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March 2018

Rock reservoir keeps trees green

California's recent stretch of dry years left lawns brown and millions of trees dead. Yet many forest stands came through just fine. New research from the NRS's Angelo Coast Range Reserve and its Eel River Critical Zone Observatory has pinpointed a hidden source of underground moisture that can help trees weather killer droughts.  Read more >>

Carpinteria Marsh sands point to ancient flooding

Winter rains often send torrents of water sluicing through city streets and buildings. But flooding doesn't always start inland. New research at the NRS's Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve has revealed tons of beach sand within marsh sediments. The discovery of these deposits demonstrates flooding from the ocean could easily devastate Central Coast communities. Read more >>

Sedgwick Walking Ecology

On March 10, visit the NRS's Sedgwick Reserve to attend lectures, take a hike, and explore this Santa Ynez Valley reserve. Your suggested donation of $20 per person supports the reserve's public education program. 3566 Brinkerhoff Rd., Santa Ynez. Learn more and register >>

Geoecology and the plants of Sedgwick's serpentine soils
talk: 9 to 10 a.m.
hike: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nishanta "Nishi" Rajakarun, associate professor of biological sciences at Cal Poly, will discuss his research into plants growing on extreme substrates such as serpentinite, limestone, and mine tailings. He uses these hardy species as model organisms to explore the role of ecology in the evolution of plant species and plant communities. Then hike through a large stand of chaparral in the upper west of the reserve with docent Larry Ballard. The moderate to strenuous 2-mile route has a 600-foot elevation gain.  Register >>

A walk on the wild side 
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Join Dennis Beebe and fellow docents for a moderate to strenuous hike on the Blue Schist Trail, 2.5 miles with 630 feet of elevation gain. Enjoy stunning views of local peaks while trekking through chaparral, woodlands, and a variety of geological formations. Register >>

Amphibians of Sedgwick
9 a.m. to noon
While pursuing her doctorate in the Briggs Lab at UC Santa Barbara, Andrea Adams investigated reserve puddles seeking native amphibians. She found several species of frogs, one not previously known at the reserve, plus salamanders and toads. She'll share her discoveries in the classroom for the first hour, and lead a one-hour foray into the field to explore amphibian habitats and discuss their drought survival strategies. Register >>


Drones and wireless sensors take California water research to new level
Water Deeply

Campus professors seek to monitor climate change by studying water systems
The Daily Californian

California's coastal marshes could be out to sea by 2110
Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve

Study finds "rock moisture" spared trees from California drought
Angelo Coast Range Reserve
San Francisco Chronicle


black bear Sedgwick

Applying AI to wildlife cams

Camera traps are standard equipment these days for monitoring animal populations. But analyzing the hours of video they generate is extremely time consuming. Thanks to computer scientists at UC Santa Barbara, reviewing dull trail video could soon become a thing of the past. The researchers are applying machine learning to camera data from the NRS's Sedgwick Reserve to process and annotate shots of bears, bobcats, and other wild animals. Read more >>

Marine animals follow similar ocean paths

To landlubbers, the ocean appears a trackless expanse. Yet whales and seals, sea turtles and sharks often take similar travel routes through the waves. This analysis of marine species' wanderings was made possible by technologies developed to study northern elephant seals at the NRS's Año Nuevo Island ReserveRead more >>
Carpinteria Salt Marsh mud clog

Mudflows make Carpinteria Salt Marsh a study in recovery

First fire hit the front range of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Then rains turned the denuded slopes into fast-flowing mud. The tons of muck that sluiced down local slopes clogged the tidal channels of the NRS's Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve. The silver lining: scientists have a rare chance to observe the process of natural recovery. Read more >>

Deep Canyon Lecture Series

Developed by the UC Natural Reserve System's Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, lectures are held 6 p.m. at UCR Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Dr., Palm Desert. 

Mar. 8
The Value of Citizen Science for Urban Ecology and Invasive Species Research: Examples from the Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern California Project

Increasing urbanization and the impacts of invasive species are two of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Greg Pauly of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles will describe how citizen scientists are gathering data on how reptile and amphibian species are responding to urbanization across Southern California. The information they have gathered includes many recent discoveries of nonnative species.  RSVP

Say what?

Named for American naturalist Thomas Say, Say's phoebe is a flycatcher that survives almost entirely on crickets, beetles, bees, and other insects. These birds have relatively large heads, long tails, and cinnamon underparts. When hunting, they flit gracefully from low perches to nab insects in flight. While found across most of California, they only breed in the northeastern corner of the state. Clayton Anderson shot this fine photo at the NRS's Younger Lagoon Reserve.
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