Earth-life Evolution on the Baja Peninsula
Researcher and early Director of the Desert Lab, Forrest Shreve, defined the Sonoran Desert and its subregions based on his knowledge of plants and places. Yet questions remain: how did the desert change over geological time, what is the imprint of those changes on modern day diversity, and how will this change in the future?
The Baja GeoGenomics consortium (BGGc) aims to constrain the how the physical landscape of the Baja California peninsula has changed over the past 6 million years, determine which of these changes have produced evolutionary genomic signals, and test how those signals differ among mammal, reptile, and plant species.
This collaborative research aims to resolve longstanding biogeographic puzzles of the Sonoran Desert, such as whether current disjunct distributions of species represent locations where the desert survived through the wetter Pleistocene. This synthetic understanding will help define how populations are responding to climate change today, both through genetic evolution and spatial movement, and help forecast future trajectories.