header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
77°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 16
1926 - Newhall Community Hospital, est. 1922, opens in larger, more modern hospital building at 6th & Spruce streets [story]
Newhall Community Hospital


joshua tree
CSUN evolutionary biologist Jeremy Yoder will spend next spring creating a genetic map of the Mojave Desert’s distinctive Joshua trees. | Photo: Jeremy Yoder.

 

In an effort to stave off the potentially devastating effects of an increasingly warmer climate on the Mojave Desert’s distinctive Joshua trees, California State University, Northridge evolutionary biologist Jeremy Yoder will be spending part of the spring semester collecting tissue samples from 300 trees across the desert.

The goal is to produce a genetic map of the Joshua trees that will allow scientists to identify genetic variances in the species. That information will provide insight into which of the trees are more adaptable to climate change.

The genetic dataset would be the first of its kind for the keystone desert species and could serve as a model for genetically informed desert conservation.

“Joshua trees already exist in a wide range of extreme climate conditions,” Yoder said. “If we get the genomic data from as broad a sample of Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert as possible, we can see if there is genetic variation the correlates to those already existing conditions. If there is genetic variation in the species that can handle the warmer climates, we can use that information down the line. It will inform projects like replanting the Joshua tree habitat after something like a fire or a weather disaster. And conservation organizations can use the information to determine which Joshua tree seeds are likely to do well in future climates.”

Yoder’s project is being funded through Wild Genomes, a Revive & Restore competitive grant program designed to accelerate the adoption of genomic sequencing and tissue biobanking for applied wildlife conservation. Sausalito-based Revive & Restore is the leading conservation organization promoting the incorporation of biotechnologies into standard conservation practices.

Yoder noted that Joshua trees, with their distinct branches that end in spiky leaves and white, rounded flowers, often remind people of a Dr. Seuss illustration. They provide a habitat for numerous birds, mammals, insects and lizards.

“We know the Mojave Desert has gotten hotter and drier since the beginning of the 20th century,” Yoder said. “While an adult Joshua tree is pretty robust — they have the ability to store water and power through a drought — seedlings, baby Joshua trees, are more delicate.”

He said conservationists have noticed fewer seedlings in parts of the Joshua tree habitat.

“There are places where there may be lots of adult Joshua trees, but there aren’t any babies,” he said. “The lack of seedlings may indicate that rising temperatures are already having an impact.”

Couple that with plans to develop parts of the desert — including proposals to build renewable power plants in the Mojave — “and there are a lot of reasons to think that Joshua trees could be in trouble,” Yoder said.

“This is a really good time to start genetic biobanking,” he said.

What that means, Yoder said, is that he and a team of students will spend part of the spring semester collecting seeds and genetic data from as many Joshua tree populations in the Mojave Desert as possible.

“Basically, we are going to build a genomic inventory for Joshua trees,” he said. “We can use that as a starting point for examining the genetic code of the trees, and use that information to determine which variances can survive in a warmer climate.”

While Joshua trees have yet to be declared an endangered species by the federal government, they are being considered for protection under the California Endangered Species Act.

