Dr. Benjamin T. Wilder
My research is broadly focused in desert ecology and botany. I utilize multiple approaches and time scales to establish baselines to better understand modern biodiversity and connect science to conservation.
Since October 2016 I have been the acting director of the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill. I received my PhD in 2014 from the University of California, Riverside under the guidance of Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra for my dissertation research, "Historical Biogeography of the Midriff Islands, Gulf of California." From 2014–2015 I was a Visiting Scholar in the lab of Dr. Rodolfo Dirzo at Stanford University focusing on ecological education for indigenous communities.
I increasingly value the incorporation of diverse perspectives and the powerful results made possible via collaboration. In my role as director of the Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers (N-Gen) I strive to create opportunities for collaboration across borders and disciplines and a more holistic understanding and appreciation for the Sonoran Desert.
Current research projects include:
- Hidden Water: The Pozos of the Gran Desierto. A collaborative hydrology, vegetation, and artistic project. See this article for more information: Stopping for pozos
- Understanding the origin of the Sonoran Desert and the arid lands of the New World through historical biogeography. I specifically employ phylogeography, paleoecology (fossil packrat midden analysis), floristics, ancient DNA, and additional techniques.
- Develop a scientific approach to change the paradigm of conservation vs. development towards science guiding future change.
- Supporing conservation and ecology research among the Comcaac (Seri people) in support of the next generation of indigenous leaders.
Peer-reviewed papers and book chapters
18. Wilder, B.T., C. O’Meara, L. Monti, G. Nabhan. 2016. The importance of indigenous knowledge in curbing the loss of language and biodiversity. BioScience 66:499–509. pdf
17. Wilder, B.T., C. O’Meara, L. Monti, G. Nabhan. 2016. Ethnoscience, the “Oldest Science”: A needed complement to academic science and citizen science to stem to the losses of biodiversity, indigenous languages, and livelihoods. In Nabhan, G. (ed) Ethnobiology for the Future. University of Arizona Press. Pp. 23–35. Link
16. O’Meara, C., B.T. Wilder (eds). 2015. Seeds in the Sand: The next generation of approaches to understanding the Sonoran Desert and Gulf of California. Journal of the Southwest. Link
15. Wilder, B.T., C. O’Meara. 2015. The Continuum of Desert Research. In O’Meara, C., B.T. Wilder (eds.) Seeds in the Sand: The next generation of approaches to understanding the Sonoran Desert and Gulf of California. Journal of the Southwest 57:163–186. pdf
14. Dolby, G. Bennett, S.E.K., A. Lira-Noriega, B.T. Wilder, A. Munguia-Vega. 2015. The Geologic and Climatic Forcing of Biodiversity Surrounding the Gulf of California. In, O'Meara, C., B.T. Wilder (eds.) Seeds in the Sand: The next generation of approaches to understanding the Sonoran Desert and Gulf of California. Journal of the Southwest 57:391–455. pdf Supplemental Info 1 (additional maps, studies used in distribution maps, and list of the 526 plant species co-distributed between Mainland Mexico and the Baja California peninsula 57.2-3_8_dolby_et_al_si1.pdfSupplemental Info 2 (supplemental bibliography) 57.2-3_8_dolby_et_al_si2.pdf
13. Wilder, B.T. 2014. Historical Biogeography of the Midriff Islands in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Dissertation, UC, Riverside, Plant Biology. Link
12. Ratay, S.E., S. Vanderplank, B.T. Wilder. 2014. Island specialists: Shared flora of the Alta and Baja California Pacific islands. Western North American Naturalist 7:161–220. pdf
11. Wilder, B.T., J.L. Betancourt, C. Epps, R. Crowhurst, J.I. Mead, E. Ezcurra. 2014. Local extinction and unintentional rewilding of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) on a desert island. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91358. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091358. pdf
10. Velarde, E., B.T. Wilder, R.S. Felger, E. Ezcurra. 2014. Floristic diversity and dynamics of Isla Rasa, Gulf of California, Mexico – A globally important seabird site. Botanical Sciences 92(1):89–101. pdf
9. Wilder, B.T., C. O’Meara, A. Medel, N. Narchi, O. Aburto-Oropeza. 2013. The need for a next generation of Sonoran Desert researchers. Conservation Biology 27:243–244.
8. Wilder, B.T., P.P. Garcillán, B. Marazzi. 2013. Sonoran Desert. In Howarth, R.W. (ed.), Biomes and Ecosystems: An Encyclopedia. Salem Press, Ipswich, MA. Pp. 1160–1163. pdf
7. Garcillán, Pedro P., B. Marazzi, B.T. Wilder. 2013. Baja California Desert. In Howarth, R.W. (ed.), Biomes and Ecosystems: An Encyclopedia. Salem Press, Ipswich, MA. Pp. 346–349. pdf
6. Gallo-Reynoso, J.P, R.S. Felger, B.T. Wilder. 2012. Near colonization of a desert island by a tropical bird: Military macaw (Ara militaris) at Isla San Pedro Nolasco, Gulf of California. The Southwestern Naturalist 57:461–464. pdf
5. Felger, R.S., B.T. Wilder, J P. Gallo-Reynoso. 2011. Floristic diversity and long-term vegetation dynamics of San Pedro Nolasco Island, Gulf of California, Mexico. Proceedings of the San Diego Society of Natural History 43:1–42. pdf
4. Wilder, B.T. & R.S. Felger. 2010. Cardons, guano, and isolation: The flora and vegetation of San Pedro Mártir Island, Gulf of California, Mexico. Proceedings of the San Diego Society of Natural History 42:1–24. pdf
3. Wilder, B.T., R.S. Felger, H. Romero. 2008. Succulent plant diversity of the Sonoran Islands, Gulf of California, Mexico. Haseltonia 14:128–161. pdf
2. Wilder, B.T., R.S. Felger, T. R. Van Devender, H. Romero-Morales. 2008. Canotia holacantha on Isla Tiburón, Gulf of California, Mexico. Canotia 4(1):1–7. pdf
1. Wilder, B.T., R.S. Felger, H. Romero-Morales, A. Quijada-Mascareñas. 2007. New plant discoveries for Sonoran Islands, Gulf of California, Mexico. Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas 1:1203–1227. pdf
Reports and general audience publications
5. Vanderplank S.E., B.T. Wilder, E. Ezcurra. 2016. Arroyo la Junta: Una joya de biodiversidad en la Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra La Laguna / A biodiversity jewel in the Sierra La Laguna Biosphere Reserve. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers, and UC MEXUS. 159 pg. Link
4. Vanderplank, S.E., B.T. Wilder, E. Ezcurra. 2014. Descubriendo la Biodiversidad Terrestre en la Región de Cabo Pulmo / Uncovering the Dryland Biodiversity of the Cabo Pulmo Region. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers, and UC MEXUS, U.S.A. 122 pg. Link
2. Wilder, B.T., R.S. Felger, H. Romero-Morales. 2007. Succulents and bighorn of Isla Tiburón. The Plant Press, Arizona Native Plant Society 31(2):9–11. pdf
1. Wilder, B.T. 2007. Report to Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science on the project: Vascular flora of Isla Tiburón and satellite Islands, Gulf of California Mexico. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 39(1):51–55.