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Living Things


Descriptions, experiences, pictures and videos of Living Things in the Sierras.

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Big Climate-Driven Changes in Alaskan Forests Unfolding Now, How will Future Forests Look? sticky icon

 

ALASKAN FORESTS & TREES in a RADICALLY WARMING WORLD

Climate Change Brings Forest Change
Climate Change in Alaska Brings Forest Change, Biomass changes by species over time, Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment.
Biomass changes by species over time, Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment.

 

Big Changes Unfolding Now

Warmer, Drier Climate Could Transform Alaskan Forests,
NASA Earth Observatory, October 17, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

A Very Different Future
"In a future with higher temperatures and other climate changes, Alaska’s boreal forests could look significantly different than they do now."

Major Changes Anticipated
"In a warmer future, the ratio of conifers to deciduous trees is likely to change, with aspen and birch trees increasing compared to black and white spruce."

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Northern Forests in Deep Trouble sticky icon

 

 

PLANTS, FORESTS, & TREES

The Changing Snowy Forest Scene
Found clear signs of a decline in frost and snow days and other indicators of winter that could have lasting impacts on ecosystems, water supplies, the economy, tourism and human health, by MaxPixel.
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found clear signs of a decline in frost and snow days and other indicators of winter that could have lasting impacts on ecosystems, water supplies, the economy, tourism and human health, by MaxPixel.

 

Northern Forests in Deep Trouble

UNH Researchers Find Northern Forests Have Lost Crucial Cold, Snowy Conditions,
University of New Hampshire, October 4, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Winter Changes
"...have found clear signs of a decline in frost days, snow covered days and other indicators of winter that could have lasting impacts on ecosystems, water supplies, the economy, tourism and human health."

Snow to Rain
"Whether precipitation falls as snow or rain makes a big difference, whether you're talking about a forest stream, a snowshoe hare or even a skier."

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High Sierra Forests: Plant Diversity a Casualty of High-Severity Wildfires sticky icon

 

HIGH SIERRA FOREST SUCCESSION

Researcher in Sierra Nevada Forest
Investigating plant diversity within a transect line of a Sierra Nevada forest affected by drought and wildfire, Courtesy Clark Richter.
UC Davis' Clark Richter investigates plant diversity within a transect line of a Sierra Nevada forest affected by drought and wildfire, Courtesy Clark Richter.

 

High Sierra Forest Decline

Plant Diversity a Casualty of High-Severity Wildfires,
University of California - Davis, October 3, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"Sierra Nevada forests are losing plant diversity due to high-severity fires."

Forest Succession
"These fires are turning patches of forest into shrub fields -- indefinitely, in some cases."

Legacy of Suppression
"...scientists analyzed plant diversity across a spectrum of fire severity -- from low to moderate to high. They found the sweet spot for plant diversity exists where tree stands burned with low-to-moderate severity, as mixed conifer forests did in this region for millennia...

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TREE & PLANT NEWS: The Summer & Fall of 2019 sticky icon

 

All Tree News
Generally Covering the Plant World

 

 TREE & PLANT
NEWS

Summer & Fall
of
2019

 

Previously
Winter & Spring of 2019

2015 through 2018 Tree News

 

All
2019 SIERRA FIRES

High Sierra Tree Identification Resources

Tree Forum

 


The Brethren

FERGUSON FIRE

Updated

Previously
Winter & Spring of 2019

2015 through 2018 Tree News

Alex Wierbinski's picture

News of Fish, Water, Oceans, Ice, & People, Winter & Spring of 2019 sticky icon

News of Fish, Water, Oceans, Ice, & People,

Winter & Spring
2019

This is the High Sierra
Fish, Oceans, Ice, Sealife, & Water News



The Fish News has been stretching into Fish & River News, now into covering Water Issues generally. We cover water as it stands, pools, flows, freezes, and precipitates. A step further, we cover how water affects the things that most directly depend on it, the things that grow, swim, drink, ship, & store water.

