This volume explores a broad range of topics of interest to ecosystem, population, community, and physiological ecologists. Climate, weather patterns, geomorphology, and wind and water processes are examined as variables that affect the distribution of biota through fundamental ecosystem processes. Descriptions of morphological, behavioral, and physiological adaptations of desert biota illuminate, through the lens of patch dynamics, principles for understanding observed patterns of primary production, nutrient cycling, and the effects of consumers. Desertification, and the techniques for monitoring and quantifying it, is examined within the framework of desert ecosystem patterns and processes.
* Focuses on the interactions of climate, soil, and biota along a spectrum of spatial and temporal scales
* Details the role of animals in desert ecosystems and landscape processes
* Examines watershed scale processes, the ecology of ephemeral lakes, and the ecological changes identified with desertification
* Outlines the fundamental concepts relevant to sustainable development of arid lands
Landforms, Geomorphology, and Vegetation.
Characterization of Desert Climates.
Wind and Water Processes.
Consumers, Consumption, and Secondary Production.
Decomposition and Nutrient Cycling.
Monitoring and Assessment.
Desert Ecosystems in the Future.
Walter Whitford is Senior Research Ecologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He was previously professor of biology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, for nearly 30 years. He is executive editor of Journal of Arid Environments (Academic Press). He has authored or coauthored more than 250 peer-reviewed papers on various aspects of desert ecology.