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INTRODUCTION IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CHIHUAHUAN DESERT LIES AN UNUSUAL WETLAND C ALLED CUATRO CIENEGAS ("FOUR MARSHES") RECENTLY SET ASIDE BY MEXICO AS A BIOLOG ICAL RESERVE. DERIVING ITS MOISTURE FROM DEEP AQUIFERS, THE LAGUNAS (LAKES) AN D POZAS (POOLS) OF THIS 500-SQUARE-MILE REGION HAVE BEEN ISOLATED FROM ANY OTHER WATER SYSTEM FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS. WATER TEMPERATURES RANGE FROM 68 DEGREES AND COL DER TO BETWEEN 91 AND 93 DEGREES. HERE A RICH POPULATION OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS HAS DEVELOPED, SOME ENDEMIC, SOME UNIQUE TO THE REGION. NATURAL HISTORY PHOTOGRAPH ER GEORGE GRALL HAS ILLUSTRATED THE VARIOUS STRATA THAT COMPRISE THIS ECOSYSTEM . -- LEGEND A forest of long-stemmed water lilies (Nymphaea ampla) reaches to ward the sun through the cle ar water of Poza de la Becerra, which is at flood stage.
October 1st, 2011
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