Scientist Shares News on Isolated Baja California Island | Guadalupe Island
Channel Islands National Park recently hosted a lecture about the botanical riches of Guadalupe Island by noted island plant biologist Steve Junak on November 12, 2014. In stunning photos Junak has documented the dramatic recovery of vegetation following the elimination of feral goats on Guadalupe Island. The goats had nearly exterminated once-extensive stands of endemic cypress, palm, and pine trees. In his frequent trips to Guadalupe Junak discovered native plants that have not been seen for decades—signs of hope for recovery of the island’s unique plant communities.
Guadalupe Island Natural History and Sharks
Guadalupe Island, the largest of the Baja California oceanic islands, supports a very unique flora and a robust white shark shark cage diving industry and shares nearly 20 insular endemic plants with the eight California Channel Islands. All of these endemics and a number of wider-ranging plants (like giant coreopsis) reach their southern range limits on Guadalupe.
Conservation of the rare plants and animals of Guadalupe Island is critically important to the health of the Channel Islands. Today, we have elephant seals and Guadalupe fur seals on the Channel Islands due to the actions Mexico took to protect Guadalupe Island in the early 1900s. Guadalupe Island is the first designated “Sister Park” with Channel Islands National Park in recognition of shared plants, animals, and conservation interests.
Junak, recently retired after working for 37 years at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, has been leading trips to and documenting the flora of the islands of southern California and Baja California since the 1970s. He has been exploring Guadalupe Island since 1981 and has assisted with conservation efforts since 2001. He has co-authored or written a number of publications about the offshore islands, including A Flora of Santa Cruz Island (1995) and A Flora of San Nicolas Island (2008).
The From Shore to Sea lecture series is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding marine waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of March, April, May, September, October, and November at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.
Guadalupe Island Shark Cage Diving