Gulf of California Coastal Ecology:
Insights from the Present and Patterns from the Past
by Markes E. Johnson and Jorge Ledesma-Vázquez
Co-authored by geologist Jorge Ledesma-Vázquez, this handbook on ecology and paleoecology is infused with insights on the origins and development of Mexico's Sea of Cortés during a span of more than 12 million years. It makes the connection between a beautiful shell washed onto a beach with the discovery of the same or a similar fossil shell from a nearby limestone cliff. The concept of natural history appears less often in increasingly specialized literature, nowadays, failing to draw a connection between the present and the distant past. This book makes the connection and brings the past alive. It deals with multiple and interlocking ecosystems and their fossil counterparts, providing a holistic overview on geography, ecology, and geology. Students, scholars, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds will find this guide an indispensable resource for exploration of virtually any stretch of coastline on the Gulf of California.
Markes E. Johnson is the Charles L. MacMillan Professor of Natural Science, Emeritus, at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he taught courses in historical geology, paleontology, and stratigraphy in the Geosciences Department over a 35-year career. Professor Johnson also currently serves as an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Coastal Research (JCR). His undergraduate education in geology concluded with a BA degree (1971) from the University of Iowa and his advanced training in paleoecology culminated with a Ph.D. degree (1977) through the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. With 25 years of field experience in Baja California, Johnson has been a semi-annual visitor to the frontier states of Mexico where he habitually led field courses and supervised thesis projects for students from Williams College. He is an authority on the geology of ancient shorelines and the evolution of inter-tidal life through geologic time based on studies conducted around the world from Western Australia to China's Inner Mongolia to the fringe of Arctic lands across Siberia, Norway, and Canada, as well as comparatively young island groups such as the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean and the Cape Verdes in the North Atlantic. Whether on explorations near or far away, this traveler has always been drawn back to the wild islands in the western Gulf of California and their associated peninsular shores. The author lives with his spouse, Gudveig Baarli, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where they maintain an active and mutually supportive schedule of ongoing research and writing projects.
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