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citizen science native California plants surveys
February 15, 12-1pm
A Citizen Science Approach To Understanding The Impacts Of Climate Change In Our Desert
Steve Chase Administration Building, Tennity Boardroom
Dr. Cameron Barrows, Associate Research Ecologist, Center for Conservation Biology, University of California Riverside, Palm Desert, CA
Climate change is in the news. Nations around the world are developing plans to mitigate the predicted impacts of climate change. Some scientists are predicting a global-scale extinction event, eroding the rich biodiversity we all cherish. Still, especially here in the U.S., climate change skeptics abound. If climate change is happening, we might expect the impacts to be more acute here in the desert, where animals and plants may already occur near their physiological limits due to extreme heat and aridity. To answer the question whether climate change is happening, and more importantly, whether it is impacting our desert biodiversity, requires hard data. We have created a cadre of local volunteer "citizen scientists" to collect that critical data for the mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley. The results to date show a complex response to persistent drought, where in some areas biodiversity appears to be unaffected and is thriving, whereas in other areas the loss of species is clearly evident.