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Coasts and Wetlands

Doing the Research that Makes Dune Conservation Possible

Museum staff are working to preserve Baja California’s coastal dunes—delicate ecosystems that protect beach towns from storm surges and are home to unique organisms found nowhere else on Earth. In a binational effort, our entomologists are studying the dunes’ insects, spiders, and scorpions, because our understanding of how they drive dune ecosystem services is almost non-existent. Our data has revealed several species new to science, and will help Mexico’s lawmakers prioritize their conservation decisions where biodiversity is richest and most at risk. 

Keeping Coastal Wetlands Healthy for All Wildlife

Informed by decades of data stored in our collections, we are helping Mexican conservationists protect some of North America’s most critical wetlands. The San Quintin Bay and Punta Banda Estuary along Baja California’s Pacific coast are home to hundreds of species of plants and animals, including the binationally threatened light-footed Ridgway’s Rail. Through extensive field surveys and analysis of decades of museum specimen data, we are taking an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the region's rich web of life, so our partners in Mexico can make a stronger case for its protection. This work will also inform coastal wetland conservation strategies north of the border in California.