Guadalupe Island

Guadalupe Island or Isla Guadalupe is a volcanic island 250 km² and located 241 kilometres (150 mi) off the west coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula and some 400 kilometres (250 mi) southwest of the city of Ensenada in the state of Baja California, in the Pacific Ocean. The two other Mexican island groups in the Pacific Ocean that are not on the continental shelf are Revillagigedo Islands and Rocas Alijos. Guadalupe Island and its islets are the westernmost region of Mexico.[1]

Guadalupe
Isla Guadalupe
Guadalupe Island
Southeast coast of Guadalupe Island
Guadalupe is located in Mexico
Guadalupe
Guadalupe
Geography
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates29°1′51″N 118°16′48″W / 29.03083°N 118.28000°WCoordinates: 29°1′51″N 118°16′48″W / 29.03083°N 118.28000°W
Area243.988 km2 (94.204 sq mi)
Highest elevation4,257 ft (1,297.5 m)
Highest pointMount Augusta
Administration
Mexico
StateBaja California
MunicipalityEnsenada
DelegaciónEnsenada
Population(2015)
Additional information
Official language: Spanish

Administration and population

The 2010 census recorded a population of 213 people on the island.[2] Currently it has fewer than 150 permanent residents.[3] Guadalupe is part of Ensenada delegación, one of the 24 delegaciones or subdivisions of Ensenada Municipality of the Mexican state of Baja California. Ensenada delegación and Chapultepec delegación together form the city of Ensenada, the municipal seat of the namesake municipality. The postal code of Guadalupe Island is 22997.

Campo Oeste ("West Camp", also called Campo Tepeyac, with 15 buildings) is a small community of abalone and lobster fishermen, located on the western coast[4], specifically on the north side of West Anchorage, a bay that provides protection from the strong winds and swells that whip the islands during winter. Generators provide electricity, and a military vessel brings 30,000 liters of fresh water. The number of fishermen varies annually depending on the fishing season. Ten months of the year the 30 families of the fishing cooperative "Abuloneros and Langosteros of Guadalupe Island" are present.[5]

Additional temporary fishing camps are Campo Norte ("North Camp", four buildings), Campo Lima (Campo Corrals) (one building) and Arroyitos (four buildings).[6]

An abandoned fishing community, Campo Este ("East Camp"), is located near a cove on the eastern shore.

At the southern tip, on Melpómene Cove, there is a weather station staffed by a detachment from the Mexican Ministry of the Navy. The site is called Campamento Sur ("South Encampment").

Campo Bosque was established as a temporary camp in 1999 in the cypress forest in the north. The camp houses members of the Cooperative Farming Society "Francisco Javier Maytorena, S.C. of R.L." and removes goats from the island and sells them in the State of Sonora, with permission of Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the support of the Secretariat of the Navy.

Campo Pista is located at the small airport, near the center of the island (29°01′24.04″N 118°16′21.75″W / 29.0233444°N 118.2727083°W, elevation:592 m, direction:05/23).[1] Airport Isla Guadalupe (ICAO Code MMGD) has a 1,200-metre-long (3,900 ft) runway. At the end of the runway near threshold 5 is the wreckage of a Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar,[7] which overshot the runway during landing. A North American B-25J-30/32 Mitchell, BMM-3501 (c/n 44-86712), bomber wrecked on the opposite end of the runway, after suffering serious damage in trying to take-off overloaded (29°01′36.10″N 118°16′2.98″W / 29.0266944°N 118.2674944°W). Based on historical Google Earth imagery, this B-25 wreckage appears to have been removed from the location between October 2005 and June 2006.

Because Guadalupe Island is located within a biosphere reserve, anyone visiting the island must obtain a permit from the Mexican government; this means the communities on the island are closed towns.[4][8][9]

Geography

Guadalupe Island Map
Island map

Guadalupe has a rugged landscape. It consists of two ancient overlapping shield volcanoes, of which the northern and higher volcano is the younger. The island measures 35 kilometres (22 mi) north-south and up to 9.5 kilometres (5.9 mi) east-west, with a total area of 243.988 km2 (94.204 sq mi). It features a chain of high volcanic mountain ridges which rises to a height of 1,298 metres (4,259 ft) at its northern end (Mount Augusta). Its smaller counterpart on the southern end is the 975 metres (3,199 ft) El Picacho. The southern part of the island is barren, but there are fertile valleys and trees in the northern part. The coast generally consists of rocky bluffs with detached rocks fronting some of them. Two high and prominent islets are within three kilometres (1.9 mi) of the southwestern end of the island, separated from one another by a gap called Tuna Alley:

Elsewhere, the other islets are very small and close to the shore, all less than one kilometre (0.62 mi) away:

Climate

The island has two major climate zones: a very arid, semi-hot climate between 0 and 800 metres (0 and 2,625 feet) elevation, with mean annual temperature between 18 and 22 °C (64 and 72 °F) and a very arid, temperate climate above 800 metres (2,600 ft) elevation with temperatures over 22 °C (72 °F) in the hottest month of the year.

