Benjamin T. Wilder
Disciplines: Biogeography, Botany, Conservation, Natural History, Plant Ecology
Regions: Baja California, Borderlands, Gran Desierto, Gulf of California, Midriff Islands, Seri
My research is broadly focused in desert ecology and botany. I utilize multiple approaches and time scales to establish baselines to better understand modern biodiversity and connect science to conservation. Since 2005 I have been investigating the islands of the Gulf of California through the lens of island biogeography of the unique arid adapted plant life of the region. My dissertation research asked questions of the origins of the plants and animals we see on the islands today. Specifically what controls plant diversity on the Midriff archipelago, the history of bighorn sheep on Tiburón Island, and the explanation for the surprising occurrence of the desert edge plant Canotia holacantha on the highest elevations of Tiburón. My current research follows similar lines throughout the lands bordering the Gulf of California. In 2015-201 I am leading a series of courses with the Comcaac to support their role as leaders of science and conservation projects.
I increasingly value the incorporation of diverse perspectives and the powerful results made possible via collaboration. In my role as director of the Next Generation Sonoran Desert Researchers (N-Gen) I strive to create opportunities for collaboration across borders and disciplines to build a more holistic understanding and appreciation for the Sonoran Desert.
In 6&6 I am very open to incorporate an artistic perspective into the foundations of a new research project. I see this as a great opportunity to expand my horizons and build art and communication into the framework of the project design.
The research summary below provides a context for how I got started on island systems and where I want to go next. Each section is meant as an abstract of the project to provide an idea of what I am doing and to spark some ideas and interest.