After moving to Berkeley from Mendocino County, writer David Wallace found that he missed the springtime serenades of his local amphibians. So the dug a small pond in his backyard to see if he could get a few frogs to breed there. It turns out that despite the very real threats posed by pollution and sprawl, the Bay Area’s native frogs are remarkably resilient survivors.
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San Bruno Mountain rises along the southern border of San Francisco, remnant of an ecosystem that once covered much of this peninsula. The mountain provides a tenuous refuge for some of the rare plants and endangered butterflies that have lost much of their former habitat. And it beckons to people who want a taste of the San Francisco peninsula as it was before Europeans arrived.
Animal habits, or behavior, can indeed change due to the presence of nonnative plants. Two examples come to mind. Fennel is a plant native to the Mediterranean region of Europe which became an invasive weed in the Bay Area subsequent … Read more
It’s small, it’s restless, and it changes sex halfway through its life. Plus, the humble bay shrimp occupies a crucial niche in the complex food web of San Francisco Bay. It once played a significant role in the economy and culture of the local Chinese community. Today, both the shrimp and those who fish for it are still hanging on, but it hasn’t been easy.
Numerous animals make their homes in burrows in the hills of this Santa Clara County park, but none dig as deep as the miners who hauled mercury-laden ore out of the ground for 125 years.
Is it a mushroom? A moss? Bacterial scum? Trod on underfoot or passed by in blissful ignorance, lichens are perhaps the least understood element of the Bay Area landscape. But they are everywhere. And when we look closely at them, a colorful and diverse world opens up before our eyes.
Over 100 years ago, poet Joaquin Miller found a refuge in the Oakland hills. Today, thousands of residents from the cities below are doing likewise in the park that bears his name.
A lot has happened in the battle against Sudden Oak Death (SOD) since Bay Nature reported on it in January. To date, the disease has been identified in black oak, coast live oak, tanbark oak, and Shreve oak trees in … Read more
Most of the world’s 5,000 or so species of mammals are already nocturnal, so the effect of urbanization on their circadian activity is probably nil. Actually, even the nocturnal animals are mostly crepuscular in activity; that is, they have a … Read more
The return of endangered coho salmon to their ancestral spawning grounds in this west Marin watershed is an essential component of the connective tissue that holds a fragmented ecosystem together. Greeting the salmon tethers us to the landscape’s seasonal rhythms and reawakens a lineage that goes back to the first inhabitants of this place.