ESRM Capstone Presentations: Spring 2013!

This Thursday, June 6, from 2 to 4 p.m., stop by the Forest Club Room to check out the fruits of a wide range of undergraduate research projects!

It looks like we’ll have at least 17 senior Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) majors presenting posters, and they’ll be on hand to talk about their research—covering everything from endophytic yeasts to barred owls and storm water. Which is to say, there will be something for everyone!

Check out the poster below for specific presentations and student presenters:

ESRM Capstone Posters

UW-REN Spring Capstone Presentations

Spring CapstonesComing up this Thursday, June 6, from 6 to 8 p.m., the University of Washington Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN) invites you to join in their 14th Annual Capstone Symposium and Celebration!

Multidisciplinary teams from three UW campuses have been working for eight months to restore damaged ecosystems for community-based clients in the Puget Sound area. At the event, capstone participants will lead a poster and multimedia presentation of the restoration projects they designed, organized and installed, and you’ll be able to examine the innovative, science-based approaches our students developed and used. Their projects are part of an award-winning capstone program that has involved more than 450 students, 38 community partners and 84 restoration projects during the past 14 years.

Opening remarks will begin promptly at 6 p.m. at the Douglas Research Conservatory Greenhouse at the Center for Urban Horticulture (3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105); see map below.

No RSVP required, and refreshments will be provided. So come learn about all of the amazing restoration work your friends and colleagues have carried out this year!

If you have any questions, please contact Lindsey Hamilton, symposium coordinator.

SEFS Students March into the Methow Valley

Two weekends ago, a group of eight SEFS students headed out to the Methow Valley, north of Lake Chelan in eastern Washington, for two days of focused field study with Professor Emeritus Tom Hinckley.

Methow Valley

Students coring a Ponderosa Pine.

Helping to lead the course (ESRM 491B) were two SEFS alumni: Susan Prichard, a fire and landscape ecologist stationed in Winthrop, and Connie Mehmel, a forest entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Forest Insect and Disease Service Center in Wenatchee. Prichard and Mehmel worked with the students to understand eastside forest dynamics and the roles that climate, introduced and native insects and diseases, fire and fire suppression have on forests—from the stand to the landscape level. Students contrasted an unmanaged stand with a stand undergoing a recent forest restoration prescription, and how these two different stands would have different vulnerabilities to fire, insects and pathogens.

The next day, students met with Brian Fisher of the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation to learn about riparian systems and human impacts (positive and negative) on these systems.

It was the first time Hinckley had organized this particular field trip, which he offered as an offshoot of his long-running “Spring Comes to the Cascades” course. The crew drove out late Friday afternoon and returned Sunday evening, and the goal was to focus more intensively and comprehensively on one study area.

“Usually, when I do field trips and we’re out walking, we don’t ever stay in one place for more than 20 minutes,” says Hinckley. “But we stayed in this one location for close to four hours. We cored trees, looked at the soil, measured and identified all the trees and seedlings, and identified all the coverage of the understory plants. Students really gained some firsthand knowledge in how to do a study.”

The class represented a wide range of backgrounds and majors, as well as undergrads and graduate students. Depending on their feedback, Hinckley says there’s potential to expand the course in the future, or to venture to new regions of the state—such as the North Cascades Base Camp.

Photo © Tom Hinckley.

Thesis Defense: Kristen Richardson!

As part of the Wildlife Seminar this Monday, June 3, Kristen Richardson will be defending her Master’s Thesis, “Using non-invasive techniques to examine patterns of black bear (Ursus americanus) abundance in the  North Cascades Ecosystem.”

Her talk begins at 3:30 p.m. in Kane 130 and is open to the public, so come support the culmination of her research at SEFS!

And what will Richardson be talking about?

Kristen Richardson

Kristen Richardson removing survey sites on her last trip to the field.

From 2008 to 2011 a large, multi-agency project deployed barbed-wire hair-snag corrals to collect DNA samples from black bears (Ursus americanus) in the North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) of Washington State. Using the genetic and detection data, Richardson examined the influence of human activities and habitat characteristics on bear abundance across heterogeneous landscapes of the NCE.

No other research to date in Washington State has examined the influence of habitat and anthropogenic variables on black bears across such a large geographic expanse, and the results of her study should help guide management of black bear populations in the NCE. This research is especially important given the challenge of maintaining viable populations of a long-lived species with relatively low fecundity.

Richardson’s committee chair is Professor Aaron Wirsing, and the other members are Bill Gaines and Josh Lawler.

Photo © Kristen Richardson.