April 18, 2013

Homework #8

While I was in New Mexico I went on a short hike in the Santa Fe National Forest. It was a pine forest, and I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to explore desert habitats more. So I posted a few pictures from here and then on my way back to Albuquerque, I stopped at a trail at the Sandia Crest foothills to look for rattlesnakes. I didn't see any, which was very sad, but I did see some cool plants there, which I included in this post as well.

If you have any idea what the "plant" I have labeled as growing on a pine tree - what is that?!

Posted on April 18, 2013 18:25 by cellardoor cellardoor | 17 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 21, 2013


  1. Regular flowers - death camas
  2. Irregular flowers- irises
  3. Monocot- Miners lettuce
  4. Dicot- Bluewitch nightshade
  5. Pea Family- fabaceae, probably scotch or french broom
  6. Gymnosperm- Coast Redwood
  7. Terrestrial non-seed plant- Ferns (looks like maybe bracken fern, but I am not sure)
  8. Pinnate leaves- Hemlock
  9. Opposite leaves- Probably red elderberry? I didn't see any flowers on it, and it was very cluttered with other vegetation, so it was hard to even get and idea of what was that plant vs. tangled in it.

10.Asteraceae- Coyote brush ( as a side note, cool fact: this plant provides overwintering habitat for a parasitic wasp that helps to control pest outbreaks in Vineyards- I worked on a project where we identified that.)

Posted on March 21, 2013 23:10 by cellardoor cellardoor | 10 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 14, 2013

Mt. Tamalpais/ Muir Woods/ Stinson Beach

This is a collection my favorite observations from this 10 mile hike along the dipsea trail. The coolest species I saw were the Oakland Mariposa Lilly, the hawk, the marbled godwit, and the stellar's jay. I also included all the fungi that I saw here, just because I think it was the most that I have seen on any one hike yet. I wonder if I just noticed more or if they do better here because of the coastal fog.
I definitely get most excited about seeing vertebrates, but I have found those to be most difficult to document. On my hike I also saw several other bird species in the chapparral, a chipmunk, a hummingbird, and some people I ran into on the trail saw a coyote. Mammals and birds move too fast to get pictures of! Thus, my observations are dominated by plants and fungi. my goal is to document more vertebrates though, and hopefully more bats.

Posted on March 14, 2013 19:00 by cellardoor cellardoor | 8 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

February 28, 2013

Species Interactions

The interactions I observed were all on oaks, consisting of (I think) all commensal or parasitic interactions with mistletoe, galls, and lichen.

I also included my observations of the ground squirrels and the turkey vultures, because when I approached the ground squirrel they all ran into their burrows, but one would pop its head out and then vocalize to the rest. The vultures were all perching together in a pine tree.
I wasn't sure if we were supposed to include intraspecific interactions.

Posted on February 28, 2013 21:53 by cellardoor cellardoor | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 18, 2013

Moist Evergreen excercise

Moist evergreen observations

Fungi - These (saprophytic?) fungi are do well in the moist shaded habitats of evergreen forests.

Witches hair Lichen- This fungi also needs moist conditions to avoid desiccation. I observed them growing on the live oaks on the northern slopes of the park.

California Kingsnake - I saw this snake along the trail, they probably do well in moist habitats, taking advantage of abandoned burrows of rodents etc.

California Maidenhair Fern - Ferns needs moist conditions to avoid dessiccation, so the understory of evergreen trees provides suitable habitat.

Polypodium - Like the maidenhair fern, I observed this fern growing in shade of the trees. I am not sure of the species though.

I also saw a pacific tree frog, but her was alongside a pond, so I wasn't sure if I should include him in the moist evergreen forest post. Better in the riparian forest, right?

Posted on February 18, 2013 00:44 by cellardoor cellardoor | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Chaparral excercise

Chaparral Species observed:

Indian paintbrushes- I saw these growing along the trail, their pale leaves may help them deflect intense sun rays.

Anna's Hummingbird- I saw them feeding among the manzanitas, they are able to take advantage of this winter nectar source in the chaparral.

Western Fence Lizard- as ectotherms, these lizards are able to maintain temperatures through behavioral thermoregulation, basking when cold, and staying in the shade during the hottest part of the day.

Honey bee- I saw these also foraging among the manzanitas, like the hummingbirds, they are able to take advantage of this winter nectar source.

Turkey Vulture- I saw these flying all around Mt. Diablo, they are probably able to visualize carcasses well in the low vegetation cover of the chaparral.

Posted on February 18, 2013 00:37 by cellardoor cellardoor | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 14, 2013

Tree of life excercise

I have photographed an insect, a plant, a fungus, a mammal, and a bird.
Iconic Taxa:
Moth- This demonstrates my lack of entomology skills, I know its a moth, but I have no idea what kind.

Plant- I think this is a bracken fern, but it could be a wood fern, I am not sure.

Fungus- I saw this mushroom under a dead log up in the east bay hills. I know its a basidiomycota because those are he only fungi that have "true mushrooms"

Mammal- I saw this fox squirrel in a tree- I wanted to see a California ground squirrel, but these introduced species are just so much more common.

Bird- I saw this towhee in a tree also.

I had limited time for hiking, but I hope to go out and get a lot more taxa this weekend. I will be going to Mt. Diablo, so hopefully I will have better luck there.

Posted on February 14, 2013 19:52 by cellardoor cellardoor | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Phenology excercise

Leafed vs. Bare:
Bare: I found a deciduous quercus species, (I think it is a vally oak, but it could be a blue oak). It still has not leafed out, however you can see the parasitic mistletoe growing in the canopy.
Leafed: I found a manzanita. This is an evergreen shrub, so it nis not the best example because it always has leaves. I was going to take a picture of buckeye which had just begun to bud, but I will do that next time).

Flowering vs. Bare
Flowering: I found aCalifornia Bay laurel, which was flowering these tiny little yellow flowers.
Bare: Along the San Francisco coast I saw this lupine bush, I know they have really pretty flowers late in the spring, but it is not flowering yet. I am not sure of the species.

Posted on February 14, 2013 19:44 by cellardoor cellardoor | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment