Ecology of Renewable Energy Development session for ESA 2015

I’ve put together an organized oral session for the next meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore, August 2015. One of the co-organizers, Rebecca Hernandez from UC Berkeley, has just developed this poster to use in promoting our session. I’m thrilled at the excellent line up and looking forward to adding more talks that we have solicited to the general abstract call. It will be wonderful to have all of these speakers in one place!



Teaching field ecology and evolution


This winter and spring I am teaching a fantastic and unique class at UC Davis with TA Kate Zamenick. In Experimental Ecology and Evolution in the Field we have two consecutive quarters to work with some of the most motivated and creative ecology undergrads at UC Davis. We will determine a research question, implement a field experiment and write a paper for peer review.  The class is keeping a blog as a group laboratory and field notebook and using #eve180 on twitter to share information. In the next two weeks we will determine our question and develop our design. Can’t wait to see where the next few weeks will take us!

Energy Vulture covered our work on rare plants and solar!

Check out this blog by Energy Vulture on some of our work with experimental solar panels.

Lots of very interesting coverage and food for thought on renewable energy ecology on Energy Vulture too, like this one:

Thanks for the great work folks!

Measuring Impacts of Solar Development on Mojave Desert Plants

Energy Vulture

by Emil Morhardt

The massive development of wind and solar generating facilities in California’s Mojave Desert puts California way out in front of the rest of the US in generation of renewable electricity, but at the same time the development drastically alters the desert ecosystem. Installation of photovoltaic arrays seems to require grading the land flat, removing all existing vegetation, and since there will be nothing to eat, all of the animals as well. To those who haven’t travelled this wild desert during a verdant spring—something that happens only every few years—it might seem barren. But I’ve camped out in the middle of it many times in the spring when it is lush, covered with desert flowers, and alive with birds and other animals; to me it is the epitome of virgin wilderness. (My wife and I even wrote a book about it and took a lot of plant pictures…see reference…

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Fueling conservation and restoration – a figure of connectivity



How do we use the multiple tools of conservation and restoration — in both basic and applied science arenas, and related non-science disciplines — to foster healthy natural ecosystems?  I developed this diagram to express the connections that I see between many levels.

Careful planning of human objectives is a foundation for the maintenance of healthy natural ecosystems, processes, and resources through the actions of restoration and conservation science. These actions require both natural history and theoretical research, and active feedback and decision-making processes, such as adaptive management.  Education, information science, interdisciplinary collaboration, and program development feed into the central processes, fueling efficient and effective restoration and conservation. There are no uni-directional arrows; the network grows stronger with improved connectivity between all levels of organization.