Most precipitation occurs over the winter months with strong influence of northwestern winds and cyclones.

Rainfall averages 133 millimetres (5.2 in) near sea level at the south end but appears to be much more at the high north end. An estimate for the rainfall in the northern highlands is possible by way of taking Pinus radiata as an indicator, which is native to that area of the island. Other places where Pinus radiata is native, it grows best with about 750 millimetres (30 in) of rainfall but under some conditions can survive with as little as half that much. The effective moisture, of course, is much greater because of fog drip.[10]

Climate data for Guadalupe Island 1951–1980
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.8
(82.0)
30.0
(86.0)
30.0
(86.0)
28.4
(83.1)
29.5
(85.1)
31.3
(88.3)
31.7
(89.1)
35.0
(95.0)
32.2
(90.0)
32.2
(90.0)
30.6
(87.1)
28.8
(83.8)
35.0
(95.0)
Average high °C (°F) 18.9
(66.0)
19.6
(67.3)
19.8
(67.6)
20.1
(68.2)
20.8
(69.4)
21.8
(71.2)
23.0
(73.4)
23.9
(75.0)
24.2
(75.6)
23.2
(73.8)
21.6
(70.9)
20.1
(68.2)
21.4
(70.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 15.5
(59.9)
15.6
(60.1)
15.6
(60.1)
16.1
(61.0)
16.7
(62.1)
17.6
(63.7)
19.0
(66.2)
20.1
(68.2)
20.3
(68.5)
19.4
(66.9)
17.9
(64.2)
16.3
(61.3)
17.5
(63.5)
Average low °C (°F) 11.8
(53.2)
11.6
(52.9)
11.6
(52.9)
12.0
(53.6)
12.4
(54.3)
13.1
(55.6)
14.5
(58.1)
15.9
(60.6)
16.4
(61.5)
15.5
(59.9)
13.8
(56.8)
12.5
(54.5)
13.4
(56.1)
Record low °C (°F) 3.5
(38.3)
3.4
(38.1)
2.2
(36.0)
1.0
(33.8)
6.2
(43.2)
7.6
(45.7)
8.0
(46.4)
8.8
(47.8)
5.4
(41.7)
6.2
(43.2)
4.5
(40.1)
0.9
(33.6)
0.9
(33.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 16.3
(0.64)
21.6
(0.85)
18.0
(0.71)
9.5
(0.37)
1.1
(0.04)
1.2
(0.05)
0.4
(0.02)
0.2
(0.01)
0.6
(0.02)
5.1
(0.20)
12.3
(0.48)
22.2
(0.87)
108.5
(4.27)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 2.16 2.00 2.55 1.10 0.37 0.14 0.12 0.07 0.17 0.82 1.89 2.32 13.71
Average relative humidity (%) 79 79 78 78 79 82 83 81 81 80 79 79 80
Source: Colegio de Postgraduados[11]

Geology

Guadalupe Island is composed of two shield volcanoes which formed on a now extinct mid-ocean ridge.[12][13] They are overlain by lava flows and cinder cones that were emplaced along northwest-southeast and northeast-southwest trending fissure vents. The youngest shield volcano comprises the northern end of the island and may have formed during the Holocene epoch. A series of very fresh-looking alkali basalt flows along with trachyte domes in the northern shield volcano caldera represent the most recently formed rocks on Guadalupe Island.[13]

Ecology

Guadalupe-NASA
NASA satellite image
Surfacing great white shark
Great white shark off Isla Guadalupe
White shark
Great white shark off Isla Guadalupe

Guadalupe Island was a major destination for Russian and American fur hunters seeking the Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi) in the 18th and 19th centuries, until they were nearly extinct by 1844. Captain Auguste Duhaut-Cilly reported in 1827 that a Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands) brig "had spent several months there and collected three thousand sealskins".[14] The northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) was also ruthlessly hunted for the oil in its blubber. They were thought to be extinct in 1884 until a remnant population of eight individuals was discovered on Guadalupe Island in 1892 by a Smithsonian expedition, who promptly killed seven of them for their collections.[15] The elephant seals managed to survive, and were finally protected by the Mexican government in 1922.[16] All surviving northern elephant seals share the same male ancestor.[17]

Guadalupe shares the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion with the Channel Islands of California in the United States, but the island was at one time practically denuded of all plants higher than a few centimeters by up to 100,000[note 1] feral goats.

