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November 2019

Plugged in to the environment

Nature moves in mysterious ways. Unmasking those methods sometimes requires a bevy of fancy instruments. The NRS's California Heartbeat Initiative (CHI) is just such a project. The effort seeks to monitor the amount of water available to plants at any given time. In addition to flying camera-toting drones and analyzing satellite images, CHI researcher have deployed a suite of science-grade sensors in one compact package. Learn what they're monitoring and how these gizmos work. Read more >>

Ancient whale named for UC ocean scientists

Getting a species named after you might be the ultimate honor. When your handle becomes part of a scientific name, you join an exclusive club. Your moniker will be remembered every time that organism is studied, included in range lists, or mentioned in science-oriented circles. Two members of the NRS founding family have just joined that august group thanks to a whale fossil named Norrisanima miocaena. Read more >>

Watching the weather

Keeping tabs on the weather isn't just for farmers and sailors. Climate conditions dictate a multitude of natural processes, from when plants flower to whether birds can find enough food to breed. The NRS gives researchers visiting reserves access to accurate climate data with its extensive Climate Monitoring Network. The 27 stations currently in the network track climate at 25 different reserves to research quality standards. The tower and equipment for each runs $12-15k. Costs are split between individual reserves and the NRS. Four new stations are going up this year at Point Reyes Field Station, Valentine Camp, Carpinteria Salt Marsh, and White Mountain Research Center; discussions for four more are underway. The completed network will include about 40 total stations. Photo of Blue Oak Ranch Reserve steward Zac Tuthill helping to install the solar panels and concrete pad for the Point Reyes Field Station climate station courtesy Allison Kidder. Climate network map and data >>


Ancient whale gets a new name to honor a UCSD professor
San Diego Union Tribune

"The Cheatham effect": Friend of UC Berkeley alumnus Dan Cheatham hosts a memorial in his honor
The Daily Californian


Getcha news here!

When it comes to news about your favorite reserves, don't rely on a little bird to tell you. Instead, sign up to receive their newsletters. Here's a roundup of several reserve newsletters, how often they are published, and the webpages to visit or the email addresses you can message to subscribe. Photo of Say's phoebe courtesy Mark Chappell

Coal Oil Point

Sedgwick Reserve 

Hastings Natural History Reservation
newly launched

White Mountain Research Center

NRS in demand

The numbers are out, and they don't lie: NRS reserves are in high demand by students, researchers, and the general public. Our infographics now include use data from 2018-19. You can see how many people visited reserves, what institutions they hail from, how much time they spent at the reserve, and even how many publications have been generated based on work done at reserves. Click around to get the most out of these interactive visualizations. Learn more >>

NRS Giving

This holiday season, consider including the NRS in your charitable giving. Your contributions can support field research fellowships for minority students, our California Heartbeat Initiative monitoring natural ecosystems, the California Ecology and Conservation course for undergraduates, or the reserves of your choice. All gifts to the NRS are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. We at the NRS thank you! Give now >>

Infants straight out of Alien

For many people, spiders provoke an ancient and visceral fear. Those who've shuddered at the sight of these creepy crawlies might experience some schadenfreude upon learning that the largest and hairiest arachnids can suffer a fate truly worse than death. The world's largest wasps, known as tarantula hawks (Pepsis sp.), use tarantulas as baby food on the hoof. Females of these fearsome wasps, which can grow some 2 inches long, paralyze tarantulas with one of the most painful stings in the insect world. They drag their victim into a burrow, and lay a single egg on the spider's abdomen. Once hatched, the wasp larva burrows into the spider's abdomen and tucks into dinner. The larva devours the vital organs last, ensuring its host remains alive and fresh for the duration. Tarantula hawks such as Pepsis grossa and their tarantula hosts are found across California in places such as the NRS's Sedgwick and Blue Oak Ranch reserves. Image: Davehood at English Wikipedia
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