. Food deserts are residential geographic spaces, typically in urban settings, where low-income residents have limited or no access to retail food establishments with sufficient variety at affordable cost. Research on food deserts presents methodological challenges including retail food store identification and classification, identification of low-income populations, and transportation and proximity metrics. Furthermore, the complex methods often used in food desert research can be difficult to reproduce and communicate to key stakeholders. To address these challenges, this study sought to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing a simple and reproducible method of identifying food deserts using data easily available in the Canadian context. Methods: This study was conducted in Winnipeg, Canada in 2014. Food retail establishments were identified from Yellow Pages and verified by public health dietitians. We calculated two scenarios of food deserts based on location of the lowest-income quintile population: (a living ≥ 500 m from a national chain grocery store, or (b living ≥ 500 m from a national chain grocery store or a full-service grocery store. Results: The number of low-income residents living in a food desert ranged from 64 574 to 104 335, depending on the scenario used. Conclusion: This study shows that food deserts affect a significant proportion of the Winnipeg population, and while concentrated in the urban core, exist in suburban neighbourhoods also. The methods utilized represent an accessible and transparent, reproducible process for identifying food deserts. These methods can be used for costeffective, periodic surveillance and meaningful engagement with communities, retailers and policy

  12. Food deserts in Winnipeg, Canada: a novel method for measuring a complex and contested construct.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slater, Joyce; Epp-Koop, Stefan; Jakilazek, Megan; Green, Chris

    2017-10-01

    "Food deserts" have emerged over the past 20 years as spaces of concern for communities, public health authorities and researchers because of their potential negative impact on dietary quality and subsequent health outcomes. Food deserts are residential geographic spaces, typically in urban settings, where low-income residents have limited or no access to retail food establishments with sufficient variety at affordable cost. Research on food deserts presents methodological challenges including retail food store identification and classification, identification of low-income populations, and transportation and proximity metrics. Furthermore, the complex methods often used in food desert research can be difficult to reproduce and communicate to key stakeholders. To address these challenges, this study sought to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing a simple and reproducible method of identifying food deserts using data easily available in the Canadian context. This study was conducted in Winnipeg, Canada in 2014. Food retail establishments were identified from Yellow Pages and verified by public health dietitians. We calculated two scenarios of food deserts based on location of the lowest-income quintile population: (a) living ≥ 500 m from a national chain grocery store, or (b) living ≥ 500 m from a national chain grocery store or a full-service grocery store. The number of low-income residents living in a food desert ranged from 64 574 to 104 335, depending on the scenario used. This study shows that food deserts affect a significant proportion of the Winnipeg population, and while concentrated in the urban core, exist in suburban neighbourhoods also. The methods utilized represent an accessible and transparent, reproducible process for identifying food deserts. These methods can be used for costeffective, periodic surveillance and meaningful engagement with communities, retailers and policy makers.

  13. The Landscape Evolution of Ulan Buh Desert in North China during Late Quaternary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Fahu; Li, Guoqiang; Zhao, Hui; Jin, Ming; Fan, Yuxin; Madsen, David; Chun, Xi

    2013-04-01

    Desert evolution was one of the major environmental changes in northern China during Quaternary. Ulan Buh Desert (UBD), at margin of present summer monsoon, is one of main desert fields and dust source areas in the north and northwest China. In this paper we present the results of lithology, Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dates, grain-size, carbonate content, organic content and pollen analysis from the drilling cores in the different parts of UBD. Our results show that most area of the present Ulan Buh desert was covered by the Jilantai-Hetao mage-paleolake before ~90 ka ago, a uniform paleolake of about 34,000 km2 covering the whole Hetai palin, and sevrious eolian and desert environment was prevailing during the last glacial and early Holoccene. Then an Ulan Buh paleolake (UB paleolake), likely a desert-wetland enviroment, formed in the northern part of UBD and Jilantai salt lake at around 8-7 ka, leaving dry lake bed landform in northern UBD, while high dune landscape probably prevailed in south UBD. After that, the mordern UBD landscape formed. The Jilantai Salt Lake in western UBD continued to exist until present with high lake level during UB paleolake preiod. During the recent 2000 years aeolian sand from Badan Jaran desert invaded the north UBD through Langshan mountain to form dune landform covered on dry UB paleolake bed and seperated main Ulan Buh desert and Jilantai Salt Lake. Human activities such as changing low wetland to farmland and following abandonment resulted the formation of easten Ulan Buh desert in Han dynasty since 200 BC. The formation of UBD landfporms was suggedted to be relate to disintegration of Jilantai-Hetao mage-paleolake, and was also likely to corresponding to summer monsoon changes during during last glacial and Holocene.

  14. Holocene Paleoecology of the Western Tenere Desert, Niger, Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sereno, P. C.; Caran, S. C.; Housh, T. B.

    2007-12-01

    Multiple paleontological, sedimentological, and isotopic/ionic geochemical indicators permit reconstruction of the Holocene ecology of the western Tenere Desert (southern Sahara hyper-desert). Modern precipitation is highly erratic, averaging 25 mm yearly, and vegetative cover is negligible. From the early to middle Holocene, however, grassland-shrublands and seasonal to permanent lakes and wetlands predominated, supporting diverse limnic, riparian, and upland communities. Annual precipitation probably was comparable to that of the modern southern Sahel, exceeding 350 mm. Coarse-grained sediment washed into the large lacustrine basin from exposures of metamorphic, plutonic, and volcanic rocks in the nearby Air Massif highland. Lake margins fluctuated in response to runoff and limited ground-water discharge. The water was non-saline and there is no evidence of evaporite deposition. Aquatic and riparian macrophytes thrived, as did an extensive lacustrine-palustrine macrofauna. A Sahelian flora of mixed grasses, thorn shrubs, and perhaps some larger woodland species occupied the contiguous uplands, supporting resident and migratory mammalian and avian faunas. Lake levels were high until 6300 to 5200 BP, possibly as late as 4800 BP locally. Deflation of lacustrine deposits during a subsequent dry period provided finer-grained eolian sediment accreting as proximal dunes. The composition of mineral sediment within the middle to late Holocene dunes is different from, but clearly a subset of the lacustrine deposits. Organic matter reworked from the lake sediment was deposited in the dunes and oxidized in situ, generating CO2 that dissolved in soil moisture, producing bicarbonate. The bicarbonate reacted with calcium from weathered minerals, producing calcic cementation about 5100 BP. The resulting petrocalcic horizon was later exposed, weathered, and colonized by sparse terrestrial vegetation for one or more brief periods. A late phase of pedogenesis concurrent with or

  15. Health effects of particulate air pollution and airborne desert dust

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lelieveld, J.; Pozzer, A.; Giannadaki, D.; Fnais, M.

    2013-12-01

    Air pollution by fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has increased strongly with industrialization and urbanization. In the past decades this increase has taken place at a particularly high pace in South and East Asia. We estimate the premature mortality and the years of human life lost (YLL) caused by anthropogenic PM2.5 and airborne desert dust (DU2.5) on regional and national scales (Giannadaki et al., 2013; Lelieveld et al., 2013). This is based on high-resolution global model calculations that resolve urban and industrial regions in relatively great detail. We apply an epidemiological health impact function and find that especially in large countries with extensive suburban and rural populations, air pollution-induced mortality rates have been underestimated given that previous studies largely focused on the urban environment. We calculate a global premature mortality by anthropogenic aerosols of 2.2 million/year (YLL ≈ 16 million/year) due to lung cancer and cardiopulmonary disease. High mortality rates by PM2.5 are found in China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia. Desert dust DU2.5 aerosols add about 0.4 million/year (YLL ≈ 3.6 million/year). Particularly significant mortality rates by DU2.5 occur in Pakistan, China and India. The estimated global mean per capita mortality caused by airborne particulates is about 0.1%/year (about two thirds of that caused by tobacco smoking). We show that the highest premature mortality rates are found in the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions (about 25% and 46% of the global rate, respectively) where more than a dozen of the most highly polluted megacities are located. References: Giannadaki, D., A. Pozzer, and J. Lelieveld, Modeled global effects of airborne desert dust on air quality and premature mortality, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. (submitted), 2013. Lelieveld, J., C. Barlas, D. Giannadaki, and A. Pozzer, Model calculated global, regional and megacity premature mortality due to air pollution by ozone

  16. CO2 EFFECTS ON MOJAVE DESERT PLANT INTERACTIONS

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    L. A. DEFALCO; G. C. FERNANDEZ; S. D. SMITH; R. S. NOWAK

    2004-01-01

    Seasonal and interannual droughts characteristic of deserts have the potential to modify plant interactions as atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentrations continue to rise. At the Nevada Desert FACE (free-air CO{sub 2} enrichment) facility in the northern Mojave Desert, the effects of elevated atmospheric C02 (550 vs. ambient {approx}360 {micro}mol mol{sup -1}) on plant interactions were examined during two years of high and low rainfall. Results suggest that CO{sub 2} effects on the interaction between native species and their understory herbs are dependent on the strength of competition when rainfall is plentiful, but are unimportant during annual drought. Seasonal rainfall for 1999 was 23% the long-term average for the area, and neither elevated CO{sub 2} nor the low production of herbaceous neighbors had an effect on relative growth rate (RGR, d{sup -1}) and reproductive effort (RE, number of flowers g{sup -1}) for Achnatherum hymenoides (early season perennial C{sub 3} grass), Pleuraphis rigida (late season perennial C{sub 4} grass), and Larrea tridentata (evergreen C{sub 3} shrub). In contrast, 1998 received 213% the average rainfall. Consequently, the decrease in RGR and increase in RE for Achnatherum, whose period of growth overlaps directly with that of its neighbors, was exaggerated at elevated CO{sub 2}. However, competitive effects of neighbors on Eriogonum trichopes (a winter annual growing in shrub interspaces), Pleuraphis and Larrea were not affected by elevated CO{sub 2}, and possible explanations are discussed. Contrary to expectations, the invasive annual neighbor Bromus madritensis ssp. rubens had little influence on target plant responses because densities in 1998 and 1999 at this site were well below those found in other studies where it has negatively affected perennial plant growth. The extent that elevated CO{sub 2} reduces the performance of Achnatherum in successive years to cause its loss from the plant community depends more on future pressure

  17. An ecological study of food desert prevalence and 4th grade academic achievement in new york state school districts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frndak, Seth E

    2014-12-02

    This ecological study examines the relationship between food desert prevalence and academic achievement at the school district level. Sample included 232 suburban and urban school districts in New York State. Multiple open-source databases were merged to obtain: 4(th) grade science, English and math scores, school district demographic composition (NYS Report Card), regional socioeconomic indicators (American Community Survey), school district quality (US Common Core of Data), and food desert data (USDA Food Desert Atlas). Multiple regression models assessed the percentage of variation in achievement scores explained by food desert variables, after controlling for additional predictors. The proportion of individuals living in food deserts significantly explained 4th grade achievement scores, after accounting for additional predictors. School districts with higher proportions of individuals living in food desert regions demonstrated lower 4th grade achievement across science, English and math. Food deserts appear to be related to academic achievement at the school district level among urban and suburban regions. Further research is needed to better understand how food access is associated with academic achievement at the individual level. Significance for public healthThe prevalence of food deserts in the United States is of national concern. As poor nutrition in United States children continues to spark debate, food deserts are being evaluated as potential sources of low fruit and vegetable intake and high obesity rates. Cognitive development and IQ have been linked to nutrition patterns, suggesting that children in food desert regions may have a disadvantage academically. This research evaluates if an ecological relationship between food desert prevalence and academic achievement at the school district level can be demonstrated. Results suggest that food desert prevalence may relate to poor academic performance at the school district level. Significant variation in

  18. Biotic Processes Regulating the Carbon Balance of Desert Ecosystems - Final Report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nowak, Robert S [UNR; Smith, Stanley D [UNLV; Evans, Dave [WSU; Ogle, Kiona [ASU; Fenstermaker, Lynn [DRI

    2012-12-13

    Our results from the 10-year elevated atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentration study at the Nevada Desert FACE (Free-air CO{sub 2} Enrichment) Facility (NDFF) indicate that the Mojave Desert is a dynamic ecosystem with the capacity to respond quickly to environmental changes. The Mojave Desert ecosystem is accumulating carbon (C), and over the 10-year experiment, C accumulation was significantly greater under elevated [CO{sub 2}] than under ambient, despite great fluctuations in C inputs from year to year and even apparent reversals in which [CO{sub 2}] treatment had greater C accumulations.

  19. Quaternary climate change on the northern margins of Saharo-Arabian Desert with possible impact on human evolution, evidence from Negev Desert speleothems, Israel

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaks, A.; Bar-Matthews, M.; Ayalon, A.; Matthews, A.; Halicz, L.; Frumkin, A.

    2006-12-01

    The Saharo-Arabian Desert belt is the largest and driest desert in the world and its margins are vulnerable to climatic change. The paleoclimate of the northern margins of Saharo-Arabian Desert is not yet fully understood, and it is the subject of our study. The Negev Desert, southern Israel, located in the northern part of the Saharo-Arabian Desert is ideal for paleoclimate research, because of its very steep north-south precipitation gradient and numerous caves rich with carbonate cave deposits (speleothems). Speleothems grow only when precipitation is high enough to enable meteoric water to reach the caves. No present day speleothem deposition occurs in the Negev Desert. The aims of the study were: timing of the humid periods by U-Th dating of the speleothem deposition periods; origin of the rainfall by speleothem δ18O and fluid inclusions δ2H; correlations between local and global climate changes and between the climate changes to out of Africa dispersals of Early Modern Humans (EMH). Speleothems were collected from 7 caves located on the north-south transect of the Negev Desert, between 300 mm to 30 mm isohyets. Whereas in the Mediterranean climate zone (>350 mm) of central and northern Israel the speleothem deposition was continuous, in the Negev Desert periods of speleothem deposition alternated with multiple hiatuses. In the mildly arid transition zone of northern Negev (300 to 150 mm) speleothem deposition occurred most of the time during the last 210 ka, with hiatuses at 150-144 ka, ~140 ka, 117-96 ka, 93-85 ka, 25- 23 ka, and 14-0 ka. In present-day arid and hyper-arid zone of central and southern Negev (150 to 30 mm) no speleothem deposition occurred most of the last 350 ka, with humid intervals at 350-290 ka, 220-190 ka, 137- 110 ka, and ~85 ka. The origin of the precipitation in the Negev Desert during these intervals was from Eastern Mediterranean Sea, i. e. mid-latitude cyclones (as present day). The latter conclusion is based on three evidences

  20. [Microbial diversity of salt lakes in Badain Jaran desert].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Lu; Hao, Chunbo; Wang, Lihua; Pei, Lixin

    2015-04-04

    We characterized procaryotic biodiversity, community structure and the relationship between the community structure and environmental factors of salt lakes in Badain Jaran desert, Inner Mongolia, China. We constructed 16S rRNA gene clone libraries by molecular biology techniques to analyze the procaryotic phylogenetic relationships, and used R language to compare the community structure of haloalkalophiles in the salt lakes. Water in this region has a high salinity ranging from 165 to 397 g/L. The water is strongly alkaline with pH value above 10. The microbial diversity and community structure of the salt lakes are obviously different. The diversity of bacteria is more abundant than that of archaea. The main categories of bacteria in the samples are Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Alphaproteobacteria, Firmicute and Verrucomicrobia, whereas all archaea only belong to Halobacteriaceae of Euryarchaeota. Salinity is the most important environmental factor influencing the bacterial community structure, whereas the archaea community structure was influenced comprehensively by multiple environmental factors.

  1. Irregular fog as a water source for desert dune beetles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seely, M K

    1979-09-01

    Three methods of fog-water uptake have been observed in three tribes of Namib desert dune tenebrionid beetles, Adesmiini, Eurychorini and Zophosini. The methods used correlate with distribution and gross morphology of each species but cut across phylogenetic affinities. Of the three methods described, none involve obvious fine anatomical or physical adaptations of the beetles for fog-water uptake. Rather, the beetles have evolved specific behavioural patterns for drinking water condensed on vegetation, their own dorsum or sand.Use of fog-water necessitates surface activity at times when surface temperatures and wind velocities are not optimal for these diurnal or crepuscular species. Behavioural adaptation has enabled these beetles to use irregular and unpredictable fogs as a moisture source.

  2. Increasing of Mechanical Parameters of Desert Sand Using Pozzolanic Materia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahdi Sajjadi, Seyed; Fakhraldin Sajjadi, Seyed; Beheshti, Seyed Mohammad; Mehmannavaz, Taha

    2016-04-01

    Research on roads to increase the resistance of weak soils to build structures on it has been increased in recent years. The present article provide the effects of different mixtures containing microsilica, cement, polypropylene waste fiber and dune sand on mechanical parameters such as, compressibility, compressive strength, bending strength and durability characteristic. In this study also is investigated evaluation the effect of road subgrade based on proposed material. The used dune sand in this research was obtained from Kashan city where is located in central desert of Iran. The obtained results show that the microsilica and cement could play a major role in reducing the cost and required time for building roads and also building foundation on these types of soils.

  3. The desert environmental effect on the photovoltaic performance analyzing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Al Khuffash, K.; Lamont, L.A.; El Chaar, L.

    2014-01-01

    Solar power is commonly accepted to have the highest potential among other renewable energy sources. As a photovoltaic (PV) panel directly converts light into electricity it is preferred over concentrated solar power. However, PV modules are affected by the surrounding climate and implementing it in a desert location may cause an undesired effect. Therefore, this research studies the effect of different weather aspects on the performance of the PV panels, by obtaining a relation between each weather aspect and the performance of the panel. In addition, coating is tested in order to evaluate its effectiveness as a feasible solution for locations which have high dust accumulation. The results showed that coating can be a solution for dust accumulation at high irradiation levels. (author)

  4. VANET Clustering Based Routing Protocol Suitable for Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohammed Nasr, Mohammed Mohsen; Abdelgader, Abdeldime Mohamed Salih; Wang, Zhi-Gong; Shen, Lian-Feng

    2016-01-01

    In recent years, there has emerged applications of vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs) towards security, safety, rescue, exploration, military and communication redundancy systems in non-populated areas, besides its ordinary use in urban environments as an essential part of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). This paper proposes a novel algorithm for the process of organizing a cluster structure and cluster head election (CHE) suitable for VANETs. Moreover, it presents a robust clustering-based routing protocol, which is appropriate for deserts and can achieve high communication efficiency, ensuring reliable information delivery and optimal exploitation of the equipment on each vehicle. A comprehensive simulation is conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed CHE and routing algorithms. PMID:27058539

  5. Ground-water hydrology of the Sevier Desert, Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mower, R.W.; Feltis, R.D.

    1968-01-01

    The Sevier Desert, as used in this report, comprises the main part of the Sevier Desert, the Tintic Valley, and the southeastern part of the Old River Bed. It covers an area of about 3,000 square miles and occupies a large basin in the eastern part of the Basin and Range physiographic province.Large alluvial fans extend from the mountain fronts into the basin where they interfinger with eolian and lacustrine deposits and with fluvial deposits of the Sevier River. These unconsolidated deposits form a multiaquifer artesian system that is more than 1,000 feet thick and that extends from near the area of main recharge along the east side of the basin to Sevier Lake.Most of the recharge to the ground-water reservoir results from water entering alluvial fans as percolation from streams, irrigation ditches, and irrigated fields. Another important source may be water in the limestone, quartzite, and other consolidated rocks in the mountains that border the basin. Leakage from the Central Utah Canal is a major source of recharge to the water-table aquifer.Flowing wells are common in the central lowland part of the Sevier Desert, but as a result of below-normal precipitation and an increase in withdrawals from wells during 1950-64, the area of flowing wells has decreased. The quantity of ground water being wasted from flowing wells is not more than a few hundred acre-feet a year.The amount of water discharged by withdrawal from wells has increased nearly 15 times since 1950 (from 2,000 acre-feet in 1950 to 30,000 acre-feet in 1964). As a result of this increasing withdrawal, the water levels in observation wells have declined 4 feet in areas of small withdrawals to more than 7 feet near centers of pumping for public supplies and irrigation.An estimated 135,000-175,000 acre-feet of ground water is consumed by evapotranspiration each year in the 440,000 acres of desert that mainly support phreatophytes. This rate of discharge has changed little since 1950. The consumptive

  6. Air biomonitoring by transplanted lichens in the Negev Desert, Israel

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Garty, J.

    1999-01-01

    Thalli of the lichen Ramalina maciformis (Del.) Bory were collected in the Negev Desert in August 1997 and transplanted with their substrate, flintstones, to 24 bio-monitoring sites in the Negev Desert. An assessment of the impact of anthropogenic activities was made by measurements of the concentration of mineral elements in the lichen and by an examination of its physiological status. After a transplantation period of nine months, the lichens were retrieved in April 1998 and the concentration of 22 mineral elements in the thallus was determined by ICP-AES. In addition we examined the following parameters determining the status of the lichen: 1. Electric conductivity indicative of cell membrane integrity; 2. Spectral reflectance response of the thallus expressed as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) indicative of greenness and health of the thallus; 3. Production of ethylene indicative of stress, 4. Chlorophyll a fluorescence as a means to monitor aspects of photosystem II (PSII) activities in the lichen. Preliminary results show that lichens exposed to air contaminants at a site of toxic waste deposition contain high concentrations of Ca, Cu, Pb and Mn and significant low K concentrations due to leakage of this element from injured cell membranes. Conductivity measurements performed to test the integrity of cell membranes corroborated this assumption. NDVI values indicating damage to chlorophyll were relative low in lichens retrieved from sites near Beer Sheba. The stress-ethylene production was the highest in one site near Beer Sheba. The maximum quantum yield of PSII expressed as fluorescence ratio Fv/Fm was low in two sites in the Ramat Hovav Industrial Area. (author)

  7. Water and water quality management in the cholistan desert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kahlown, M.A.; Chaudhry, M.A.

    2005-01-01

    Water scarcity is the main problem in Cholistan desert. Rainfall is scanty and sporadic and groundwater is saline in most of the area. Rainwater is collected in man made small storages, locally called tobas during rainy season for human and livestock consumption. These tobas usually retain rainwater for three to four months at the maximum, due to small storage capacity and unfavorable location. After the tobas become dry, people use saline groundwater for human and livestock consumption where marginal quality groundwater is available. In complete absence of water they migrate towards canal irrigated areas till the next rains. During migration humans and livestock suffer from hunger, thirst and diseases. In order to overcome this problem Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) has introduced improved designs of tobas. The PCRWR is collecting more than 13.0 million cubic meter rainwater annually from only ninety hectare catchment area. As a result, water is available for drinking of human and livestock population as well as to wild life through out the year for the village of Dingarh in Cholistan desert. However, water collected in these tobas is usually muddy and full of impurities. To provide good quality drinking water to the residents of Cholistan, PCRWR has launched a Project under which required quantity of drinkable water will be provided at more than seventy locations by rainwater harvesting, pumping of good and marginal quality groundwater and desalination of moderately saline water through Reverse Osmosis Plants. After the completion of project, more then 380 million gallons of fresh rainwater and more than 1300 million gallons of good and marginal quality groundwater will be available annually. Intervention to collect the silt before reaching to the tobas are also introduced, low cost filter plants are designed and constructed on the tobas for purification of water. (author)

  8. The Holocene Geoarchaeology of the Desert Nile in Northern Sudan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodward, Jamie; Macklin, Mark; Spencer, Neal; Welsby, Derek; Dalton, Matthew; Hay, Sophie; Hardy, Andrew

    2016-04-01

    Invited Paper Forty years ago Colin Renfrew declared that "every archaeological problem starts as a problem in geoarchaeology" (Renfrew, 1976 p. 2). With this assertion in mind, this paper draws upon the findings from field research in two sectors of the Nile Valley of Northern Sudan dedicated to the exploration of human-environment interactions during the middle and late Holocene. This part of the Nile corridor contains a rich cultural record and an exceptionally well preserved Holocene fluvial archive. A distinctive feature of these records is the variety of evidence for interaction between desert and river over a range of spatial and temporal scales. This interaction presented both challenges and opportunities for its ancient inhabitants. This paper will present evidence for large-scale landscape changes driven by shifts in global climate. It will also show how we have integrated the archaeological and geological records in the Northern Dongola Reach and at Amara West - where long-term field projects led by archaeologists from the British Museum have recognised the importance of a sustained commitment to interdisciplinary research to achieve a fully integrated geoarchaeological approach across a range of scales. The former project is a large-scale landscape survey with multiple sites across an 80 km reach of the Nile whilst the latter has a strong focus on a single New Kingdom town site and changes in its environmental setting. By combining multiple archaeological and geological datasets - and pioneering the use of OSL dating and strontium isotope analysis in the Desert Nile - we have developed a new understanding of human responses to Holocene climate and landscape change in this region. Renfrew, C. (1976) Archaeology and the earth sciences. In: D.A. Davidson and M.I. Shackley (eds) Geoarchaeology: Earth Science and the Past, Duckworth, London, 1-5.

  9. Physiological adaptation for milk production in desert ruminants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shkolnik, A.

    1981-08-01

    The authors have shown that the black goats herded by the Bedouins in the deserts of Israel can graze in sun-scorched conditions even when still 2 days walking distance from any water source. Upon their arrival at a water hole, they consumed volumes of water which were greater than 40% of their dehydrated body weight. After drinking, their body water content was 76% of body weight; after grazing for 4 days with no water, the water content of their body was still within the normal range for ruminants and their body solids were also well maintained. It was concluded that the amount of water consumed by the goats after grazing was not only sufficient to replenish the loss of water incurred by grazing, but to re-establish the body water content at a higher than normal level and thereby provide a water store. Using 51 Cr EDTA to measure the flow of liquid out of the reticulo-rumen, the authors showed that this increased from 73 ml/hr to 250 ml/hr between the 1st and 5th hour after drinking, but even by 5 hours after drinking over 80% of the volume consumed was still in the reticulo-rumen. It is suggested that the rumen plays a major role in the water economy of desert ruminants in that it provides an essential mechanism by which they can store water and circumvent the hazards likely to follow rapid rehydration. Similar findings were obtained in the wild ruminants mentioned above

  10. Controls on sediment production in two U.S. deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Walker, Beau J.; Munson, Seth M.; Gill, Richard A.

    2014-01-01

    Much of the world’s airborne sediment originates from dryland regions. Soil surface disturbances in these regions are ever-increasing due to human activities such as energy and mineral exploration and development, recreation, suburbanization, livestock grazing and cropping. Sediment production can have significant impacts to human health with particles potentially carrying viruses such as Valley Fever or causing asthma or other respiratory diseases. Dust storms can cause decreased visibility at the ground level, resulting in highway accidents, and reduced visual quality in park and wildland airsheds. Sediment production and deposition is also detrimental to ecosystem health, as production reduces soil fertility at its source and can bury plants and other organisms where it is deposited. Therefore, it is important to understand how we can predict what areas are prone to producing sediment emissions both before and after soil surface disturbance. We visited 87 sites in two deserts of the western U.S. that represented a range of soil texture and surface cover types. We used a portable wind tunnel to estimate the threshold friction velocity (TFV) required to initiate sediment transport and the amount of sediment produced by the tunnel at a set wind speed. Wind tunnel runs were done before and after soil surface disturbance with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Results show that most undisturbed desert soils are very stable, especially if covered by rocks or well-developed biological soil crusts, which make them virtually wind-erosion proof. Particles at disturbed sites, in contrast, moved at relatively low wind speeds and produced high amounts of sediment. Silt was an important predictor of TFV and sediment production across all sites, whereas the influence of rock cover and biological soil crusts was site-dependent. Understanding the vulnerability of a site after disturbance is important information for land managers as they plan land use activities and attempt to

  11. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomales, Zygomycota of the Bledowska Desert, Poland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janusz Błaszkowski

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The occurrence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF; Glomales, Zygomycetes associated with plants growing in sand dune soils of the Blędowska Desert, Poland, was investigated in 1995-1997. A total of 134 mixtures of soils and roots were sampled. The mixtures represented 26 plant species in 14 families and one unrecognized plant. Spores of AMF were found in 118 soil-root mixtures. The AMF spore populations comprised 20 described species of the genera Acaulospora, Gigaspora, Glomus and Scutellospora, as well as two undescribed morphospecies of the genus Glomus. The AMF most frequently occurring in the field-collected soils were members of the genus Scutellospora The AMF spore populations comprised 20 described species in the genera Acaulospora, Gigaspora, Glomus and Scutellospora, as well as two undescribed morpho-species of the genus Glomus. The fungal species most frequently and numerously found was Scutellospora armeniaca. The fungi relatively frequently present also were A. rugosa, A. lacunosa, G. aggregatum, an undescribed Glomus 142 and Sc. dipurpurescens. The overall spore abundance of AMF averaged 69.1 and ranged from 0 to 837 in 100 g dry soil. The highest abundance of spores occurred among roots of the families Cupressaceae, followed by the Rosaceae, Asteraceae and Poaceae. Of the plant species investigated two and more times, most spores harboured Juniperus communis. The overall average species richness was 2.4 and ranged from 0 to 6 in 100 g dry soil. Of the plant species sampled at lest two times, the highest average species diversity was found in the root zone of Salix arenaria. The plant species that hosted the highest overall number of species of AMF was Festuca rubra. Trap pot cultures with soilroot mixtures collected in 1997 revealed 10 species of AMF that were not found in field soils sampled in the same year. This suggests that a great part of AMF of Błędowska Desert is represented by rarely or non-sporulating species.

  12. Cacti supply limited nutrients to a desert rodent community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orr, Teri J; Newsome, Seth D; Wolf, Blair O

    2015-08-01

    In the Sonoran Desert, cacti represent a potentially important source of nutrients and water for consumers. Columnar cacti, in particular, produce a large pulse of flowers and succulent fruit during hot summer months. The importance of cactus stems, flowers and fruit to the small mammal community has not been quantified. We exploited natural variation in the carbon isotope (δ(13)C) values of cacti (CAM) versus C3 plants to quantify the relative use of these resources by a diverse desert small mammal community. We also estimated trophic level by measuring nitrogen isotope (δ(15)N) values. We hypothesized that (H1) granivorous heteromyids (kangaroo rats, pocket mice) would exploit the summer pulse of seeds and pulp; (H2) folivorous and omnivorous cactus mice, wood rats, and ground squirrels would exploit cacti stems year-round and seeds when available; and (H3) kangaroo rats and pocket mice would shift from seeds to insects during hot dry months. We found that heteromyids made minimal use of seeds during the period of heavy seed rain. Of the cricetids, only the folivore Neotoma albigula made continuous but highly variable use of cacti resources (annual mean = 32%, range 0-81%), whereas the omnivore Peromyscus eremicus ignored cacti except during the summer, when it exploited seeds and/or fruit pulp (June-July mean = 39%, range 20-64%). We also found little evidence for a shift to greater consumption of insects by heteromyids during the hot dry months. Overall, use of cactus resources by the small mammal community is very limited and highly variable among species.

  13. Controls on sediment production in two U.S. deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Walker, Beau J.; Munson, Seth M.; Gill, Richard A.

    2014-09-01

    Much of the world’s airborne sediment originates from dryland regions. Soil surface disturbances in these regions are ever-increasing due to human activities such as energy and mineral exploration and development, recreation, suburbanization, livestock grazing and cropping. Sediment production can have significant impacts to human health with particles potentially carrying viruses such as Valley Fever or causing asthma or other respiratory diseases. Dust storms can cause decreased visibility at the ground level, resulting in highway accidents, and reduced visual quality in park and wildland airsheds. Sediment production and deposition is also detrimental to ecosystem health, as production reduces soil fertility at its source and can bury plants and other organisms where it is deposited. Therefore, it is important to understand how we can predict what areas are prone to producing sediment emissions both before and after soil surface disturbance. We visited 87 sites in two deserts of the western U.S. that represented a range of soil texture and surface cover types. We used a portable wind tunnel to estimate the threshold friction velocity (TFV) required to initiate sediment transport and the amount of sediment produced by the tunnel at a set wind speed. Wind tunnel runs were done before and after soil surface disturbance with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Results show that most undisturbed desert soils are very stable, especially if covered by rocks or well-developed biological soil crusts, which make them virtually wind-erosion proof. Particles at disturbed sites, in contrast, moved at relatively low wind speeds and produced high amounts of sediment. Silt was an important predictor of TFV and sediment production across all sites, whereas the influence of rock cover and biological soil crusts was site-dependent. Understanding the vulnerability of a site after disturbance is important information for land managers as they plan land use activities and attempt to

  14. Density currents as a desert dust mobilization mechanism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Solomos

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available The formation and propagation of density currents are well studied processes in fluid dynamics with many applications in other science fields. In the atmosphere, density currents are usually meso-β/γ phenomena and are often associated with storm downdrafts. These storms are responsible for the formation of severe dust episodes (haboobs over desert areas. In the present study, the formation of a convective cool pool and the associated dust mobilization are examined for a representative event over the western part of Sahara desert. The physical processes involved in the mobilization of dust are described with the use of the integrated atmospheric-air quality RAMS/ICLAMS model. Dust is effectively produced due to the development of near surface vortices and increased turbulent mixing along the frontal line. Increased dust emissions and recirculation of the elevated particles inside the head of the density current result in the formation of a moving "dust wall". Transport of the dust particles in higher layers – outside of the density current – occurs mainly in three ways: (1 Uplifting of preexisting dust over the frontal line with the aid of the strong updraft (2 Entrainment at the upper part of the density current head due to turbulent mixing (3 Vertical mixing after the dilution of the system. The role of the dust in the associated convective cloud system was found to be limited. Proper representation of convective processes and dust mobilization requires the use of high resolution (cloud resolving model configuration and online parameterization of dust production. Haboob-type dust storms are effective dust sources and should be treated accordingly in dust modeling applications.

  15. HOW MUCH CARBON IS STORED IN DESERTS? AN APPROACH FOR THE CHILEAN ATACAMA DESERT USING LANDSAT-8 PRODUCTS

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. J. Hernández

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is known as the driest place on Earth, with an average rainfall of about 15 mm per year. Despite these conditions, it contains a rich variety of flora with hundreds of species characterised by their extraordinary ability to adapt to this extreme environment. These biotic components have a direct link to important ecosystem services, especially those related to carbon storage and sequestration. No quantitative assessment is currently available for these services and the role of the desert in this matter remains unclear. We propose an approach to estimate above-ground biomass (AGB using Landsat-8 data, which we tested in the Taparacá region, located in the northern section of the desert. To calibrate and validate the models, we used field data from 86 plots and several spectral indexes (NDVI, EVI and SAVI obtained from the provisional Landsat-8 Surface-reflectance products. We applied randomised branch sampling and allometry principles (non-destructive methods to collect biomass samples for all plant biological types: wetlands, steppes, shrubs and trees. All samples were dried in an oven until they reached constant weight and the final values were used to extrapolate dry matter content (AGB to each plot in terms of kg m-2. We used all available scenes from September 2014 to August 2015 to calculate the maximum, minimum and average value for each index in each pixel within this period. For modeling, we used the method based on classification and regression trees called random forest (RF, available in the statistical software R-Project. The explained variance obtained by the RF algorithm was around 80-85%, and it improved when a wetland vector layer was used as the predictive factor in the model to reach the range 85-90%. The mean error was 1.45 kg m-2 of dry matter. The best model was obtained using the maximum and mean values of SAVI and EVI indexes. We were able to estimate total biomass storage of around 8

  16. Results and Recommendations from a Survey of Army Deserters and Leaders

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Ramsberger, Peter

    2004-01-01

    ... could have been avoided. A sample of 241 Army supervisors completed a survey in which they provided information about a specific case of desertion with which they were familiar, as well as general opinions...

  17. Soil stabilization by a prokaryotic desert crust - Implications for Precambrian land biota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, S. E.

    1979-01-01

    The ecology of the cyanophyte-dominated stromatolitic mat forming the ground cover over desert areas of Utah and Colorado is investigated and implications for the formation of mature Precambrian soils are discussed. The activation of the growth of the two species of filamentous cyanophyte identified and the mobility of their multiple trichromes upon wetting are observed, accompanied by the production and deposition of a sheath capable of accreting and stabilizing sand and clay particles. The formation of calcium carbonate precipitates upon the repeated wetting and drying of desert crust is noted, and it is suggested that the desert crust community may appear in fossil calcrete deposits as lithified microscopic tubes and cellular remains of algal trichromes. The invasion of dry land by both marine and freshwater algae on the model of the desert crust is proposed to be responsible for the accumulation, stabilization and biogenic modification of mature Precambrian soils.

  18. Radiotracer technique for studying the fate of methyl parathion in desert locust

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Garg, A.K.; Sethi, G.R.; Bhatia, Parvathy

    1988-01-01

    The present study, using 14 C-labelled methyl parathion was intended for standardising the procedure of analysis of the insecticide and its metabolites in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria Forskal. (author). 5 refs

  19. Should I stay or should I go? Female brood desertion and male counterstrategy in rock sparrows

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Griggio, Matteo; Matessi, Giuliano; Pilastro, Andrea

    2005-01-01

    Brood desertion involves a series of interactions between the members of a pair. This process is likely to be based on either member's perception of the other's propensity to desert. We manipulated this perception in males by experimentally increasing female body mass in the rock sparrow (Petronia...... petronia), a species in which females can desert their first brood before the nestlings from the first brood leave the nest. We predicted that the male would either desert the brood first or stay even if this implied the risk of caring for the brood alone. We found that males mated to loaded females did...... not leave but stayed and significantly increased their courtship rate and mate guarding. Unexpectedly, they also increased their food provisioning to the nestlings, even though loaded females did not reduce their nestling-feeding rate. The increase in male feeding rate may be explained as a way for the male...

  20. Moving Beyond "Food Deserts": Reorienting United States Policies to Reduce Disparities in Diet Quality.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jason P Block

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Jason Block and S. V. Subramanian explore avenues for improving the health of Americans through reducing dietary inequalities and look at whether concern over "food deserts" has been taken too far.

