08 de mayo de 2014

Treasure Hunt

I went on my treasure hunt on Monday the 5th and had some difficulty with it. I tried to hunt on campus because of the time of the term. I set out looking for Bermuda buttercups, french brooms, and periwinkle. Unfortunately, I could not find any of these. I think I may have had a hard time on campus because of the difficult in seeing exactly on campus where they were located last year. I was able to find a daisy, coast live oak, and fox squirrel. They were not the most exciting species to relocate, but were easy to spot.

After more than an hour on campus looking for pretty flowers, I gave up and went for the easier to find species isolated on some Berkeley streets. In the surrounding neighborhood I was able to re-locate a dandelion, common ivy, Jade plant, and Calla lily. None of these were especially exotic, but the Jade plant was very beautiful.

The day before, on May 4th, I went on a hike in Redwood Regional Park for the extra credit. I thought it was going to be difficult to identify 25 different taxa, but was pleasantly surprised how easy it was! Those observations can be found here: http://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/pdurr/2014/5/4

Publicado el 08 de mayo de 2014 a las 09:40 AM por pdurr pdurr | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de abril de 2014

Natural History Story: The Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

The Mule Deer, Odocoileus hemionus, is a species that is indigenous to Western North America, from the tip of Baja California and Mexico all the way up to Southern Alaska. The species has also been introduced into Argentina. There are 10 confirmed subspecies including:
O. h. californicus (Caton, 1876) – California Mule Deer;
O. h. cerrosensis Merriam, 1898 – Cedros Island Deer;
O. h. columbianus (Richardson, 1829) – Columbian Black-tailed Deer;
O. h. crooki (Mearns, 1897) (eremicus Mearns and canus Merriam are synonyms), Heffelfinger (2000) considered O. h. eremicus as the correct name for Desert Mule Deer, because the specimen type of this subspecies is a hybrid of Mule Deer and White-tailed Deer;
O. h. fuliginatus Cowan, 1933 – Southern Mule Deer;
O. h. hemionus (Rafinesque, 1817) – Rocky Mountain Mule Deer;
O. h. inyoensis Cowan, 1933 (the validity is questionable) – Inyo Mule Deer;
O. h. peninsulae (Lydekker, 1898) – Peninsula Mule Deer;
O. h. sheldoni Goldman, 1939 – Tiburon Island Mule Deer;
O. h. sitkensis Merriam, 1898 – Sitka Black-tailed Deer.

The species, and its subspecies, are well adapted to a variety of ecosystems. The deer can be found in temperate forests, desert and semidesert, open range, grassland, field and scrub habitats as well as Mountainous areas. This adaptability has helped to keep populations stable by giving the species the ability to live in relocate when resources are sparse or conditions become unlivable. In harsh ecosystems the mule deer will have separate summer and winter ranges, with a migratory path connecting them. In the mild climates they will not migrate.

They live in small groups of three to five individuals.During he winter large groups often come together to feed. Interestingly, it has been noted that the female mule deer live close to where they are born while the males will migrate farther away to compete for mates. Their breeding season runs from October to November, and after this season the males lose their antlers and grow a new set. The newborn babies have spotted coats to keep them camouflaged from potential predators.

Luckily for the Mule Deer, the species is listed as a "least concerned" species under the IUCN red list. This means that the population of Mule Deer "is considered to be Least Concern in light of its adaptability to a wide range of habitats, large populations, occurrence in numerous protected areas, and populations seem to be relatively stable"(IUCN). This classification means that the IUCN does not consider the species in need of conservation efforts. However, some studies cited by the IUCN have shown declining populations in the United States, and some extinction of populations in areas of Mexico. Threats to their populations include the Chronic Wasting Disease, a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, that has been found in some mule deer populations in the Rocky Mountains, predation by feral dogs, poaching, encroachment of grazing for livestock and human settlements, and "other" anthropogenic forces.

Due to these constraining forces on the mule deer populations, a group has formed called the Mule Deer Foundation. This organization began in Redding, California in 1988 and was incorporated as a 501(c)3 Wildlife Conservation Organization that year. Their mission is to "ensure the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat.” The group started with banquet fund raising, and has grown to include its own Mule Deer Magazine!

