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The contributions of Donald Lee Johnson to understanding the Quaternary geologic and biogeographic history of the California Channel Islands

Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist
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Abstract

Over a span of 50 years, native Californian Donald Lee Johnson made a number of memorable contributions to our understanding of the California Channel Islands. Among these are (1) recognizing that carbonate dunes, often cemented into eolianite and derived from offshore shelf sediments during lowered sea level, are markers of glacial periods on the Channel Islands; (2) identifying beach rock on the Channel Islands as the northernmost occurrence of this feature on the Pacific Coast of North America; (3) recognizing of the role of human activities in historic landscape modification; (4) identifying both the biogenic and pedogenic origins of caliche “ghost forests” and laminar calcrete forms on the Channel Islands; (5) providing the first soil maps of several of the islands, showing diverse pathways of pedogenesis; (6) pointing out the importance of fire in Quaternary landscape history on the Channel Islands, based on detailed stratigraphic studies; and (7), perhaps his greatest contribution, clarifying the origin of Pleistocene pygmy mammoths on the Channel Islands, due not to imagined ancient land bridges, but rather the superb swimming abilities of proboscideans combined with lowered sea level, favorable paleowinds, and an attractive paleovegetation on the Channel Islands. Don was a classic natural historian in the great tradition of Charles Darwin and George Gaylord Simpson, his role models. Don’s work will remain important and useful for many years and is an inspiration to those researching the California Channel Islands today.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The contributions of Donald Lee Johnson to understanding the Quaternary geologic and biogeographic history of the California Channel Islands
Series title Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist
Volume 7
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher M.L. Bean Museum
Publisher location Provo, UT
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 20 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Monographs of the Western North American Naturalist
First page 1
Last page 20
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Channel Islands