  1. Interactions between soil phototrophs and vascular plants in Himalayan cold deserts

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Řeháková, Klára; Čapková, Kateřina; Dvorský, M.; Kopecký, M.; Altman, J.; Šmilauer, P.; Doležal, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 115, Dec (2017), s. 568-578 ISSN 0038-0717 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : cold desert * Himalaya * interactions * soil phototrophs Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 4.857, year: 2016

  2. Response of lizard community structure to desert grassland restoration mediated by a keystone rodent

    Science.gov (United States)

    Many grasslands in the Chihuahuan Desert have transformed to shrublands dominated by creosotebush (Larrea tridentata). Grassland restoration efforts have been directed at controlling creosotebush by applying herbicide over large spatial scales. However, we have a limited understanding of how landsca...

  3. Exploring the Limits to Photosynthetic Life in the Hyperarid Atacama (Chile) and Taklimakan (China) Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren-Rhodes, K.; Ewing, S.; McKay, C. P.; Rhodes, K. L.

    2003-12-01

    Photosynthetic microbes inhabiting the cracks or fissures (chasmoendoliths) and undersides (hypoliths) of translucent stones function as the sole primary producers in the world's driest deserts. This poster reports on our studies of the distribution and survival of these microorganisms in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert--an extreme environment previously considered too dry to support photosynthetic life--and the Taklimakan Desert in China--one of the oldest and driest deserts on the Earth. In both deserts, we measured colonization rates and microclimate variables across natural precipitation gradients in order to investigate the role of moisture in the ecology and survival of hypolithic and chasmoendolithic microorganisms. Our results show 1000-fold variations in colonization rates--from 12% in the wettest portions of the Taklimakan Desert to 3000 y. At slightly wetter sites in the Atacama, Δ 14C of hypolith soils was progressively more enriched in proportion to increased MAP, with corresponding turnover times of >600 y (Δ 14C = -73 ‰ at sites with ˜5-10 mm MAP and ˜1 y Δ 14C = +12 ‰ ) as annual rainfall increased to ˜25 mm. At all sites, Δ 14C signatures of non-hypolith soils corresponded to turnover times that were longer by an order of magnitude, indicating significantly slower OC cycling by non-hypoliths. In the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert, the prolonged lack of rainfall (decadal scales of a few millimeters) is responsible for possibly the lowest hypolithic and chasmoendolithic colonization rates observed in deserts on the Earth. Microclimate data for rock and soil surface moisture from rainfall, dew and frost suggest the particular form of moisture and its frequency may also explain observed differences in hypolithic versus chasmoendolithic colonization modes. These results hold theoretical and practical considerations for both terrestrial ecology and as analogs for possible life on Mars.

  4. Investigating the Locomotion of the Sandfish in Desert Sand Using NMR-Imaging

    OpenAIRE

    Baumgartner, Werner; Fidler, Florian; Weth, Agnes; Habbecke, Martin; Jakob, Peter; Butenweg, Christoph; Böhme, Wolfgang

    2008-01-01

    The sandfish (Scincus scincus) is a lizard having the remarkable ability to move through desert sand for significant distances. It is well adapted to living in loose sand by virtue of a combination of morphological and behavioural specializations. We investigated the bodyform of the sandfish using 3D-laserscanning and explored its locomotion in loose desert sand using fast nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging. The sandfish exhibits an in-plane meandering motion with a frequency of about 3...

  5. A Numerical Modeling Study on Desert Oasis Self-Supporting Mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    soil, and biological resources have led to drought, salinization, and desertification and conse- quently have hindered the development of sustainable...water vapor flux is downward over the Gobi desert (Wang and Mitsuta, 1992). As part of HEIFE, the fundamental observational period observations were...NW–SE) by 25 km (NE–SW), and is surrounded by sandy and Gobi deserts. Small sensible heat-flux and dominating latent heat-flux in the surface energy

  6. An endangered oasis of aquatic microbial biodiversity in the Chihuahuan desert

    OpenAIRE

    Souza, Valeria; Espinosa-Asuar, Laura; Escalante, Ana E.; Eguiarte, Luis E.; Farmer, Jack; Forney, Larry; Lloret, Lourdes; Rodríguez-Martínez, Juan M.; Soberón, Xavier; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Elser, James J.

    2006-01-01

    The Cuatro Cienegas basin in the Chihuahuan desert is a system of springs, streams, and pools. These ecosystems support >70 endemic species and abundant living stromatolites and other microbial communities, representing a desert oasis of high biodiversity. Here, we combine data from molecular microbiology and geology to document the microbial biodiversity of this unique environment. Ten water samples from locations within the Cuatro Cienegas basin and two neighboring valleys as well as three ...

  7. Ecosystem responses to warming and watering in typical and desert steppes

    OpenAIRE

    Zhenzhu Xu; Yanhui Hou; Lihua Zhang; Tao Liu; Guangsheng Zhou

    2016-01-01

    Global warming is projected to continue, leading to intense fluctuations in precipitation and heat waves and thereby affecting the productivity and the relevant biological processes of grassland ecosystems. Here, we determined the functional responses to warming and altered precipitation in both typical and desert steppes. The results showed that watering markedly increased the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in a typical steppe during a drier year and in a desert steppe over two ...

  8. Scenario analysis of land use change in Horqin Desert and its surrounding area

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zhang, Y.M.; Zhao, S.; Verburg, P.H.

    2004-01-01

    Horqin desert and its surrounding area(41°17'~45°24' N,116°21'~123°30' E),loca-ted in the eastern part of agro-pas ture transitional zone in northern China,is an area sensitive to environmental change due to transitional location and the high potential for sandy desert-if ication.During the past

  9. Dynamics of penetration of 14C-labelled parathion in desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria Forskal

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Garg, A.K.; Bhatia, Parvathy; Sethi, G.R.

    1991-01-01

    Studies on the rate of disappearance of 14 C ring labelled parathion, after topical application on the mesosternum of desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria Forskal, indicated that penetration of the toxicant was linear and followed first order kinetics. The first order constant (k) for parathion on desert locust was 18.42x10 -2 per hr and half-life (Tsub(0.5)) was about 226 min. (author). 26 refs ., 1 fig

  10. Effect of radiophosphorus on the haematology of Indian desert gerbil (Meriones hurrianae, Jerdon)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Malhotra, N.

    1985-01-01

    The effect of 32 P (55.5 kBq/g body weight) has been studied on the hematology of the Indian desert gerbil (Meriones hurrianae) up to a maximum period of 28 d. The investigation reveals induction of leukocytopenia after a brief and transient leukocytosis. The changes in red blood cells, hemoglobin and hematocrit levels are not significant. The desert gerbil appears to be fairly radioresistant at this dose level. (author)

  11. A comparison between desert and Mediterranean antlion populations: differences in life history and morphology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scharf, I; Filin, I; Golan, M; Buchshtav, M; Subach, A; Ovadia, O

    2008-01-01

    We performed a transplant experiment to compare the life histories and morphologies of five geographically representative antlion Myrmeleon hyalinus populations along a sharp climatic gradient, from a Mediterranean climate in Israel's north to a desert climate in the south. Larvae were raised in two environmental chambers simulating Mediterranean and desert climates to investigate the extent to which the different populations exhibit phenotypic plasticity. Along the north-to-south climatic gradient, we observed a gradient in body mass prior to pupation and in pupation rate. Mediterranean populations suffered higher mortality rate when exposed to desert conditions, whereas the mortality rate of desert populations was consistent between Mediterranean and desert conditions. Our results regarding body mass, pupation rate and mortality rate suggest that Mediterranean populations had a more flexible response compared with desert populations. An analysis of digital photographs was used to measure population morphological differences, which were usually indicative of a decrease in trait size along the north-to-south gradient. We show how climatic gradients translate into phenotypic differences in an antlion population and provide a morphometric tool to distinguish between instar stages.

  12. A demographic approach to study effects of climate change in desert plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salguero-Gómez, Roberto; Siewert, Wolfgang; Casper, Brenda B.; Tielbörger, Katja

    2012-01-01

    Desert species respond strongly to infrequent, intense pulses of precipitation. Consequently, indigenous flora has developed a rich repertoire of life-history strategies to deal with fluctuations in resource availability. Examinations of how future climate change will affect the biota often forecast negative impacts, but these—usually correlative—approaches overlook precipitation variation because they are based on averages. Here, we provide an overview of how variable precipitation affects perennial and annual desert plants, and then implement an innovative, mechanistic approach to examine the effects of precipitation on populations of two desert plant species. This approach couples robust climatic projections, including variable precipitation, with stochastic, stage-structured models constructed from long-term demographic datasets of the short-lived Cryptantha flava in the Colorado Plateau Desert (USA) and the annual Carrichtera annua in the Negev Desert (Israel). Our results highlight these populations' potential to buffer future stochastic precipitation. Population growth rates in both species increased under future conditions: wetter, longer growing seasons for Cryptantha and drier years for Carrichtera. We determined that such changes are primarily due to survival and size changes for Cryptantha and the role of seed bank for Carrichtera. Our work suggests that desert plants, and thus the resources they provide, might be more resilient to climate change than previously thought. PMID:23045708

  13. Bacterial Rhizosphere Biodiversity from Several Pioneer Desert Sand Plants Near Jizan, Saudi Arabia

    KAUST Repository

    Osman, Jorge R.

    2016-04-08

    Life in arid regions and, in particular, hot deserts is often limited due to their harsh environmental conditions, such as large temperature fluctuations and low amounts of water. These extreme environments can influence the microbial community present on the surface sands and any rhizosphere members surrounding desert plant roots. The Jizan desert area, located in Saudi Arabia, supports particular vegetation that grows in the large sandy flat terrain. We examined five different samples, four from the rhizosphere of pioneer plants plus a surface sand sample, and used pyrosequencing of PCR-amplified V1-V3 regions of 16S rDNA genes from total extracted DNA to reveal and compare the bacterial population diversity of the samples. The results showed a total of 3,530 OTUs in the five samples, calculated using ≥ 97% sequence similarity levels. The Chao1 estimation of the bacterial diversity fluctuated from 637 to 2,026 OTUs for a given sample. The most abundant members found in the samples belong to the Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria phyla. This work shows that the Jizan desert area of Saudi Arabia can contain a diverse bacterial community on the sand and surrounding the roots of pioneer desert plants. It also shows that desert sand microbiomes can vary depending on conditions, with broad implications for sandstone monument bacterial communities

  14. Community adaptations to an impending food desert in rural Appalachia, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Wayne C; Rogalla, Denver; Spencer, Dustin; Zia, Nida; Griffith, Brian N; Heinsberg, Haylee B

    2016-01-01

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) describes a food desert as an urban neighborhood or rural town without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. An estimated 2.3 million rural Americans live in food deserts. One goal of the USDA is to eliminate food deserts. However, at a time when some food deserts are being eliminated, hundreds of grocery stores are closing, causing other food deserts to arise. The literature is scarce on how a community adapts to an impending food desert. Alderson, West Virginia, USA (population 1184) rallied to face an impending food desert when the only grocery store in town closed in December 2014. This study investigated how this small rural community adapted to its oncoming food desert. A community member survey was administered to 155 Alderson families (49%) to determine how the new food desert affected family food acquisition and storage behaviors. A restaurant survey was given to the town's four restaurants to determine how the food desert affected their businesses. Sales data for a new food hub (Green Grocer) was obtained to see if this new initiative offset the negative effects of the food desert. ANOVA and t-tests were used to compare group numerical data. Two group response rates were compared by testing the equality of two proportions. Categorical data were analyzed with the χ2 or frequency distribution analysis. Group averages are reported as mean ± standard error of the mean. Significance for all analyses was set at pp=0.16) from the number before the food desert (2.8±0.3). Price comparisons among the Green Grocer and three distant supermarkets showed a 30% savings by traveling to distant supermarkets. Frequency of monthly restaurant visits did not change after the emergence of the food desert (2.98±0.54 vs 3.05±0.51, p=0.85). However, restaurant patrons requested to buy fresh produce and dairy from the restaurants to use for their own home cooking. Food pantry use increased by 43%, with

  15. Sources of strontium and calcium in desert soil and calcrete

    Science.gov (United States)

    Capo, Rosemary C.; Chadwick, Oliver A.

    1999-06-01

    The carbon-cycle significance of soil carbonate fluxes is subject to large uncertainties because it is not clear precisely how much calcium is derived from atmospheric sources compared with that from the chemical weathering of silicate minerals. In the petrocalcic horizon (calcrete) of a Pleistocene soil from the USDA-SCS Desert Project area near Las Cruces, NM, approximately 1.5 g Ca/cm 3 has been added, with an associated expansion of the profile of ˜200%. Strontium isotope values for the labile cations and carbonate from the A, B and K soil horizons have 87Sr/ 86Sr values that range from 0.7087 to 0.7093, similar to the values for easily soluble local dust and rain. The parent material, non-calcareous Camp Rice alluvial sediment, has a 87Sr/ 86Sr ratio of ˜0.7165. Mixing calculations indicate a minimum atmospheric contribution to soil carbonate calcium of ˜94%; the more likely scenarios indicate at least 98% of the Ca originated from atmospheric input. The variations in 87Sr/ 86Sr ratios of soil silicate (0.7131 to 0.7173) are consistent with weathering of volcanogenic sediments and neoformation of clay minerals in the petrocalcic horizon. Moreover, the Sr isotope data suggest that 50-70% of silicate in the uppermost 25 cm of the profile could be atmosphere-derived. The isotopic composition of labile strontium in the A horizon and the mass distribution of silicon and calcium indicate that the uppermost portion of the profile is the present zone for the release of cations due to silicate weathering. Steady-state models of the whole profile yield a Sr weathering flux ranging from ˜200 to 400 μg cm -2 Ma -1. The results indicate that both the present-day and long-term contribution of calcium from silicate weathering is less than 2% of that supplied from the atmosphere, and confirm that desert soil formation is not a significant sink for atmospheric carbon.

  16. Rehabilitation of gypsum-mined lands in the Indian desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharma, K.D.; Kumar, S.; Gough, L.P.

    2001-01-01

    The economic importance of mining in the Indian Desert is second only to agriculture. Land disturbed by mining, however, has only recently been the focus of rehabilitation efforts. This research assesses the success of rehabilitation plans used to revegetate gypsum mine spoils within the environmental constraints of the north-west Indian hot-desert ecosystem. The rehabilitation plan first examined both mined and unmined areas and established assessments of existing vegetative cover and the quality of native soils and mine spoils. Tests were made on the effect of the use, and conservation, of available water through rainwater harvesting, amendment application (for physical and chemical spoil modification), plant establishment protocols, and the selection of appropriate germ plasm. Our results show that the resulting vegetative cover is capable of perpetuating itself under natural conditions while concurrently meeting the needs of farmers. Although the mine spoils are deficient in organic matter and phosphorus, they possess adequate amounts of all other nutrients. Total boron concentrations (>5.0 mg kg-1) in both the topsail and mine spoil indicate potentially phytotoxic conditions. Electrical conductance of mine spoil is 6-10 times higher than for topsail with a near-neutral pH. Populations of spoil fungi, Azotobactor, and nitrifying bacteria are low. The soil moisture storage in rainwater harvesting plots increased by 8% over the control and 48% over the unmined area. As a result of rehabilitation efforts, mine spoils show a steady buildup in organic carbon, and P and K due to the decomposition of farmyard manure and the contribution of nitrogen fixation by the established leguminous plant species. The rehabilitation protocol used at the site appears to have been successful. Following revegetation of the area with a mixture of trees, shrubs, and grasses, native implanted species have become established. Species diversity, measured in terms of species richness

  17. From Desert to Dessert: Why Australian Dust Matters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, K. A.; Mackie, D. S.; Boyd, P. W.; McTainsh, G. H.

    2006-12-01

    The growth of some types of phytoplankton in several parts of the world ocean, including much of the Southern Ocean, is limited by the supply of iron. Large Australian dust storms uplift, transport and abrade soils, to produce aeolian dust that is a significant source iron to the Southern Ocean. Atmospheric processes that enhance the dissolution of iron from aeolian dusts are of interest and have been studied for material from major dust producing regions like the Sahara, Gobi and Australian deserts; the reported solubility of iron from aeolian dusts ranges from <0.01% to 80%. The characteristic red soils, sands and dusts from Australia are generally believed to consist of quartz grains with a coating of fine grains and crystals of iron oxides, primarily hematite and goethite. The precise mineralogy of soil and dust grain coatings is poorly understood and it also not well known how the coatings are altered during uplift and transport to the ocean. Current models to understand the processes operating during the transport and atmospheric processing of dust include some generalisations and simplifications that are not always warranted and our work has shown the overlooked complexity of the system. Models for aeolian-iron dissolution based on Northern Hemisphere data commonly include the pollutants SOx and NOx. The modern Southern Hemisphere is less polluted and thus resembles past environmental systems. The dissolution of iron from soils of the Saharan, Gobi and Australian deserts in the presence of protons only (i.e. without SOx and NOx) occurs in two phases. The first, faster phase, representing up to 20% of total iron is via a surface-controlled mechanism. The rate determining variable is the exposed surface area of the iron oxides and not the size of the underlying quartz grain. The second, slower, phase of dissolution occurs via the transport-controlled formation of a leached layer. During the simulated aeolian abrasion of Australian soils from dust producing

  18. Model development and calibration for investigating climate, soil, and plant physiological controls on desert ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, G. C.; Bedford, D.; Miller, D. M.