 

NOAA West Coast Fisheries

All Sierra Snow

All Sierra Precip

 

 

 

 

Earlier

2018

2015-17 Fish, Ice, Oceans, WATER, & People NEWS & RESEARCH

 

 

Later

Summer & Fall of 2019

Alex Wierbinski's picture

TREE & PLANT NEWS: The Winter & Spring of 2019 sticky icon

 

All Tree News
Generally Covering the Plant World

 

 TREE & PLANT
NEWS

Winter & Spring
of
2019

 

Next
Summer & Fall of 2019 Tree & Plant News

 

Previously
2015 through 2018 Tree News

 

All
High Sierra Fire and Smoke Information

High Sierra Tree Identification Resources

Tree Forum

 


The Brethren

FERGUSON FIRE

Updated

 

Next
Summer & Fall of 2019 Tree & Plant News

 

Previously
2015 through 2018 Tree News

Alex Wierbinski's picture

News of Fish, Water, Oceans, Ice, & People, 2018 sticky icon

News of Fish, Water, Oceans, Ice, & People, 2018

This is the High Sierra
Fish, Oceans, Ice, Sealife, & Water News



The Fish News has been stretching into Fish & River News, now into covering Water Issues generally. We cover water as it stands, pools, flows, freezes, and precipitates. A step further, we cover how water affects the things that most directly depend on it, the things that grow, swim, drink, ship, & store water.

 

NOAA West Coast Fisheries

All Sierra Snow

All Sierra Precip

 

Next Fish, Oceans, Ice, & Water News
2019

Previous Water News
2015-17 Fish, Ice, Oceans, WATER, & People NEWS & RESEARCH

 

 

2018

 

Last 2018
Update

 

December 21

 

OCEANS, ICE, WATER, & MAN

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All BUGS, SPIDERS & Other Mountain INSECT NEWS sticky icon

The World of Insects and the Spiders that Eat Them

We've got worlds of wonder in the High Sierra looking in any direction. The ground and sky are full of vibrant insect communities. Some, like the mosquitoes, are winged devils. Others are winged delights. On the ground we find spiders trying to catch and eat them all.

This forum started out as the Spider Forum, but has been expanded to include the various insects we encounter that are not Bees, Butterflies, and Mosquitoes, which have their own dedicated pages.

Spiders
&
Other
High Sierra Insects

IDENTIFICATION

 

Greg Lasley
SPIDERS

 

Greg Lasley
INSECTS

 

Insect Societies

Spider Sites Index
arachnology.be


SpiderIdentification.org

American Arachnological Society

 

How Ticks Work

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Bee News sticky icon

Bee News 

BEE WORRIED

Insect Identification

Latest All Bug News

 

BEE NEWS

THE BUZZ

2019

Updated

 

July 27

GLOBAL BEE DISASTER EMERGING

Russian Bee Losses Make Bee Decline a Global Situation

Russia Alarmed by Large Fall in Bee Populations

 

 

July 26

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Bee-Flower Mismatches Rising with Temperatures

How Climate Change Disrupts Relationships

 

 

 

July 12

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Big Jap Bumbler & Its Timed Plant Pal Demonstrate That...

Alex Wierbinski's picture

BUTTERFLY NEWS sticky icon

Video embed: 
See video

Endless Butterflies Video

 

Identification
Art Shapiro High Sierra Butterfly Identification by Common Name

 

Trail Guide
High Sierra Butterfly Identification & Resources

 

Review
High Sierra Nevada All Living Things Forum

 

 

BUTTERFLY NEWS
 The whole web of life is being distorted by the  changing character of the seasons on and around the the vastness of the North Pacific Ocean.

 The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is a significant element in the complex relationship of the North Pacific Ocean weather patterns with the North American continent.

 The relationship between North Pacific weather patterns and the High Sierra is vitally important for the vast overlapping webs of social and natural life depending on bountiful and predictable weather patterns.
These predictable and bountiful resources no longer exist on their own, in Nature, nor in the context of the vast populations to overwhelm Nature that we have spawned.

