Thursday, November 06, 2014

From Science to Solutions...

Jeff worked with the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS), National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), and University of Maryland's Integration and Application Network (IAN) to produce this new brochure about the National Academy of Science's recent publication stating the importance of, and need to support Field Stations.

Please share!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New trail guide.

Sagehen California Naturalist Kitty Williamson has completed a great hiking guide to Lower Sagehen Creek.

Busy meeting schedule this year!

Autumn is always meeting time for Sagehen, but this fall has been particularly busy.

AC3 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
Curator Linda Miller gives us a peek at SBNHM's remarkable
collection of antique natural history prints. 
Helen and Newton Harrison at the Art + Environment
conference.

UCNRS Managers meet in the sun at Wawona.
We started early this season, with the Global Fair and Workshop on Mountain Observatories, held in Reno, NV from July 16-19. This conference was created by the Swiss Mountain Research Institute (MRI), led by our friend Greg Greenwood. It grew out of discussions we had while ski-touring together in the Alps, and is resulting in a new Mountain Observatory Network centered under the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS).

Next up was the UC Natural Reserve System 10-year review of Sagehen and Chickering, September 3-4. The event included a BBQ with many of our partners, and included the hand-off from Jim Kirchner to our new Faculty Director, Rauri Bowie. The party turned out to be one of the most powerful events that has happened during our tenure at Sagehen, with our partners able to see--often for the first time--how their efforts feed into the larger program.

Then came a joint meeting of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) and the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), held September 20-23 in Wood's Hole, MA. This was the best, most productive OBFS meeting in years, highlighting a new publication by the National Academy of Sciences about the future of field stations and marine labs (FSMLs).

Soon after returning from Cape Cod, we headed to Santa Barbara, CA for an iDigBio Workshop October 6-9. iDigBio is a National Science Foundation initiative encouraging digitization of museum and field station collections, which constitute "dark data" that is very useful in global change research, but which is unavailable in its current form. With Erica's recent push to digitize and expand Sagehen's collections, it was nice to see we are on track, learn some new tricks, and to meet some potential new partners.

Flying back from Santa Barbara, we didn't even return home before attending the Nevada Museum of Art's remarkable triennial Art + Environment Conference in Reno, NV, October 9-11. Sagehen is working hard to expand our art program, and it was fantastically helpful to get the perspective of and make connections with people working from the other direction to make art that creates change in the world.

Finally, we drove down to the UC Natural Reserve System manager's meeting at the Yosemite Field Station in Wawona, October 14-16. This annual event is a great way to reconnect with people who have similar issues, and to work together to find networked solutions.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Recent interviews about fire ecology

Jeff watches the Meadow fire blow up.
With one of the driest seasons on record making things desperate, fire ecology is in the news.

Here's a good interview about California fires from Scott Stephens, one of the early Sagehen Forest Project researchers.

And another from Malcolm North.

To cut or not to cut? Malcolm North was behind GTR-220, a big influence on the Sagehen Forest Project.

You can watch videos about fire science at Sagehen on Sagehen TV.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Faculty Director for the Central Sierra Field Research Stations

From Jeff Brown, Director, UC Berkeley - Central Sierra Field Research Stations...

==============

Hey all,


Rauri Bowie sampling the somewhat
startling Chickering Soda Spring.
We are pleased to welcome a new Faculty Director to Sagehen and Chickering. This all came together quite recently and we are very pleased to welcome Rauri Bowie to our world. We also want to acknowledge Jim Kirchner’s service as well as his new role as Senior Advisor/Faculty Director emeritus.

Rauri is an Ornithologist with a split appointment between the UCB Integrative Biology Department and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Rauri will add yet another layer to the interesting research/education/public service here at Sagehen.

His research broadly encompasses the seven interrelated research themes described below:
Jim Kirchner at the spring. One of
these men has tasted the spring
before: which do you think it is?

  1. Determination of the timing and direction of African-Asian faunal exchanges; 
  2. The use of molecular markers, morphology, molt (in birds) and GIS to infer current and historical population processes at various temporal and spatial scales across different landscapes - including rainforest sky-islands in tropical Africa, the arid-savanna/fynbos/forest ecotone in southern Africa, mountain systems of California, and among isolated colonies of seabirds and other marine fauna; 
  3. Investigation of evolutionary versus ecological processes as determinants of distribution patterns; 
  4. Evolution of life-history traits, extent of sex-ratio manipulation and extra-pair paternity in birds; 
  5. Diversification and taxonomy of sunbirds (Old-World ecological analogues of hummingbirds); 
  6. Disease ecology of avian malaria; 
  7. Investigation of candidate loci underpinning morphological and physiological adaptation. 
His research is question driven as opposed to taxon driven, although he primarily focuses on birds (particularly from Africa). He also has a keen interest in the evolutionary biology of small mammals, marine molluscs, inshore rockfish and insects.

He has recently launched projects much closer to home in the Sierras. So please join us in welcoming Rauri to our world!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Collections Activity Report, 2014

For the past three years, Erica Krimmel has been running the Sagehen collections program.

It's been a huge amount of fun, but after reading this report, you'll see that we've also really accomplished a lot!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Smart phone field guides for Sagehen Basin.

We've just completed digital field guides for your smart phone or iPad.

These free guides parse our iNaturalist presence to show you the plants from our basin lists. You can use them to identify plants in the field, or to ID your photos later. They can be perused on-line, or downloaded for field use.

It's like having a Peterson Guide to Sagehen Creek plants, but it should be useful for the general area, too.

To make the guides less unwieldy, I've broken up our comprehensive basin plant list into logical chunks. There are currently guides for:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Harrison project gaining steam

The Harrison art/science project plots were fenced this week.

The fencing will provide herbivory protection to the delicate seedlings that will soon be transplanted to Sagehen. These plants were grown at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum from seeds collected at Sagehen last fall.

Newton at the pick-up truck.
The art component of the Harrison project is also starting to gain momentum. In addition to the detailed section about this artwork in their massive upcoming career retrospective book, they have produced a website for the new Center for Force Majeure at UC Santa Cruz, which was set up to study the Harrison's oeuvre. This website contains more information about the Sagehen artwork and related projects, including a downloadable PDF.



A completed enclosure at Site 4.
Interpretive sign for enclosures.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sagehen's collections gaining new relevance in the digital age

Sagehen's Collections Manager, Erica Krimmel, has put an immense amount of effort over the past three years into curating and building our teaching collections. She's also worked very hard to make these collections more accessible and useful to current research through digitization.

Berkeley MVZ crew madly digitizing at Sagehen.
Recently, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology added to this effort, digitizing and organizing our insect and bird collections, and adding mammal collection photographs by Erica's crew of volunteers to the Berkeley museums databases and the BIGCB effort.

It is very hard to track data of any kind, but to date we are aware of at least two botanical researchers led to Sagehen by our recent digital presence: one looking at Ceanothus, another at Mimulus. Another researcher examining Sierra Red Fox genetics found us through our teaching collection pelts.

Here's a recent metric for our digital herbarium on California Consortium of Herbaria that suggests that our specimens are actually being accessed and appear to have relevance that exceeds their numbers.

From Erica:

CCH Sagehen records graph.
"In summary, we have 1000 of our records pushed to CCH, which is an insignificant 0.05% of the total records in CCH, but in total CCH searches over the past 3 years we're come up with 0.09% of the records returned. That's a total of 95,396 instances of SCFS records being retrieved! Still pretty insignificant on a grand scale, but much more significant on a Sagehen scale because I interpret it as meaning we house specimens that users are interested in."