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mule_deer
Mule Deer Foundation: http://eol.org/pages/328651/overview
IUCN Red List: http://www.iucnredlist.org/search

Publicado el 22 de abril de 2014 a las 10:58 PM por pdurr pdurr | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

19 de marzo de 2014

Characters and Traits

For this assignment I went on a hike in Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa. I observed Poison Oak, which I noticed had no red coloring on it this early in the season. As the riddle warns, these leaves were growing in bunches of 3. I am lucky to have no reaction to the plant, so it wasn't a problem that it was all over the park. Next I noticed a light green lichen growing on a tree. I observed purple flowers that were growing in a very interesting way. Each plant was very thin with several flowers only at the top, black tips, and purple leaves. It appeared that the plant opened during flowering to reveal the black tip, and then the purple leaves pulled all the way back to the plant. Near the purple flowers, I noticed white flowers growing that each had four petals and were very small. I observed several manzanita trees, and photographed one that appeared to have particularly smooth looking branches and an almost purple color. Even more than the manzanita trees, the park was filled with large beautiful oak trees. The particular tree that I photographed appear to be hosting other species like lichen, moss, and mistle toe. Along the walk I saw several salamanders enjoying the bright sun that was out. The one that I was able to photograph had beautiful markings on its back, and almost appeared to have a blue coloring. After walking for awhile I came upon a pond that was full of tadpoles. Several tadpoles appeared to be dead, but several were swimming around. The tadpoles were small and black. Near the edge of the water I saw brown sacks that appeared to be egg sacks, possibly from the tadpoles? I was unsure but photographed them to find out! Lastly, I observed a big, beautiful patch of mushrooms growing that appeared so smooth and soft. I really wanted to touch them, but resisted the urge because some mushrooms can have poisonous spores.

Publicado el 19 de marzo de 2014 a las 07:08 AM por pdurr pdurr | 10 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de marzo de 2014

Habitat Trips

For my habitat trips I visited a Mixed Evergreen Forest behind campus in Strawberry Creek, and a Coastal Dune/Coastal Shrub habitat at the Marin Headlands.

For the species I saw at the Marin Headlands, the adaptations to the environment seemed most clear. I saw a Cypress Tree, which has a low growth and wide top that I assume helps it adapt to coastal winds and fog. I also saw a pink flowering plant that grows low to the ground, perhaps also to protect it from the wind. I saw another plant like this with an orange flower, that is likely adapted to be strong against the wind as well. Next I saw what I believe was a heron. This species uses the mix of coastal and fresh water in the lagoon to find food specific to this type of ecosystem. Lastly, I saw a group of whitetail deer. I do not believe they are specifically adapted to coastal ecosystems, but seemed to thrive within the park.

On my trip to Strawberry Creek I saw less clear adaptations. I saw 2 different types of fungi/lichen, which I believe adapt to grow in this moist, low sun area. I also saw moss growing on a tree that also thrives in the most, low sun area in the forest. I found another plant that I was unable to identify, and thus am unsure how it fits specifically into its niche. Lastly, I also saw a fern, which seems to thrive in almost any environment.

Publicado el 05 de marzo de 2014 a las 09:05 AM por pdurr pdurr | 10 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

13 de febrero de 2014

Hiking in Redwood Regional Park

On Monday, February 10th, I went on a hike in Redwood Regional Forest where I found some interesting species. First I found a burrowing spider of some sort. I was unable to snap a picture of the spider itself, because it ran away, but I got a picture of its web burrowed into the hillside. I had never seen a spider doing this before, and the entire hillside was covered with these webs. I also observed lots of ferns, and took one picture of one, but was unable to ID it to its specific species. I saw a large California Banana Slug that seemed to enjoy the rain we had just received. I also viewed some beautiful fungi growing onto a downed log, but was unable to identify it.

At this point, I was having a hard time finding any other taxa of interest, UNTIL I pulled my leg up to lean it on a tree and tie my shoe, and saw that it was covered in lady bugs! Then I realized it was not just this tree that was covered in lady bugs, but the entire side of the path for a good 1000 yards!! There were thousands of them all piled onto each other moving about. I am very curious as to what was going on there. I thought they might have been mating or it may have been a feeding frenzy. Either way, it was the most amazing interaction with the Coccinellidae I have ever had.

Publicado el 13 de febrero de 2014 a las 08:03 PM por pdurr pdurr | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de febrero de 2014

Laguna Park, Sebastopol

Over the weekend I went on a nature walk in Laguna Park in Sebastopol. That day, 2/2, was the first day of rain that Sebastopol had experienced in a long time. Unfortunately there was little out to view besides leafless plants. The first thing I saw while walking into the park was a dead animal, I think that it is a rat, but I tried not to get too close. I also saw a small green plant growing in clumps on the ground that someone identified as possibly from the Carrot Family. I was ready to give up on finding another Taxa in the park, until my boyfriend spotted a log laying underneath a circle of trees with a large fungus growing up it.

Publicado el 04 de febrero de 2014 a las 07:50 PM por pdurr pdurr | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario