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Abstract Detail

Regional Botany Special Lecture - Tom Van Devender

Van Devender, Tom [1], Reina-Guererro, Ana Lilia [1].

Flora and Vegetation of the Sky Islands in Sonora, Mexico.

There are 55 Sky Island mountain ranges or mountain complexes connected by oak woodland corridors in the Madrean Archipelgo between the Sierra Madre Occidental (SMO) in Sonora and the Mogollon Rim in Arizona; 33 of them are in Sonora, Mexico. The Sky Islanda are crown with oak woodland and pine-oak forest. The lowlands "seas" surrounding the Sky Islands are desert grassland, Chihuahuan and Sonoran desertscrub, foothills thornscrub, and tropical deciduous forest. In 2009 Sky Island Alliance began the Madrean Archipelago Biodiversity Assessment (MABA) Program to document the biodiversity of Sonoran Sky Islands. In 2015 (GGO) created the Madrean Discovery Expeditions (MDE) Program to continue documenting Sonoran Sky Island biodiversity. Biotic inventory expeditions of 40 to 60 biologists, land managers, teachers, students, photographers, etc. recorded plants and animals in 16 Sonoran Sky Islands. About 1000 biological observations made on each Expedition and others from many other areas and sources are available in the MDE database (; linked to the inactive MABA database) for use in conservation, research, and education. There are 50,602 georeferenced plant records (2600 species) in the MDE databases from Sonora in the two databases. In the combined SEINet network, there are 157,310 Sonoran plant records. In 2005, we compared the floras of the Huachuca Mountains and the Yécora Area, and concluded that the floras of Sky Islands mountain ranges have about 30% fewer species than the mainland SMO. The floras of individual Sky Islands vary, reflecting differences in area, elevational range, substrate, distances from the SMO or the temperate forests of the Mogollon Rim, winter temperatures, and summer moisture. Most of the plants recorded in the Sonoran Sky Islands are widespead and typical of the region. Many species are geograhic range extensions from the six biotic provinces that converge in the Madrean Archipelago: the temperate Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateaus to the north; Mediterranean climates/Californian interior chaparral below the Mogollon Rim in Central Arizona; the Great Plains grassland and Chihuahuan Desert to the east; the Sonoran Desert to the west; the oak woodlands and pine-oak forests of the SMO to the south; and the New World tropics to the south. Some Sky Islands plants are new locations for rare species. Occasionally species new to science are discovered in the Sky Islands Region; e,g., Diospyros reinae, Erythranthe diminuens, Glandularia malpaisana, Melampodium moctezumum, Stevia puricana, and Verbena moctezumae.

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1 -, 6262 N, Swan Ave, Suite 165, Tucson, AZ, 88517

none specified

Presentation Type: Special Presentations
Session: S2, Regional Botany Special Lecture
Location: Tucson I/Starr Pass
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2019
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: S2001
Abstract ID:1079
Candidate for Awards:None

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