    2011-12-01

    Arid ecosystems have adapted to cope with extreme temperatures and unreliable moisture inputs. Understanding desert vegetation dynamics through seasonal to inter-annual meteorological variability is important for assessing how further intensification of the hydrological system under climate change may impact desert ecosystems. Furthermore, due to world-wide problems with desertification, proper ecological characterization of deserts, which already cover a fifth of the world's land surface, is increasingly critical for monitoring global-scale ecology. We present a model-based study that examines spatio-temporal dynamics of desert vegetation in a research watershed located in the Mojave Desert. Moving from the basin floor to higher elevations, the study area covers a range of meteorological and soil conditions, allowing us to explore how various climate, soil, and plant physiological factors interact to affect desert ecosystems. The first stage of this work entails developing a model appropriate for simulating desert ecological systems. NCAR's CLM-CN model fully couples dynamics within the soil-vegetation-atmosphere continuum. It includes parameterizations for diverse vegetation types, making it a flexible and accessible tool for ecohydrological studies. The dominant plant-type in our study area is Larrea tridentata, a shrub abundantly found in deserts of North and South America. We find that the current CLM-CN sub-model for (semi-)arid region shrubs may not be suitable for the extreme conditions found in parts of the study area. Model modifications representing various adaptations of drought-resistant Larrea are crucial for properly simulating vegetation growth. Changes to CLM's soil hydraulic property functions are also needed to represent gravelly soils typical of the region. After developing a suitable parameterization for desert shrubs and soils, we calibrate the model to soil moisture and vegetation measurements in the study area. This includes soil moisture

  19. Observed 20th century desert dust variability: impact on climate and biogeochemistry

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. M. Mahowald

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available Desert dust perturbs climate by directly and indirectly interacting with incoming solar and outgoing long wave radiation, thereby changing precipitation and temperature, in addition to modifying ocean and land biogeochemistry. While we know that desert dust is sensitive to perturbations in climate and human land use, previous studies have been unable to determine whether humans were increasing or decreasing desert dust in the global average. Here we present observational estimates of desert dust based on paleodata proxies showing a doubling of desert dust during the 20th century over much, but not all the globe. Large uncertainties remain in estimates of desert dust variability over 20th century due to limited data. Using these observational estimates of desert dust change in combination with ocean, atmosphere and land models, we calculate the net radiative effect of these observed changes (top of atmosphere over the 20th century to be −0.14 ± 0.11 W/m2 (1990–1999 vs. 1905–1914. The estimated radiative change due to dust is especially strong between the heavily loaded 1980–1989 and the less heavily loaded 1955–1964 time periods (−0.57 ± 0.46 W/m2, which model simulations suggest may have reduced the rate of temperature increase between these time periods by 0.11 °C. Model simulations also indicate strong regional shifts in precipitation and temperature from desert dust changes, causing 6 ppm (12 PgC reduction in model carbon uptake by the terrestrial biosphere over the 20th century. Desert dust carries iron, an important micronutrient for ocean biogeochemistry that can modulate ocean carbon storage; here we show that dust deposition trends increase ocean productivity by an estimated 6% over the 20th century, drawing down an additional 4 ppm (8 PgC of carbon dioxide into the oceans. Thus, perturbations to desert dust over the 20th century inferred from observations are potentially important for climate and

  20. Observed 20th Century Desert Dust Variability: Impact on Climate and Biogeochemistry

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Mahowald, Natalie [Cornell University; Kloster, Silvia [Cornell University; Engelstaedter, S. [Cornell University; Moore, Jefferson Keith [University of California, Irvine; Mukhopadhyay, S. [Harvard University; McConnell, J. R. [Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV; Albani, S. [Cornell University; Doney, Scott C. [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Woods Hole, MA; Bhattacharya, A. [Harvard University; Curran, M. A. J. [Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre; Flanner, Mark G. [University of Michigan; Hoffman, Forrest M [ORNL; Lawrence, David M. [National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Lindsay, Keith [National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Mayewski, P. A. [University of Maine; Neff, Jason [University of Colorado, Boulder; Rothenberg, D. [Cornell University; Thomas, E. [British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK; Thornton, Peter E [ORNL; Zender, Charlie S. [University of California, Irvine

    2010-01-01

    Desert dust perturbs climate by directly and indirectly interacting with incoming solar and outgoing long wave radiation, thereby changing precipitation and temperature, in addition to modifying ocean and land biogeochemistry. While we know that desert dust is sensitive to perturbations in climate and human land use, previous studies have been unable to determine whether humans were increasing or decreasing desert dust in the global average. Here we present observational estimates of desert dust based on paleodata proxies showing a doubling of desert dust during the 20th century over much, but not all the globe. Large uncertainties remain in estimates of desert dust variability over 20th century due to limited data. Using these observational estimates of desert dust change in combination with ocean, atmosphere and land models, we calculate the net radiative effect of these observed changes (top of atmosphere) over the 20th century to be -0.14 {+-} 0.11 W/m{sup 2} (1990-1999 vs. 1905-1914). The estimated radiative change due to dust is especially strong between the heavily loaded 1980-1989 and the less heavily loaded 1955-1964 time periods (-0.57 {+-} 0.46 W/m{sup 2}), which model simulations suggest may have reduced the rate of temperature increase between these time periods by 0.11 C. Model simulations also indicate strong regional shifts in precipitation and temperature from desert dust changes, causing 6 ppm (12 PgC) reduction in model carbon uptake by the terrestrial biosphere over the 20th century. Desert dust carries iron, an important micronutrient for ocean biogeochemistry that can modulate ocean carbon storage; here we show that dust deposition trends increase ocean productivity by an estimated 6% over the 20th century, drawing down an additional 4 ppm (8 PgC) of carbon dioxide into the oceans. Thus, perturbations to desert dust over the 20th century inferred from observations are potentially important for climate and biogeochemistry, and our understanding

  1. Data measured on water collected from eastern Mojave Desert, California

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rose, Tim P. [Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)

    2017-08-17

    In March of 2000 field collection of water from the Eastern Mojave Desert resulted in the measurement of stable isotope, radiocarbon, tritium, and limited dissolved noble gases. This work was follow-on to previous studies on similar systems in southern Nevada associated with the Nevada Test Site (Davisson et al., 1999; Rose and Davisson, 2003). The data for groundwater from wells and springs was never formally published and is therefore tabulated in Table 1 in order to be recorded in public record. In addition 4 years of remote precipitation data was collected for stable isotopes and is included in Table 2. These studies, along with many parallel and subsequent ones using isotopes and elemental concentrations, are all related to the general research area of tracing sources and quantifying transport times of natural and man-made materials in the environment. This type of research has direct relevance in characterizing environmental contamination, understanding resource development and protection, designing early detection in WMD related terrorism, and application in forensics analysis.

  2. Determination of Oxygen Production by Cyanobacteria in Desert Environment Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bueno Prieto, J. E.

    2009-12-01

    The cyanobacteria have been characterized for being precursor in the production of oxygen. By means of photosynthetic reactions, they provide oxygen to the environment that surrounds them and they capture part of surrounding dioxide of carbon. This way it happened since the primitive Earth until today. Besides, these microorganisms can support the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. The presence of cyanobacterias in an environment like a dry tropical bioma, such as the geographical location called Desert of The Tatacoa (Huila - Colombia), is determinant to establish parameters in the search of biological origin of atmospheric oxygen detected in Mars. In that case, I work with a random sample of not rhizospheric soil, taken to 15 cm of depth. After determining the presence of cyanobacterias in the sample, this one was in laboratory to stimulate the oxygen production. The presence of oxygen in Mars is very interesting. Since oxygen gas is very reactive, it disappear if it is not renewed; the possibility that this renovation of oxygen has a biological origin is encouraging, bearing in mind that in a dry environment and high radiation such as the studied one, the production of oxygen by cyanobacterias is notable. Also it is necessary to keep in mind that the existence of cyanobacterias would determine water presence in Mars subsoil and the nutrients cycles renovation. An interesting exploration possibility for some future space probe to Mars might be the study of worldwide distribution of oxygen concentration in this planet and this way, indentify zones suitable for microbian life.

  3. Satellite Observations of Desert Dust-induced Himalayan Snow Darkening

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gautam, Ritesh; Hsu, N. Christina; Lau, William K.-M.; Yasunari, Teppei J.

    2013-01-01

    The optically thick aerosol layer along the southern edge of the Himalaya has been subject of several recent investigations relating to its radiative impacts on the South Asian summer monsoon and regional climate forcing. Prior to the onset of summer monsoon, mineral dust from southwest Asian deserts is transported over the Himalayan foothills on an annual basis. Episodic dust plumes are also advected over the Himalaya, visible as dust-laden snow surface in satellite imagery, particularly in western Himalaya. We examined spectral surface reflectance retrieved from spaceborne MODIS observations that show characteristic reduction in the visible wavelengths (0.47 nm) over western Himalaya, associated with dust-induced solar absorption. Case studies as well as seasonal variations of reflectance indicate a significant gradient across the visible (0.47 nm) to near-infrared (0.86 nm) spectrum (VIS-NIR), during premonsoon period. Enhanced absorption at shorter visible wavelengths and the resulting VIS-NIR gradient is consistent with model calculations of snow reflectance with dust impurity. While the role of black carbon in snow cannot be ruled out, our satellite-based analysis suggests the observed spectral reflectance gradient dominated by dust-induced solar absorption during premonsoon season. From an observational viewpoint, this study underscores the importance of mineral dust deposition toward darkening of the western Himalayan snow cover, with potential implications to accelerated seasonal snowmelt and regional snow albedo feedbacks.

  4. Impacts of feral horses on a desert environment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hendrickson Larry E

    2009-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Free-ranging horses (Equus caballus in North America are considered to be feral animals since they are descendents of non-native domestic horses introduced to the continent. We conducted a study in a southern California desert to understand how feral horse movements and horse feces impacted this arid ecosystem. We evaluated five parameters susceptible to horse trampling: soil strength, vegetation cover, percent of nonnative vegetation, plant species diversity, and macroinvertebrate abundance. We also tested whether or not plant cover and species diversity were affected by the presence of horse feces. Results Horse trailing resulted in reduced vegetation cover, compacted soils, and in cases of intermediate intensity disturbance, increased plant species diversity. The presence of horse feces did not affect plant cover, but it did increase native plant diversity. Conclusion Adverse impacts, such as soil compaction and increased erosion potential, were limited to established horse trails. In contrast, increased native plant diversity near trails and feces could be viewed as positive outcomes. Extensive trailing can result in a surprisingly large impact area: we estimate that 25 km2 of trails in our study area.

  5. Impacts of feral horses on a desert environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ostermann-Kelm, Stacey D; Atwill, Edward A; Rubin, Esther S; Hendrickson, Larry E; Boyce, Walter M

    2009-11-10

    Free-ranging horses (Equus caballus) in North America are considered to be feral animals since they are descendents of non-native domestic horses introduced to the continent. We conducted a study in a southern California desert to understand how feral horse movements and horse feces impacted this arid ecosystem. We evaluated five parameters susceptible to horse trampling: soil strength, vegetation cover, percent of nonnative vegetation, plant species diversity, and macroinvertebrate abundance. We also tested whether or not plant cover and species diversity were affected by the presence of horse feces. Horse trailing resulted in reduced vegetation cover, compacted soils, and in cases of intermediate intensity disturbance, increased plant species diversity. The presence of horse feces did not affect plant cover, but it did increase native plant diversity. Adverse impacts, such as soil compaction and increased erosion potential, were limited to established horse trails. In contrast, increased native plant diversity near trails and feces could be viewed as positive outcomes. Extensive trailing can result in a surprisingly large impact area: we estimate that horses used > 25 km2 of trails in our study area.

  6. Seasonal variation of indoor radon concentration in a desert climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al-Khateeb, H M; Nuseirat, M; Aljarrah, K; Al-Akhras, M-Ali H; Bani-Salameh, H

    2017-12-01

    Radon is one of the sources that negatively affect dwellings air quality and is ranked as a main cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. The indoor radon concentrations usually affected by the conditions of the environment surrounding the dwellings. Seasonal variations can have a significant impact on the indoor radon concentrations. In this article, we studied the seasonal variations of indoor radon concentration in a desert climate, particularly in gulf countries that usually leave the windows and doors closed all over the time. Four hundred dosimeters containing CR-39 detectors were planted for three months to measure the variation in radon concentration between winter and summer seasons. Our measurements showed that a building with a basement revealed a significant variation between radon concentration in winter (44.3 ± 3.1Bqm -3 ) and in summer (26.1 ± 1.7Bqm -3 ). Buildings without basements showed that the indoor radon concentration in winter (16.1 ± 1.7Bqm -3 ) is very much close to that in summer (16.7 ± 1.8Bqm -3 ). Our results indicated that seasonal variations can significantly affect indoor radon concentration for buildings established with basements. However; in the study region, the average indoor radon concentration as well as the annual effective dose rate are found to be below the action level recommended by ICRP. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Assessing water stress of desert vegetation using remote sensing : the case of the Tamarugo forest in the Atacama Desert (Northern Chile)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chávez Oyanadel, R.O.

    2014-01-01

    Water stress assessment of natural vegetation plays a key role in water management of desert ecosystems. It allows scientists and managers to relate water extraction rates to changes in vegetation water condition, and consequently to define safe water extraction rates for maintaining a healthy

  8. Surgical deserts in California: an analysis of access to surgical care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uribe-Leitz, Tarsicio; Esquivel, Micaela M; Garland, Naomi Y; Staudenmayer, Kristan L; Spain, David A; Weiser, Thomas G

    2018-03-01

    Areas of minimal access to surgical care, often called "surgical deserts", are of particular concern when considering the need for urgent surgical and anesthesia care. We hypothesized that California would have an appropriate workforce density but that physicians would be concentrated in urban areas, and surgical deserts would exist in rural counties. We used a benchmark of six general surgeons, six orthopedists, and eight anesthesiologists per 100,000 people per county to define a "desert". The number and location of these providers were obtained from the Medical Board of California for 2015. ArcGIS, version 10.3, was used to geocode the data and were analyzed in Redivis. There were a total of 3268 general surgeons, 3188 orthopedists, and 5995 anesthesiologists in California in 2015, yielding a state surgeon-to-population ratio of 7.2, 6.7, and 10.2 per 100,000 people, respectively; however, there was wide geographic variability. Of the 58 counties in California, 18 (31%) have a general surgery desert, 27 (47%) have an orthopedic desert, and 22 (38%) have an anesthesiology desert. These counties account for 15%, 25%, and 13% of the state population, respectively. Five, seven, and nine counties, respectively, have none in the corresponding specialty. Overall, California has an adequate ratio of surgical and anesthesia providers to population. However, because of their uneven distribution, significant surgical care deserts exist. Limited access to surgical and anesthesia providers may negatively impact patient outcome in these counties. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Soil seed bank in different habitats of the Eastern Desert of Egypt.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomaa, Nasr H

    2012-04-01

    The floristic composition and species diversity of the germinable soil seed bank were studied in three different habitats (desert salinized land, desert wadi, and reclaimed land) in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Moreover, the degree of similarity between the seed bank and the above-ground vegetation was determined. The seed bank was studied in 40 stands representing the three habitats. Ten soil samples (each 25 × 20 cm and 5 cm depth) were randomly taken per stand. The seed bank was investigated by the seedling emergence method. Some 61 species belonging to 21 families and 54 genera were identified in the germinable seed bank. The recorded species include 43 annuals and 18 perennials. Ordination of stands by Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) indicates that the stands of the three habitats are markedly distinguishable and show a clear pattern of segregation on the ordination planes. This indicates variations in the species composition among habitats. The results also demonstrate significant associations between the floristic composition of the seed bank and edaphic factors such as CaCO3, electrical conductivity, organic carbon and soil texture. The reclaimed land has the highest values of species richness, Shannon-index of diversity and the density of the germinable seed bank followed by the habitats of desert wadi and desert salinized land. Motyka's similarity index between the seed bank and the above-ground vegetation is significantly higher in reclaimed land (75.1%) compared to desert wadi (38.4%) and desert salinized land (36.5%).

  10. A Systematic Review of Global Desert Dust and Associated Human Health Effects

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xuelei Zhang

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Dust storms and sandy dust events originating in arid and semi-arid areas can transport particulate material, pollutants, and potential transport long distances from their sources. Exposure to desert dust particles is generally acknowledged to endanger human health. However, most studies have examined anthropogenic particulate sources, with few studies considering contributions from natural desert dust. A systematic literature review was undertaken using the ISI Web of Knowledge and PubMed databases with the objective of identifying all studies presenting results on the potential health impact from desert dust particles across the world. This review reveals an imbalance between the areas most exposed to dust and the areas most studied in terms of health effects. Among the human health effects of dust storms are mortality and morbidity, arising from respiratory system, circulatory system, and other diseases. We summarize the quantitative results of current scientific health research and possible pathological mechanisms, and describe some of the many challenges related to understanding health effects from exposures to desert dust particles. Overall, for respiratory and circulatory mortality, both positive and negative associations have been reported for PM10 of desert dust, but only a positive relationship was reported between PM2.5–10 and mortality, and a positive relationship was also reported between PM2.5 and human mortality. Future pathological studies should continue to focus on those mechanisms causing the most harmful effect of desert dust on respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. More attention should also be paid to the association between desert dust and the morbidity of other diseases, such as those affecting the reproductive system and nervous system.

  11. Molecular markers of biomass burning, fungal spores and biogenic SOA in the Taklimakan desert aerosols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fu, Pingqing; Zhuang, Guoshun; Sun, Yele; Wang, Qiongzhen; Chen, Jing; Ren, Lujie; Yang, Fan; Wang, Zifa; Pan, Xiaole; Li, Xiangdong; Kawamura, Kimitaka

    2016-04-01

    Biogenic primary organic aerosols (POA) and secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are important organic constituents of atmospheric particulate matter (PM). In order to better understand the atmospheric abundances, molecular compositions and sources of the desert aerosols, biomass-burning tracers (e.g. levoglucosan), primary saccharides including fungal spore tracers, and SOA tracers from the oxidation of biogenic volatile organic compounds (e.g. isoprene, monoterpenes and sesquiterpene) have been studied in ambient aerosols from the Taklimakan desert, using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results showed that the total concentrations of biomass-burning tracers at Hetian (177-359 ng m-3, mean 233 ng m-3 in PM2.5) in the south rim of the desert were much higher than those at Tazhong (1.9-8.8 ng m-3 in PM2.5 and 5.9-32 ng m-3 in TSP) in the central Taklimakan desert. Molecular markers of fungal spores were also detected in all the desert aerosols, highlighting the importance of primary bioaerosols in the Asian dust particles. A specific pattern of the dominance of 2-methylglyceric acid over 2-methyltetrols and C5-alkene triols was found in the Taklimakan desert aerosols, especially during the dust storm events, which is different from the 2-methyltetrols-dominated pattern in other ambient aerosols. Our results provide direct evidence on the biogenic POA and SOA tracers in the Taklimakan desert region, which help to better understand their impact on the aerosol chemistry in the down-wind regions.

  12. Phylogeography of Beck's Desert Scorpion, Paruroctonus becki, reveals Pliocene diversification in the Eastern California Shear Zone and postglacial expansion in the Great Basin Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, Matthew R; Jaeger, Jef R; Prendini, Lorenzo; Riddle, Brett R

    2013-12-01

    The distribution of Beck's Desert Scorpion, Paruroctonus becki (Gertsch and Allred, 1965), spans the 'warm' Mojave Desert and the western portion of the 'cold' Great Basin Desert. We used genetic analyses and species distribution modeling to test whether P. becki persisted in the Great Basin Desert during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), or colonized the area as glacial conditions retreated and the climate warmed. Phylogenetic and network analyses of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 (cox1), 16S rDNA, and nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS-2) DNA sequences uncovered five geographically-structured groups in P. becki with varying degrees of statistical support. Molecular clock estimates and the geographical arrangement of three of the groups suggested that Pliocene geological events in the tectonically dynamic Eastern California Shear Zone may have driven diversification by vicariance. Diversification was estimated to have continued through the Pleistocene, during which a group endemic to the western Great Basin diverged from a related group in the eastern Mojave Desert and western Colorado Plateau. Demographic and network analyses suggested that P. becki underwent a recent expansion in the Great Basin. According to a landscape interpolation of genetic distances, this expansion appears to have occurred from the northwest, implying that P. becki may have persisted in part of the Great Basin during the LGM. This prediction is supported by species distribution models which suggest that climate was unsuitable throughout most of the Great Basin during the LGM, but that small patches of suitable climate may have remained in areas of the Lahontan Trough. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  13. Investigation of microbial diversity in a desert Mars-like environment: Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Direito, Maria Susana; Staats, Martijn; Foing, Bernard H.; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Roling, Wilfred

    The Utah Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) harbours geo-morphology and geo-processes analogues to the planet Mars. Soil samples were collected during the EuroGeoMars campaign (from 24 January to 1 March 2009) from different locations and depths [1]. Samples were distributed among scientific collaborator institutes for analysis of microbial diversity, amino acid content and degradation, content of PAH or larger organic molecules, and respective soil properties. Our sample analysis had the objective of characterizing the microbial communities in this Mars analogue: DNA isolation, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) using primers for DNA amplification of Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene fragments, DGGE (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis) and clone library construction with the final aim of sequencing. Results indicate that life is present in all the three domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya), while the most diversity was found in the domain Bacteria. Microorgan-isms are heterogeneously present and their identities are currently investigated. The obtained information will be later related to the other scientific analysis in order to obtain a better understanding of this Mars analogue site, which in turn will provide important information for the search for life on Mars. [1] Foing, B.H. et al . (2009). Exogeolab lander/rover instruments and EuroGeoMars MDRS campaign. LPI, 40, 2567.

