Science Grants Awarded

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Date: January 23, 2007
Contact: Joe Zarki, 760-367-5527
Contact: Paul DePrey, 760-367-5560

The Joshua Tree National Park Association, the Lee Family Foundation, and Joshua Tree National Park are pleased to announce the 2007 awards for research proposals through the Joshua Tree National Park Association’s Graduate Student Research Grant Program. The following individuals have been selected to receive research grants:

Dean Leavitt is a PhD candidate in a joint doctoral program at the University of California, Davis and the San Diego State University. The title of his project is Comparative Phylogeography of Three Lizard Species at the Mojave/Colorado Desert Transition Zone. His project will investigate how the roles of geologic history and climate conditions have influenced the genetic diversity and evolution of lizard species in the transition between the Mojave and Colorado Deserts.

Jeremy Yoder, PhD candidate at the University of Idaho. The title of his project is A Genetic Approach to Determine the Effects of Range Fragmentation on the Future of the Joshua Tree. The project is designed to test how human-caused habitat fragmentation may affect gene flow within Joshua tree populations. Mr. Yoder will compare measures of past and present gene flow in populations with dramatically different histories. His work will be conducted in concert with a previously funded project analyzing yucca moths and their relationships to Joshua trees, a project headed by Dr. Olle Pellmyr of the University of Idaho’s genetics lab.

Melissa Yoder is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Riverside. The title of her project is Assessing Joshua Tree National Park Spring and Oases Water Quality Using Nematode Community Structure and Diversity as a Bio-indicator of Sediment Health. Ms. Yoder’s project will include conducting a survey and inventory of nematodes at water sources throughout the park. She will use nematode community-level diversity to determine the health of soil and water in and around Joshua Tree National Park springs, oases, and reservoirs.

The Joshua Tree National Park Association’s Graduate Student Research Grant Program is a competitive grant program intended to support field research studies of the natural and cultural resources within Joshua Tree National Park. The program targets graduate student researchers and distributes up to $12,000 annually in three equal grant awards. Funding for the program is provided by the Lee Family Foundation and the Joshua Tree National Park Association.

Each of the recipients will begin their field work this spring. The researchers will present their findings to local residents through the Association’s Desert Institute Lecture Series in about 18 months.

Past recipients of Joshua Tree National Park Association Science Grants include:

2006—Camille Holmgren, California State University-Long Beach, for A Long-term Vegetation History of the Mojave-Colorado Desert Ecotone at Joshua Tree National Park;
2005—Jessica Smith, University of Nevada-Reno, for A Land of Plenty; Depression-era Mining Landscapes in Joshua Tree National Park;
2004—Ivan Phillipsen, California State University-San Bernardino, for Phylogeography of the California Treefrog in Joshua Tree National Park;
2004—Kathleen B. Springer, James C. Sagebiel, and Eric Scott, San Bernardino County Museum for Paleontologic Investigations in the Eastern Pinto Basin;
2003—Andrew P. Barth, Ph.D., Indiana University-Purdue University for Geology and Landscape Evolution in Joshua Tree National Park;
2002—Harold deLisle, Ph.D., The status of Elgaria multicarinata, Anniella pulchra, and Sonora semiannulata in Joshua Tree National Park.

For further information, please contact Joe Zarki, Chief of Interpretation, 760-367-5520, or Paul DePrey, Chief of Resources, 760-367-5560.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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