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Islas Revillagigedo, Remote Pacific Islands-a California Connection and Tropical Extremes

  • Balboa Park-Casa del Prado, Room 101 1600 Village Place San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)

Speaker: Tom Oberbauer, Chapter President CNPS-San Diego

The Revillagigedo Islands are a remote group of islands that consist of three islands and a large rock that range from 250 miles to 435 miles south and southwest of Cabo San Lucas. The largest is Socorro which ranges to over 3,300 feet in elevation and is 51 square miles in area. Clarion, the farthest out, is 7.6 square miles and San Benedicto, the closest one is 3.86 square miles. The rock is Roca Partida, a large sea stack far out in the ocean. They are semi-tropical but also have plants that are related to those in California and of course, southern Baja California. They all formed as the result of volcanic activity. San Benedicto violently erupted in 1952 and caused the extinction of an endemic form of rock wren. 

All the islands support endemic species of plants and birds, and Socorro and Clarion were subjected to extensive sheep grazing for approximately 100 years. The impact was extensive but the removal of the sheep by the Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas and their partners including Island Conservation Ecology Group, has allowed the islands to make progress toward recovery.

In February 2017 an expedition was made to the Revillagigedo Islands, stopping at a series of other islands on the way: Acunsion, San Roque and Magdalena Islands along the Baja California coast. Tom will provide a visual description of these fascinating, remote and little visited islands. He will describe the vegetation and many of the endemic species that inhabit the islands as well as some of the birds that utilize the islands as breeding areas.

Tom Oberbauer is a third generation native San Diegan with a life-long passion for Baja California and, in particular, the nearby islands. Beginning while at San Diego State University, Tom worked for the County of San Diego for 35 years while indulging in visits to nearly all of the islands off the coast of Southern California and Baja California. His interests emphasize native and rare plants, but they also include all birds, mammals, and reptiles that inhabit the region.

Note: There will be no NATIVES FOR NOVICES this month

7:00pm-7:30pm: A time for discussion, camaraderie, visiting, and enjoying the sales table.


Later Event: July 22
Seed Sorting Party