Originally brought there in the 19th century by European whalers and sealers for provisions when stopping over, the population eventually eliminated most vegetation; the number of goats declined to a few thousand. The main impact of the goat population was before this collapse, about the turn of the 19th/20th century. Naturalist A.W. Anthony wrote in 1901:

"It is directly due to the despised Billy-goat that many interesting species of plants formerly abundant are now extinct, and also that one or more of the birds peculiar to the island has disappeared, and others are following rapidly."[18]

After the crash, the goat population once again grew, this time more slowly, until it had reached the new, lower carrying capacity at maybe 10,000–20,000 in modern times. The island had been a nature conservancy area since August 16, 1928, making it one of the oldest reserves in Mexico. Eradication of the goats was long envisioned, but logistical difficulties such as island size and lack of suitable spots for landing and encamping hunters and material prevented this. In 2002, the Mexican government (including SEMARNAT) and the conservation group Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas began eliminating the goats.[4] In June 2005, after many years of false starts, the Mexican government had almost completed a round-up and evacuation of the remaining goat population. In 2007, the goat elimination program ended (10,000 feral goats were eliminated).[4] Guadalupe Island was designated a biosphere reserve on April 25th, 2005.[4]

French sea captain Auguste Duhaut-Cilly remarked on the tall trees on the north of Guadalupe Island as he sailed past on January 2, 1827.[14] Of the large tree species on Guadalupe Island (Guadalupe palm, Guadalupe cypress, island oak, and Guadalupe pine), there were only old individuals left; California juniper had entirely disappeared. As the goats ate any seedlings that managed to germinate, no regeneration of trees was possible. Water, formerly plentiful as the common fogs condensed in the forests of the northern end of the island, today only occurs in a few scattered pools and springs. Because the springs were a critical emergency water supply for the human inhabitants, protective measures including goat fences were installed beginning in 2000, allowing new seedlings of many species to survive for the first time in 150 years. Seacology, a non-profit environmental group located in Berkeley, CA, provided funding to the Island Conservation & Ecology Group for the construction of ten fenced exclosures to keep goats out of the most sensitive areas of Guadalupe Island.

In November 1850, U.S. Army Lt. George H. Derby passed the island on his expedition in the U.S. Transport Invincible. He described it thus: "This island is about 15 miles length and 5 in width. It is rocky + mountainous but capped with vegetation and is reputed to be thickly inhabited by wild goats of unusual size. Water is found upon the eastern shore and the Island is frequently visited by small vessels engaged in the capture of the sea elephant numbers of which animals are found upon its coast."

Many island or marine species that reside on or near Guadalupe also frequent the Channel Islands, and vice versa. In stark contrast to the rampant extinction of terrestrial life that happened at the same time, Guadalupe was the last refuge for the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) and the Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi) in the 1890s. The island has been a pinniped sanctuary since 1975.

Guadalupe is considered one of the best spots in the world for sightings of the great white shark, possibly because of its large population of pinnipeds.[19]

Habitat types

Before the removal of goats, surveys found eight major land habitats on Guadalupe:[20][21]

