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 Dr. Lluvia Flores-Renteria, Associate Professor at San Diego State University, and her work bridging evolution and ecology to study climate impacts to plants.
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. Lluvia Flores-Renteria is an evolutionary ecologist at San Diego State University, who studies the interactions between plants, insects, and microbes, as well as how climate change affects those interactions.
Lluvia views our border region as “rich in many aspects,” and “a biodiversity hotspot that has been home to several groups throughout history . . . . This trinational region needs to work more collaboratively to obtain the resilience needed to benefit its communities.” In an effort to bring about that vision, Lluvia coordinates a program at San Diego State that engages Hispanic students to learn about plant species with binational distributions as an introduction to doing science. This program focuses on plants distributed across both sides of the border that also have cultural significance to Indigenous communities, thereby placing this science in a social framework that also highlights the connectivity of the region.
In her lab, Lluvia studies the evolution of reproductive systems in plants and their ecological impacts. Part of this research includes looking at how climate change can disrupt reproduction, such as through changes in pollen viability - the ability to survive or successfully pollinate. She also conducts experiments that test the hypothesis that plant populations at lower elevations, which experience higher temperatures, can better adapt to heat stress. This is important because it can inform which species may be most vulnerable to climatic changes, and help us discover ways to help make natural systems more resilient. Additionally, Lluvia’s research has also looked at how climate change conditions can make pines more susceptible to pests, and how knowledge about soil microbiomes can help restore forest losses after drought.
We are excited that Lluvia is also part of the Climate Science Alliance’s Resilient Restoration project Team.
The Baja Working Group convenes local and international scientists, resource managers, conservation groups, educators, philanthropists, and other stakeholders to advance collaborative efforts that build resilience in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and in human communities. Learn more here.