Jan-Mar 2014

As Bay Nature enters its 14th year, we’re taking a long view of history in the East Bay Regional Parks. Poet and author John Hart walks us through the Park District’s historic maps and the stories they tell about the era that produced them.

It’s said that time is the great healer, and writer Joan Hamilton keeps that ever in mind as she explores Mt. Diablo’s Perkins Canyon to give a first-hand look at the mountain as it slowly recovers from last September’s Morgan Fire.

Then we turn our gaze seaward to track orcas with Point Reyes National Seashore biologist Sarah Allen, who describes our growing understanding of the different types of killer whales that visit our California shores. We peer into the future for a glimpse at what climate change means for our native fish, and spy on an ongoing war of the ants at Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

Cover photo of a breaching orca, taken from a Monterey Bay Whale Watch cruise, by Tory Kallman.

 

Issue Content

The Versatile Bulb: The Many Uses of Soaproot

January 13, 2014 by Sue Rosenthal

Food seems an unusual use for a plant called soaproot. In fact, food is just one of many traditional California Indian uses for the plant, some apparently contradictory. Soap, food, glue, medicine, poison, and more — all from a hairy, fist-size underground bulb.

2 Comments

Battle of the Ants at Jasper Ridge

January 13, 2014 by Brendan Buhler

One of the keys to their success is that Argentine ants are much less aggressive toward other Argentine ants than they are toward other species. They share information, resources, and trails; they are so cooperative with each other they appear to function as a single colony, with many queens and many nests.

1 Comment

Letter from the Publisher: Watching Mount Diablo Heal Itself

January 13, 2014 by David Loeb

I have a mixed reaction when I hear that a place I know and love has been hit by wildfire. On the one hand, there’s a visceral recoil: Will this cherished place survive? But on the other hand, there’s a thrill that comes from anticipating dramatic changes to a familiar landscape.

No Comments

Map Sense: From Topos to Tablets at the East Bay Regional Parks

January 13, 2014 by John Hart

Every map tells a story — about the world, and about the person who made it.

1 Comment

Oasis on Mount Diablo: Perkins Canyon’s Trial By Fire

January 13, 2014 by Joan Hamilton

The Morgan Fire transformed more than 3,100 acres of meadow, chaparral, and woodland on Mount Diablo’s south and east sides, including Perkins Canyon. “It was a once-in-
a-generation event,” says Seth Adams — the biggest fire on the mountain since 1977.

3 Comments

Orcas of the California Coast: Deciphering the Culture of Killer Whales

January 13, 2014 by Sarah Allen

Our growing understanding of orca ecotypes — bolstered by recent advances in research technology and protocols — has been a major key to unlocking the mystery of the killer whales of the eastern North Pacific.

7 Comments

The Wild Life of a Coastodian: An Interview with Richard James

January 13, 2014 by Eric Simons

From the western edge of the continent, Richard James blogs about life and litter at Coastodian.org, takes photos, and dreams up art projects that challenge our view of the world.

No Comments

Fish Forecast: Swimming Upstream Against Climate Change

January 14, 2014 by Jacoba Charles

The survey research that Peter Moyle started decades ago now has a dual purpose: It offers evidence for the free fall of native fish populations, but it also may ultimately contribute to one of the best opportunities to soften this decline.

3 Comments

Naturalist’s Notebook: SF Bay Skimmers

January 15, 2014 by John Muir Laws

Black skimmers frequent the waters at the Radio Road ponds in Redwood Shores.

2 Comments