  14. Temporal dynamics of hot desert microbial communities reveal structural and functional responses to water input

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Armstrong, Alacia; Valverde, Angel; Ramond, Jean-Baptiste; Makhalanyane, Thulani P.; Jansson, Janet K.; Hopkins, David W.; Aspray, Thomas J.; Seely, Mary; Trindade, Marla I.; Cowan, Don A.

    2016-09-29

    The temporal dynamics of desert soil microbial communities are poorly understood. Given the implications for ecosystem functioning under a global change scenario, a better understanding of desert microbial community stability is crucial. Here, we sampled soils in the central Namib Desert on sixteen different occasions over a one-year period. Using Illumina-based amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, we found that α-diversity (richness) was more variable at a given sampling date (spatial variability) than over the course of one year (temporal variability). Community composition remained essentially unchanged across the first 10 months, indicating that spatial sampling might be more important than temporal sampling when assessing β-diversity patterns in desert soils. However, a major shift in microbial community composition was found following a single precipitation event. This shift in composition was associated with a rapid increase in CO2 respiration and productivity, supporting the view that desert soil microbial communities respond rapidly to re-wetting and that this response may be the result of both taxon-specific selection and changes in the availability or accessibility of organic substrates. Recovery to quasi pre-disturbance community composition was achieved within one month after rainfall.

  15. Resource pulses in desert river habitats: productivity-biodiversity hotspots, or mirages?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Free, Carissa L; Baxter, Greg S; Dickman, Christopher R; Leung, Luke K P

    2013-01-01

    Resource pulses in the world's hot deserts are driven largely by rainfall and are highly variable in both time and space. However, run-on areas and drainage lines in arid regions receive more water more often than adjacent habitats, and frequently sustain relatively high levels of primary productivity. These landscape features therefore may support higher biotic diversity than other habitats, and potentially act as refuges for desert vertebrates and other biota during droughts. We used the ephemeral Field River in the Simpson Desert, central Australia, as a case study to quantify how resources and habitat characteristics vary spatially and temporally along the riparian corridor. Levels of moisture and nutrients were greater in the clay-dominated soils of the riverine corridor than in the surrounding sand dunes, as were cover values of trees, annual grasses, other annual plants and litter; these resources and habitat features were also greater near the main catchment area than in the distal reaches where the river channel runs out into extensive dune fields. These observations confirm that the riverine corridor is more productive than the surrounding desert, and support the idea that it may act as a refuge or as a channel for the ingress of peri-desert species. However, the work also demonstrates that species diversity of invertebrates and plants is not higher within the river corridor; rather, it is driven by rainfall and the accompanying increase in annual plants following a rain event. Further research is required to identify the biota that depend upon these resource pulses.

  16. A mechanistic modeling and data assimilation framework for Mojave Desert ecohydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, Gene-Hua Crystal.; Bedford, David; Miller, David

    2014-01-01

    This study demonstrates and addresses challenges in coupled ecohydrological modeling in deserts, which arise due to unique plant adaptations, marginal growing conditions, slow net primary production rates, and highly variable rainfall. We consider model uncertainty from both structural and parameter errors and present a mechanistic model for the shrub Larrea tridentata (creosote bush) under conditions found in the Mojave National Preserve in southeastern California (USA). Desert-specific plant and soil features are incorporated into the CLM-CN model by Oleson et al. (2010). We then develop a data assimilation framework using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) to estimate model parameters based on soil moisture and leaf-area index observations. A new implementation procedure, the “multisite loop EnKF,” tackles parameter estimation difficulties found to affect desert ecohydrological applications. Specifically, the procedure iterates through data from various observation sites to alleviate adverse filter impacts from non-Gaussianity in small desert vegetation state values. It also readjusts inconsistent parameters and states through a model spin-up step that accounts for longer dynamical time scales due to infrequent rainfall in deserts. Observation error variance inflation may also be needed to help prevent divergence of estimates from true values. Synthetic test results highlight the importance of adequate observations for reducing model uncertainty, which can be achieved through data quality or quantity.

  17. A New Infrared Desert Dust Index over French Guyana Rain forest: First results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molinie, J.; Barnacin, E.; Henry, J. L.; Gobinddass, M. L.; Panechou-Pulcherie, K.; Feuillard, T.; Nagau, J.

    2017-12-01

    Recently a NASA researcher showed the role of desert dust contribution for the Amazonian rain forest. In another hand, desert dust impact population health when PM 10 level reached values around and upper the PM 10 threshold of the 50 µg m-3, established by the World Health Organization (WHO). Infrared Desert Dust Index (IDDI) developed by Legrand with Meteosat infrared images, allow the following of desert dust plumes over semi-arid land. In French Guiana the WHO threshold is currently overpass in measurements done by ORA air quality network, in the two main towns located close to the coast. For inland population, it is very difficult to have continuous dust measures due to the low infrastructure supplies. We need to develop a tools in order to follow the crossing of desert dust over the French Guyana rain forest, from the coast to inland villages. Following the IDDI concept and comparing with VIIRS AOT EDR result over the same area, a modified IDDI for Amazonian region (IDDI_A) has been proposed to identify the dusty pixels over the forest. Despite of high cloud presence, a good correlation between AOT EDR and IDDI_A was obtained. The IDDI_A calculation has been applied over French Guiana area for different PM 10 level at Cayenne, a town along the coast.

  18. A mechanistic modeling and data assimilation framework for Mojave Desert ecohydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, Gene-Hua Crystal; Bedford, David R.; Miller, David M.

    2014-06-01

    This study demonstrates and addresses challenges in coupled ecohydrological modeling in deserts, which arise due to unique plant adaptations, marginal growing conditions, slow net primary production rates, and highly variable rainfall. We consider model uncertainty from both structural and parameter errors and present a mechanistic model for the shrub Larrea tridentata (creosote bush) under conditions found in the Mojave National Preserve in southeastern California (USA). Desert-specific plant and soil features are incorporated into the CLM-CN model by Oleson et al. (2010). We then develop a data assimilation framework using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) to estimate model parameters based on soil moisture and leaf-area index observations. A new implementation procedure, the "multisite loop EnKF," tackles parameter estimation difficulties found to affect desert ecohydrological applications. Specifically, the procedure iterates through data from various observation sites to alleviate adverse filter impacts from non-Gaussianity in small desert vegetation state values. It also readjusts inconsistent parameters and states through a model spin-up step that accounts for longer dynamical time scales due to infrequent rainfall in deserts. Observation error variance inflation may also be needed to help prevent divergence of estimates from true values. Synthetic test results highlight the importance of adequate observations for reducing model uncertainty, which can be achieved through data quality or quantity.

  19. Reconstructing palaeoenvironments on desert margins: New perspectives from Eurasian loess and Australian dry lake shorelines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitzsimmons, Kathryn E.

    2017-09-01

    Desert margins preserve evidence of more extensive arid conditions in the past and represent global hot spots with respect to climate change. The balance of scientific evidence now suggests that dryland landscape reactivation did not correspond simply to ice age aridity peaks as previously assumed. This paper provides a new perspective on, and more nuanced understanding of, desert marginal landscapes as palaeoenvironmental archives. The two case studies represent ends of a sediment availability spectrum. Both environments experience substantial spatial and temporal variability in deposition, with implications for reconstructing past environments at individual sites. Recently generated chronostratigraphic data from the dry subhumid Dobrogea loess, Romania, are synthesised to provide quantitative insights into the spatial and temporal organisation of loess plateaux. Loess accumulation peaks during the LGM and MIS4, but not at all sites. Accumulation rates vary substantially between sites. Comparison of geographical context yields no clear driving mechanism for this variability. Secondly, two transverse lunette dunes in semi-arid Willandra Lakes, Australia, yield comparable chronostratigraphies and distribution of stratigraphic units. A first attempt is made to identify changes in wind regime through time on the Australian desert margins, and suggests that high latitude climate forcing may have acted upon semi-arid Australia over millennial scales. The novel perspectives generated from the new datasets provide unprecedented insights into past climate circulation and land surface processes along desert margins. These new perspectives, coupled with the new geochronological and quantitative palaeoclimate proxy tools now available, represent the next frontier for palaeoenvironmental research on desert margins.

  20. Genetic connectivity across marginal habitats: the elephants of the Namib Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ishida, Yasuko; Van Coeverden de Groot, Peter J; Leggett, Keith E A; Putnam, Andrea S; Fox, Virginia E; Lai, Jesse; Boag, Peter T; Georgiadis, Nicholas J; Roca, Alfred L

    2016-09-01

    Locally isolated populations in marginal habitats may be genetically distinctive and of heightened conservation concern. Elephants inhabiting the Namib Desert have been reported to show distinctive behavioral and phenotypic adaptations in that severely arid environment. The genetic distinctiveness of Namibian desert elephants relative to other African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations has not been established. To investigate the genetic structure of elephants in Namibia, we determined the mitochondrial (mt) DNA control region sequences and genotyped 17 microsatellite loci in desert elephants (n = 8) from the Hoanib River catchment and the Hoarusib River catchment. We compared these to the genotypes of elephants (n = 77) from other localities in Namibia. The mtDNA haplotype sequences and frequencies among desert elephants were similar to those of elephants in Etosha National Park, the Huab River catchment, the Ugab River catchment, and central Kunene, although the geographically distant Caprivi Strip had different mtDNA haplotypes. Likewise, analysis of the microsatellite genotypes of desert-dwelling elephants revealed that they were not genetically distinctive from Etosha elephants, and there was no evidence for isolation by distance across the Etosha region. These results, and a review of the historical record, suggest that a high learning capacity and long-distance migrations allowed Namibian elephants to regularly shift their ranges to survive in the face of high variability in climate and in hunting pressure.

  1. NOUR. Daylighting and thermal effects of windows in desert houses

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ouahrani, Djamel

    1999-07-01

    This study is on a combined effect of window, the daylighting and the thermal effects, in desert houses. It is comprised of two complementary studies. In the introduction a historical review on the development of using daylight has been carried out in order to place the case study in a historical perspective. The first study is comprehensive and contains two main parts. In the first part a study was carried out on the people and history of the town of Ghardaia in Southern Algeria. This was done in order to understand the architectural form of that region. The second part is experimental and consists of two field studies carried out in Ghardaia. Their aim was to investigate the influence of daylight and temperature on the use of residential houses. This investigation included both traditional and 'modern' houses, the modern having relatively large windows similar to those of the northern part of Algeria, the traditional ones having small or no windows. The second study is also experimental consisting of computer parametric studies on window design from two standpoints, namely daylighting level and thermal effects of windows in desert houses. A typical traditional house is described as it was observed. Then the recorded light values are presented and commented upon. In the second part, three types of modern houses observed in the field studies are presented and compared to the traditional archetype. The comparison especially dwells on the relative effectiveness of the two systems of daylighting. In the third part, focusing on various issues of lighting, the results of interviews with the inhabitants are presented. The historical studies indicate that the process of housing development, in several respects, has reached a certain quality (social, technology, and adaptation to climate) appropriate to the local original context, but that development has slowed down. The results of the lighting study indicate that the use of more windows in modern houses

  2. Water use, productivity and interactions among desert plants

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ehleringer, J.R.

    1992-11-17

    Water plays a central role affecting all aspects of the dynamics in aridland ecosystems. Productivity, stability, and competitive interactions among ecosystem components within aridlands are key processes related directly to water in deserts. The ecological studies in this project revolve around one fundamental premise: that integrated aspects of plant metabolism provide insight into the structure and function of plant communities and ecosystems. While it is difficult to extrapolate from instantaneous physiological observations to higher scales, such as whole plant performance or to interactions between plants as components of ecosystems, several key aspects of plant metabolism are scalable. Analyses of stable isotopic composition in plant tissues at natural abundance levels provide a useful tool that can provide insight into the consequences of physiological processes over temporal and spatial scales. Some plant processes continuously fractionate among light and heavy stable isotopic forms of an element; over time this results in integrated measures of plant metabolism. For example, carbon isotope fractionation during photosynthesis results in leaf carbon isotopic composition that is a measure of the set-point for photosynthetic metabolism and of water-use efficiency. Thus it provides information on the temporal scaling of a key physiological process. In contrast, hydrogen is not fractionated during water uptake through the root. Soil water availability in shallow, deep, and/or groundwater layers vary spatially; therefore hydrogen isotope ratios of xylem sap provide a direct measure of the water source currently used by a plant. The longer-term record of carbon and hydrogen isotope ratios is recorded annually in xylem tissues (tree rings). The research in this project addresses variation in stable isotopic composition of aridland plants and its consequences for plant performance and community-level interactions.

  3. Synthesis, Characterization, and Application of Superhydrophobic Sands in Desert Agriculture

    KAUST Repository

    Reihmer, Joel W.

    2017-04-01

    A sustainable supply of fresh water for the human population is a global concern. Intriguingly, about 70% of the total fresh water consumed in the world annually is claimed by agriculture alone; this fraction is even higher in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where natural regeneration of groundwater is the slowest. Thus, there is a serious need for innovative materials and technologies to enhance the efficiency water usage in agriculture. To this end, plastic mulches have been employed across the developed world to minimize evaporative loss of water from top-soils. While plastic mulches are inexpensive, they do require specialized farm machinery for installation and long processing times. On one hand, plastic mulches have proven to increase crop yields, but on the other their non-biodegradability poses serious environmental concerns. In response, development of low-cost bio-/photo-degradable artificial mulches remains an area of intense research. In this thesis, we report on a novel superhydrophobic material exploiting inexpensive simple components to reduce the amount of water required for irrigation in agriculture by suppressing evaporative losses from the top-soil. Our material consists of ordinary beach sand coated with < 20 nm thick layer of paraffin wax. We synthesized and extensively characterized our material and applied them as mulches for tomato and barley plants at the KAUST greenhouse. We found that when a ~5 mm thick layer of superhydrophobic sand was placed onto the top-soil in pots, it dramatically suppressed evaporative losses and significantly enhanced the yields. Our preliminary field-scale experiments with tomatoes and barley crops at the Hada Al Sham site corroborate these results. Our approach might find applications in desert agriculture and other fields and alleviate water stress in the MENA region.

  4. Threshold Velocity for Saltation Activity in the Taklimakan Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Xinghua; He, Qing; Matimin, Ali; Yang, Fan; Huo, Wen; Liu, Xinchun; Zhao, Tianliang; Shen, Shuanghe

    2017-12-01

    The threshold velocity is an indicator of a soil's susceptibility to saltation activity and is also an important parameter in dust emission models. In this study, the saltation activity, atmospheric conditions, and soil conditions were measured from 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2009 in the Taklimakan Desert, China. the threshold velocity was estimated using the Gaussian time fraction equivalence method. At 2 m height, the 1-min averaged threshold velocity varied between 3.5 and 10.9 m/s, with a mean of 5.9 m/s. Threshold velocities varying between 4.5 and 7.5 m/s accounted for about 91.4% of all measurements. The average threshold velocity displayed clear seasonal variations in the following sequence: winter (5.1 m/s) regression equation of threshold velocity was established based on the relations between daily mean threshold velocity and air temperature, specific humidity, and soil volumetric moisture content. High or moderate positive correlations were found between threshold velocity and air temperature, specific humidity, and soil volumetric moisture content (air temperature r = 0.75; specific humidity r = 0.59; and soil volumetric moisture content r = 0.55; sample size = 251). In the study area, the observed horizontal dust flux was 4198.0 kg/m during the whole period of observation, while the horizontal dust flux calculated using the threshold velocity from the regression equation was 4675.6 kg/m. The correlation coefficient between the calculated result and the observations was 0.91. These results indicate that atmospheric and soil conditions should not be neglected in parameterization schemes for threshold velocity.

  5. Actinobacteria from arid and desert habitats: diversity and biological activity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Joachim eWink

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract The lack of new antibiotics in the pharmaceutical pipeline guides more and more researchers to leave the classical isolation procedures and to look in special niches and ecosystems. Bioprospecting of extremophilic Actinobacteria through mining untapped strains and avoiding resiolation of known biomolecules is among the most promising strategies for this purpose. With this approach, members of acidtolerant, alkalitolerant, psychrotolerant, thermotolerant, halotolerant and xerotolerant Actinobacteria have been obtained from respective habitats. Among these, little survey exists on the diversity of Actinobacteria in arid areas, which are often adapted to relatively high temperatures, salt concentrations, and radiation. Therefore, arid and desert habitats are special ecosystems which can be recruited for the isolation of uncommon Actinobacteria with new metabolic capability.At the time of this writing, members of Streptomyces, Micromonospora, Saccharothrix, Streptosporangium, Cellulomonas, Amycolatopsis, Geodermatophilus, Lechevalieria, Nocardia and Actinomadura are reported from arid habitats. However, metagenomic data present dominant members of the communities in desiccating condition of areas with limited water availability that are not yet isolated. Furthermore, significant diverse types of polyketide synthase (PKS and nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS genes are detected in xerophilic and xerotolerant Actinobacteria and some bioactive compounds are reported from them. Rather than pharmaceutically active metabolites, molecules with protection activity against drying such as Ectoin and Hydroxyectoin with potential application in industry and agriculture have also been identified from xerophilic Actinobacteria. In addition, numerous biologically active small molecules are expected to be discovered from arid adapted Actinobacteria in the future. In the current survey, the diversity and biotechnological potential of Actinobacteria

  6. Actinobacteria from Arid and Desert Habitats: Diversity and Biological Activity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohammadipanah, Fatemeh; Wink, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    The lack of new antibiotics in the pharmaceutical pipeline guides more and more researchers to leave the classical isolation procedures and to look in special niches and ecosystems. Bioprospecting of extremophilic Actinobacteria through mining untapped strains and avoiding resiolation of known biomolecules is among the most promising strategies for this purpose. With this approach, members of acidtolerant, alkalitolerant, psychrotolerant, thermotolerant, halotolerant and xerotolerant Actinobacteria have been obtained from respective habitats. Among these, little survey exists on the diversity of Actinobacteria in arid areas, which are often adapted to relatively high temperatures, salt concentrations, and radiation. Therefore, arid and desert habitats are special ecosystems which can be recruited for the isolation of uncommon Actinobacteria with new metabolic capability. At the time of this writing, members of Streptomyces, Micromonospora, Saccharothrix, Streptosporangium, Cellulomonas, Amycolatopsis, Geodermatophilus, Lechevalieria, Nocardia, and Actinomadura are reported from arid habitats. However, metagenomic data present dominant members of the communities in desiccating condition of areas with limited water availability that are not yet isolated. Furthermore, significant diverse types of polyketide synthase (PKS) and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) genes are detected in xerophilic and xerotolerant Actinobacteria and some bioactive compounds are reported from them. Rather than pharmaceutically active metabolites, molecules with protection activity against drying such as Ectoin and Hydroxyectoin with potential application in industry and agriculture have also been identified from xerophilic Actinobacteria. In addition, numerous biologically active small molecules are expected to be discovered from arid adapted Actinobacteria in the future. In the current survey, the diversity and biotechnological potential of Actinobacteria obtained from arid ecosystems

  7. Biodiversity of Rock Varnish at Yungay, Atacama Desert, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuhlman, K.; Venkat, P.; La Duc, M.; Kuhlman, G.; McKay, C.

