Leaving the interstate I entered the high plains of New Mexico where each clump of trees sheltered a house, many of them abandoned. The branches bent to the northeast, holding the shape of the wind even when the air was still. In this wide-open country every direction disappeared into its own vanishing point.
The sound of monsoon rains beating the ground is irresistible to one animal in particular. A toad-like amphibian called a spadefoot responds instantly to rain, emerging from an underground burrow where it stays dormant most of the year.
There’s a movement in Flagstaff to change the name of a downtown street with a controversial moniker. City officials are considering several community proposals to rethink Agassiz St. It was named after Louis Agassiz, an influential 19th century biologist and Harvard professor. But his legacy is one of racism.
Biocrust is a vital, but fragile material that covers a good portion of the soil surface on the Colorado Plateau. This “living skin” is a complex concoction of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, moss and lichen.
When a warm storm front moves over a snow-capped mountain range, floods often follow. These events aren’t common on the Colorado Plateau, where winter precipitation usually falls as snow. But scientists say that’s going to change as the world continues to heat up.
Owlflies first appeared in the fossil record during the late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago. They look like a cross between a butterfly and a dragonfly and are often mistaken for the latter.