Faculty Advisor

Dr. Christie Klimas


As humans continue to impact landscapes and ecosystems throughout the entire world, many plant and animal species have faced major changes in their environments. The rare endemic oak, Quercus brandegeei, is one such endangered species located in the Sierra La Laguna mountains of Baja California Sur, Mexico. This tree occurs solely on the ephemeral riverbeds of the mountains, which are inundated seasonally by hurricane waters. It is important to understand the fundamental characteristics, like spatial distribution, of Q. brandegeei in order to develop restorative management practices to protect this tree against extinction. Determining the geographic distribution of a species and mapping it out provides evidence for underlying ecological processes that impact the species, such as water scarcity. This study analyzes the population distribution of Q. brandegeei by creating spatial distribution models and frequency histograms to find evidence of a clumped, uniform, or randomly distributed species. Our results provide visual evidence for clumped spatial patterns of Q. brandegeei concentrated near the scarce resources of water in the ephemeral riverbeds.