Coreopsis gigantea 6
Giant coreopsis (Coreopsis gigantea)
  1. Flora of the coastal lowlands and rocky cliffs: mainly up to 200 m above mean sea level (ASL), but higher on the steep cliffs. Largely unresearched due to difficult access, the cliffs might even harbor remnant specimens of the presumably extinct plants.
  2. Succulent perennial herbs: 200–400 m ASL, chiefly on the southern end and on the offshore islets, and in less steep areas towards sea level. Here, the highest number of endemic plants exist. Baeriopsis guadalupensis, Cistanthe guadalupensis, Dudleya guadalupensis, Hemizonia greeneana ssp. greeneana, H. palmeri, Perityle incana and Stephanomeria guadalupensis are dominant endemics, and giant coreopsis (Coreopsis gigantea), a non-endemic native species, is also abundant.
  3. Arid maritime shrubland: 400–600 m ASL. Mainly in the southern portion around El Picacho. Native species occurring here include Ambrosia camphorata, Atriplex barclayana, Cylindropuntia prolifera and California boxthorn (Lycium californicum); none of these is endemic.
  4. Herbland dominated by introduced plants: 600–800 m ASL, mainly on the central plateau. This habitat is almost entirely a consequence of overgrazing; hardly anything of the original ecosystem remains. Dominant introduced plants are Avena barbata, Bromus berteroanus, great brome (B. diandrus), soft brome (B. hordeaceus sspp. hordaceus and mollis), red brome (B. madritensis ssp. rubens), tocalote (Centaurea melitensis), nettle-leaved goosefoot (Chenopodium murale), Filago californica, wall barley (Hordeum murinum sspp. glaucum and leporinum), crystalline iceplant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum), M. nodiflorum, Polypogon monspeliensis and Sisymbrium orientale. The non-endemic natives dwarf coastweed (Amblyopappus pusillus), island false bindweed (Calystegia macrostegia ssp. macrostegia), Cryptantha maritima var. maritima, Filago arizonica, Gilia nevinii, California goldfields (Lasthenia californica), Pectocarya palmeri and Perityle emoryi as well as the endemics Cryptantha foliosa and Sphaeralcea palmeri can be found here also; some are still numerous. This probably was a mesic shrub/herbland before the goats destroyed the upland forest, upsetting the water supply. Native plants still found on Guadalupe, like Crossosoma californicum, laurel sumac (Malosma laurina) and the endemic Camissonia guadalupensis ssp. guadalupensis, presumably thrived here in former times, as would have such taxa as the native hoary-leaved ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), wedge-leaved ceanothus (C. cuneatus) – and possibly also felt-leaved ceanothus (C. arboreus), which was found in 2001–2003 surveys[22] –, Cammisonia robusta, red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) and the endemic Hesperalea palmeri, which have now disappeared from the island.
  5. Guadalupe palm groves: 400–900 m ASL on the northwest side of the island. There are hundreds of palm trees remaining, mainly in a single patch of this habitat. At least one other major palm forest, at the W coast, existed; it was still present in 1906 at "Steamer Point".[23] As reproduction is presumably still ongoing, the species will likely recover in due time.
  6. Guadalupe cypress forest: 800–1000 m ASL. Presently some 4000 of old trees, essentially limited to the central northern part. Other cypress forests, such as a major stand NE of the present patch which was still extant in 1906,[23] have been destroyed by the goats early in the 20th century. There is still reproduction, but the water table appears to have declined to below the level required by the cypresses, and mortality of the old trees is high and can be expected to continue even after removal of the goats.
  7. Guadalupe palm – island oakGuadalupe pine woodland: 900–1000 m ASL. This habitat has all but disappeared during the 20th century,[23] due to the decline in numbers of the oaks and pines.
  8. Guadalupe pine cloud forest with some island oak: restricted to above 1000 m ASL on the N-NE point of the island. The population of the pine has declined by about two-thirds during the last 35 years; it presently stands at about 130 old trees in the main population and about the same number scattered elsewhere. Reproduction is ongoing, with several hundred seedlings having successfully established themselves since 2000,[22] and with the elimination of goat browsing, the pines will likely make a full recovery. The situation of the oak is more dire; there are only 20 trees or so remaining (by about 1950, there were 100) and they appear past reproductive age. Not being restricted to Guadalupe, seedlings could be imported from elsewhere.

A ninth habitat type, California juniper woodland and extending on the central plateau below the cypress forest, was entirely gone by 1906.[23] What other endemic lifeforms underwent coextinction with it will forever remain unknown.

Endemism

Animals:

Arctocephalus townsendi
Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi)

Plants:[20][21]

Extinctions

Numerous taxa have gone extinct due to the habitat destruction by the goats, which in turn rendered the endemic fauna vulnerable to predation by introduced cats and to adverse weather by depriving them of shelter.

There have been 5–6 extinctions of birds:

  • Guadalupe Bewick's wren (Thryomanes bewickii brevicauda), late 1890s,[18][25]
  • Guadalupe spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus consobrinus), late 1890s
  • The Guadalupe caracara (Polyborus lutosus) was intentionally made extinct by humans around 1901, ironically because it occasionally preyed on young goats.
  • Guadalupe flicker (Colaptes cafer rufipileus), c. 1910 – the island was later recolonized by individuals of the nominate subspecies
  • Guadalupe storm petrel (Oceanodroma macrodactyla), 1910s
  • The Guadalupe ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula obscurus) is close to extinction, if it indeed still exists. It was not observed in 2000 despite thorough searches.

Globally extinct plant taxa from Guadalupe Island are:[20][21][22]

and one species of plant Incertae sedis

Notes

  1. ^ Maximum population that was reached in the late 19th century; nearly 2 goats per acre/more than 4/ha: León de la Luz et al. (2003)
  2. ^ Some naturalized populations exist in California
  3. ^ Depending whether this population belongs to Marah macrocarpus var. major or not
  4. ^ Depending on taxonomic status of Cedros Island population

