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January 2016

Confluence art

Artist Todd Gilens is blending antique script, urban curbs, and modern stream science to reconnect city dwellers with something they've come to take for granted: their water. This past summer, he's been visiting NRS reserves to get a grasp on how California's waterworks flow. He's worked alongside stream scientists at Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab, traced antique water conveyance systems and visited UC's snow lab while staying at Sagehen Creek Field Station, and roamed as far afield as Belfast, Ireland to examine old journals and letters, among other adventures. See Gilens's Confluence project newsletter for more information.

All about oaks

Frank Davis, director of UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, spoke about oaks at the NRS's Sedgwick Reserve in November. A few of the fun facts from his lecture:
  • Begun in 1995, oak restoration at Sedgwick has involved 4 years of planting 1,200 acorns/year.
  • Sedgwick studies compare how cattle and rodents affect sapling recruitment.
  • It can take 10-15 years before a tree can resist browsing damage.
  • Lower tree density results in less per-tree pollen production, lower genetic diversity, and fewer seed-dispersing animals.
  • Seedlings beneath trees average 1-2 mothers and 8 pollen parents, while those in gaps average 2-3 mothers and 15 pollen parents.
  • Seedlings have a harder time growing in grasslands because of competition for nutrients, weather, and water stresses.
  • Trees with lichen receive more nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and chloride.
  • Trees with more wasp galls sustain less insect damage. After the wasp leaves, spiders move in and eat tree-attacking insects.
Eric Sanford and Bodega pH meter

NRS IN THE NEWS

Climate warming is a bad acid trip for marine species
Bodega Marine Reserve
Davis Enterprise
Image by Jacqueline Sones
 
  

Lizard tail

A member of the lizard tail family, yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica) is a native perennial found in wet soils. Each white-petaled flower contains hundreds of fruits. A slit in each fruit opens to release seeds with flavor reminiscent of black pepper. The antimicrobial and antifungal properties of this plant have been used to treat swollen gums and athlete's foot, and to prevent kidney stones. Lobsang Wangdu shot this beauty on Santa Cruz Island Reserve.

EVENTS

Jan. 9 Public hike
8:30 a.m., Sedgwick Reserve, 3566 Brinkerhoff Rd., Santa Ynez, CA
A range of hikes takes visitors to Sedgwick Reserve's 6,000 acres of unique geological and ecological wonders. Afterward, hikers can picnic and play bocce. Instead of hiking, visitors are also welcome to set up an art easel at the pond or bird watch around the Field Station. The gates will be open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. RSVP requested.

Jan. 14 Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series
6 p.m., UCR Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Dr., Palm Desert
The California deserts: Floristic frontier on the brink
California's deserts are exceedingly rich in plant species. Yet an estimated 15% of California's desert flora remains undescribed, leaving many new species to be discovered over the next century. Learn about botanical exploration with James Andre, director of the NRS's Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center.

Jan. 22 Walking Ecology
9 a.m. - noon, Sedgwick Reserve, 3566 Brinkerhoff Rd., Santa Ynez, CA
Geology of Santa Barbara County
Learn about Santa Barbara's ancient land formations and how their history has determined the shape of our world today. This talk, by Professor Bruce Tiffney of UC Santa Barbara, is back by popular request and not to be missed.
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