CSU Desert Studies Center Director William Presch gives students and scientists the opportunity to research the desert environme
CSU Desert Studies Center Director William Presch gives students and scientists the opportunity to research the desert environment.

Each spring, researchers from around the globe flock to the CSU’s Desert Studies Center in Zzyzx, Calif., an isolated Mojave location about 1​75 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Nearly 100 scientists and students were there for the center’s annual Desert Studies Symposium April 18-21. Now in its 28th year, the four-day event includes research presentations followed by a two-day “desert experience” field trip.

The symposium features current research on desert biological sciences and environmental issues. All presentations from the current and future scientists share one thing in common: the desert environment, says CSU Desert Studies Center Director William Presch.

“The symposium is an important event for them to share the latest issues and keep up with what’s going on in desert-related research,” Presch said. “It also gives our student researchers a supportive and unique venue to present their research—many are doing this for the first time.”

Close to a quarter of California is considered a desert environment, so it’s important that the unique climate, geology and biology is understood so it can be better protected. That’s what the Desert Studies Center does year-round. The CSU field station gives individuals and groups the opportunity to research, learn about and experience the desert.

Established in 1976 under a cooperative management agreement between the CSU system and the Bureau of Land Management, the site in Zzyzx is operated by the Desert Studies Consortium, an organization of Southern California campuses including Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, Pomona and San Bernardino.