Happenings at Hopland REC
Beginning in 2010, a group of researchers began assessing an individual's risk of acquiring an infectious disease ("disease risk") and whether or not that risk can be determined by a handful of ecological traits of the host individual. They are also looking to see if other host species that are potential sources of infection play a role ("community context"). The experiments utilize aphids and grasses and a certain grass-specific virus as the model. The HREC greenhouse has been retrofitted to be aphid-proof" to allow the propagation of "virus-free" grasses.
In 1977 the US State Agricultural Experiment Stations (SAES) began a nationwide project to monitor atmospheric deposition and study its effects on the environment. This project is titled the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP). The NADP precipitation chemistry network, which began in 1978, has the goal of providing data on the amounts, trends, and geographic distributions of acids, nutrients, and base cations in rainfall. NADP site CA45, located at HREC, has collected some of the cleanest rain water in the nation due to the fact that most moisture in our storms is derived from moisture over the Pacific Ocean (not many industrial plants out there!).
TUVU is the scientific acronym for Turkey Vulture. Remember the tree from the last post? Well, that tree has been a successful Turkey Vulture nest in years' past, but look who is living in the tree now. Several photos captured this raccoon leaving (at dusk) and entering the tree (at dawn) which tells us that this critter is using the tree for daytime sleeping. TUVUs have actually looked into this tree cavity this year, so will they attempt to nest there?
We have four trail cameras set up on Turkey Vulture nest sites in an attempt to gather data on the activity of the adult birds. So far all four sites have been visited by adult vultures. Unknown to many folks is the importance to old decadent hollow oak trees to provide nest cavities for these birds. The photo shows one of the trees and the camera set on a post.
Here at the Center we "lamb" almost 100% of our ewe flock inside the main barn. Over 600 ewes are lambed each spring and HREC now has the largest Mendocino County sheep flock. Here you see the last of the 2011 lambing season results ... a "bummer" lamb (ie. a lamb without a mother for some reason... we get just a few each year) being fed and kept warm.