“But conservation efforts need to start now,” Yoder said. “If we wait, there may be no seedlings for us to plant and protect.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Friday, Jan 15, 2021
The College of the Canyons ‘Canyons Promise’ free tuition program for new students is now accepting applications for the 2021-22 year.
Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021
California Credit Union invites college-bound students in Los Angeles County to apply for its 2021 College Scholarship Program.
Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021
Registration has begun for the College of the Canyons Spring 2021 semester, which will run from Monday, Feb. 8 - Thursday, June 3.
Thursday, Jan 7, 2021
Jasmine Ruys has been named as Vice President of Student Services at College of the Canyons, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
Thursday, Jan 7, 2021
Although College of the Canyons was limited to remote instruction during the fall 2020 semester, it was clear that not everything could be properly taught over Zoom.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1926 - Newhall Community Hospital, est. 1922, opens in larger, more modern hospital building at 6th & Spruce streets [story]
Newhall Community Hospital
The death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic surpassed 2 million on Friday and the World Health Organization warned the global health crisis may get even worse as people weary of restrictions let down their guard and contagious strains of the virus spread around the globe.
Pandemic Death Toll Hits 2 Million Worldwide
At least once a month, residents of the Cali Lake RV community, nestled in a quiet canyon off a rural part of Soledad Canyon Road, have had their power shut off due to Southern California Edison’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
Residents Mostly Impacted by Power Shutoffs Express Concern Over Ongoing Events
Late Friday afternoon, a group of parents and student-athletes gathered in front of the William S. Hart Union High School District office to urge the district to bring athletic-conditioning back to school campuses.
Parents, Student-Athletes Gather to Urge Hart District to Bring Athletics Back
A future open space trailhead in the Tesoro area will be named after a founding Santa Clarita city councilman, and a portion of land in Newhall after a family who has donated several acres of land to the city for open-space preservation.
City Council OKs Dedications in Tesoro Area, Newhall Pass Open Space
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday confirmed 258 new deaths and 15,051 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with cases likely to reach over 1 million this weekend. In addition, the Santa Clarita Valley has reached 21,189 total cases.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: Cases Near 1 Million Countywide; 258 New Deaths in County
Jim and Anita Lombardi of Federal Escrow, Inc. donated $50,000 to the Boys and Girls Club to help the organization continue providing COVID-19 relief services in the Santa Clarita Valley.
SCV Boys and Girls Club Receives $50,000 Financial Gift from Federal Escrow, Inc.
The Castaic Union School District governing board appointed a new president during its annual organizational board meeting last month.
CUSD Board Appoints Mayreen Burk as New Board President
The California Supreme Court declared Thursday that worker classification standards set forth in its Dynamex decision should apply retroactively to a labor class action from 15 years ago, as well as all non-final cases that predate the 2018 landmark ruling.
California High Court Makes Landmark Independent Contractor Ruling Retroactive
Los Angeles County officials announced five additional mass-vaccination sites set to open next week which include Six Flags Magic Mountain and California State University, Northridge.
Six Flags, CSUN Set to Open as Mass Vaccination Sites
Waste Management has extended its temporary residential green waste pick-up schedule for customers in Santa Clarita, with regular service anticipated to resume the week of Jan. 25.
Waste Management Extends Modified Green Waste Pick-Up Schedule
The College of the Canyons ‘Canyons Promise’ free tuition program for new students is now accepting applications for the 2021-22 year.
COC’s Canyons Promise Program Now Accepting 2021-22 Applications
The ice rink in Valencia, which the City acquired last year, is currently undergoing renovations prior to its highly anticipated grand reopening later this year.
Renovations for Highly Anticipated City-Owned Ice Rink Continue
The MAIN is set to host eight weeks of free virtual productions from around the world from Jan. 22 through March 12 via Zoom for the Stage on Screen Theatre Fest's International Edition of online theatre.
Jan. 22-March 12: The Main’s Stage On Screen Theatre Fest Goes International
1875 - Henry Mayo Newhall buys western half of the Santa Clarita Valley for $2 an acre [story]
Henry M. Newhall
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 287 new deaths and 17,323 new cases of COVID-19, with 20,918 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: County Surpasses 13,000 Deaths; SCV Cases Total 20,918
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital announced Thursday the opening of its COVID-19 vaccine-distribution site, with the goal of vaccinating nearly 500 people a day.
Henry Mayo Announces Opening of COVID-19 Vaccine-Distribution Site
L.A. County Parks can help you achieve your New Year’s goals while bringing L.A. vibes into virtual classes.
Registration Open for L.A. County Parks’ Online Classes
Join the Santa Clarita Artists Association's first meeting of 2021, which will take place virtually Monday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 18: Artist Virginia Kamhi to Demonstrate Pastel Techniques
Get ready to get your game on Sunday, March 14, as Soroptimist International of Valencia presents their annual fundraiser to benefit the Soroptimist’s Dream Programs: Live Your Dream and Dream It, Be It.
March 14: ‘Games for a Cause’ Benefiting Soroptimist’s Dream Program
As the COVID-19 surge has continued to overwhelm hospitals over the past couple of months, it has also dramatically impacted the mortuaries where many of the pandemic’s victims end up.
Eternal Valley Struggles to Keep Up With Demand as COVID-19 Surges
The William S. Hart Union High School District governing board voted 4-1 to suspend small cohorts returning to campus through Feb. 8.
Hart District Votes 4-1 to Suspend Return to Campus Until February
The Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding regional areas fell under a red flag warning, prompting Southern California Edison to monitor more than 28,000 of its customers for potential power shutoffs through the remainder of the week.
SoCal Edison Considering Power Shutoffs Amid Red Flag Warning Conditions
California State Parks is seeking to hire ten Visitor Services Park Aides for the 2021 spring Antelope Valley poppy season.
Poppy Reserve Hiring Seasonal Park Aides
%d bloggers like this: