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Plant Rings of Southern California 

March 2, 2019
Instructor: Dave Lynch

Have you ever noticed groupings of plants on your desert adventures? Some plants grow in rings like a doughnut, with an empty center. Rings diameters range from a few inches to over 200 ft. Rings tend to occur in clusters (ring fields), some having hundreds of members. In southern California deserts, four plants are known to grow in rings. Creosote (Larrea tridentata), Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) and Fourwing Saltbush (Atriplex canescens). How and why some plants grow in rings and others do not, is only partially understood. Some are known to be clonal rings, others may or may not be clones. The geographical distribution of ring fields in southern California is not random. Creosote ring fields tend to occur west of mesquite ring fields and the two ranges do not overlap. In this course we will look at many rings and fields and discuss their properties based on Google Earth Imagery, drone imagery and personal visits by the instructor.

We will take a break for lunch (you must provide your own) and then, as a caravan, we will drive to several ring fields within about an hour of Borrego Springs and examine them in person. Total driving time three hours, about eighty miles, total time in the field three hours. Easy walking. Good shoes or boots required. No sandals or flip-flops. Please be prepared to either accept other participants into your car or be willing to ride with someone else.

About the Instructor: 
David K. Lynch received a B.S. in Astrophysics from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Texas in Austin. He specializes in infrared spectroscopy of comets, novae, supernovae, young stars and very old stars. Dave also works in the field of optics in nature (rainbows, mirages, etc.) and geologic mapping. He has held research positions at the University of Texas, Sacramento Peak Observatory, Caltech, UC/Berkeley, Hughes Research Laboratories and The Aerospace Corporation. Dave has published over 200 scientific papers and 10 books. He is currently a geotechnical consultant specializing hydrological and geothermal systems in southern California.

Schedule- this is a one-day course
Saturday Lecture: 10:00-11:00 a.m. (coffee provided)
Saturday Field Class: 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

Class Registration Fee: $35 / $25 for ABF members
Lecture Only: $5

Meet: Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center
401 Tilting T Dr.
Borrego Springs, CA 92004

Bring: sack lunch or snacks, sturdy hiking shoes, appropriate clothing for a fall day in the desert, reusable water bottle, and anything else you may want for a day spent learning in the field.