    2007-12-01

    Rock varnish is a very slow-growing nanostratigraphic coating consisting of approximately 70% clay and 30% iron and manganese oxides of fine-grained clay minerals rich in manganese and iron oxides, which forms on the surfaces of rocks in most semi-arid to hyper-arid climates. Rock varnish has even been postulated to exist on Mars based on surface imagery from several landed missions, and is considered a potential biomarker. However, the mechanism of varnish nucleation and growth remains unknown. Whether or not microbes are involved in the nucleation and growth of rock varnish, the detection of microbes using cultivation or cultivation- independent techniques has demonstrated that varnish provides a microhabitat for microbes. We hypothesized that rock varnish in the Mars-like Yungay region of the Atacama Desert may provide such a microhabitat for microbial life where none has been found to date in the surface soil (< 1 cm). The presence of microbes was investigated using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) assay techniques and culture-independent biomolecular methods. High levels of both total and intracellular ATP were associated with the rock varnish while negligible ATP was found in the surrounding surface soil, suggesting that viable organisms were present. Total DNA was extracted from ground varnish and surrounding surface soil and subjected to trifurcate polymerase chain reactions (PCR). No DNA was recovered from the soil. Amplicons were used to generate ribosomal DNA (rDNA) clone libraries, which suggest the presence of numerous phylogenetically distinct microorganisms in eight Eubacterial clades, Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Cytophaga-Flavobacterium- Bacteroides (CFB), Chloroflexi (green non-sulfur bacteria (GNS)), Gemmatimonadetes, Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria. The diversity of bacteria found and presence of cyanobacteria suggests that rock varnish provides a niche environment for a cryptoendolithic microbial community where

  8. Fusion: Crossing the desert between basic research to ITER

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jacquinot, J.

    2007-01-01

    Full text: Le 21st November 2006 seven partners (UE, Japan, China, India, RF, South Korea, USA) signed in Paris the documents of the treaty creating the ITER organisation. The treaty is expected is now being ratified by the concerned parliaments. This will constitute the last step of a very long process conducted under the auspices of the IAEA and developed in 3 phases: ITER conceptual design, engineering design, negotiations for organisation and site construction arrangements. ITER is a large research facility for the demonstration of fusion at a level of 500MW. Its construction is planned to take 10 years and will be followed by a 20 year operation phase. It constitutes a worldwide collaboration of unprecedented size. Over the last decades the fusion research programme went through drastically different phases: well supported in the eighties, it obtained good success with the first fusion power produced by JET; it then went down to an all time low in 2000 when the European Commission considered terminating the programme altogether. This talk will examine the key elements for first crossing the desert and then for the resurrection with a very ambitious programme. No doubt that the galloping cost of petrol and the setting-up of a meaningful project are dominant features. However, one should not overlook other key factors: consensus building of the scientific community focussing on key issues, close cooperation with the academic world which ensures the progress and the transfer of knowledge, collaboration with industry to keep alive the technical knowledge, public information notably at school level and last but not least active international collaborations under the auspices of IAEA and IEA to make the best use of facilities and human resources in the tough conditions of diminishing budgets. It is hoped that this limited experience of fusion to 'knowledge management in nuclear facilities' might be useful to other fields. (author)

  9. Pre-treating Seed to Enhance Germination of Desert Shrubs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    W. K. Ostler; D. C. Anderson; D. J. Hansen

    2002-06-01

    Creosotebush [Larrea tridentata (D.C.) Cav.] and white bursage [Ambrosia dumosa (A. Gray) W.W. Payne] seeds were subjected to pre-treatments of rinsing and soaking in water and thiourea to enhance germination in laboratory experiments. The effects of darkness, temperature, seed source, and soil moisture were also evaluated in the laboratory. The best pre-treatment from the laboratory experiments, rinsing with water for 36 hours followed by drying, was field-tested at Fort Irwin, California. Two sites and two seeding dates (early March and mid April) were determined for each site. Five mulch treatments (no mulch, straw, gravel, chemical stabilizer, and plastic) were evaluated in combination with the seed pre-treatments. Field emergence was greatly enhanced with the seed pre-treatment for white bursage during the March (18-42% increase in germination) and April seedings (16-23% increase in germination). Creosotebush showed poor germination during March (2-5%) when soil temperatures averaged 15 C, but germination increased during the April trials (6-43%) when soil temperatures averaged 23 C. The seed pre-treatment during the April trials increased germination from 16-23%. The plastic mulch treatment increased germination dramatically during both the March and April trials. The plastic mulch increased soil temperatures (8-10 C)and maintained high humidity during germination. Both the chemical stabilizer and the gravel mulches improved germination over the control while the straw mulch decreased germination. These results suggest that seed pre-treatments combined with irrigation and mulch are effective techniques to establish these two dominant Mojave Desert species from seed.

  10. The observed cooling effect of desert blooms based on high-resolution Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer products

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Bin; Huang, Ling; Liu, Junjie; Wang, Haiyan; Lż, Aifeng; Jiang, Weiguo; Chen, Ziyue

    2017-05-01

    Desert greening through planting or irrigation is a potential approach to mitigate desertification and climate warming, but its influence on regional climate is unclear due to scarcity of observations. "Desert blooms," which are natural phenomena usually associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, regularly occur in the world's driest desert, the Atacama Desert. This sudden conversion of land cover likely has a large impact on regional climate through alteration of local energy budgets and provides a unique opportunity to study the potential climatic and environmental consequences of desert greening. Here we evaluated the land surface effects of blooms in the Atacama Desert using vegetation and climate data acquired from remote sensing. The rapid vegetation growth during blooms led to an increase in evapotranspiration and a decrease in albedo. These two processes caused a 0.31°C ± 0.05°C decrease in daytime land surface temperature. During nighttime, we observed a 0.02°C ± 0.02°C increase in land surface temperature due to enhanced heat capacity associated with blooms. This asymmetric diurnal variation in land surface temperature produced a net decrease in daily land surface temperature of 0.29°C ± 0.07°C. Our observations demonstrate the potential benefits of desert blooms on local climate. Results from this study also provide new evidence for plausible climate consequences expected from local "desert greening" strategies.

  11. 75 FR 28642 - Limiting Mountain Lion Predation on Desert Bighorn Sheep on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Yuma...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-21

    ...] Limiting Mountain Lion Predation on Desert Bighorn Sheep on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Yuma and La Paz... assessment (EA) for limiting mountain lion (Puma concolor) predation on desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis... describe how we will manage mountain lion predation to help achieve bighorn sheep population objectives on...

  12. Polyphasic characterization of Trichocoleus desertorum sp. nov. (Pseudanabaenales, Cyanobacteria) from desert soils and phylogenetic placement of the genus Trichocoleus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Radka Muhlsteinova; Jeffrey R. Johansen; Nicole Pietrasiak; Michael P. Martin; Karina Osorio-Santos; Steven D. Warren

    2014-01-01

    Little is known about the taxonomic diversity of cyanobacteria in deserts, despite their important ecological roles in these ecosystems. In this study, cyanobacterial strains from the Atacama, Colorado, and Mojave Deserts were isolated and characterized using molecular, morphological, and ecological information. Phylogenetic placement of these strains was revealed...

  13. Utilizing genetic diversity in the desert watermelon citrullus colocynthis for enhancing watermelon cultivars for resistance to biotic and abiotic stress

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wide genetic diversity exists among the desert watermelon Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad. (CC) accessions collected in the deserts of northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Because of their resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, there can be a viable source of genes used for enhancing wa...

  14. 75 FR 27383 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “A Gift From the Desert...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-14

    ... Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse,'' imported from abroad for temporary... Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: ``A Gift From the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse'' SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of the following determinations...

  15. Nine-year spatial and temporal evolution of desert dust aerosols over South and East Asia as revealed by CALIOP

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Proestakis, Emmanouil; Amiridis, Vassilis; Marinou, Eleni; Georgoulias, Aristeidis K.; Solomos, Stavros; Kazadzis, Stelios; Chimot, J.J.; Che, Huizheng; Alexandri, Georgia; Binietoglou, Ioannis; Daskalopoulou, Vasiliki; Kourtidis, Konstantinos A.; Johannes Van Der A, Ronald

    2018-01-01

    We present a 3-D climatology of the desert dust distribution over South and East Asia derived using CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) data. To distinguish desert dust from total aerosol load we apply a methodology developed in the framework of EARLINET

  16. Interactions among climate and soil properties influence current and future geographic distribution of an invasive grass in the Chihuahuan Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Background/Question/Methods: Lehmann lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana) is an invasive exotic perennial grass throughout the Sonoran Desert. However, in the neighboring Chihuahuan Desert, this species is generally present in low abundance, although data on its geographic distribution are scarce. Our...

  17. Effect of water stress on in vitro mycelium cultures of two mycorrhizal desert truffles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Navarro-Ródenas, Alfonso; Lozano-Carrillo, M Cecilia; Pérez-Gilabert, Manuela; Morte, Asunción

    2011-05-01

    The ability of two species of desert truffle, Terfezia claveryi strain TcS2 and Picoa lefebvrei strain OL2, to tolerate water stress in pure culture has been investigated. Both T. claveryi and P. lefebvrei strains exhibited a mycelium growth pattern characteristic of drought tolerant species. However, they were only tolerant to moderate water stress, below -1.07 MPa, with the P. lefebvrei isolate being slightly more drought tolerant than the T. claveryi isolate. The increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity observed in both fungi at moderate water stress with respect to the control indicated the functional adaptation of these mycelia to these drought conditions. ALP activity can be used as an indicator of the metabolic activity of these fungi. Slight water stress (-0.45 MPa) could improve mycelial inoculum production of these desert truffles. Moreover, P. lefebvrei could be a good candidate for further desert truffle mycorrhizal plant cultivation programmes in semiarid Mediterranean areas.

  18. Physiological ecology of desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) eggs: temperature and water relations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Muth, A.

    1980-12-01

    The soil environment imposes constraints on the timing of oviposition and the location of suitable sites for egg burrows of the desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis). The effects of temperature and water potential on the developmental period and hatching success of eggs were determined. Eggs hatch normally between 28/sup 0/ and 38/sup 0/C at environmental water potentials between -50 and -1500 kPa. Predictions were derived for the timing and placement of egg clutches based on soil water potential and temperature profiles measured in the field and on the results of laboratory incubation experiments. The results suggest that egg burrows should be located at depths >22 cm in washes or possibly in sparsely vegetated areas away from creosote bushes. The biogeography of desert iguanas within the United States is discussed in relation to soil environments and tolerances of eggs. The physical factors affecting incubation may limit the geographical range of desert iguanas.

  19. Out of the Desert: My Journey from Nomadic Bedouin to the Heart of Global Oil

    KAUST Repository

    Al-Naimi, Ali Ibrahim

    2017-01-08

    His Excellency Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, former Ministry of Oil in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will comment on his forthcoming autobiography "Out of the Desert: My Journey from Nomadic Bedouin to the Heart of Global Oil". Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi is the former Saudi oil minister - and OPEC kingpin - a position he held for the two decades between August 1995 and May 2016. He was born into extreme poverty as a nomadic Bedouin in the 1930s, just as US companies were discovering vast quantities of oil under Arabian deserts. From his first job as a shepherd boy to his appointment to one of the most powerful political and economic jobs in the world, Out of the Desert charts Al-Naimi\\'s extraordinary rise to power.

  20. High Resolution Mapping of Soils and Landforms for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Potter, Christopher S.; Li, Shuang

    2014-01-01

    The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a major component of California's renewable energy planning efforts, is intended to provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems, while allowing for the sensible development of renewable energy projects. This NASA mapping report was developed to support the DRECP and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We outline in this document remote sensing image processing methods to deliver new maps of biological soils crusts, sand dune movements, desert pavements, and sub-surface water sources across the DRECP area. We focused data processing first on the largely unmapped areas most likely to be used for energy developments, such as those within Renewable Energy Study Areas (RESA) and Solar Energy Zones (SEZs). We used imagery (multispectral and radar) mainly from the years 2009-2011.

  1. Disturbance to desert soil ecosystems contributes to dust-mediated impacts at regional scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pointing, Stephen B.; Belnap, Jayne

    2014-01-01

    This review considers the regional scale of impacts arising from disturbance to desert soil ecosystems. Deserts occupy over one-third of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, and biological soil covers are critical to stabilization of desert soils. Disturbance to these can contribute to massive destabilization and mobilization of dust. This results in dust storms that are transported across inter-continental distances where they have profound negative impacts. Dust deposition at high altitudes causes radiative forcing of snowpack that leads directly to altered hydrological regimes and changes to freshwater biogeochemistry. In marine environments dust deposition impacts phytoplankton diazotrophy, and causes coral reef senescence. Increasingly dust is also recognized as a threat to human health.

  2. When are food deserts? Integrating time into research on food accessibility.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Widener, Michael J; Shannon, Jerry

    2014-11-01

    The food desert concept is used as a means for defining regions as having inadequate spatial and socioeconomic access to vendors selling nutritious foods. This primarily aggregate-level and static method for understanding the food environment is commonly used by researchers and policy makers seeking to improve health outcomes of those affected by reduced access. However, recent research findings have brought the association between living in a food desert and adverse health outcomes into question. In this viewpoint, we put forward the idea that the food desert concept, and food accessibility research more generally, should be expanded to include a temporal component, and note potential avenues for future research. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Thermal design of a modern, air-conditioned, single-floor, solar-powered desert house

    KAUST Repository

    Serag-Eldin, M. A.

    2011-12-01

    The paper presents a thermal analysis of a single-floor, solar-powered desert house. The house is air-conditioned and provides all modern comforts and facilities. Electrical power, which drives the entire energy system, is generated by roof-mounted photovoltaic modules. The modules are fixed on special cradles which fold at night to expose the roof to the night sky, thereby enhancing night-time cooling, which is substantial in the desert environment. A detailed dynamic heat transfer analysis is conducted for the building envelope, coupled with a solar radiation model. Application to a typical Middle-Eastern desert site reveals that indeed such a design is feasible with present-day technology; and should be even more attractive with future advances in technology. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

  4. Gravity, magnetic, and physical property data in the Smoke Creek Desert area, northwest Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tilden, Janet E.; Ponce, David A.; Glen, Jonathan M.G.; Chuchel, Bruce A.; Tushman, Kira; Duvall, Alison

    2006-01-01

    The Smoke Creek Desert, located approximately 100 km (60 mi) north of Reno near the California-Nevada border, is a large basin situated along the northernmost parts of the Walker Lane Belt (Stewart, 1988), a physiographic province defined by northwest-striking topographic features and strike-slip faulting. Because geologic framework studies play an important role in understanding the hydrology of the Smoke Creek Desert, a geologic and geophysical effort was begun to help determine basin geometry, infer structural features, and estimate depth to Pre-Cenozoic rocks, or basement. In May and June of 2004, and June of 2005, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected 587 new gravity stations, more than 160 line-kilometers (100 line-miles) of truck-towed magnetometer data, and 111 rock property samples in the Smoke Creek Desert and vicinity in northwest Nevada, as part of an effort to characterize its hydrogeologic framework. In the Smoke Creek Desert area, gravity highs occur over rocks of the Skedaddle Mountains, Fox Range, Granite Range, and over portions of Tertiary volcanic rocks in the Buffalo Hills. These gravity highs likely reflect basement rocks, either exposed at the surface or buried at shallow depths. The southern Smoke Creek Desert corresponds to a 25-mGal isostatic gravity low, which corresponds with a basin depth of approximately 2 km. Magnetic highs are likely due to granitic, andesitic, and metavolcanic rocks, whereas magnetic lows are probably associated with less magnetic gneiss and metasedimentary rocks in the region. Three distinctive patterns of magnetic anomalies occur throughout the Smoke Creek Desert and Squaw Creek Valley, likely reflecting three different geological and structural settings.

  5. Landscape-scale distribution and density of raptor populations wintering in anthropogenic-dominated desert landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Duerr, Adam E.; Miller, Tricia A.; Cornell Duerr, Kerri L; Lanzone, Michael J.; Fesnock, Amy; Katzner, Todd E.

    2015-01-01

    Anthropogenic development has great potential to affect fragile desert environments. Large-scale development of renewable energy infrastructure is planned for many desert ecosystems. Development plans should account for anthropogenic effects to distributions and abundance of rare or sensitive wildlife; however, baseline data on abundance and distribution of such wildlife are often lacking. We surveyed for predatory birds in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts of southern California, USA, in an area designated for protection under the “Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan”, to determine how these birds are distributed across the landscape and how this distribution is affected by existing development. We developed species-specific models of resight probability to adjust estimates of abundance and density of each individual common species. Second, we developed combined-species models of resight probability for common and rare species so that we could make use of sparse data on the latter. We determined that many common species, such as red-tailed hawks, loggerhead shrikes, and especially common ravens, are associated with human development and likely subsidized by human activity. Species-specific and combined-species models of resight probability performed similarly, although the former model type provided higher quality information. Comparing abundance estimates with past surveys in the Mojave Desert suggests numbers of predatory birds associated with human development have increased while other sensitive species not associated with development have decreased. This approach gave us information beyond what we would have collected by focusing either on common or rare species, thus it provides a low-cost framework for others conducting surveys in similar desert environments outside of California.

