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About the Desert Symposium

The Desert Symposium is a relaxed and friendly gathering of scientists and lay people interested in the natural history of arid lands. The meeting consists of two days of scientific presentations followed by a two-day field trip. The meeting is held at the Desert Studies Center in Zzyzx, CA, on the edge of Dry Soda Lake, the terminus of the Mojave River. Oral and poster presentations are given, and a keynote lecture is presented. Student papers are judged with the best being awarded prizes, and an annual grant is given to a promising student. Traditionally, geology has been the main emphasis. Field trips are lead by professional scientists and often require 4WD vehicles. Sometimes we camp overnight far away from Zzyzx on the first night of the field trip. The Desert Symposium and its field trip take place annually, usually in April. Each year the Desert Symposium publishes a proceedings volume including relevant research papers and a field trip guide built around the annual theme. Safety, courtesy, desert awareness and self-reliance are expected of all participants.


Desert Symposium participants at Zzyzx, 2018

DESERT SYMPOSIUM MISSION STATEMENT: The Desert Symposium stimulates, reports, documents and disseminates new research on arid lands. It promotes scientific research and educational excellence by holding a themed annual meeting, leading field trips and fostering student involvement in research. Topics include but not limited to geologic sciences, life sciences and ecology, climate and hydrology, desert culture, history and arid lands management.

The Desert Symposium is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee with input from diverse scientists and affiliated organizations. Organizations and individuals wishing to contribute to the Desert Symposium in any way (Student award fund, monetary, volunteering, event sponsorship, etc.) or to become a Desert Symposium Affiliate may contact any member of the Board of Directors.

See History for the origins of the Desert Symposium and all of the previous proceedings.

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