The time has finally come to wrap up our work and pack the gear for a
final time. At daybreak, we started disassembling the kitchen and
tents, cleaning up the area, and packing the trucks, jeeps, and vans
with our equipment. It is safe to say that we are dirty, tired, and
looking forward to coming home. The spirits of the researchers and
logistics staff are extremely high and we left San Evaristo with the
hopes of returning to the conservation corridor; this desert landscape
between Agua Verde and Punta Mechudo. We have made significant
discoveries, including an evolutionary convergent reproductive strategy
for cliff-dwelling plant species and a possible new species of the
Little Desert Pocket Mouse. We have explored remote canyons and climbed
to the high elevation ephemeral lakes. But, by far, our greatest
accomplishment is starting the process of documenting the biodiversity
of the conservation corridor. By applying the rigors of scientific
analysis, we hope that in the months and years to come, our
understanding of the region’s biodiversity will not only add an
appreciation to its beauty, but help conservation groups to better
manage and target the most diverse habitats. Scientific sampling of
plants and animals is a difficult and emotional task. We are all
naturalists who have dedicated our lives to understanding the
biological world. In our spare time, we meditate, photograph, ponder,
and relax in the world outside of our urban centers. We look forward to
the next time we have the chance to explore the wild places around the
world. In an effort to help preserve these places, it is necessary to
understand their diversity. Over the past 16 days, we have been able to
jump-start the process of understanding the region's flora and fauna.
The research specimens collected during this expedition will be used in
the months and years to come, by us, as well as by many other experts
throughout the world. The specimens represent a small percentage of the
region’s total abundance and will last for hundreds of years in
collections. Their importance will be borne out when descriptions of
the region’s flora and fauna are published, when conservation
symposiums are held, and when the conservation groups are able to stand
firm with more detailed information about the region they are working
hard to preserve.
From Ciudad Constitución at 11:00pm
Left, view of Cerro El Mechudo from a distance; Right, view of Islas San Francisco and San Jose.
Scott Tremor changing a flat tire.
Tents at San Evaristo base-camp.
Photo by Dr. Monica Riojas.
Scott Tremor wandering around base-camp.
Brad Hollingsworth`s Jeep loaded with gear.
Jon Rebman at a rest break.