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June 2017

Otherworldly Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island Reserve is about 25 miles off the Santa Barbara shoreline—and a world away from modern, metropolitan reality. With just a handful of full-time human residents, it's a throwback to California as it was hundreds of years ago. Separation from continental North America has given it a unique flora and fauna that includes cat-sized foxes and jumbo birds. It's paradise not only for reserve director Lyndal Laughrin, who's lived here nearly 50 years, but for generations of visiting students and scientists. Read more >>

Sister Reserve in Namibia

All deserts, by definition, are dry. But a closer examination reveals no two arid lands are exactly alike. The contrasts and similarities are illuminating. To aid arid land scientists interested in such comparisons, the NRS has established a sister reserve relationship with Gobabeb Research and Training Centre in Namibia. Inspired by links with the NRS's Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, the connection encourages research contrasting climate change, desertification, and ecosystems in California's three deserts and the Namib Desert of southwestern Africa. Photo courtesy Oliver Halsey. Read more >>

2017 Mojave Science Newsletter

The salt flats of California's deserts are surely among the most inhospitable places on earth. Summer heat bakes these basins into acres of arid crystals, while winter rains produce a formidably salty soup. Surprisingly, a select group of spiders, insects, and other arthropods found few other places use desert salt flats as refugia. To learn more about this daunting evolutionary story, plus the history of zone-tailed hawk colonization across the Mojave National Preserve, and how the timing of flowering affects reproduction in the Mojave suncup, read the 2017 issue of the Mojave Science Newsletter. The annual publication is a collaboration between the NRS's Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center and Mojave National Preserve. Read more >>

Santa Cruz Island Lecture Series

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and the NRS's Santa Cruz Island Reserve present five evenings of presentations about the science, history and culture of the largest of California's Channel Islands. The series will feature world-renowned experts every Thursday evening through June 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Pritzlaff Conservation Center, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara. Image courtesy Clayton Anderson. Register >>

June 8 Unintentional gardeners: How endemic Island Scrub-Jays help native oaks to reclaim Santa Cruz Island
Mario Pesendorfer, Cornell University and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

June 15 The Botanical Treasures of Santa Cruz, the Most Diverse of our Channel Islands
Steve Junak, former Herbarium Curator of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

June 22 Beacon of Hope: Santa Cruz Island as a Conservation Laboratory
Eamon O'Byrne, California Islands Project Director of The Nature Conservancy



NRS science on Open Road

California tiger salamanders need ponds to lay their eggs and mature into air-breathing adults. But no one knew where they went after the summer sun baked their seasonal pools into oblivion. UC professor Brad Shaffer spent years at the NRS's Jepson Prairie Reserve uncovering the habitat tiger salamanders need to endure until the next rainy season. This work, used to ensure this vulnerable species has sufficient habitat to survive, will be showcased on Open Road with Doug McConnell, 
NBC Bay Area, Sunday, June 25, 6:30 p.m. Bonus: you can watch last year's Open Road story on the Natural Reserve System on air again Sunday, June 11, 6:30 p.m.

SNARL Spring Seminar Series

Talks are held at the Page Center of the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, 1016 Mount Morrison Road, Mammoth Lakes, from 7 to 8 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Small tastes of food and drink will be provided by local businesses. Please arrive early to park, snack, and secure a seat. Dogs are not allowed on the reserve. Read more >>

June 6 A plant's eye view of climate change in California mountains
Frank Davis, UC Santa Barbara professor of landscape ecology

June 13 Generating Jovian jets in a giant gyrating jacuzzi
Jon Aurnou, UC Los Angeles professor of planetary physics

Valentine Camp Tours

Soak in the splendor of summer in Mammoth Lakes by taking a naturalist-led walk through the NRS's Valentine Camp Reserve. Pre-registration is required; email Carole Lester, Education Coordinator, carole.lester@ucsb.edu to reserve a spot. Your $20 suggested donation per person goes to support science field trips to the reserve for the children of Inyo and Mono County. Read more >>

June 27 and 29, 9:30 a.m.
History of the Valentine Reserve

June 30 9:30 a.m.
The Geology of Valentine Reserve

Stephens' kangaroo rat

A seedy buffet 

The NRS's Motte Rimrock Reserve in western Riverside County is one of the last stands for Stephens' kangaroo rat. Much of what's known about this rare rodent was learned on the reserve in the 1980s and '90s. Staff continue to monitor the population with live traps. This year, heavy rains fueled a lush bloom of wildflowers and lots of seeds for k-rats. This animal, however, couldn't resist varying its diet with the rolled oats used as trap bait. Image courtesy Joseph Messin


Q&A with Heather Henter of UCSD NRS
UCSD Reserves
UCSD Division of Biological Sciences

UC Davis to study respiratory disease in La Quinta bighorns
Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center
The Desert Sun

Decorator crabs make high fashion at low tide
Bodega Marine Reserve
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