Showing posts from October, 2012

Life Is Tough II

(Continued from the preceding post) Several subspecies of the Desert pupfish (Cyrpinodon nevadensis ssp.) are located in small spring-fed ponds in Ash Meadows. Some subspecies occupy pools about the size of a small living room and this may be the entire habitat for this fish…the only place on Earth where they live-out their precarious existence.These pools may hold from several hundred to several thousand of these little fish.It doesn’t take much to make most of these fish ‘happy;’ just a little water with the right chemistry and temperature range and they seem to do quite well.I cannot tell how many times I have watched the little male pupfish in their blue nuptial colors claim a spot the size of a hand, a scoured-out depression made by a passing feral horse or burro, hold it against other males, attract a female with his colorful ‘dance,’ and spawn.The entire genetic history of the species is replicated in a depression not much bigger than a small sauce pan, if that big. I recently s…

Life is Tough I

There is more and more being said about the almost continuous discovery of other planets in our galaxy and the number of them that might be able to support life.I have never doubted that there is life on other planets and have attributed the doubt of others to our human arrogance. Life on Earth itself is tenacious and resilient.We find life inhabiting near boiling water in many places, at depths with incredible pressure around the Black Smokers in the deep ocean canyons, and to the near airless regions at the outer edges of the atmosphere Those of us who have worked in the more difficult and demanding climes around the world know about life’s resilience and tenacity.Although I have been involved in conservation work with manatees, mangroves, and, most recently, mountain bogs, much of my early work in conservation biology was in the deserts of Utah, Nevada, and Southern California where the nights can be very cold, the days hot as blazes, and fresh water sources few and far between. Wha…