  6. Water stress monitoring using NDWI around deserts of China and Mongolia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Ga-Lam; Han, Kyung-Soo; Yeom, Jong-Min; Pi, Kyoung-Jin; Park, Soo-Jae

    2009-09-01

    The fluctuation of vegetation water condition around desert area is one of most important parameters to interpret the desertification expansion. United Nations reported that about 35 million square kilometers of land are subject to desertification. Historically, many parts of China have been suffered from severe desertification. This paper attempts an analysis for spatio-temporal variation characteristics of vegetation drought status around China and Mongolia desert with remotely sensed data. Time series images (1 January, 1999 - 31 December 2006) obtained from SPOT/VEGETATION were used to monitor inter-annual variability of water condition. SPOT/VEGETATION satellite, which has a fine temporal resolution and sensitive to vegetation growth, could be very useful to detect large scale dynamics of environmental changes and desertification progress. The main objective of the study is analyzing water status around China and Mongolia desert and predicting a risk area of desertification. In this study, NDWI (Normalized Difference Water Index) is used to monitor vegetation water condition (drought status) over the study area. To interpret the relationship between vegetation drought status and vigor, NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) was employed in ensemble with NDWI. Annual total precipitation from NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data is used as subsidiary data. The study area from 73°36´E to 120°41´E longitude and from 30°81´N to 52°13´N longitude in northern China and whole Mongolia. NDWI value around desert has a range from -0.05 to -0.35 and NDWI values are decreased during the study period. Each year precipitation patterns are similar to yearly mean NDWI value. The study detected several areas where NDWI is dramatically decreased for 8 years, especially northeast part of Mongolian Gobi desert and southeast part of China Taklamakan desert.

  7. Environmental conditions and soils of natural oases in the Alashan Gobi Desert, Mongolia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pankova, E. I.

    2008-08-01

    Environmental conditions and soils of nine natural oases in the Alashan Gobi Desert of Mongolia are characterized. All these oases are allocated to the zones of tectonic faults, where the discharge of slightly saline groundwater takes place. The absolute heights are about 1500 m a.s.l. The oases are found on piedmont plains or in hilly areas occupied by true deserts with fragments of extremely arid deserts. With respect to geomorphological conditions, four types of oases can be distinguished: isolated (isle-type) oases, oases in large mesodepressions, oases formed in naturally ponded areas, and oases within terraced valleys. Each of these types is characterized by specific soil cover patterns controlled by the geomorphological features of the territory, the character of parent materials, and the groundwater depth. At the same time, some common soil properties are typical of all the oases. Hydromorphic soils—peat meadow-swampy soils, dark-colored nonsaline meadow soils, oasis solonchaks that developed in areas with shallow nonsaline groundwater, solonchaks with different degrees of hydromorphism that developed from mottled-colored salt-bearing Cretaceous and Paleogene deposits, and soddy alluvial (floodplain) soils—predominate in the central parts of the oases. Under conditions of deep groundwater, takyric and sandy desert soils are formed. The oases are encircled by desert ecosystems with gray-brown desert and extremely arid soils and with poorly developed stony soils that formed on the low residual mounts. In the period of the study (1991), irrigated farming was only developed within one of the studied oases. The main part of the land was used for pasturing. In some cases, the high grazing pressure led to degradation (desertification) of oasis ecosystems. A comparison of the oases studied in the Alashan Gobi with the Ekhiin-Gol oasis in the Transaltai Gobi attests to the similarity of their nature.

  8. Cyanobacterial composition and spatial distribution based on pyrosequencing data in the Gurbantunggut Desert, Northwestern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Bingchang; Li, Renhui; Xiao, Peng; Su, Yangui; Zhang, Yuanming

    2016-03-01

    Cyanobacteria are the primary colonizers and form a dominant component of soil photosynthetic communities in biological soil crusts. They are crucial in improving soil environments, namely accumulating soil carbon and nitrogen. Many classical studies have examined cyanobacterial diversity in desert crusts, but relatively few comprehensive molecular surveys have been conducted. We used 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA to investigate cyanobacterial composition and distribution on regional scales in the Gurbantunggut Desert. The relationship between cyanobacterial distribution and environmental factors was also explored. A total of 24,973 cyanobacteria partial 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained, and 507OTUs were selected, as most OTUs had very few reads. Among these, 347 OTU sequences were of cyanobacteria origin, belonging to Oscillatoriales, Nostocales, Chroococcales, and uncultured cyanobacterium clone, respectively. Microcoleus vaginatus, Chroococcidiopsis spp. and M. steenstrupii were the dominant species in most areas of the Gurbantunggut Desert. Compared with other desert, the Gurbantunggut Desert differed in the prominence of Chroococcidiopsis spp. and lack of Pseudanabaenales. Species composition and abundance of cyanobacteria also showed distinct variations. Soil texture, precipitation, and nutrients and salt levels affected cyanobacterial distribution. Increased precipitation was helpful in improving cyanobacterial diversity. A higher content of coarse sand promoted the colonization and growth of Oscillatoriales and some phylotypes of Chroococcales. The fine-textured soil with higher nutrients and salts supported more varied populations of cyanobacteria, namely some heterocystous cyanobacteria. The results suggested that the Gurbantunggut Desert was rich in cyanobacteria and that precipitation was a primary regulating factor for cyanobacterial composition on a regional scale. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  9. Two closely related species of Caloplaca (Teloschistaceae, Lichenes from the Namib Desert

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. Kärnefelt

    1988-10-01

    Full Text Available The anatomical and reproductive adaptations of two closely related lichen species.  Caloplaca elegantissima (Nyl. Zahlbr. and C. namibensis Karnef., sp. nov., occurring in the outer Namib fog desert, are discussed. Both species belong to the cmstose forms, frequently found in the remarkably rich lichen communities, which largely depend on fog precipitation for their water supply. Both species are endemic to the Namib Desert. They are mainly distributed in South West Africa/Namibia but also extend into south-western Angola. The asexual isidiate species.  C. namibensis Karnef., is described as new.

  10. Isotopic and hydrochemical evidence of groundwater recharge in the Hopq Desert, NW China

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jian Ge; Tao Wang; Yafei Chen; Jiansheng Chen; Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; Lu Ge; Chao Wang

    2016-01-01

    Artesian wells and lakes are found in the hinterland of the Hopq Desert, China. Analysis of soil profiles has revealed that the local vadose zone is always in a state of water deficit because of strong evaporation, and precipitation cannot infiltrate into the groundwater. This research indicated that soil water and surface water are recharged by groundwater and that the groundwater is recharged via an external source. Analyses of the stable isotopes in precipitation and of the water budget suggested that surface water in the Qiangtang Basin on the Tibetan Plateau might correspond to the groundwater in the Hopq Desert. (author)

  11. Microbial trace-fossil formation, biogenous, and abiotic weathering in the Antarctic cold desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedmann, E. Imre; Weed, Rebecca

    1987-01-01

    In the Antarctic cold desert (Ross Desert), the survival of the cryptoendolithic microorganisms that colonize the near-surface layer of porous sandstone rocks depends on a precarious equilibrium of biological and geological factors. An unfavorable shift of this equilibrium results in death, and this may be followed by formation of trace fossils that preserve the characteristic iron-leaching pattern caused by microbial activity. Similar microbial trace fossils may exist in the geological record. If life ever arose on early Mars, similar processes may have occurred there and left recognizable traces.

  12. EFFECTS OF ELEVATED CO2 ON ROOT FUNCTION AND SOIL RESPIRATION IN A MOJAVE DESERT ECOSYSTEM

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nowak, Robert S.

    2007-12-19

    Increases in atmospheric CO{sub 2} concentration during the last 250 years are unequivocal, and CO{sub 2} will continue to increase at least for the next several decades (Houghton et al. 2001, Keeling & Whorf 2002). Arid ecosystems are some of the most important biomes globally on a land surface area basis, are increasing in area at an alarming pace (Dregne 1991), and have a strong coupling with regional climate (Asner & Heidebrecht 2005). These water-limited ecosystems also are predicted to be the most sensitive to elevated CO{sub 2}, in part because they are stressful environments where plant responses to elevated CO{sub 2} may be amplified (Strain & Bazzaz 1983). Indeed, all C{sub 3} species examined at the Nevada Desert FACE Facility (NDFF) have shown increased A{sub net} under elevated CO{sub 2} (Ellsworth et al. 2004, Naumburg et al. 2003, Nowak et al. 2004). Furthermore, increased shoot growth for individual species under elevated CO{sub 2} was spectacular in a very wet year (Smith et al. 2000), although the response in low to average precipitation years has been smaller (Housman et al. 2006). Increases in perennial cover and biomass at the NDFF are consistent with long term trends in the Mojave Desert and elsewhere in the Southwest, indicating C sequestration in woody biomass (Potter et al. 2006). Elevated CO{sub 2} also increases belowground net primary production (BNPP), with average increases of 70%, 21%, and 11% for forests, bogs, and grasslands, respectively (Nowak et al. 2004). Although detailed studies of elevated CO{sub 2} responses for desert root systems were virtually non-existent prior to our research, we anticipated that C sequestration may occur by desert root systems for several reasons. First, desert ecosystems exhibit increases in net photosynthesis and primary production at elevated CO{sub 2}. If large quantities of root litter enter the ecosystem at a time when most decomposers are inactive, significant quantities of carbon may be stored

  13. Mineralogy and Chemistry of Desert Roses, Ayn Dar Area, Abqaiq, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

    OpenAIRE

    Al Mohandis, Ahmed A. [احمد عبد القادر المهندس

    2002-01-01

    Desert roses are crystals which usually take the form of rose petal. They have definite crystal shapes, and enclose sand grains. The desert roses were scattered along an area of about 500m2 in the Ayn Dar area, near Abqaiq, about 80km southwest of Ad Dammam, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. They are made up of gypsum crystals included sand grains in the from of rosettes, with distinctive petal morphology. Most quartz grains are cemented by gypsum crystals which show a fibrous structure. ...

  14. Gardening in the desert: a spatial optimization approach to locating gardens in rapidly expanding urban environments.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mack, Elizabeth A; Tong, Daoqin; Credit, Kevin

    2017-10-16

    Food access is a global issue, and for this reason, a wealth of studies are dedicated to understanding the location of food deserts and the benefits of urban gardens. However, few studies have linked these two strands of research together to analyze whether urban gardening activity may be a step forward in addressing issues of access for food desert residents. The Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area is used as a case to demonstrate the utility of spatial optimization models for siting urban gardens near food deserts and on vacant land. The locations of urban gardens are derived from a list obtained from the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension office at the University of Arizona which were geo located and aggregated to Census tracts. Census tracts were then assigned to one of three categories: tracts that contain a garden, tracts that are immediately adjacent to a tract with a garden, and all other non-garden/non-adjacent census tracts. Analysis of variance is first used to ascertain whether there are statistical differences in the demographic, socio-economic, and land use profiles of these three categories of tracts. A maximal covering spatial optimization model is then used to identify potential locations for future gardening activities. A constraint of these models is that gardens be located on vacant land, which is a growing problem in rapidly urbanizing environments worldwide. The spatial analysis of garden locations reveals that they are centrally located in tracts with good food access. Thus, the current distribution of gardens does not provide an alternative food source to occupants of food deserts. The maximal covering spatial optimization model reveals that gardens could be sited in alternative locations to better serve food desert residents. In fact, 53 gardens may be located to cover 96.4% of all food deserts. This is an improvement over the current distribution of gardens where 68 active garden sites provide coverage to a scant 8.4% of food desert

  15. Thermal design of a fully equipped solar-powered desert home

    KAUST Repository

    Serag-Eldin, M.A.

    2010-03-01

    The paper presents a conceptual design and thermodynamic analysis of a solar-powered desert home. The home is airconditioned and provides all modern comforts and facilities. Electrical power, which drives the entire energy system, is generated by roof mounted photovoltaic modules. A detailed dynamic heat transfer analysis is conducted for the building envelope, coupled with a solar radiation model. A dynamic heat balance for a typical Middle-Eastern desert site, reveals that indeed such a design is feasible with present day technology; and should be even more attractive with future advances in technology.

  16. The geochemical associations of nitrate and naturally formed perchlorate in the Mojave Desert, California, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lybrand, Rebecca A.; Michalski, Greg; Graham, Robert C.; Parker, David R.

    2013-03-01

    Perchlorate is a widely studied environmental contaminant that may adversely affect human health, and whose natural occurrence has emerged as a subject of great interest. Naturally formed perchlorate has been found to co-occur with nitrate in arid environments worldwide, but the relationship is not fully understood in the desert soils of the southwestern United States. The main objective of this research was to explore the origin, pedogenic distribution, and possible preservation of perchlorate and nitrate in the Mojave Desert mud hill deposits of California and to determine if the co-occurrence of putatively natural perchlorate was significantly correlated with nitrate in these soils. We identified 39 soil horizons in the Mojave Desert, California that contained reportable levels of perchlorate (MRL >165 μg kg-1) with a maximum concentration of 23 mg kg-1. A weak yet significant correlation was observed between perchlorate and nitrate (r2 = 0.321∗∗∗), which could be indicative of similar mechanisms of accumulation. When compared to published data for the Atacama Desert, the Mojave Desert perchlorate concentrations were remarkably lower for a given nitrate concentration. Oxygen isotopes in the nitrate were examined to identify variation within the Mojave Desert field sites, and to compare with the available literature for the Atacama Desert. The Mojave Desert Δ17O values ranged from 7‰ to 13‰, indicating a mixture of biologically and atmospherically-derived nitrate. An investigation of the distribution of perchlorate among soil horizons revealed that over sixty percent of the samples containing perchlorate were from C horizons while only twenty percent of the samples were from B horizons and even fewer in the overlying A horizons. Soil chemical, morphologic, and geologic characteristics of the soils suggest that the perchlorate, nitrate and/or other soluble salts have moved in a "bottom-up" manner wherein the salts were deposited in strata through

  17. Geospatial techniques to Identify the Location of Farmers Markets and Community Gardens within Food Deserts in Virginia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sriharan, S.; Meekins, D.; Comar, M.; Bradshaw, S.; Jackson, L.

    2017-12-01

    Specifically, a food desert is defined as an area where populations live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store if in an urban area or more than 10 miles from a supermarket or large grocery store if in a rural area (Ver Ploeg et al. 2012). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a food desert is "an area in the United States with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly such an area composed of predominately lower-income neighborhoods and communities" (110th Congress 2008). Three fourths of these food deserts are urban. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, Petersburg City is among the eight primary localities, where its population is living in a food desert. This project will compare those identified food deserts in Virginia (areas around Virginia State University) with focus to where farmers markets and community gardens are being established. The hypothesis of this study is that these minority groups do not get healthy food due to limited access to grocery stores and superstores. To address this problem, the community development activities should focus on partnering local Petersburg convenience stores with farmers and community gardeners to sell fresh produce. Existing data was collected on convenient stores and community gardens in Petersburg City and Chesterfield County. Rare data was generated for Emporia, Lynchburg and Hopewell. The data was compiled through field work and mapping with ArcGIS where markets and gardens are being established, and create a spatial analysis of their location We have localities that reflect both rural and urban areas. The project provides educational support for students who will find solution to community problems by developing activities to: (a) define and examine characteristics of food deserts, (b) identify causes and consequences of food deserts and determine if their community is a food desert, (c) research closest food desert to their school, and (d) design solutions to help

  18. Spatial and temporal changes in desertification in the southern region of the Tengger Desert from 1973 to 2009

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guan, Qingyu; Guan, Wenqian; Yang, Jing; Zhao, Shilei; Pan, Baotian; Wang, Lei; Song, Na; Lu, Min; Li, Fuchun

    2017-07-01

    The sandy land in the southern region of the Tengger Desert is adjacent to cities and towns, and land desertification poses a threat to the livelihood and production of local residents. To determine dynamic changes in local desertification, five periods (1973, 1987, 1992, 2001, and 2009) of remote sensing data are studied by remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS). The desert contraction area is primarily centered around three units (Wuwei, Gulang, and Jingtai) and nearby regions of Zhongwei City. The primary desert expansion areas include the west side of Helan Mountain (WSHM), the Central Mountainous Area (CMA), and the eastern and western Zhongwei units far from towns. From 1973 to 2009, the degree of change in the contracting part of the primary desert expansion unit showed an increasing trend; in brief, most of the desert (especially after 2001) has been developing in a direction in which desertification has been gradually controlled. The primary desert expansion areas are less affected by human activity, but they are primarily controlled by natural factors (especially wind and terrain). The desert contraction areas occur around the towns and nearby regions with frequent human activity; desertification is primarily controlled by human factors. With rapid economic development (especially after 2000), the scale of the cultivated area, town, and ecological protection engineering has gradually expanded, and the latter two are primarily built on a previous desert, which is the root cause of the reduction in the desert areas around the towns and the shrinkage toward north of border. Therefore, reasonable and effective human activity in the southern region of the Tengger Desert is playing a crucial role in preventing desertification.

  19. Environmental considerations in a high desert, crude oil pipeline spill

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lowe, M.A.; Mancini, E.R.; Chamberlain, D.W.; Albright, G.R.

    1993-01-01

    A road grader punctured a high-pressure crude oil pipeline in the California high desert resulting in the release of approximately 4,200 barrels of Alaska North Slope crude oil. Oil sprayed over a steeply sloped hillside and flowed into an adjacent, densely vegetated ephemeral stream channel which carried secondary treatment sewage discharge. Three underflow dams were constructed in the channel within 2.8 km of the site. To ensure containment at the first dam, the sewage discharge was diverted from the channel, eventually to an upland impulse sprinkler irrigation system. Channel water and phase-separated ANS crude oil, impounded behind the first dam, percolated through alluvial sands/gravels to a depth of about five meters. The oil percolated through the soils on the receding surface of the water, affecting soils to an equivalent depth and saturating a horizontally narrow band of stream-bank soils as much as two to four meters into the bank. Stream channel undergrowth and a small number of mature trees were cleared to provide access for cleanup and/or to remove oiled plants. A large number of trees experienced partial leaf-drop within 25 days of the spill while two heavily oiled trees died. New vegetative growth was evident within five weeks of the spill. Site restoration included planting cuttings of five riparian tree species and hydroseeding exposed banks. Total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations ranged from not detectable to 203,000 parts per million and averaged approximately 25,000 ppm in affected soils as sampled in place and in stockpiles. Approximately 30,000 tons of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil was excavated from the length of the stream channel (3,600 tons) as well as the area behind the first dam and spill site (26,400 tons). All soils were staged on site for waste profiling and final disposition. After treatment, the contaminated soil was beneficially reused as daily cover at a southern California landfill at a turnkey cost of approximately $57/ton

  20. Rehabilitation of lands mined for limestone in the Indian desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharma, K.D.; Kumar, S.; Gough, L.P.

    2000-01-01

    In the Indian desert, the economics of mining is second only to agriculture in importance. However, research on the rehabilitation of land disturbed by mining has only recently received serious attention. An attempt has been made to determine both the qualitative and quantitative success of rehabilitation plans used to revegetate limestone mine spoils in an area near Barna, northwest arid India. Rehabilitation success was achieved using a combination of rainwater harvesting techniques, soil amendment application approaches, plant establishment methods and the selection of appropriate germplasm material (trees, shrubs and grasses). It is expected that the resulting vegetative cover will be capable of self-perpetuation under natural conditions while at the same time meeting the land-use needs of the local people. The minespoils have adequate levels of the major nutrients (except P, Mo and Se) for proper plant and grazing animal health. Levels of organic matter are low whereas total B concentrations are exceptionally high. Also, the population of soil fungi, Azotobactor, and nitrifying bacteria is negligible. Enhanced plant growth was achieved in treated plots, compared to control plots, where spoil moisture storage was improved by 5-45 per cent. Due to the decomposition of farmyard manure and nitrogen fixation by planted leguminous plant species, the electrical conductance of treated mine spoils increased threefold, CaCO3 content decreased from 20??0 to 5??2 per cent, and organic carbon, P, K, and biological activity increased significantly. The rehabilitation protocol used at the site appears to have been successful because plant self-regeneration is occurring. The increased diversity of woody perennials resulted in 'dominance' being better shared among species and 'evenness' being increased within the plant community elements. The early to mid-successional trends are continuing for six years following initial rehabilitation. This study developed methods for the

  1. Remontant erosion in desert soils of Tamaulipas, México.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivera-Ortiz, P.; Andrade-Limas, E.; De la Garza-Requena, F.; Castro-Meza, B.