We have overwhelmed Nature and its resources fundamentally and on its face..

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High Sierra Mammals Reference-Identification sticky icon

High Sierra Small Mammals Forum, Identification, and References 

 

 

References

Mammals, identification, Greg Lasley Photography.

Mammals of Yosemite National Park, (1952) by Harry C. Parker.

For more links about animal, plant, geology, and astronomy information for backpackers see the High Sierra Backpacking links page on the trail guide.

 

 

MAMMAL NEWS

 

 Last Update

 

2019

 

 August 1

HEALTH, FITNESS, & SKUNKS

Fungal Antidote for Skunk Spray Found

Fungal Compound Deodorizes Skunk Smell

 

 

 

March 27

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Cold Blooded Guides & News sticky icon

High Sierra
&
General
Frog & Reptile
News and Information

I've got to gather all the frog news here, which is spread out over the monthly news reports.

In the meantime, signed-in members can review previous Frog reports using the site search feature.

 

Goal
Identify and understand the frogs, lizards, and snakes we encounter.

 

Field Notes
The Frog, Reptile, & Snake Forum

 

The mountain yellow-legged frog Site
 MyFrog.info

 

Links from MyFrog & to
frog and reptile resources

 

 

Frog Identification

Guides
The Best of Breed

MyHerps.com:
A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of California

California Frogs Photo Idenification

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Sierra Nevada Hiking and backpacking with Dogs sticky icon

Hiking Dogs in the High Sierra

 

High Sierra Hiking Dog News,
below, & Links

 

Introduction

I consider dogs an integral part of High Sierra Trail Culture, and have met some fine canines along the long trails. 

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Arctic Birds Breeding Timing Changing

 

BIRDS & CLIMATE CHANGE

Black-Legged Kittiwake
Black-Legged Kittiwake in the Arctic, by Sébastien Descamps, University of Barcelona.
In Arctic regions, the time period with optimal conditions for the reproduction of seabirds is quite limited. Fine shot by Sébastien Descamps, University of Barcelona.

 

Breeding Timing Changing

Early Breeding Season for Some Arctic Seabirds Due to Global Warming,
University of Barcelona, October 7, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Dramatic Changes
"The Arctic is one of the most sensitive areas to the global warming effects. Ice melting and the continuous rise of temperatures -higher than the average worldwide- are dramatically altering the structure of the Arctic ecosystems."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Southwestern Tree Degradations Continue, Extremes of Weather Killing on Both Wet & Dry Sides

 

WATER & WEATHER: CHANGED-CHANGING IN THE SOUTHWEST

Semi-Arid Forest Dilemma
Semi-Arid Forest Dilemma, long-term declines in tree growth, even with no change in average precipitation, Deborah Lee Soltesz/CC 1.0 Universal.
In the semi-arid forests of the western U.S., increases in rainfall extremes – wetter wet years and drier dry years – can lead to long-term declines in tree growth, even with no change in average precipitation. (Deborah Lee Soltesz/CC 1.0 Universal)

 

Tree Degradations Continue, Extremes of Weather Killing on Both Wet & Dry Sides

Increasing Precipitation Extremes Driving Tree Growth Reductions Across Southwest,
University of Arizona, October 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Wet-Dry
"In many parts of the United States, tree growth responds more strongly and consistently to dry years than it does to wet years, so increases in growth during wet years does not completely offset reductions in growth during drought."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Rising Heat Isolated as Main Cause of Desert Bird Declines

 

BIRDS: DESERT HEATING BEATING BIRDS

Rising Heat Isolated as Main Cause of Desert Bird Declines

Collapse of Desert Bird Populations Likely Due to Heat Stress from Climate change,
University of California - Berkeley, September 30, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"The team that last year documented a collapse of bird communities in Mojave Desert over the last century -- 29 percent of the 135 bird species that were present 100 years ago are less common and less widespread today -- has now identified a likely cause: heat stress associated with climate change."