References

  1. ^ a b https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-most-extreme-points-of-mexico.html Worldatlas.com. The Most Extreme Points of Mexico. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "Censo de Población y Vivienda 2010" (in Spanish). Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática (INEGI). 2010.
  3. ^ "Hesperelaea palmeri | Natural History of Ecological Restoration". Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  4. ^ a b c d e http://islas.org.mx/index.php?mod=proy&op=islagua Islas.org.mx. Conservación de Islas. Isla Guadalupe. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  5. ^ "Isla Guadalupe". Ine.gob.mx. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Ecología". Ine.gob.mx. Archived from the original on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  7. ^ Avioneta Isla Guadalupe. panoramio.com 29°01′09.85″N 118°16′41.03″W / 29.0194028°N 118.2780639°W
  8. ^ http://sdsharkdiving.com/isla-guadalupe/ Sdsharkdiving.com/isla-guadalupe. San Diego Shark Diving. Isla Guadalupe White Shark Trip - FAQs. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  9. ^ http://www.squalodivers.com/guadalupe-island-giants-fortress/ Squalo Divers. Guadalupe Island, Giant Fortress. March 27, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  10. ^ Moran, Reid (1868) "The Flora of Guadalupe Island, Mexico", in Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences
  11. ^ "Normales climatológicas para Isla Guadalupe, B.C." Colegio de Postgraduados. Archived from the original on February 19, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  12. ^ Batiza, Rodey (1977). "Petrology and chemistry of Guadalupe Island: An alkalic seamount on a fossil ridge crest". Geology. 5 (12): 760–764. doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1977)5<760:PACOGI>2.0.CO;2.
  13. ^ a b "Guadalupe". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  14. ^ a b Auguste Duhaut-Cilly (1999). August Fruge; Neal Harlow (eds.). A Voyage to California, the Sandwich Islands, and Around the World in the Years 1826–1829. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-520-21752-2.
  15. ^ Briton Cooper Busch (1987). The War Against the Seals: A History of the North American Seal Fishery. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-7735-0610-7.
  16. ^ Hoelzel, A. R.; Fleischer, R. C.; Campagna, C.; Le Boeuf, B. J.; Alvord, G. (2002). "Impact of a population bottleneck on symmetry and genetic diversity in the northern elephant seal". Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 15 (4): 567–575. doi:10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00419.x.
  17. ^ "Northern Elephant Seal – Marine Mammal Endurance Champion". American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  18. ^ a b Anthony, A.W. (1901). "The Guadalupe Wren". Condor. 3 (3): 73. doi:10.2307/1361475.
  19. ^ https://travel.padi.com/d/guadalupe-island/ Travel.padi.com. PADI Travel. Diving in Guadalupe Island. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c León de la Luz, José Luis; Rebman, Jon P.; Oberbauer, Thomas (1 January 2003). "On the urgency of conservation on Guadalupe Island, Mexico: is it a lost paradise?". Biodiversity and Conservation. 12 (5): 1073–1082. doi:10.1023/A:1022854211166.
  21. ^ a b c d "Plant accounts: Guadalupe Island". California/Mexico Island Conservation Database (CMICD). 2007. Archived from the original on 8 December 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
  22. ^ a b c d Junak, S.; Keitt, B.; Tershy, B.; Croll, D.; Sánchez, J.A. (November 13–14, 2003). "Recent conservation efforts and current status of the flora of Guadalupe Island, Baja California, Mexico". Presentation at "Workshop on restoration and conservation of Guadalupe Island". Instituto Nacional de Ecologia. Archived from the original on 2007-08-19.
  23. ^ a b c d Thayer, John E.; Outram Bangs (1 May 1908). "The Present State of the Ornis of Guadaloupe Island" (PDF). The Condor. 10 (3): 101–106. doi:10.2307/1360977.
  24. ^ Jimenez, Maria Luisa; Aguilar, Ricardo (1994). "Notes on the spiders of the Guadalupe and Cedros Islands, Baja California, Mexico (Arachnida, Araneae)" (PDF). Journal of Arachnology (in Spanish). 22 (2): 173–175. ISSN 0161-8202.
  25. ^ Kaeding, Henry B. (1905). "Birds from the West Coast of Lower California and Adjacent Islands (Part II)" (PDF). Condor. 7 (4): 134–138. doi:10.2307/1361667.

External links

Ainley's storm petrel

Ainley's storm petrel (Oceanodroma cheimomnestes) is a species of seabird in the family Hydrobatidae. It breeds in the winter on Guadalupe Island off the western coast of Mexico. It ranges south to the Galápagos Islands. It is considered by some authorities to be a subspecies of the Leach's storm petrel.

Baeriopsis

Baeriopsis is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the aster family, Asteraceae, containing the single species Baeriopsis guadalupensis. It is endemic to the Guadalupe Island archipelago along the coast of Baja California in Mexico. It grows in Guadalupe mesa scrub habitat.

Baja California

Baja California (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbaxa kaliˈfoɾnja] (listen); English: "Lower California"), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California), is a state in Mexico. It is the northernmost and westernmost of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1952, the area was known as the North Territory of Baja California (El Territorio Norte de Baja California). It has an area of 70,113 km2 (27,071 sq mi), or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico and comprises the northern half of the Baja California Peninsula, north of the 28th parallel, plus oceanic Guadalupe Island. The mainland portion of the state is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Sonora, the U.S. state of Arizona, and the Gulf of California (also known as the "Sea of Cortez"), and on the south by Baja California Sur. Its northern limit is the U.S. state of California.

