Joshua Tree Genome Project
Joshua trees are survivors. The twisty desert trees have been a keystone of the Mojave Desert plant community since before humans settled North America, and they’ve been important to the people and animals that have called the desert home. Now, however, warming climates threaten Joshua trees with environmental change occurring faster than they can adapt on their own. To help ensure they survive the next century, the Joshua Tree Genome Project is developing the genomic data to identify genes that help Joshua trees survive extreme climate conditions, and to assess the adaptability of Joshua tree populations for conservation planning. He will describe the basic science behind the work, and outline the Genome Project’s plans to help conserve one of California’s most distinctive and iconic species.
Jeremy Yoder is an evolutionary biologist at California State University Northridge, studying how interacting species adapt to each other and to the world around them. He’s a founding collaborator on the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He also edits the Molecular Ecologist; and has written for the LA Review of Books and Slate.
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