Earlier Research: See First Link Below

Virtual Birds vs. Real Declines
A Match
"...comparing levels of species declines to computer simulations of how "virtual birds" must deal with heat on an average hot day in Death Valley, which can be in the 30s Celsius -- 90s Fahrenheit -- with low humidity. These temperatures are, on average, 2 C (3.6 F) hotter than 100 years ago. The birds that the model predicted would require the most extra water today, compared to a 100 years ago, were the species that had declined the most in the Mojave Desert over the past century."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Abstract Bird Communication Skills

 

BIRDS: BIRD COMMUNICATION

Jackdaw
A passerine bird in the crow family, by Guill McIvor.
A passerine bird in the crow family. Wiki. By Guill McIvor.

 

Abstract Bird Communication Skills

Jackdaws Learn from Each Other about 'Dangerous' Humans,
University of Exeter, September 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Smart Birds
"Jackdaws can learn from each other to identify "dangerous" humans..."

Warning: Bad Humans
Jackdaws Identify & Remember You
"The jackdaws that were played a warning call on seeing a new human returned to their nest boxes more than twice as quickly (53%) on average when seeing that human again, whereas birds that heard contact calls took longer to return to their nest (63% on average)."

"Though jackdaws returned to their nests more quickly after seeing a human associated with a warning call, the calls did not appear to influence how long birds took to enter their nest box or how long they spent inside."

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Three Billion Fewer Birds in North America since 1970

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: MASSIVE BIRD DECLINE

Bye, Bye Birdie!

Nearly Three Billion Fewer Birds in North America since 1970,
American Association for the Advancement of Science, September 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Count & Amount
"North America has lost nearly three billion birds since 1970...details widespread population declines among hundreds of North American bird species, including those once considered abundant."

Ignored Disaster
"...a long-developing yet largely overlooked biodiversity crisis occurring in avifaunal habitats across North America."

Bird Crash
"Given the current pace of global environmental change, quantifying change in species abundances is essential to assess ecosystem impacts."

The Study
"...analyzed the net change over recent decades in numbers of birds for 529 species in the continental United States and Canada."

2.9 Billion Birds Gone
But we have Cheap Labor, & Cheap Consumer Crap!!
"Their results show a loss of nearly one in four birds since 1970 - a net loss of 2.9 billion birds."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Brazil Mosquitoes Defeat Genetic Manipulation

 

SKEETER NEWS

Aedes aegypti
Aedes aegypti is a mosquito that can cause yellow fever. (James Gathany - CDC - PHIL, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons)
Aedes aegypti is a mosquito that can cause yellow fever. UC Davis scientists developed a map of where flaviviruses — those spread by mosquitoes and ticks — are likely to emerge. (James Gathany - CDC - PHIL, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons)

 

Screwing with Nature Blows Up in Brazil's Face...

Failed GM mosquito control experiment may have strengthened wild bugs,
New Atlas, September 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

(Disputed Research)

Cause & Effect
"One of the most innovative ideas to control populations of the bugs has been to release genetically modified male mosquitoes that produce unviable offspring. But unfortunately a test of this in Brazil appears to have failed, with genes from the mutant mosquitoes now mixing with the native population."

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Voices of the Forests: Bird & Squirrel Information Networks

 

Updated
Squirrels Listen, as Well as Squawking...

 

Lives of Birds

Interconnected Information Networks

Amazonian 'lookout' birds help other species live in dangerous neighborhoods,
San Francisco State University, May 22, 2018.

Backpacker Tech, Too!

Voices of the Forest
The specifics of bird communication identified above are interesting, as far as gaining theoretical knowledge of the specifics of forest "inter-communications" between species, but this information also contains a bit of practical insight that's valuable for backpackers on the trail:

Listening to the clicking and chirping voices of the forest informs the observant backpacker about things they would otherwise be unaware of.

Bird Whispers
My favorite use of sound is to keep birds calm by clicking upon my approach, to let them know (before they freak out) that I'm not a "hostile" force, so we can enjoy each other's company. A bit more entertaining is the situation of a line of ticked-off squirrels in a line of trees along the trail.

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