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Explore the natural history of the desert tortoise of the American Southwest.
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Learn about the natural history of the desert tortoise, how it copes with the temperature extremes, frequent droughts, and harsh environments in the Mojave and western Sonoran deserts of the American Southwest. The long-lived tortoise has a complex social life with a dominance hierarchy (males), defense of use areas (males), and individual personalities. The historic and current threats to continued existence of the species are human activities. In the future, climate warming is likely to play an important role.
Dr. Kristin H. Berry has degrees from Stanford University (B.A.), University of California at Los Angeles (M.A.), and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D.). She grew up in the Mojave Desert where she enjoyed hunting lizards and tortoises near her home. Her early research was on chuckwalla lizards in the northwestern Mojave Desert, the topic of her dissertation UC Berkely. Following graduate school, she has conducted research and published on desert tortoises and other vertebrates in deserts, desert vegetation, and human impacts. She worked for the Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior, for more than 20 years, and since 1997, as a Principal Investigator in the fields of wildlife biology and ecology at the U.S. Geological Survey.