2020 Invasive Lunch
Monday June 8th
“Not all those who wander are lost – they are looking for a boot brush!”
Enjoying a local park trail or nature reserve? Be careful: it could mark the beginning of a non-native species introduction. The moment you brush past a plant or set down your pack in a meadow, you’ve invited seeds to cling on to your belongings. Then, while on your next adventure, you accidentally disperse the seeds, spreading invasive species into a new natural space. Those invasive species can outcompete native species for food and habitat and sometimes even cause their extinction.
People help transport these invasive species in a number of different ways: Seeds can be found on your boots, socks, and clothing: they may be lying dormant in the mud between your boot treads or caught in between your shoes and socks, or they may have simply attached themselves to your clothes like velcro.
Wednesday June 10th
DNA is Everywhere! Using eDNA to Learn How Invasive Species Alter Whole Ecosystems
The CALeDNA citizen and community science program inventories the species in a local environment by sequencing the environmental DNA of soil and sediment volunteers collect. Students mining the data discovered co-occurrence networks between plants and their algal, fungal, invertebrate, and bacterial partners provide hypotheses for how invasive plants alter habitats not by themselves, but by the presence of their whole 'posse'.
Addressing Racism in STEM
Spend time today learning about how systemic racism affects science and academia in this country, how that hurts our capacity to understand ANYTHING, and how to make these communities welcoming to Black and Brown Minds. You can learn more, find out what you can do, and pledge action at https://www.shutdownstem.com/
A FEW resources to start:
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Conservation from Cal-IPC
- UCANR Statement on Confronting Racism
- Twitter - BlackAFinSTEM, and @hood_naturalist (Corina Newsome)
- African Americans in Evolutionary Science: Where We Have Been, and What’s Next
- Learn about how words we use (invasive, exotic, alien) can either reinforce or help break down systemic racism, and be thoughtful in their use.
Tuesday June 9th
Amamos a Los Perros! Using Detection Dogs to Keep Islands Free of Invasive Mammals
with Mariam Latofski and Luciana Luna, Grupo de Ecologia y Conservacion de Islas, Ensenada, MX
Thursday, June 11th
Making the LA River More “Exotic”
California’s urban streams have been channelized, dammed, and used as flood channels and to convey run-off for decades. In recent years, however, there’s new excitement about the potential to restore the Los Angeles River for recreation and accessing nature, to increase resilience, and as habitat for native species. Learn how having year round pooled water, loss of native riparian vegetation, increasing temperature, and releases of exotic species make conditions worse for native species and better for fish from warmer, wetter regions like the southeast US and other semi and tropical regions.
Friday June 12th
The Weird and Wild World of Phytophthora – ubiquitous yet unfamiliar plant pathogens
Phytophthora diseases are one of the most important problems faced by landscape managers, but the pathogens themselves are often un-noticed and un-recognized. Phytophthora are neither fungi nor bacteria, but “water molds." They are responsible for some devastating plant diseases, from the potato blight and Great Famine of Ireland, to “damping off” of crop seedlings from cucumbers to cocoa, to Sudden Oak Death. Once seen primarily as a threat to nursery plants and crops, the appearance of Sudden Oak Death demonstrated the versatility of these pathogens and their importance in native ecosystems. More recently, phytophthoras have contaminated ecological restoration sites, making clear the need understand these invasive pathogens for anyone interested in conservation.