graduate students

Maria Jesus

Master's Student


I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where I came to love the outdoors by exploring nearby forests and venturing into the Cascade range. My botanical field experience has centered around vegetation monitoring in the western US, including the Chihuahuan Desert, Great Basin, Sonoran Desert, Southern Cascades, Southern Plains, and Southern Cascades. Most recently, I managed a multi-agency vegetation monitoring program aimed at informing adaptive management of public lands in California and Nevada. I am committed to the advancement of native plant conservation, mentoring emerging botanists, and increasing public support and understanding of plant science. I am delighted to be deepening my botanical knowledge at RSABG studying the flora of the southern Inyo Mountains.


My study site is in the southern Inyo Mountains – a desert mountain range found between Death Valley and the Sierra Nevada. Here, Joshua trees, emblematic of the Mojave Desert, give way to Pinyon and Juniper, which are characteristic of the Great Basin Desert. Endemic plants abound and several species, including the newly discovered Nemacladus “inyoensis”, are found nowhere else in the world. A portion of the region - Conglomerate Mesa - is threatened by mining exploration. By thoroughly documenting the plant diversity of this region, including rare plant occurrences, stakeholders will be better equipped to evaluate the impact that future projects may have on this wild landscape. The final product of this specimen-based research will be a published floristic study including an annotated checklist.

Additional Information

2019 Switzer Fellow


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