A Family Affair: Four Manuwals Co-Author Paper

This past October, Professor Emeritus Dave Manuwal had a new paper published in Northwest Science, “Progressive Territory Establishment of Four Species of Neotropical Migrants in Linear Riparian Areas in Western Montana.”

Dave Manuwal

Manuwal’s daughter, Joy Burke, helping with bird surveys in 2008.

The scope of the research alone should grab your attention, as it spanned 40 years from 1968 to 2008, starting from his time as a graduate student at the University of Montana. Take a look at the author list, though, and you’ll see what really distinguished this particular publication for Manuwal: He was able to include his wife, daughter and son in the research, and all four are co-authors on the paper!

“When I decided to re-survey my old Montana study areas,” he says, “I realized this would be a unique opportunity for me to involve my whole family in the effort. It turned out to be one of my most rewarding professional experiences. My wife Naomi helped me with the study in 1968, 1980 and 2008. She has a forest ecology background, so she helped with the plant sampling. My daughter Joy has learned how to identify birds, and she came out in 2008 to help me conduct bird surveys. While doing a bird survey one morning, she happened to flush a mountain lion along a riparian area she was surveying. It was very close! My son John also came out to help mark my study sites for bird and vegetation surveys. It was in early April and it was very cold—about 13 degrees—with lots of snow in places. It was hard work, but enjoyable!”

Photos © Dave Manuwal.

Dave Manuwal

Manuwal’s wife Naomi, who worked on the study with him in 1968, 1980 and 2008, earned a master’s in forest ecology from SEFS in 1976.


Humans Adding ‘Fossil’ Carbon to Rivers

Though soil has often been considered a reliable long-term carbon sink, new research suggests that the effects of human land-use choices—from urbanization to agricultural intensification and deforestation—are reducing how much carbon is actually stored in the ground, says Professor David Butman, lead author on a paper just published in Nature Geoscience, “Increased mobilization of aged carbon to rivers by human disturbance.”

Professor David Butman

Professor David Butman

Professor Butman is a new faculty member with the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) who holds a joint appointment with Civil and Environmental Engineering. He began this research in 2011 as an offshoot of his doctoral work at Yale University involving 13 major river basins in the United States. Starting from a trend he discovered in that initial data, Butman and his co-authors expanded the scope with direct sampling of aquatic carbon at a number of field sites around the world, and also combed the literature for other relevant studies, tracking down researchers whenever possible to verify data. The resulting study range covers 84 degrees of latitude from the Arctic to tropical ecosystems, providing a comprehensive, global data set of radiocarbon ages of riverine dissolved organic carbon, coupled with spatial data on land cover, population and environmental variables.

From exploring this data, Butman and his co-authors were able to determine how carbon isotopes of organic matter in rivers can show the impact of land cover disturbances—specifically, the release of ‘old’ carbon into the modern carbon cycle, analogous to the burning of fossil fuels. Most dissolved organic carbon in rivers originates from young organic carbon from soils and vegetation, but the results of this study suggest that 3.2 to 8.9 percent of that dissolved organic carbon is actually aged carbon that human disturbances have churned back into the system.

What that means, says Butman, is that the release of carbon through land use and land cover change has been undercounted in previous estimates of anthropogenic carbon emissions. The full impact of this increase on the global carbon cycle is not entirely clear yet, but it definitely means we’re reducing how much carbon is being stored in the land purely through how we manipulate and change the physical surface of the planet.

Check out the full results and conclusions in the paper, and contact Professor Butman if you have any questions about this research or his other projects!

Photo © David Butman.

Miller Seed Vault Donates Seeds to Time Capsule

For the 125th anniversary of Washington’s statehood, the UW Botanic Gardens has donated the seeds of five rare plant species—all native to Washington—from the Miller Seed Vault to be buried in the Washington Centennial Time Capsule.

The time capsule is located in the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. It’s a large green safe with 16 individual capsules, one of which will be filled every 25 years until the state’s 500th birthday in 2389. The 2014 capsule will be loaded this January and then resealed during a ceremony on February 22, 2015, George Washington’s birthday.

Time Capsule

Thompson’s clover, a unique clover found in the central part of Washington, is easy to spot in May among the perennial bunchgrasses and sagebrush.

