Profiles from the Peninsula is a series dedicated to spotlighting the partners who make up the Baja Working Group, and their projects. This week’s profile is on genetics researcher Dr. Adrián Munguía‐Vega, and his work using genetic and genomic tools to preserve the biodiversity of the Baja region.
Puedes leer este blog en español aquí.
Profiles from the Peninsula is a series dedicated to spotlighting the partners who make up the Baja Working Group, and their projects. Each week, we will bring you a new profile in the form of a blog like this one. More information about the working group can be found here.
Dr. Adrián Munguía‐Vega is a researcher at the University of Arizona’s Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, and the founder and director of @ Lab Applied Genomics. His work spans multiple disciplines, including oceanography, population dynamics, historical demography, molecular evolution, and the design of marine reserve networks, to name a few.
Much of Adrián’s work has focused on the Baja California Peninsula and surrounding waters. In the Gulf, his research has focused on taking climate impacts into consideration when designing marine reserves. On the Pacific side, he is implementing similar efforts to implement cross-border climate-smart reserves. Adrián is also co-leading a National Science Foundation project that includes reconstructing the climate history of the Peninsula.
Field work at Coronado Island - Photo by Adrián Munguía-Vega
To Adrián, climate resilience is “identifying and protecting key ecosystem processes along with local communities.” His research on the importance of considering how the larvae from key species disperse in the water when planning marine reserves directly reflects this mindset. Adrián also believes in communicating the importance of his work to those whose livelihoods depend on it. So, he has collaborated with the La-Paz based NGO Niparajá to translate his findings into an animated video directed at local small-scale fishers.
Regardless of the area of focus, what characterizes Adrián’s work is the use of genetic and genomic tools, which he utilizes to promote biodiversity conservation. With these tools, Adrián has contributed to our understanding of a wide variety of marine and terrestrial species, from microorganisms to critically endangered species like the vaquita. By combining population genomics with models of ocean currents, Adrián’s work reveals previously unknown linkages in marine connectivity.
DNA extraction from a Nassau grouper
Photo by Adrián Munguía-Vega
The Baja Working Group is a collaboration between the Climate Science Alliance and the International Community Foundation. Learn more here.