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Islands in the Southern Sea of Cortez

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

Speaker: Tom Oberbauer, Past President of the San Diego Chapter of CNPS and a member since the mid 1970s.  

Baja California is favored with a wide variety of islands.  The ones on the west side in the Pacific are floristically related to the islands of Southern California including Guadalupe Island which is an oceanic volcano, Cedros Island which is near the desesrts in mainland but which collects fog to support forests, and the Coronado Islands south of Point Loma. The islands in the Sea of Cortez are predominantly the product of the opening of the Gulf of California by faulting with some islands fragments of tectonic plates and others volcanic activity stimulated by the sea floor movements.  These islands form an archipelago that not only supports unique flora, with numerous species of succulents not found anywhere else, but also an extremely diverse array of reptiles and untouched natural habitats.  Because each island has different combinations of granitic, metamorphic and volcanic rock, each island has a unique character.  Some are small consisting of only a few acres while others are multiple miles long.  

In November of 2018, a group of researchers traveled to a number of these islands and collected plants, observed vegetation, viewed scenic landscapes, monitored the birds, reptiles, mammals, insects and scorpions, and even camped out on several of them. Tom Oberbauer was able to participate in this trip and will provide an account of some of the phenomenal features of the islands with an emphasis on the plant flora.

Tom Oberbauer is a past president of the San Diego Chapter of CNPS and a member since the mid 1970s.  Third generation San Diegan who is fascinated by the islands of Southern and Baja California.  Tom has published a number of articles and papers on the plants of San Diego and Baja California. He has generated small documentaries on the west coast islands at PL Natural Resources and is working on more.


July 2019 First Presentation Dr. Lluvia Flores-Renteria.png

Recognizing Hybrid Processes in the History of the Southwest

with Dr. Lluvia Flores-Renteria

California is a center of biodiversity of pines. In this talk I would highlight the importance of hybridization in species of pines which are foundation species of the California woodlands. Several species of the subsection Cembroides grow in semiarid areas of California and occupy different ecological niches. In the Southwest there are one- and two-needle pinyon pines, which have been suspected to hybridize. Using morphological, ecological and genomic data we have 1) addressed whether these taxa hybridize and 2) established species boundaries. Dr. Flores-Renteria will discuss the taxonomic controversy of the one- and two-needled pinyon pine complex, their species boundaries and their ecological roles. The gene flow among these species might teach us how species exchange genes with adaptive value, which might help them cope with climate change. 

Dr. Flores-Renteria is an evolutionary ecologist interested in phylogenetics, population genetics, evolution of reproductive systems, and the evolutionary ecology of plant-insect-microbe interactions under climate change.


Research Horizons: Lluvia Flores-Rentería - California Flora Research

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

There is no fee to attend these presentations.