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Outreach in the Western Region

Sonoran Desert: Fragile Land of Extremes

Public Lecture Video Stream More Information

Precipice of Survival DVD cover photo

DVD cover design by Alan Vaughn

“Sonoran Desert: Fragile Land of Extremes” shows how biologists with the U.S. Geological Survey work with other scientists in an effort to better understand native plants and animals such as desert tortoises, saguaro cacti, and Gila monsters. Much of the program was shot in and around SaguaroNational Park near Tucson, Arizona. Genetic detective work, using DNA, focuses on understanding the lives of tortoises. Studies of saguaros over many decades clarify how these amazing plants reproduce and thrive in the desert. Threats from fire, diseases in tortoises, and a growing human population motivate the scientists. Their work to identify how these organisms live and survive is a crucial step for the sound management of biological resources on public lands. This 28-minute program, USGS Open-File Report 03-305, was shot entirely in high definition video and produced by the USGS Western Ecological Research Center and Southwest Biological Science Center; produced and directed by Stephen Wessells, Western Region Office of Communications.

Produced by: The U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey 1/27/03

Western Ecological Research Center and Southwest Biological Science Center

Ben Landis (916) 278-9495

NTSC Standard Definition Video, Letterbox
Program Length 28:00 minutes

A video stream is available for on-line viewing of this 28-minute program. Note: To view this video, you will need Adobe Flash Player.