What do Taylor’s checkerspot caterpillars eat?

This has been a boom year for Taylor’s checkerspot, an endangered species in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  The two remaining populations in the state have both shown great numbers – over 1000 butterflies each – and at least some of this appears to be due to strong land stewardship by Benton County Natural Areas and Parks […]

Table Rocks LIPUPU closeup S.Carter

Table Rocks Rocks!

For our first trip of the field season, we visited Table Rocks outside of Medford, Oregon to study Limnanthes pumila ssp. pumila, or dwarf woolly meadowfoam, a threatened endemic species that relies on vernal pool habitat. Table Rocks consists of two plateaus formed by volcanic activity and shaped by erosion. The trails up to the plateaus wind through oak savanna which is home to many different species, including Cooper's hawk, turkey vulture, lark sparrow, and wild turkey that we observed on our hikes. Once you reach the plateaus, you are surrounded by a magnificent wildflower display and a plethora of busy pollinators, and can enjoy a spectacular view of Mount McLoughlin.

Table Rocks LIPUPU closeup S.Carter

This is a mature dwarf woolly meadowfoam after it has blossomed.

Table Rocks species cheat sheet S.Carter

We monitored plant communities, which involved challenging grass identification.

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The crew on top of Lower Table Rock after a long, steep hike.

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A blanket of camas along the trail.

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A young amateur botanist that we met. He enthusiastically pointed out flowers to his mom!

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A remaining vernal pool at Lower Table Rock. A home to dwarf woolly meadowfoam as well as fairy shrimp, frogs, and diving beetles!

Table Rocks elk grazing A.Frietag

We saw evidence of elk grazing on wild onion and other plants.

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A spectacular view of Mount McLoughlin from Upper Table Rock.

We really enjoyed getting to know each other on our first trip and learning about the vernal pool ecosystems at Table Rocks!

Conservation Research Adventures to the Desert

In June we said goodbye to our Corvallis western Oregon home and set out for a long day of traveling to Vale, Oregon on the eastern part of the state to monitor Astragalus mulfordiae, or Mulford’s milkvetch. Although the journey was long, it was a beautiful sight to watch the greens of the Cascades turn […]

The Great Fork Migration of 2015

For sometime now, the fork population at the Institute for Applied Ecology has enjoyed a relatively stable and consistent biannual migration, where these lovely eating utensils disappear for some months usually correlating with the start of the field season, and return with the end of the field season. This season however has been markedly different […]

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Adaptive Restoration Efforts in Willapa Bay!

In June we traveled to the north coast by Astoria, OR and Long Beach, WA to assess the health and restoration potential at several different coastal prairie sites. Three of the five sites were located on land managed by the North Coast Land Conservancy, a non-profit that tackles conservation projects from the Columbia River south to Lincoln City. The other two sites are located on land owned by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The ultimate goal of this project is to evaluate the effects of adaptive restoration techniques on coastal prairie. The results of this project will provide useful information for future restoration efforts of coastal prairie, which is native habitat for the Oregon silverspot butterfly. In order to research the best adaptive management methods for prairie restoration, three techniques and a control were established: herbicide, soil inversion, and soil removal. The success of each restoration method is evaluated by collecting plant community data in all research plots every year. Within each plot we estimated percent cover of all plants occurring in four square meters. The plot photos are pictured below:

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Control: These plots are established without any treatments but are exposed to the same conditions (weather, climate, herbivory, etc.) to create a basis for comparison with other treatments. Photo credit: Emma MacDonald

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Topsoil removal: The entire nutrient rich top layer (essentially all organic material) was excavated from these plots leaving a sandy nutrient poor layer for new plants to colonize. Photo credit: Connor Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topsoil Inversion: Vegetation and soil in these plots were turned over so they mimicked dune-soil conditions where nutrient rich soil layers (topsoil) move under or over nutrient poor (sandy) layers over time. Photo credit: Connor Whitaker

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Herbicide application: Glyphosate was applied to these plots to assess the effect herbicide has on native plant community composition by exterminating exotic species. Photo credit: Connor Whitaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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View of Surf Pines study site: From a distance, the experimental design and all the treatments are shown. Photo credit: Emma MacDonald

Look for more information on these study sites and coastal prairie restoration efforts in a future edition of the Native Plant Society of Oregon's Bulletin!

Microclimates and Mustard

For much of June, Connor Whitaker, from the CR intern group, has been working closely on projects with Erin Gray and Matt Bahm. Erin and Connor spent a week monitoring an experiment that investigates the effects of microclimate on Kincaid’s lupine (Lupinus oreganus); following this, Matt and Connor spent two weeks near the John Day National Monument, […]

Monitoring Lupinus oreganus! And swimming through poison oak

  The Conservation Research team recently journeyed down to Canyonville, OR to monitor the threatened Lupinus oreganus, or Kincaid’s lupine. Kincaid’s lupine is the host plant to the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly, meaning the butterfly lays its eggs on this plant. Since populations of Kincaid’s lupine have been declining recently due to rapid urbanization and […]

Greetings from Table Rocks

It’s been a crazy month filled with field work, lots of laughs, and a bit of poison oak (more on that in a blog to come)! Traveling back to a few weeks ago, however, we started our field season at Table Rocks. Table Rocks is a geological formation outside of Medford, OR, resulting from millions […]

Getting LOCO in JOCO

In our latest conservation research news, we recently took a trip to Josephine County to monitor Lomatium cookii, common name, Cook’s desert parsley. We had a wonderful group of 6 volunteers who worked very hard to help us complete all of the monitoring of this sensitive species that is endemic to a few areas in […]

Welcome 2015 IAE/NPSO Interns!

Here in the CR department we are starting to wake up from our winter hibernations, shake the dust off, and get to work preparing for our 2015 field season. We are excited to have Emma MacDonald back again for another season with us as our biological technician and crew leader. We are also eager to […]

IAE Multi-day Volunteer Expedition-Illinois Valley, Oregon

Posted: 3/4/2015 Join us for a multi-day service and learning trip to southern Oregon’s serpentine country to monitor populations of the endangered Cook’s desert-parsley (Lomatium cookii) the week of 4/27-5/1/15 For more information click on the Volunteer Announcement!  

A goodbye to our crewmates, Tara and Emma

It’s official! The temperatures have plummeted and plants have senesced for the year, so the field season has come to a close. For the permanent staff here at IAE, one of the greatest (and hardest) parts of our job is getting to know, (and then say goodbye to) the phenomenal people that serve as our […]