San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias
Binational Multidisciplinary Expeditions
Agua Verde-Punta
  Mechudo 2003

Isla Guadalupe 2000
Lindblad Binational 1997
On Collecting and
  Expeditions: A Botanical
What about future expeditions?

Natural History Expeditions to Northern Baja California Sur:
A Botanical Perspective

By Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany

Why do we go on natural history expeditions?
Why do we collect and make scientific specimens?
Why are we exploring northern Baja California Sur?
What is the next step after collecting?
What about future expeditions?

It is not possible to collect every species on one expedition due to space, time constraints, and collecting season. Plus, since both the Sierra San Francisco and the Sierra Guadalupe are large mountain ranges with little access to them it is not possible to cover a lot of the region. The best that can be done is repeated exploration and documentation. It will take many years to study them in detail. However, some steps can be taken to increase the efficiency of the search and collection process.

Due to the variable flowering times of plants found in the mosaic vegetation of central Lower California which are from tropical and temperate climates, field work should be conducted in August-November and March-May. The timing of expeditions is planned to facilitate maximum observation and collection activities following seasonal rainy periods.


After the Sierra San Francisco and Sierra Guadalupe have been more completely explored and documented there are plans to make expeditions to other areas. Some possible sierras in Lower California that need more scientific documentation include the: Santa Clara and Vizcaíno of Baja California Sur; San Pedro, San Borja, and La Asamblea of Baja California. Within the U.S. and southern California, the Chocolate Mountains of Imperial County are a prime candidate for more exploration and study.

The Museum's most recent expeditions were judged to be a success by the Museum scientists, in that they have made strong advances in major goals. Each expedition has contributed to building regional natural history collections on the peninsula, as well as strengthening our own collections. They have helped fill in huge gaps in the knowledge of what organisms occur in this region of the Baja California peninsula. And most important, the expeditions have contributed to collaborative research projects and future joint publications between scientists from both sides of the border.

Guadalupe Island, looking north along the western shoreline.
Endemic Hemizonia greeneana ssp. greeneana in the foreground.
Thomas A. Oberbauer © 1998. All rights reserved.