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October 2015

UC Santa Barbara celebrates 50 years of the NRS

The Gauchos are pulling out all the stops to celebrate the golden anniversary of the NRS. From October through early November they're holding a symposium, a lecture at the Natural History Museum, a nature photography workshop, a harvest dinner, and even a birding expedition. Read more >>

The Santa Barbara Independent newspaper helped support these events and produced a special section showcasing the UCSB NRS:
GNOMO at Rocky Mtn Biological Lab

Mountain Observatories

Alpine field stations around the world have banded together to address social and ecological issues facing mountain regions. Jeff Brown of the NRS's Sagehen Creek Field Station helped establish the Global Network of Mountain Observatories (GNOMO). The group of 121 field stations, which also includes the NRS's White Mountain Research Center, aims to bring science to bear on topics such as water availability, wildland-urban conflicts, and wildfire by coordinating research efforts. Read more>>
Webster Presidential Chair

Webster gift funds UCSC reserves

A $500,000 gift from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, plus matching funds from the UC Regents, will establish a $1 million endowment for the Wilton W. Webster Jr. Presidential Chair for the UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves. The gift will help support research, maintenance, student internships, and fellowships. Read more >>

Arachnophilia at UC San Diego

To better understand spider diversity, undergraduates at UC San Diego are sampling spiders at the NRS's Scripps Coastal Reserve. They plan to DNA barcode and identify each individual to species. The information will help scientists conserve biodiversity. But it costs about $20 to process each sample. Watch their video and consider donating to their Crowdsurfing campaign to move this project forward.

Molting seals raise mercury levels in seawater

As fish-eating predators at the top of the marine food chain, elephant seals accumulate high concentrations of mercury in their bodies. A new study by scientists at UC Santa Cruz shows that elephant seals shed significant amounts of mercury during molting, resulting in elevated concentrations of the toxic metal in coastal waters near the elephant seal rookery at the NRS's Año Nuevo Island Reserve. Read more >>


Fiery near-miss

The Tassajara Fire that roared through Carmel Valley burned to within a quarter mile of Hastings Natural History Reservation. Staff and visitors evacuated, but the reserve came through unscathed. The Tassajara Fire is the fourth major wildfire to impact NRS reserves this year. Image credit: Hastings Natural History Reservation

Stunt Ranch research grants

UCLA undergrads, grad students, and postdocs can submit a research grant proposal to support their field work at Stunt Ranch Reserve. Up to $5,000 is available per project. Proposals involving a project description, budget, and CV are due Oct. 16, 2015. Finalists must present a poster on their proposed research at UCLA's NRS 50th Anniversary Celebration Nov. 5, 4-6 pm, Hershey Hall. Image credit: Christopher Woodcock

Channel Islands marine protected areas aid fishes

A new study of no- or low-fishing areas in and around the Channel Islands underscores the value of marine protected areas, or MPAs. Scientists found increases in fish populations within MPAs as well as population upswings in adjacent waters open to harvest. The facilities and assistance of the NRS's Santa Cruz Island Reserve helped make this research possible. Read more >>

Snow scoping from SNARL

Scientists tracking California's snowpack, source of much of northern California's water supply, use the NRS's Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory in Mammoth Lakes as their eastern California headquarters. Their computers live on site, while the airport housing their small plane is located just a mile away.  Watch video >>
Big Blue Live

Wet n' wild TV

Some of California's biggest stars (think cetacean) are featured in this PBS/BBC series on the marine riches of Monterey Bay. In episode 2, UCSC professor Dan Costa explains why a warm ocean has left California sea lions hungry. Then his grad student, Sarah Kienle, describes why elephant seals at the NRS's Año Nuevo Island Reserve look rather ragged at the end of summer. Watch video >>


A secret too well kept: the NRS at 50
NRS Systemwide
Bay Area Monitor

Project taps amateur botanists for green treasure hunt
McLaughlin Reserve
UC Berkeley

Natural treasure: a look at UCSB's Natural Reserve System
UCSB Natural Reserves
The Bottom Line

Donation supports UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves
UCSC Natural Reserves
Santa Cruz Sentinel
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