The state has an estimated population of 3,315,766 (2015) much more than the sparsely populated Baja California Sur to the south, and similar to San Diego County, California on its north. Over 75% of the population lives in the capital city, Mexicali, in Ensenada, or in Tijuana. Other important cities include San Felipe, Rosarito and Tecate. The population of the state is composed of Mestizos, mostly immigrants from other parts of Mexico, and, as with most northern Mexican states, a large population of Mexicans of Spanish ancestry, and also a large minority group of East Asian, Middle Eastern and indigenous descent. Additionally, there is a large immigrant population from the United States due to its proximity to San Diego and the lower cost of living compared to San Diego. There is also a significant population from Central America. Many immigrants moved to Baja California for a better quality of life and the number of higher paying jobs in comparison to the rest of Mexico and Latin America.

Baja California is the twelfth largest state by area in Mexico. Its geography ranges from beaches to forests and deserts. The backbone of the state is the Sierra de Baja California, where the Picacho del Diablo, the highest point of the peninsula, is located. This mountain range effectively divides the weather patterns in the state. In the northwest, the weather is semi-dry and mediterranean. In the narrow center, the weather changes to be more humid due to altitude. It is in this area where a few valleys can be found, such as the Valle de Guadalupe, the major wine-producing area in Mexico. To the east of the mountain range, the Sonoran Desert dominates the landscape. In the south, the weather becomes drier and gives way to the Vizcaino Desert. The state is also home to numerous islands off both of its shores. In fact, the westernmost point in Mexico, the Guadalupe Island, is part of Baja California. The Coronado, Todos Santos and Cedros Islands are also on the Pacific Shore. On the Gulf of California, the biggest island is the Angel de la Guarda, separated from the peninsula by the deep and narrow Canal de Ballenas.

Battle of Guadalupe Island (1595)

The Battle of Guadalupe Island, also known as the Battle of Guadalupe, was a naval action that took place off Guadalupe Island (French: Guadeloupe), Caribbean Sea, on 8 November 1595, between a Spanish force of five frigates commanded by Don Pedro Tello de Guzmán and Don Gonzalo Méndez de Cancio (who was appointed Admiral on 19 August 1595), and an English squadron of nine ships (rear of Francis Drake's fleet), during the unsuccessful English military expedition of 1595 against Spain and their possessions, led by Sir Francis Drake himself, Sir John Hawkins and Sir Thomas Baskerville, as the context of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). The result was a Spanish victory. One of the English ships, the Francis, was captured and the others fled from the battle. Then, knowing Drake's plans, the Spanish flotilla took advantage over the bulk of Drake's fleet, and arrived at San Juan on 13 November, reinforcing the town with 500 soldiers and supplies. The Spaniards organized different artillery positions in strategic locations, and the five frigates were positioned to cover the entrance of the bay with their artillery, awaiting the arrival of Drake. On 22 November, with the defenses completed, the English fleet arrived off San Juan and tried to invade the town. The result was another Spanish victory over Drake's forces.

Brahea edulis

Brahea edulis, the Guadalupe palm or palma de Guadalupe, is a palm endemic to Guadalupe Island, Mexico; a few stands have been planted elsewhere. It is a fan palm which grows 4.5–13 metres tall. It grows between 400 and 1000 meters above mean sea level (ASL).The entire native population consists of old trees with little successful recruitment for 150 years or so. Until recently, Guadalupe Island supported a large goat population (estimated at 100,000 in 1870, and 5,000 in 2000). The presence of these goats prevented regrowth of the native trees, including B. edulis, and as a consequence, the ecosystem was drastically altered: the once verdant island turned into an almost barren rock, with weeds replacing the former forests. Below 800–900 m ASL, the palm is essentially the only remaining tree, occurring in a major subpopulation and scattered groups in sheltered locations. Above that, there used to be a band of mixed woodland where the palm was accompanied by Island Oak and Guadalupe Pine. This habitat has now all but disappeared due to the other trees becoming pushed back into higher regions.The species was probably declining slowly since the mid-19th century. Its range might even have expanded a bit until the mid-20th century however; part of it was shared with other trees as noted above; especially the pine is a towering species that presumably grew in many sites now occupied by the palm. In addition, a forest of Guadalupe Cypress and California Juniper shrubland existed in the palm's present range; the cypress forest was eventually destroyed by the goats and the juniper is nowadays completely absent from the island.Although endangered in the wild, B. edulis is cultivated, especially in California. In 2001, it was started to fence in patches of habitat on Guadalupe, and the long-envisioned removal of goats was effectively complete by 2005. Some hundreds of Guadalupe Palms remain on their island home today. As regrowth presumably was hindered by the goats eating the saplings rather than the trees having all become old and sterile, it is likely that the palm will eventually recover. That it was best able of all Guadalupe tree species to withstand the hordes of goats is evidenced by its present distribution; the other trees – if they survive at all – are limited to higher and less accessible areas. Nonetheless, the species is precariously rare and the IUCN considers it Endangered (EN C1).

