Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
January 12, 2017
On the importance of stratigraphic control for vertebrate fossil sites in Channel Islands National Park, California, USA: Examples from new Mammuthus finds on San Miguel Island
By Jeff Pigati (GECSC), Dan Muhs (GECSC), and Jack McGeehin. Published in Quaternary International.
Mammoth and other quaternary vertebrate fossils are relatively common on the northern Channel Islands, but the lack of geologic context of the finds presented in the published literature has hampered the interpretation of associated 14C ages and reconstruction of past environmental conditions. Fossils (all likely mammoth) were recently uncovered at two sites on the northwest flank of San Miguel Island, and this study presents documentation of their stratigraphic context, descriptions of the host sediments in detail, and their ages. In addition, this report proposes a series of protocols for documenting and reporting geologic and stratigraphic information at fossil sites on the California Channel Islands in general, and in Channel Islands National Park in particular, so that pertinent information is collected prior to excavation of vertebrate materials, thus maximizing their scientific value.
January 6, 2017
Effects of wind energy generation and white-nose syndrome on the viability of the Indiana bat
By Richard Erickson, Wayne Thogmartin, Jay Diffendorfer (GECSC), Robin Russell, and Jennifer Szymanski. Published in PeerJ.
This study employed a spatially explicit full-annual-cycle model to investigate how wind turbine mortality and the infectious fungal disease, white-nose syndrome, may singly and then together affect population dynamics of the endangered Indiana bat. Taken individually, the simulations showed turbine mortality affect local dynamics while white-nose syndrome had a depressive effect on the species across its range. When the model was run with both stressors simultaneously they had a larger impact than would be expected from either alone. The findings illustrate the importance of not only prioritizing the protection of large winter colonies as is currently done, but also of protecting metapopulation dynamics and migratory connectivity. (Icon photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
December 30, 2016
GECSC Geologists Jeff Pigati and Kathleen Springer's research on desert wetlands was featured in the Fall 2016 issue of The Oasis, a biannual newsletter of the National Park Service's Mojave Desert Network Inventory and Monitoring Program. The article "Paleohydrology and Changing Climate in Desert Wetlands: Can the past help us predict the future?" explains their research methods as well as what they are trying to learn. Also reported are Jeff and Kathleen's planned data collection activities in the Mojave region for early 2017.
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