1: Introduction 2: Abiotic factors 3: Morphological and physiological adaptations of desert plants to the abiotic environment 4: Morphological, physiological, and behavioural adaptations of desert animals to the abiotic environment 5: The role of competition and facilitation in structuring desert communities 6: The importance of predation and parasitism 7: Plant-animal interactions in deserts 8: Desert food webs and ecosystem ecology 9: Biodiversity and biogeography of deserts 10: Human impacts and desertification 11: Conservation of deserts
David Ward is Art and Margaret Herrick Endowed Professor of Plant Biology at Kent State University. His research interests lie in the field of the ecology of plant species redistributions. This includes studying both invasive and encroaching plant species. He is also interested in studying the natural process of succession. Most of his research involves trees but he also studies the effects of herbivory by large mammals (such as elephants) on the population biology, community ecology and conservation of plant populations. He believes in the value of field experiments to allow us to gain a mechanistic understanding of the factors that create large-scale vegetation patterns.
Wards book is a highly readable introduction to the many facets of desert biology and is rich in fascinating details. Theory and examples are nicely interwoven and supplemented by numerous figures and illustrations ... a must read for any biologist curious about desert ecosystems * Yael Lubin, Conservation Biology *