Cupressus guadalupensis

Cupressus guadalupensis, the Guadalupe cypress, is a species of cypress from Guadalupe Island in the Pacific Ocean off western North America.

Deinandra greeneana

Deinandra greeneana is a rare North American species of plants in the tarweed tribe within the (sunflower family).

Deinandra greeneana has been found only in the state of Baja California in northwestern Mexico. The species was thought for many years to be restricted to Guadalupe Island, 400 km (150 miles) west of the mainland, but it was later discovered on the Pacific Coast of the Baja California Peninsula southwest of Ensenada.Deinandra greeneana is an annual herb up to 120 cm (48 inches) tall. It produces many yellow flower heads, each with both disc florets and ray florets.

subspeciesDeinandra greeneana subsp. greeneana - Guadalupe Island

Deinandra greeneana subsp. peninsularis (Moran) B.G.Baldwin - mainland Baja California

Dissanthelium californicum

Dissanthelium californicum (California dissanthelium, Catalina grass) is a rare species of grass. It was originally discovered on Santa Catalina, an island off California's coast in 1847 by U.S. botanist and naturalist William Gambel. It was later identified as growing on Guadalupe Island (off Baja California Peninsula), on San Clemente Island and Catalina Island (both off southern California).

Last seen in 1912, Dissanthelium californicum was generally thought to be extinct, until examples were found on March 29, 2005 by Jenny McCune of the Catalina Island Conservancy on Catalina Island [1]. In 2010, two populations were found on San Clemente Island. It has not reappeared on Guadalupe Island.

Ensenada Municipality

The municipality (Spanish: municipio) of Ensenada, with a land area of 52,482.40 km2 (20,263.57 sq mi), is the largest municipality in Mexico by area. The municipality takes up 72.6% of the state of Baja California but is home to only 14.7% of the population. It shares borders with Baja California's four other municipalities to the north and northeast as well as with Mulegé Municipality in Baja California Sur to the south. Its municipal seat (Spanish: cabecera municipal) is Ensenada (31°51′28″N 116°36′21″W), which lies near the northwest corner of the municipality.

Ensenada's current (as of 2009) municipal president (Spanish: presidente municipal) is Enrique Pelayo Torres. A major port is planned to be built in Punta Colonet, a largely uninhabited area 80 km (50 mi) south of the city of Ensenada. Located offshore, Guadalupe Island is part of the municipality, making Ensenada the westernmost municipality in Mexico.

In 2015 the municipality had a population of 486,639, up from 466,814 in 2010 and 413,481 in 2005.

Guadalupe caracara

The Guadalupe caracara (Caracara lutosa) or mourning caracara is an extinct bird of prey belonging to the falcon family (Falconidae). It was, together with the closely related crested and southern caracara, formerly placed in the genus Polyborus. It was also known as the quelili or the calalie.

Guadalupe fur seal

The Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi) is one of six members of the fur seal genus Arctocephalus. Sealers reduced the population to just a few dozen by the late 19th century, but the species had recovered to 10,000 in number by the late 1990s. Many individuals can be found on Mexico's Guadalupe Island.

Guadalupe junco

The Guadalupe junco (Junco insularis) is a bird endemic to Guadalupe Island off Pacific Mexico. Many taxonomic authorities classified it in 2008 as asubspecies of the dark-eyed junco. In 2016, it was classified as full species.

Hesperelaea

Hesperelaea is a plant genus with only one species, probably now extinct. Hesperelaea palmeri was found only on Guadalupe Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Mexican state of Baja California, about 400 km (250 mi) southwest of Ensenada. The last collection of the plant on the island was in 1875, so the species and the genus must now be presumed extinct. An intensive search for the plant in 2000 was unsuccessful.At the time of the collection of the type material in 1875, Hesperelaea palmeri was found only in a single canyon on the east side of the island. It was a shrub with broadly lanceolate leaves up to 5 cm long. Flowers were pale yellow, the petals over 10 mm long. The species was unusual in the family in having fully distinct petals.Phylogenetic analyses based on DNA from the nuclear genome as well as mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA suggest that H. palmeri is closely related to the genera Forestiera and Priogymnanthus in tribe Oleeae, and perhaps the sister lineage of Forestiera. A molecular clock analysis estimated its divergence from its closest relatives in the Early Miocene, likely pre-dating the age of Guadalupe Island. This suggests that H. palmeri is a paleoendemic that was once more widespread and then retreated to Guadalupe Island following environmental change.

Lupinus guadalupensis

Lupinus guadalupensis is a rare species of lupine known by the common name Guadalupe Island lupine. It is known only from San Clemente Island, one of the Channel Islands of California, and Guadalupe Island off the coast of Baja California. It is a member of the coastal scrub growing alongside other island endemics and more common plants. This is an annual herb growing 20 to 60 centimeters high. Each palmate leaf is made up of 7 to 9 narrow leaflets up to 5 centimeters long and just a few millimeters wide, sometimes linear in shape. The inflorescence bears whorls of flowers each about a centimeter long and blue in color with a white banner patch which may fade pink. The fruit is a very hairy legume pod up to 6 centimeters long and about one wide. It contains 6 to 8 seeds.

Pinus radiata

Pinus radiata, family Pinaceae, the Monterey pine, insignis pine or radiata pine, is a species of pine native to the Central Coast of California and Mexico (Guadalupe Island and Cedros island).

P. radiata is a versatile, fast-growing, medium-density softwood, suitable for a wide range of uses. Its silviculture reflects a century of research, observation and practice. It is often considered a model for growers of other plantation species. It is the most widely planted pine in the world, valued for rapid growth and desirable lumber and pulp qualities.

Although P. radiata is extensively cultivated as a plantation timber in many temperate parts of the world, it faces serious threats in its natural range, due to the introduction of pine pitch canker (Fusarium circinatum).

Polystichum munitum

Polystichum munitum, the western swordfern, is an evergreen fern native to western North America, where it is one of the most abundant ferns. It occurs along the Pacific coast from southeastern Alaska to southern California, and also inland east to southeastern British Columbia, northern Idaho and western Montana, with disjunctive populations in northern British Columbia, Canada; the Black Hills in South Dakota, United States; and Guadalupe Island off of Baja California, Mexico. Western swordfern is known to have locally naturalized in parts of Great Britain and Ireland.

Quercus tomentella

Quercus tomentella, the island oak, island live oak, or Channel Island oak, is an oak in the section Protobalanus. It is native to six islands off the coast of California and to one Mexican island: five of the Channel Islands of California plus Guadalupe Island (part of the State of Baja California).

Reid Venable Moran

Reid Venable Moran (June 30, 1916 – January 21, 2010) was an American botanist and the curator of botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum from 1957 to 1982.Moran was the world authority on the Crassulaceae, a family of succulent plants, and in particular the genus Dudleya, the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation. He named at least 18 plants new to science — some in that family and some not — and published many papers elucidating relationships within the Crassulaceae. As a mark of the respect he earned among his peers, more than a dozen plants have been named for him. Jane Goodall described Moran as "a sort of living myth in botanical exploration in Baja California and the Pacific Islands of Mexico," citing specifically his analysis of the environmental impact of introduced species (especially goats) on the flora of Guadalupe Island.

Stephanomeria

Stephanomeria is a genus of North American plants also known as wirelettuce, belonging to the dandelion tribe within the sunflower family.Stephanomeria species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Schinia scarletina, which feeds exclusively on the genus.

Annual speciesStephanomeria diegensis Gottlieb - wreathplant - Baja California, southern California; Hybrid origin: S. exigua х S. virgata

Stephanomeria elata Nutt. - Santa Barbara wirelettuce - California and Oregon; 2n=32

Stephanomeria exiguaNutt. - small wirelettuce - widespread throughout western United States + Baja California; 2n=16

Stephanomeria hitchcockii Gand. - Kansas

Stephanomeria malheurensis Gottlieb - Malheur wirelettuce - Harney County in Oregon; 2n=16

Stephanomeria mexiae M.E.Jones - Chihuahua

Stephanomeria paniculata Nutt. - tufted wirelettuce - Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho; 2n=16

Stephanomeria virgata Benth. - rod wirelettuce - California, Oregon, Nevada, Baja California; 2n=16Perennial speciesStephanomeria cichoriacea A.Gray - chicoryleaf wirelettuce - southern California; 2n=16

Stephanomeria fluminea Gottlieb - Teton wirelettuce - Endemic to northwestern Wyoming; 2n=16

Stephanomeria guadalupensis Brandegee - Endemic to Guadalupe Island in Baja California; 2n=16

Stephanomeria lactucina A.Gray - woodland wirelettuce - California, Oregon and Nevada; 2n=16

Stephanomeria monocephala Moran - Baja California

Stephanomeria occultata Moran - Endemic to Weber River corridor, Northern Utah; 2n=16

Stephanomeria parryi A.Gray - Parry's wirelettuce - Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah; 2n=32

Stephanomeria pauciflora (Torr.) A.Nelson - Brownplume wirelettuce - widespread, southwestern United States; Mexico (Baja California, Sonora, Coahuila); 2n=16

Stephanomeria runcinata Nutt. - desert wirelettuce - Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, Alberta, Saskatchewan; 2n=16

Stephanomeria tenuifolia (Raf.) H.M.Hall - narrow-leaved wirelettuce - western United States; Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Baja California; 2n=16

Stephanomeria thurberi A.Gray - Thurber's wirelettuce - New Mexico, Arizona, Sonora, Texas; 2n=16formerly includedsee Chaetadelpha Microseris Munzothamnus Pleiacanthus Prenanthella

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