Deep Canyon Lecture Series

Facilitated by Dr. Chris Tracy, Director of the UCR Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, each free presentation is designed to examine the world in new and surprising ways. 


6 p.m. Jan. 12, 2023

Deep Canyon: A lens for understanding plant species range shifts in a warming world

Tesa Madsen-Hepp, Dept. of Evolution Ecology and Organismal Biology, UC Riverside

Deep Canyon

Plant species are responding rapidly, albeit idiosyncratically, to warming and drying conditions worldwide. Tesa Madsen-Hepp will discuss the longterm dynamics of where plant species are found along the Deep Canyon Transect, and how consideration of plant form and function can help improve predictions of how communities of plant species will reorganize under changing climates. RSVP here.


6 p.m. Feb. 9, 2023  

California’s Elephants: Mammoths and Mastodons, and other Megafauna

Dr. Douglas J. Long, curator of natural history, Museum of Riverside and Research Associate, California Academy of Sciences

Dr. Long

Follow the strange evolutionary history of mammoths and mastodons, from the ancient swamps of Egypt to the plains of California, and among the many extinct mammals of the Pleistocene Megafauna. Was their disappearance due to changing climates or at the hand of humans? RSVP here.


6 p.m. March 9, 2023

Next Generation Natural History: Using Technology to Understand Rattlesnake Behavior

Dr. Emily Taylor. California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Emily Taylor

Rattlesnakes are fascinating animals, but what do they really do? You will learn about how researchers and citizen scientists are unlocking the secrets of rattlesnake behavior by studying exciting footage from time-lapse and live-streaming cameras on a den with hundreds of rattlesnakes. RSVP here.


6 p.m. April 13, 2023

Microplastic ingestion by baleen whales: How big a threat are the smallest plastics to the largest animals?

Dr. Shirel Kehane-Rapport, Dept. of Biological Science, California State University Fullerton

Shirel Kehane-Rapport

Baleen whales may be at extreme risk of exposure to microplastics, but neither the amount nor pathway of microplastic ingestion are well understood. My colleagues and I combined data from the California Current Ecosystem on density of microplastics at different depths with tag deployments on blue, fin, and humpback whales to measure plastic ingestion rates and routes of exposure. RSVP here.