Detail of the Sonoran Desert diorama, Day
Painting by Sean Murtha for Bruce Museum
Photo: Sean Murtha for Bruce Museum

Detail of the Sonoran Desert diorama, Night
Painting by Sean Murtha for Bruce Museum
Photo: Sean Murtha for Bruce Museum

Agave species
Photo: Paul Mutino

Greater Roadrunner
Geococcyx californianus
Bruce Museum Collection 16614
Photo: Paul Mutino

Extreme Habitats: Living Desert Dry

August 25, 2012 - March 10, 2013

EXTENDED 1 WEEK - Through March 10, 2013

Extreme Habitats: Living Desert Dry focuses on the desert biome as an ecosystem and examines plant and animal adaptations related to survival in the desert.

Click here for exhibition programs.

What is a desert? Where are they found around the world? And how they are formed? Find the answers to these through museum specimens, video, art, images and experiments.

Taking a glimpse into desert phenomena, the exhibition explores the natural resources, examines plant and animal adaptations, and explains the significance of these regions to our everyday lives. The challenges of water scarcity and sustainable living are issues that affect not only desert dwellers but everyone. The exhibition will include a section on desertification of drylands (arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid zones) caused by human activity and its impact on populations.

The exhibition features a life-size diorama of the Sonoran Desert of the Southwest, complete with spiny cacti, coyote, gila monster, roadrunner and more. The scene suggests the variety of plant and animal life in the desert, and explains how their adaptations to the dry conditions are part of an interconnected community.   Desert plants and animals have evolved varied strategies to find moisture and reduce water loss—evading or enduring the dry conditions.

Where people are able to harness water, diverse cultures arise. Today, deserts are home to myriad societies of people—from nomads and subsistence farmers to industrial agriculturalists and wealthy urbanites.

As the worldwide climate is poised for more dramatic changes and population pressures increase, the problem of land-degradation and desertification of marginal lands is becoming a significant global issue. At the same time, research carried out in deserts is helping scientists find new solutions for building a sustainable future and understanding our universe.

The exhibition is generously underwritten by
The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund
Fred and Anne Elser
Christian and Mary Kristensen
Hank and Meryl Silverstein