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December 2018

Don Canestro, Director of Norris Rancho Marino Reserve

Don Canestro, director of the NRS's Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino Reserve in Cambria, died November 7 shortly after surfacing from a dive off the Central California coast. He was 64. A lifelong waterman, former dive safety instructor at UC Santa Cruz, and marine biologist, Canestro shared the ecology of the reserve with students and other visitors for nearly two decades. He was famed for his big heart, gentle kindness, and soulful harmonica solos. The NRS mourns his passing. Read more >>

Spreading resistance

The high elevation lakes of the Sierra Nevada have been eerily quiet for decades. The frogs that once filled the air with their croaking have largely disappeared. One major culprit: a fungus that has devastated amphibian populations around the world. Thankfully, some Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs have developed resistance to the scourge. A researcher based at the NRS's Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory is now returning these survivors to deserted ponds, one grueling backpacking trip at a time. Image credit: Eliot Lowndes. Read more >>
Elevating the Sciences 
The White Mountains form a natural barrier between eastern California and Nevada. Less than 20 miles to the west loom the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, while sagebrush flats stretch to the eastern horizon. The NRS's White Mountain Research Center opens this remote region to university-level research, teaching, and public service. The Center consists of four research stations located along a 10,000-foot elevational gradient. Meet the students and scientists who work and study at the reserve, and see how their findings help preserve and protect the West's wild treasures.


Don Canestro
Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino Reserve
American Academy of Underwater Sciences

Floods, droughts simplify stream insect diversity
Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory
Estuary News: Pearls

A natural connection

Northern elephant seals have developed a more diverse language
Año Nuevo Island Reserve
ABC News


Granite Mountains at UC Botanical Garden

A taste of the NRS's Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center can now be found in Berkeley. Staff from the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley used the reserve as a base of operations for an expedition to augment their Mojave Desert collection. Lucky for them, reserve directors Jim Andre and Tasha La Doux are expert botanists. Read more >>

2018-19 Mathias Grant recipients

Funding from the NRS's Mildred E. Mathias Graduate Student Research Grants will help 19 students conduct field studies at the NRS. Study topics range from what enables skunks, raccoons, and opossums can live side by side while going after similar prey; how underlying geology impacts runoff patterns; and the effect of the nutrient phosphorus in alpine lakes. Credit for image of Jenna Baughman Ekwealor: Jim Andre. Read more >>

Garter snake superpower

Dinner can pose a dilemma for garter snakes that live next door to newts, like this one from the NRS's Angelo Coast Range Reserve. All four Taricha newt species, found across California, produce tetrodotoxin, the substance that can make pufferfish sushi lethal. In some regions, newts don't make any toxin at all, and garter snakes can simply chow down. But in the many areas where newts are toxic, snake populations have evolved resistance to the chemical defense. Some garter snakes can judge whether their own resistance is strong enough it to survive eating a particular newt. A snake that starts to reel too hard from the neurotoxin's effects will spit out its intended meal. Read more >>

Jepson Herbarium workshops

UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium will offer workshops on botany, plant taxonomy, regional floras, ecology and more in 2019. A third of the 18 courses will be held at NRS reserves. This is your chance to visit White Mountain Research Center, Hastings Natural History Reservation, Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, and Blue Oak Ranch ReserveRead more >>
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