14 MSJC students help Joshua Tree collect data on species diversity

The Biodiversity Hunt took the MSJC students on a 4-mile hike through the national park
Mt. San Jacinto College students recently participated in a Biodiversity Hunt sponsored by Joshua Tree National Park to assist the park service in monitoring and assessing its biological resources.
During the hunt, held on April 26, 14 students hiked 4 miles in Smithwater Canyon to collect data on species diversity. They used GPS units that were bought with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (or STEM) grant money. Some students had previously participated in another biodiversity hunt on March 22 at Cottonwood Springs. collected data
The students who took part in the hunt came from a Biology 115 learning community and a Biology 151 (majors general biology). Michael Plotkin, associate professor and chair of the Department of Life Sciences at MSJC, accompanied the students.
Student Crystal Arias, who attended both Biodiversity Hunts, said she was impressed with the beautiful rocks in the canyon we hiked in on Friday. She says she will certainly return.
Miguel Vasquez said he had a great time learning about plants and noticed the signs of previously flowing water.
Rick Webber noticed the great variety of habitats on the hike (at least 4) and found a skeleton of a medium sized mammal. He noted, “There is a surprising diversity of flora and fauna for an area that is considered to be a “desert”.
For more information, visit http://www.np​s.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/bioblitz.htm
MSJC students participated in the Biodiversity Hunt at Joshua Tree National Monument.
Left to right: MSJC students Soliel Robinson, Miguel Vasquez, Katie Turner, Van Vanrenselaar, instructor Michael Plotkin, and students Crystal Arias and Rick Webber.
MSJC student Doris Taylor, 85, hiked nearly 4 miles during the Biodiversity Hunt at Joshua Tree National Monument.