Agua VerdePunta Mechudo Expedition of 2003
A team of approximately 30 scientists were invited to take part in a natural history expedition to explore the Sierra de la Giganta in Baja California Sur. The scientists represented multiple disciplines, including botany, herpetology, mammalogy, ornithology, entomology, and paleontology. For 19 days beginning November 5, 2003, these researchers from Mexico and the United States conducted fieldwork at the southern end of the Sierra de la Giganta between Agua Verde and Punta Mechudo. (Read expedition details in PDF format. Requires Adobe Reader 6.0)
The primary emphases of the expedition was to observe, record, and collect natural history information on the biodiversity and geology of the study site. This scientific endeavor also provided a unique opportunity for the basic natural history information gained from field research to be applied to conservation efforts currently in process to preserve this important area. Besides the biological value of the region, archaeological remains of indigenous cultures have been found in the Sierra de la Giganta. Of additional cultural interest is the old mission trail that passed through the study area, connecting to the mission (now in ruins) at Los Dolores.
Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of this area, it has had very little scientific investigation or documentation. As a consequence, the region is a sort of biogeographical void whose distributions of flora and fauna have not yet been assessed. An advantage of this isolation is that plants and animals are relatively untouched, with presumed little impact from non-native species.
During a preliminary visit in October 2001, Jon Rebman, the Museum's Curator of Botany, spent three days in the Agua Verde village area, which yielded several noteworthy botanical discoveries. It is anticipated that a more thorough exploration will produce even more exciting finds, for animals as well as for plants.
Photos by Jon Rebman