Back in November, the Keepers of the Capsule, a volunteer group that helps steward the capsule project, had reached out to the UW Botanic Gardens to inquire about a possible donation of native seeds. Professor Sarah Reichard and Wendy Gibble, who manages the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation program, decided that an appropriate contribution would include bundles of seeds that represent plants from different habitats across the state. They were careful to select seeds that are rare and endemic to Washington, but that are not in short supply in the Miller Seed Vault (just in case the seeds don’t last 375 years in an airtight aluminum foil package!).

The five selections include Thompson’s clover (Trifolium thompsonii) from the shrub-steppe of central Washington; Barrett’s beardtongue (Penstemon barrettiae) from the basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge (pictured below); Washington Polemonium (Polemonium pectinatum) from the channel scablands of eastern Washington; Victoria’s paintbrush (Castilleja victoriae) from a tiny island in the San Juans; and Whited’s milk-vetch (Astragalus sinuatus) from a 10-square-mile region south of Wenatchee, Wash.

Each bundle includes 20 seeds and comes with specific instructions about propagation, as well as general information about the plant’s characteristics and where the seeds were collected. Will these seeds be alive and well in 2389? Hard to say, says Gibble, but it’s a shame we won’t be there to see for ourselves!

Photos © UW Botanic Gardens.

Time Capsule

Field Work Day at Pack Forest

Two weeks ago, right after the first snow of the season, SEFS graduate students Matthew Aghai and Emilio Vilanova joined Dave Cass and Pat Larkin down at Pack Forest for a field work day at the Canyon Loop site within the “Through-fall Exclusion” project.

Pack Forest

Dave Cass climbs a tower near the Canyon Loop site to work on a frozen component.

The main goal of this research is to simulate the conditions of drought and its effects on managed forests with different stand conditions, and several members of Professor Greg Ettl’s lab—mostly led by Kiwoong Lee—have been installing panels and collecting detailed measurements of many bio-climatic variables, including soil moisture, tree growth, precipitation and temperature, among other factors.

While working at the site on December 1, Vilanova took advantage of the first snow and open skies to snap a few shots of the action, including the awesome view of Mount Rainier below, taken a few yards from the Canyon Loop site!

Photos © Emilio Vilanova.

Pack Forest

SEFS to Sponsor Orienteering Event on Campus

Think you know our campus? You can find out on Saturday, December 20, during an orienteering event right here on the UW campus!

Orienteering EventSponsored by SEFS and run by the Cascade Orienteering Club, this one-day event will help you discover more about your campus, the enjoyment of well-made maps, and your ability to make and trust your own decisions in unfamiliar situations.

Orienteering is the sport of navigating with a map and sometimes a compass. The goal is to find your way through a series of checkpoints marked on a map and flagged on the ground. No limed path to follow, no arrow signs, no GPS unit telling you what to do—just your own ability to track where you are and decide for yourself what route from checkpoint to checkpoint works best for you.

For this event, youth and adults from beginner to expert are welcome to participate recreationally or competitively. You can register online for $13 by December 18, and then check-in is from 10 a.m. to noon at Gates Hall.

Learn more about orienteering and how to get involved!

TAPPI Holiday Paper Sale!

Every fall, using the pilot paper machine in Bloedel 014, students in the Bioresource Science and Engineering program roll up their sheaves—sorry, sleeves—to produce a few rolls of handcrafted paper. Organized by the student chapter of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), the annual papermaking fundraiser helps cover student conference fees and support other events.

TAPPI Holiday Paper SaleThe paper itself is 100 percent non-wood—specifically, this year’s is 70 percent Arundo donax and 30 percent wheat straw—and has holiday flourishes in it, such as ferns added to the slurry to provide festive accents when the paper is printed.

You have three options this year:

  • $10 for (3) sheets of 8×11 Holiday Paper, (5) Holiday Cards, and (10) Gift Tags
  • $5 for (5) Holiday Cards
  • $2 for (5) Gift Tags

Members of TAPPI will be selling the paper at the SEFS Holiday Party (Wednesday, December 3, 4-6 p.m., Anderson 207) and the Dead Elk Holiday Party (Friday, December 5, 5:30 p.m., Anderson 207), so make sure to take a look at these terrific gifts!