    2012-04-01

    REMONTANT EROSION IN DESERT SOILS OF TAMAULIPAS MÉXICO Rivera-Ortiz, P.1; Andrade-Limas, E.1; De la Garza-Requena, F.1 and Castro-Meza, B.1 1Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, México The degradation of soil reduces the capacity of soils to produce food and sustain life. Erosion is one of the main types of soil degradation. Hydric erosion of remontant type can occur in soils located close to the channel of a river through the expansion of a gully that begins as a fluvial incision over the ravine of one side of the river. The incision takes place at the point of greatest flow of runoff from areas adjacent to empty into the river. The depth of the incision causes the growth of the gully by collapse to move their heads back, upstream. The soil loss by remontant erosion on land use in agriculture and livestock was estimated in order to understand the evolution of gullies formed by this type of erosion. Through measurements on satellite images and GPS (Global Positioning System) two gullies, developed on alluvial soils which drain into the river Chihue, were studied. The investigation was conducted during 2003 to 2010 period in the municipality of Jaumave, Tamaulipas, in northeastern Mexico. Soil loss in gullies developed by remontant erosion was large and it was caused by soil collapse and drag of soil on the headers. The estimated loss of soil by remontant erosion was 3500 t in the deeper gully during 2010 and nearly 1200 t per year in the period 2003-2009. New sections of gully of about 20 m length, with more than 3 m deep and up to 13 m wide, were formed each year. This degradation has significantly reduced the productive surface of soil that for many years has been used to the cultivation of maize (Zea mays) and beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) as well as pasture production.

  2. Association Between Living in Food Deserts and Cardiovascular Risk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelli, Heval M; Hammadah, Muhammad; Ahmed, Hina; Ko, Yi-An; Topel, Matthew; Samman-Tahhan, Ayman; Awad, Mossab; Patel, Keyur; Mohammed, Kareem; Sperling, Laurence S; Pemu, Priscilla; Vaccarino, Viola; Lewis, Tene; Taylor, Herman; Martin, Greg; Gibbons, Gary H; Quyyumi, Arshed A

    2017-09-01

    Food deserts (FD), neighborhoods defined as low-income areas with low access to healthy food, are a public health concern. We evaluated the impact of living in FD on cardiovascular risk factors and subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) with the hypothesis that people living in FD will have an unfavorable CVD risk profile. We further assessed whether the impact of FD on these measures is driven by area income, individual household income, or area access to healthy food. We studied 1421 subjects residing in the Atlanta metropolitan area who participated in the META-Health study (Morehouse and Emory Team up to Eliminate Health Disparities; n=712) and the Predictive Health study (n=709). Participants' zip codes were entered into the United States Food Access Research Atlas for FD status. Demographic data, metabolic profiles, hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) levels, oxidative stress markers (glutathione and cystine), and arterial stiffness were evaluated. Mean age was 49.4 years, 38.5% male and 36.6% black. Compared with those not living in FD, subjects living in FD (n=187, 13.2%) had a higher prevalence of hypertension and smoking, higher body mass index, fasting glucose, and 10-year risk for CVD. They also had higher hs-CRP ( P =0.014), higher central augmentation index ( P =0.015), and lower glutathione level ( P =0.003), indicative of increased oxidative stress. Area income and individual income, rather than food access, were associated with CVD risk measures. In a multivariate analysis that included food access, area income and individual income, both low-income area and low individual household income, were independent predictors of a higher 10-year risk for CVD. Only low individual income was an independent predictor of higher hs-CRP and augmentation index. Although living in FD is associated with a higher burden of cardiovascular risk factors and preclinical indices of CVD, these associations are mainly driven by area income and individual income

  3. Δ17O Isotopic Investigation of Nitrate Salts Found in Co-Occurrence with Naturally Formed Perchlorate in the Mojave Desert, California, USA and the Atacama Desert, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lybrand, R. A.; Parker, D.; Rech, J.; Prellwitz, J.; Michalski, G.

    2009-12-01

    Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and manmade contaminant that has been identified in soil, groundwater and surface water. Perchlorate directly affects human health by interfering with iodide uptake in the thyroid gland, which may in turn lower the production of key hormones that are needed for proper growth and development. Until recently, the Atacama Desert, Chile was thought to be the only location where perchlorate salts formed naturally. Recent work has documented the occurrence of these salts in several semi-arid regions of the United States. This study identified putatively natural sources of perchlorate in the Mojave Desert of California. Soil samples were collected from six field sites varying in geologic age. The co-occurrence of perchlorate and nitrate in caliches from the Atacama Desert and soils from the Mojave Desert was also investigated. Although the former are richer in NO3-, near-ore-grade (~5%) deposits occur in the vicinity of Death Valley National Park. Weak but significant correlations exist between ClO4- and NO3- at both locations, but the perchlorate levels are much higher (up to 800 mg/kg) in the Chilean samples than in California (atmospheric origin for the Atacama nitrate salts, and a mixture between biological nitrate and atmospherically-derived nitrate for the Mojave samples. When corrected for the percentage of atmospheric nitrate measured in the Atacama samples, the Mojave samples still contain much lower perchlorate concentrations than would be expected if the occurrence of perchlorate correlated strictly with atmospherically derived nitrate. These results indicate that the variation in the origins of the nitrate salts is not the only factor influencing perchlorate distribution in these environments. These findings suggest that there are other geologic differences in landform age and stability that are crucial to understanding the co-occurrence of nitrate and perchlorate between the two locations.

  4. Photovoltaic at Hollywood and Desert Breeze Recreational Centers

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ammerman, Shane [Clark County Comprehensive Planning Department, NV (United States)

    2015-09-24

    Executive Summary Renewable Energy Initiatives for Clark County Parks and Recreation Solar Project DOE grant # DE-EE0003180 In accordance with the goals of the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for promoting solar energy as clean, carbon-free and cost-effective, the County believed that a recreational center was an ideal place to promote solar energy technologies to the public. This project included the construction of solar electricity generation facilities (40kW) at two Clark County facility sites, Desert Breeze Recreational Center and Hollywood Recreational Center, with educational kiosks and Green Boxes for classroom instruction. The major objectives and goals of this Solar Project include demonstration of state of the art technologies for the generation of electricity from solar technology and the creation of an informative and educational tool in regards to the benefits and process of generating alternative energy. Clark County partnered with Anne Johnson (design architect/consultant), Affiliated Engineers Inc. (AEI), Desert Research Institute (DRI), and Morse Electric. The latest photovoltaic technologies were used in the project to help create the greatest expected energy savings for60443 each recreational center. This coupled with the data created from the monitoring system will help Clark County and NREL further understand the real time outputs from the system. The educational portion created with AEI and DRI incorporates material for all ages with a focus on K - 12. The AEI component is an animated story telling the fundamentals of how sunlight is turned into electricity and DRI‘s creation of Solar Green Boxes brings environmental education into the classroom. In addition to the educational component for the public, the energy that is created through the photovoltaic system also translates into saved money and health benefits for the general public. This project has helped Clark County to further add to its own

  5. Application of science-based restoration planning to a desert river system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laub, Brian G; Jimenez, Justin; Budy, Phaedra

    2015-06-01

    Persistence of many desert river species is threatened by a suite of impacts linked to water infrastructure projects that provide human water security where water is scarce. Many desert rivers have undergone regime shifts from spatially and temporally dynamic ecosystems to more stable systems dominated by homogenous physical habitat. Restoration of desert river systems could aid in biodiversity conservation, but poses formidable challenges due to multiple threats and the infeasibility of recovery to pre-development conditions. The challenges faced in restoring desert rivers can be addressed by incorporating scientific recommendations into restoration planning efforts at multiple stages, as demonstrated here through an example restoration project. In particular, use of a watershed-scale planning process can identify data gaps and irreversible constraints, which aid in developing achievable restoration goals and objectives. Site-prioritization focuses limited the resources for restoration on areas with the greatest potential to improve populations of target organisms. Investment in research to understand causes of degradation, coupled with adoption of a guiding vision is critical for identifying feasible restoration actions that can enhance river processes. Setting monitoring as a project goal, developing hypotheses for expected outcomes, and implementing restoration as an experimental design will facilitate adaptive management and learning from project implementation. Involvement of scientists and managers during all planning stages is critical for developing process-based restoration actions and an implementation plan to maximize learning. The planning process developed here provides a roadmap for use of scientific recommendations in future efforts to recover dynamic processes in imperiled riverine ecosystems.

  6. Community-based restoration of desert wetlands: the case of the Colorado River delta

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osvel Hinojosa-Huerta; Mark Briggs; Yamilett Carrillo-Guerroro; Edward P. Glenn; Miriam Lara-Flores; Martha Roman-Rodriguez

    2005-01-01

    Wetland areas have been drastically reduced through the Pacific Flyway and the Sonoran Desert, with severe consequences for avian populations. In the Colorado River delta, wetlands have been reduced by 80 percent due to water management practices in the Colorado River basin. However, excess flows and agricultural drainage water has restored some areas, providing...

  7. Nest site selection in a hot desert : Trade-off between microclimate and predation risk?

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tieleman, B. Irene; van Noordwijk, Hendrika J.; Williams, Joseph B.

    Nest placement affects the risk of predation on both eggs and incubating parents and determines the microclimate for incubation, two functions that may be in conflict, especially in hot deserts. We studied the roles of microclimate and nest predation on nest site selection by Hoopoe Larks (Alaemon

  8. Landscape position moderates how ant nests affect hydrology and soil chemistry across a Chihuahuan Desert watershed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants moderate the supply of critical resources such as water and nutrients in desert environments by changing the physical arrangement of soils during nest construction. We measured water infiltration and soil physical and chemical properties on and off the nests of two ant species (Pogonomyrmex rug...

  9. Has climatic warming altered spring flowering date of Sonoran Desert shrubs?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowers, Janice E.

    2007-01-01

    With global warming, flowering at many locations has shifted toward earlier dates of bloom. A steady increase in average annual temperature since the late 1890s makes it likely that flowering also has advanced in the northern Sonoran Desert of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. In this study, phenological models were used to predict annual date of spring bloom in the northern Sonoran Desert from 1894 to 2004; then, herbarium specimens were assessed for objective evidence of the predicted shift in flowering time. The phenological models were derived from known flowering requirements (triggers and heat sums) of Sonoran Desert shrubs. According to the models, flowering might have advanced by 20-41 d from 1894 to 2004. Analysis of herbarium specimens collected during the 20th century supported the model predictions. Over time, there was a significant increase in the proportion of shrub specimens collected in flower in March and a significant decrease in the proportion collected in May. Thus, the flowering curve - the proportion of individuals in flower in each spring month - shifted toward the start of the calendar year between 1900 and 1999. This shift could not be explained by collection activity: collectors showed no tendency to be active earlier in the year as time went on, nor did activity toward the end of spring decline in recent decades. Earlier bloom eventually could have substantial impacts on plant and animal communities in the Sonoran Desert, especially on migratory hummingbirds and population dynamics of shrubs.

  10. Qumran as Scroll Storehouse in Times of Crisis? : A Comparative Perspective on Judaean Desert Manuscript Collections

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Popović, Mladen

    2012-01-01

    This article takes a material and comparative approach to the Qumran collection. Distinctive features set the Qumran manuscripts apart from other Judaean Desert collections, suggesting a scholarly, school-like collection of predominantly literary texts. The few literary texts from other Judaean

  11. The relative abundance of desert tortoises on the Nevada Test Site within ecological landform units

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Woodward, R.; Rautenstrauch, K.R.; Hall, D.B.; Ostler, W.K.

    1998-09-01

    Sign-survey transects were sampled in 1996 to better determine the relative abundance of desert tortoises on the Nevada Test Site (NTS). These transects were sampled within ecological land-form units (ELUs), which are small, ecologically homogeneous units of land. Two-hundred and six ELUs were sampled by walking 332 transects totaling 889 kilometers (km). These ELUs covered 528 km 2 . Two-hundred and eight-one sign were counted. An average of 0.32 sign was found per km walked. Seventy percent of the area sampled had a very low abundance of tortoises, 29% had a low abundance, and 1% had a moderate abundance. A revised map of the relative abundance of desert tortoise on the NTS is presented. Within the 1,330 km 2 of desert tortoise habitat on the NTS, 49% is classified as having no tortoises or a very low abundance, 18% has a low or moderate abundance, 12% is unclassified land being used by the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, and the remaining 21% still has an unknown abundance of desert tortoises. Based on the results of this work, the amount of tortoise habitat previously classified as having an unknown or low-moderate abundance, and on which clearance surveys and on-site monitoring was required, has been reduced by 20%

  12. Deaths in the Desert: The Human Rights Crisis on the U.S.--Mexico Border

    Science.gov (United States)

    Androff, David K.; Tavassoli, Kyoko Y.

    2012-01-01

    Many would acknowledge that immigration is a major issue in the United States and that immigration reform should be a priority. However, there is little attention to the human rights crisis on the U.S.-Mexican border. As a result of tightened border security since 1994, it is estimated that over 5,000 migrants have died in the Sonoran desert. The…

  13. 77 FR 39181 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-07-02

    ... the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) and Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District (YSAQMD) AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA... Air Quality Management District. (1) Rule 1165, ``Glass Melting Furnaces,'' amended on August 25, 2008...

  14. The Australian Desert Fireball Network: a new era for planetary science

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Bland, P.A.; Spurný, Pavel; Bevan, A.W.R.; Howard, K.T.; Towner, M.C.; Benedix, G.K.; Greenwood, R.C.; Shrbený, Lukáš; Franchi, I.A.; Deacon, G.; Borovička, Jiří; Ceplecha, Zdeněk; Vaughan, D.; Hough, R.M.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 59, č. 2 (2012), s. 177-187 ISSN 0812-0099 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/08/0411 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : desert fireball network * nullarbor region * observed meteorite falls Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 1.468, year: 2012

  15. 75 FR 13805 - Aspen Group Resources Corp., Commercial Concepts, Inc., Desert Health Products, Inc., Equalnet...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-03-23

    ... COMMISSION Aspen Group Resources Corp., Commercial Concepts, Inc., Desert Health Products, Inc., Equalnet Communications Corp., Geneva Steel Holdings Corp., Orderpro Logistics, Inc. (n/k/a Securus Renewable Energy, Inc... Aspen Group Resources Corp. because it has not filed any periodic reports since the period ended...

  16. Tree establishment along an ENSO experimental gradient in the Atacama desert

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Squeo, F.A.; Holmgren, M.; Jimenez, L.; Alban, L.; Reyes, J.; Gutierrez, J.R.

    2007-01-01

    Questions: (1) What are the roles of regional climate and plant growth rate for seedling establishment during ENSO rainy pulses along the western coast of South America? (2) What is the water threshold for tree seedling establishment in these arid ecosystems? Location: Atacama Desert, western South

  17. Microbial Diversity in Soil, Sand Dune and Rock Substrates of the Thar Monsoon Desert, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rao, Subramanya; Chan, Yuki; Bugler-Lacap, Donnabella C; Bhatnagar, Ashish; Bhatnagar, Monica; Pointing, Stephen B

    2016-03-01

    A culture-independent diversity assessment of archaea, bacteria and fungi in the Thar Desert in India was made. Six locations in Ajmer, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Jodhupur included semi-arid soils, arid soils, arid sand dunes, plus arid cryptoendolithic substrates. A real-time quantitative PCR approach revealed that bacteria dominated soils and cryptoendoliths, whilst fungi dominated sand dunes. The archaea formed a minor component of all communities. Comparison of rRNA-defined community structure revealed that substrate and climate rather than location were the most parsimonious predictors. Sequence-based identification of 1240 phylotypes revealed that most taxa were common desert microorganisms. Semi-arid soils were dominated by actinobacteria and alpha proteobacteria, arid soils by chloroflexi and alpha proteobacteria, sand dunes by ascomycete fungi and cryptoendoliths by cyanobacteria. Climatic variables that best explained this distribution were mean annual rainfall and maximum annual temperature. Substrate variables that contributed most to observed diversity patterns were conductivity, soluble salts, Ca(2+) and pH. This represents an important addition to the inventory of desert microbiota, novel insight into the abiotic drivers of community assembly, and the first report of biodiversity in a monsoon desert system.

  18. Application of science-based restoration planning to a desert river system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laub, Brian G.; Jimenez, Justin; Budy, Phaedra

    2015-01-01

    Persistence of many desert river species is threatened by a suite of impacts linked to water infrastructure projects that provide human water security where water is scarce. Many desert rivers have undergone regime shifts from spatially and temporally dynamic ecosystems to more stable systems dominated by homogenous physical habitat. Restoration of desert river systems could aid in biodiversity conservation, but poses formidable challenges due to multiple threats and the infeasibility of recovery to pre-development conditions. The challenges faced in restoring desert rivers can be addressed by incorporating scientific recommendations into restoration planning efforts at multiple stages, as demonstrated here through an example restoration project. In particular, use of a watershed-scale planning process can identify data gaps and irreversible constraints, which aid in developing achievable restoration goals and objectives. Site-prioritization focuses limited the resources for restoration on areas with the greatest potential to improve populations of target organisms. Investment in research to understand causes of degradation, coupled with adoption of a guiding vision is critical for identifying feasible restoration actions that can enhance river processes. Setting monitoring as a project goal, developing hypotheses for expected outcomes, and implementing restoration as an experimental design will facilitate adaptive management and learning from project implementation. Involvement of scientists and managers during all planning stages is critical for developing process-based restoration actions and an implementation plan to maximize learning. The planning process developed here provides a roadmap for use of scientific recommendations in future efforts to recover dynamic processes in imperiled riverine ecosystems.

  19. Diversity and feeding strategies of soil microfauna along elevation gradients in Himalayan cold deserts

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Devetter, Miloslav; Háněl, Ladislav; Řeháková, Klára; Doležal, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 12, č. 11 (2017), č. článku e0187646. E-ISSN 1932-6203 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LTC17019 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : diversity * feeding strategies * soil microfauna * Himalayan cold deserts Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 2.806, year: 2016

  20. Phylogeography of Declining Relict and Lowland Leopard Frogs in the Desert Southwest of North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    We investigated the phylogeography of the closely related relict leopard frog (Rana onca) and lowland leopard frog (R. yavapaiensis) – two declining anurans from the warm-desert regions of southwestern North America. We used sequence data from two mitochondrial DNA genes to asses...