Tags >> animals
Aug 16
2009

Invasive Snails

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , Science , research , ocean , Marin , food , fish , environment , coast , California , animals

Bruce Robinson

A complex interaction between native crabs and oysters and invasive Atlantic snails (seen at left)  is playing out beneath the waters of Tomales Bay.

 Dr. David Kimbro has studied the predatory effects of invasive Atlantic snails on native Olympia oysters in Tomales Bay. He explains how they arrived there more than a century ago.

 

 

There also native Pacific snails in Tomales Bay, but unlike their invasive (or as scientists say "introduced") Atlantic cousins (right), the local snails have learned how to safely coexist with the snail-eating red rock crabs (below). UC Davis biologist Ted Grosholtz explains.

 

The smaller, green European crab, another introduced species in Tomales Bay, can handle the less salty water in the shallow portions of the bay, but because they will eat a wider variety of foods, these crabs have not developed the same skills for preying on snails that the red rock crabs display.

 

Aug 02
2009

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , volunteer , students , Sonoma County , nonprofit orgs , education , Cotati , children , birds , animals

Bruce Robinson

When native wildlife in the North Bay runs afoul of humankind, it’s almost always the animal that comes out second best. That’s when Sonoma  County Wildlife Rescue steps in.

Even after more than 25 years of doing this, there are still surprises, says Executive Director Doris Duncan, including two species that each appeared  there for the first time earlier this year.

 

 Although she has been caring for all kinds of native animals throughout the organization's 18 year history, Duncan says each one is different.

Whenever possible, the treated creatures are released back into the wild, as close as possible to where they came from.

 

Jun 30
2009

Herons

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , open space , nonprofit orgs , Marin , environment , birds , animals

Bruce Robinson

 

There's no better time than now to observe young herons and egrets preparing to leave the nest, and few better places than Marin County's Bolinas Lagoon Preserve.

Although they are large birds, herons and egrets are remarkably graceful, says Andy LaFrenz, an Audubon Canyon Ranch board member, which is part of the reason he takes particular pleasure in watching them. The picture below is a Great Blue Heron in flight.

 

Click here to get directions to Bolinas Lagoon Preserve.  Nesting pairs such as these are easy to spot high in the trees, when looking down from their ridgetop viewing platform.

 

 

The 1000 acre Bolinas Lagoon Preserve is owned and administered by Adubon Canyon Ranch, which was founded in 1962 after local preservationists defeated a plan to build a major highway and other urban expansions into the Marin coastal area.

May 19
2009

In Darwin's Footsteps

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , tourism , speaker , Science , religion , ocean , history , education , birds , author , animals

Bruce Robinson

The world has changed in many ways in the 150 years since Charles Darwin published "The Origin of Species." But much remains the same on the Galapagos Islands that inspired his famous theory.  

 

 

 

 

SSS Professor Matt James  returned to the Galapagos Islands earlier this year to recreate the 1905-06 collecting expedition mounted by the San Francisco Academy of Sciences. One of their main goals, even then, was to preserve evidence of the endangered Galapagos tortoise, which, he explains, had been hunted to near extinction by 19th century sea-farers.

 

Charles Darwin's enduring reputation rests on his theory of natural selection, but prior to that, his greater interest was geology, which he exercised extensively during the early years of the voyage of the Beagle, which arrived at the Galapagos (below) late in its five-year global mapping and collecting expedition.

 

 

 

 

Darwin's finches may be the best-known exemplars of divergent natural selection in the Galapagos islands, but SSU professor Matt James reports that finding was nearly missed, due to Darwin's own sloppy sample-gathering.