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November 2020

Wildfires spark sophisticated burn recovery study

Wildfires ravaged nine NRS reserves this August. The NRS is  seizing this opportunity to quantify the extent and severity of the fires and understand how burning affects the environment. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has funded a post-fire survey of all of the burned reserves using the tools of the NRS's California Heartbeat Initiative project. The effort will deploy ground teams, drone flights, and satellite images to follow recovery over time. Read more >>

NRS joins California Biodiversity Network

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order in October committing California to battle climate change and protect the state's impressive biodiversity. The NRS will play an official role in this effort as a cofounder of the California Biodiversity Network. Network partners such as the NRS, additional UC entities, museums, land trusts, parks, and other science institutions will provide research and expertise to help protect native ecosystems in the most diverse state in the nation. Read more >>

Squirrel smarts

Ground squirrels employ both moxie and memory to acquire the food they need in a world lurking with predators. UCLA undergrad Cynthia Frausto examined the connection between personality, stress, and learning in these rodents at the NRS's James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve. Support from the NRS's Field Science Fellowship enabled her to do this research full time for an entire summer. Applications for 2021 Field Science Fellowships are being accepted through Jan. 20.

Teaching a field program amid a pandemic

In-person classes are rare at universities right now due to the pandemic. The NRS's California Ecology and Conservation program is one of just a handful of UC courses bucking that trend. CEC instructors Krikor Andonian and Tim Miller send a dispatch from the field as Fall 2020 CEC students commence seven weeks of learning at different NRS reserves. Read more >>

Knee deep in Big Creek

Thanks to the NRS's Field Science Fellowship, which supports underrepresented undergrads conducting field research at reserves, Ray Hunter got to immerse himself in field research for an entire summer. Hunter spent his summer surveying the caddisflies, mayflies, stoneflies, riffle beetles, and other benthic macroinvertebrates found in Big Creek, the main waterway at the NRS's Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve. His findings provides baseline biodiversity information that will help scientists monitor future environmental change.


Earthshaking ‘brawn songs’ and movement, developed over time, identify seals
Año Nuevo Island Reserve
Scientific American

Bodega tide pools show effects of climate change
Bodega Marine Reserve
San Francisco Chronicle

Quail Rdige builds $100k endowment for student researchers
Quail Ridge Reserve
Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve

Davis Enterprise

Lemon lily

California has some spectacular native flora, but the lemon lily (Lilium parryi) is surely among the most glorious. Native to the mountains of the Southwest, its pollinator in the United States has long been unknown. But recently, Jen Gee, director of the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve, captured what may be a first: the image of a hawk moth visiting a lemon lily at night at the reserve Image: Aldo de la Mora (color); Jen Gee (black and white)

UCSB NRS Virtual Seminar Series

The UC Santa Barbara Natural Reserve System is holding a series of online talks showcasing research from across its seven reserves. Each talk will be preceded by a mini tour of the reserve site highlighted in the talk. Seminars will be held Thursdays from Oct. 8 to Nov. 19 7-8 p.m. Learn more and register>>
Watch past seminar recordings here >>
Nov. 5
Vector-borne disease in a changing world
Andy MacDonald, UC Santa Barbara

Nov. 12
How a pandemic challenges conservation of a California frog, and how scientists and managers can respond
Tom Smith, UC Santa Barbara

Nov. 19
The case for active forest management at Valentine Camp
Hugh Safford and Ashley Grupenhoff, UC Davis

Climate Change at the Land-Sea Interface

Professor Eric Sanford of UC Davis discusses research at Bodega Marine Reserve to understand how warming oceans are affecting the distribution and abundance of marine animals on the coast of California. The video is part of Live From the Field, events where researchers describe their field research on videos, then join a Q&A session with a live audience.

Donation expands Burns reserve

Gordon Burns, grandson of the family that once lived at Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve, has donated 15 more acres to the western Mojave Desert site. The land will be protected in perpetuity, while its value enables the reserve to qualify for state bond funding to improve facilities. Read more >>

Pandemic postponement

The UC NRS's 50th Anniversary Symposium has been indefinitely postponed. Originally scheduled for Nov. 12-13 at the Brower Center in Berkeley, it will no longer be held due to limits on the size of gatherings and other public health concerns surrounding COVID-19. We hope to have another opportunity in the future to present achievements in the NRS's long legacy of science, teaching, and public service.
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