Saving Joshua Tree's Desert Species

Climate Change

Saving Joshua Tree's Desert Species

What does climate change mean for one of America’s most famous national parks?

Explore this expedition

Read testimonials
Join Ambassador Program
Earn expedition discounts & rewards for spreading the word about Earthwatch.

Have a question?


The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

Help build the world’s largest collection of data on the Mojave Desert ecosystem.

Scientists know that climate change could dramatically alter places that already depend on a delicate balance of resources, like the desert.

But they don’t know what, exactly, these changes will be. There are rising temperatures to consider, of course, but also the expected increases in wildfires, severe storms, and persistent droughts. With so many variables at play, scientists can’t say for certain how specific plants and animals will fare.


A volunteer measures vegetation.

Long-term monitoring of where certain species live and how big their populations are helps scientists find out what is actually happening in an ecosystem. Armed with this knowledge, they can make well-informed decisions about how to best conserve a fragile place like Joshua Tree National Park.

These researchers have their eyes on around 40 species throughout the park; some, like the Joshua tree, they expect to be very vulnerable to climate change, but others they expect could prove more adaptable and do just fine.

There’s only one way they can really find out, though: with your help. By joining up with these scientists, you’ll give them the people-power they need to conduct a comprehensive study of Joshua Tree National Park—to develop the complete picture that its conservation depends on.

About the research area

Joshua Tree National Park, United States, North America & Arctic

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Associate Research Ecologist, University of California Riverside

ABOUT Cameron Barrows

Dr. Barrows, an environmental scientist with three decades of field work experience, led an Earthwatch Expedition in the 1980s doing research in northern California’s redwood and Douglas fir forests. Today, he’s taking teams into the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


Comments & Questions

Upcoming Expeditions

You are currently on our Earthwatch U.S. website. If you are interested in learning more about our expeditions and seeing contribution costs listed in Pounds and Euros, please close this dialog box. To visit our new Earthwatch Europe website, click the button below.

To view and book expeditions with prices in Australian Dollars CLOSE this dialogue box OR Click the button below for all other Earthwatch Australia content on our new website.