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May 2020

Arbor Creek Experimental Watershed

The NRS's Blue Oak Ranch Reserve is the site of a major effort to study how vegetation, soils, and climate interact to affect the health of California foothill ecosystems. A collaboration between scientists in the NRS's California Heartbeat Initiative and UC Santa Cruz, the project will help forecast how climate change will affect native ecosystems such as oak woodlands.  Read more >>

Where's the bear?

Trail cameras offer marvelous glimpses into the ordinary lives of wildlife. But sorting through all of the shots triggered by fleeting birds and waving branches is a real drag. UC Santa Barbara computer scientists working at the NRS's Sedgwick Reserve are letting computers handle this drudgery by reconstituting the power of the cloud in the country and utilizing machine learning. Read more >>

The Edge of the Range

Want to experience what it's like to climb the world's tallest trees? Follow filmmaker Wendy Baxter as she chornicles scientists studying coast redwoods at the NRS's Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve. The video features soaring views from the tops of the trees themselves, and sweeping scenes of this spectacular Big Sur reserve. Baxter is herself an expert tree climber and applies those skills to maintain NRS weather stations. Watch the video >>

Andy Brooks, director of the NRS's Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve, discusses how sea level rise will affect the vibrant habitats and important ecosystem functions of California wetlands like his reserve. He's joined by UCSB professor Charles Lester, former director of the Coastal Conservancy. Provided in lieu of planned tours of Carpinteria Salt Marsh and Coal Oil Point Reserve, their remarks expand on the UCSB Reads summer book selection "Rising: Dispatches from the new American shore" by Elizabeth Rush. The presentation features gorgeous images and video of Carpinteria Salt Marsh. Watch the video >>

Coronavirus and mass extinction

The flareup of the coronavirus is a warning that the health of the planet is in critical condition. Animal trafficking and human incursions into wildlands are eroding barriers between people and disease reservoirs. UC Santa Barbara professor Peter Alagona, who serves on the campus's NRS Advisory Committee, argues this pandemic is a wake up call to  restore earth's protective ecological infrastructure. Read more >>

NRS photos available

The coronavirus outbreak has forced many instructors to forego trips to reserves and teach online instead. To help those seeking to provide virtual tours to reserves, the NRS has made a portion of our digital photo archive available for general use. To see those photos, visit the NRS photo archive page. Additional resources are available on the NRS video page.

Ecology of fear at Fort Ord

The NRS's Fort Ord Natural Reserve was a training site for the U.S. Army for many decades. The noise and smoke from the combat exercises no doubt sparked fear in the hearts of the region's animals. But right now, due to the coronavirus shutdown, the area is experiencing its quietest spring in decades. Those conditions are ideal for UC Santa Cruz undergraduate Nicholas Bergeron to study how rodents modulate their feeding activity if they hear noises from owls. Read more >>


Yosemite's pandemic shut down allows wildlife a respite from mankind
Yosemite Field Station
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