Rachel Blakey is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Idaho working on what constitutes climate refugia for bats in Californian oak woodlands. At 24 sites across the state including Sedgwick Reserve, Rachel has used acoustic bat detectors and insect light traps survey bats and their prey in ponds, streams and dry woodland areas. She is hoping to understand whether wet habitats like Sedgwick pond, by providing drinking water and abundant insects, will act as refugia for bats in a warming drying climate. Rachel will talk about her research and also introduce you to the world of bat acoustics and the natural history of the diverse (12 species) bat fauna of Sedgwick Reserve.
Madeline Nolan is a second year graduate student at UCSB studying plant community ecology. She is interested in perennial grassland restoration in Southern California and incorporating climate change predictions into restoration planning. She is currently is in the process of setting up two long term restoration studies at Sedgwick Reserve. The first is exploring how seed source diversity influences the successful establishment and growth of Stipa pulchra populations after restoration during an extreme drought. The second experiment is to show how functional diversity and seed bank removal techniques influence the invasion of perennial grassland communities by exotic annual grasses. During her lecture Maddie will be talking about restoration of a native grassland and how it will be altering with climate change.
Many oaks in California are classic masting species; they produce intermittent bumper crops that are synchronized over hundreds of kilometers. In addition to satiating many seed predators in years of bumper crops, masting also affects seed dispersal by their main mutualistic partners, seed-hoarding jays. Mario Pesendorfer, a postdoctoral associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, will summarize his research findings from studying the relationship between masting and seed dispersal in California oaks. From the flowering synchrony of oaks in the spring, a phenomenon driven by weather, to birds fighting over acorns in the fall, Dr. Pesendorfer will take the audience through the fascinating world of oak reproduction with a particular focus on findings from Sedgwick Reserve.