Sky Islands Near Las Vegas Valley

Friday, July 21 | 2:00 – 3:00 pm

The Spring Mountains are considered a “sky island” where endemic species are stuck at high elevations as they cannot cross the arid Mojave to get to the next mountain range. Dr. El and Dr. Sigel are investigating microbes in the springs to see, among other things, if they can find any endemic bacteria or archaea that may ultimately be useful for pharmaceutical production. The topic of this talk include a decent introduction that includes the geology of the last ice age (which includes large mammal fossils found at Tule Springs) before this area of Las Vegas became a desert.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this presentation, the audience will have a greater understanding of: the geology of the last ice age and how it has influenced the desert surrounding Las Vegas in modern times; The concept of ‘Sky Islands’ that exist in the Spring Mountains close to the city of Las Vegas; How bacteria or archaea that is endemic to the Las Vegas region may be useful for pharmaceutical production

Keywords: Geology, Pharmaceutical, Sky Islands, water, chemistry, ice age, Las Vegas Valley

About the Presenter
Dr. El Hachemi Bouali, Ph.D. (known as ‘Dr. El’ by his students) is an applied geologist by training and an opportunistic scientist in practice. He loves geology but is also interested in many areas of the natural sciences. He abbreviates his research focus with the acronym GASP: geophysical and surface processes. He received a Ph.D. in Geology from Michigan Technological University, an MS in Geosciences and BS in Geophysics from Western Michigan University, and an AS from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He was the Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Science at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow while earning his Ph.D. A major research project he is currently working on is titled ‘Analyses of spring water chemistry and microbiology in the Spring Mountains, Nevada.’ He uses field and laboratory methods across multiple disciplines (geology, biology, and chemistry) to quantify physical properties of high-elevation springs and analyze microbial communities found in these springs. Currently, Dr. El serves as Assistant Professor of Geosciences at Nevada State College.