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October 2018

Mojave Science newsletter showcases desert research 

The latest issue of the Mojave Science newsletter is out, featuring research conducted in and around Mojave National Preserve. Highlights include k-rats leaping from hunting rattlers, the sticky situations of glandular desert plants; and flower diversity in evening primroses. The newsletter is edited by Tasha LaDoux and Jim Andre, directors of the NRS's Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, and Debra Hughson, science advisor of Mojave National Preserve. Image credit: K. Skogen Read more >>

Sedgwick pond revival

In an arid state with a large human footprint, stock ponds can provide year-round water for water-loving wildlife like frogs and turtles. The pond at the NRS's Sedgwick Reserve is no exception. It harbors multiple "herptiles" of special concern as well as a colony of tricolor blackbirds. But open water on the pond has been shrinking over time. To ensure this rare aquatic habitat persists for years to come, the reserve has enlisted both Caterpillar-type excavators as well as cattle. Read more >>

Lyme dodging lessons

The next time you picnic in the woods, resist the urge to park your posterior on a log. Sitting on logs is the easiest way to get bitten by a tick, putting you at risk for Lyme disease and other nasty tick-borne ailments. Cutting or gathering wood and sitting against trees are also pretty risky, while walking and sitting on leaf litter are less fraught. Young ticks, called nymphs, often lay in wait for hosts atop the branches, logs, and lower portions of tree trunks.

Nymphs appear to be the life stage most likely to transmit Lyme disease to people, as diagnoses rise when these youngsters abound. In northern California, nymphs are most active from March to July; this may be shifted about a month earlier in warmer, more southerly portions of the state. Adult female ticks will also opt for human blood, but are easier to see and remove than the poppy seed-sized nymphs.

Interestingly, footwear doesn’t seem to deter the bloodsuckers. Research suggests people wearing boots, sandals, and running shoes are equally likely to get bitten. The counties with the highest reported incidence of Lyme are Humboldt, Mendocino, Sierra, and Nevada, so wear repellents and conduct tick checks accordingly. Image credit: UCSF

Lyme disease in California

Human behaviors elevating exposure to Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) nymphs and their associated bacterial zoonotic agents in a hardwood forest.

Bonus White Mountain Research Center lectures

The NRS's White Mountain Research Center will host two special lectures this month. Both will be held Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the reserve's Owens Valley Research Station, 3000 East Line St., Bishop.

Oct. 16
The geology behind the scenery in Owens Valley movies
The Owens Valley has provided jaw-dropping backdrops to plenty of Hollywood classics, from "Django Unchained" to spaghetti Westerns. Allen Glazner of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an expert on volcanics, granites, and plate tectonics in eastern California, will review the events that produced the "Deepest Valley" and its remarkable scenery.

Oct. 23
Winter 2018-19: Will it be "tremendously big and tremendously wet?
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno, Chris Smallcomb will describe his expectations for the coming winter. The past six years have swung from drought to flood, driven primarily by atmospheric rivers. He'll explain the limits of weather predictions, and challenges specific to weather and flood forecasting for the eastern Sierra.

NRS in nature photography mag

The conservation photography magazine Paws Trails Explorer ran a 14-page story about the NRS in its October issue. Primarily featuring the work of nature photographers from around the world, the magazine seeks to "be a voice for the voiceless" and encourages readers to use their skills in service of conservation. NRS science writer Kathleen Wong wrote the story; accompanying photos are by NRS webmaster Lobsang Wangdu, attorney/volunteer photographer Clayton Anderson, and NRS executive director Peggy Fiedler. Read more >>

New CEC Research issue

The air is thin, the rock is dolomite, and the trees are beyond ancient on the slopes of White Mountain. What better place to investigate for a final field project? The Summer 2018 class of the NRS's California Ecology and Conservation course wrote all about their experiments at the NRS's White Mountain Research Center in the latest issue of CEC Research. Read for yourself what they found using the investigative power of science. Read more >>

Reserves of Inspiration

The Norris Center for Natural History and the UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves will be hosting a show at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery in Cowell College focused on works from the campus's five NRS reserves  from Nov. 3 to Dec. 8, 2018.

The exhibit will consist of artwork created at the NRS's Año Nuevo Island, Fort Ord Natural, Landels-Hill Big Creek, and Younger Lagoon reserves. The show will reflect the diversity of the reserves and the ways in which interacting with nature can spawn scientific inquiry, artistic creation, and imaginative thought processes. Featured artists include UCSC alumnae Jenny Keller, Stephanie Martin, and Erika Perloff, whose work will be exhibited alongside other local professional and student artists. Read more >>

NRS video on Sustainable CA

"Living Laboratories," a video about the UC Natural Reserve System, is now featured on the Sustainable California channel of University of California Television. You can also catch this video and other offerings from the NRS on UCTV's Natural Reserve System channel and the NRS website.


In the field for the Grinnell Resurvey
James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve,
Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center

Yale Climate Connections

Bristlecone pine research using Google Maps
White Mountain Research Center
Google Earth Outreach

Coastal commission requires UC Santa Cruz to offer free access to Younger Lagoon
Younger Lagoon Reserve
Mercury News

California Ecology and Conservation program offers students the chance to ‘study abroad’ in CA
The Daily Californian

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