Archive for September, 2008

Summer Plants

September 23, 2008

Tidestromia

Tidestromia

This summer the site received abundant precipitation and the summer plants reponded accordingly. In the September census, plots were dominated by grasses, particularly annual Aristida and Bouteloua. Common forbs included Crotalaria, Dalea and Tidestromia but they were an order of magnitude less abundant than the annual grasses.

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Grassy, but not too grassy

September 8, 2008

Reports coming from the field crew for the August census indicate a lot of grass again this summer, but perhaps not as much as last year. The grass cover makes the rodent crew a little nervous about not being able to see where they put their feet (love those rattlesnakes), but it does make for some beautiful pictures of the site.

Plot3_wavinggrass_29 Aug 08_aernest Photo: A. Ernest

Above is a picture of plot 3 (a kangaroo rat exclosure plot), showing grasses rippling in the breeze.

Below is a picture taken from outside Plot 1 (control plot) looking in. The dirt in the foreground is one of the paths around the site. The fact that you can still see dirt is why the crew thinks there is less plant cover this year than last year.

Plot1_northfence_29 Aug 08_aernest Photo: A. Ernest

Ant Update

September 5, 2008

The July ant census had a surprise this year – Pogonomyrmex rugosus! This large seed harvestor was common on the plots in the 1970’s. Its population declined strongly in the 1980’s and it was last recorded at the site in 1991. This year we found a large colony on plot 22.