Search Projects

California black oak tree

Preserving biodiversity with traditional knowledge

Faculty: Lisa Patrick Bentley
Partners: Pepperwood Preserve

A new partnership is using traditional ecological knowledge to enhance the preservation of California biodiversity. We began the process by identifying and locating specimen Black Oaks at Pepperwood Preserve. 

    Student analyzing tree rings under a microscope

    Reconstructing fire history

    2018 to 2019
    Faculty: Michelle Goman
    Partners: Shiloh Ranch Regional Preserve, Center for Environmental Inquiry

    We use tree ring analysis of California Bay, Coast Live Oak, and Tanoak to reconstruct fire return intervals in North Bay ecosystems. Study sites include Shiloh Ranch, Osborn, Los Guillicos and Galbreath Preserves. 

    Alligator Lizard

    Effects of fire on wildlife

    2018 to 2019
    Faculty: Derek Girman
    Partners: Pepperwood Preserve

    95% of the Pepperwood Preserve burned during the 2017 North Bay fires. We examine the effects of the North Bay Fires on various species of herpetofauna. 

    Wild Boar

    Technology to control feral pigs

    Faculty: Farid Farahmand
    Partners: Center for Environmental Inquiry

    Checking invasive pig traps daily in remote backcountry areas can logistically impossible. The Smart Animal Trap is an innovative wild pig trapping system that closes the door only when a pig enters the trap, and then sends a notification to the land manager. 

    A red-shouldered hawk viewed through a spotting scope

    Petaluma wetland bird diversity

    Faculty: Wendy St. John
    Partners: Petaluma Wetlands Alliance

    We calculated and compared species diversity indices for birds observed by the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance in March surveys between 2010 and 2019. 

    Student holding juvenile skink

    Effects of microclimate on herpetofaunal diversity

    2017 to 2019
    Faculty: Wendy St. John, Martha Shott, Nathan Rank
    Partners: Center for Environmental Inquiry

    Multiple studies that assess suitability of habitat for reptiles and amphibians.

    Students taking soil samples

    Carbon sequestration in wetlands

    2018 to 2019
    Faculty: Michelle Goman
    Partners: Center for Environmental Inquiry

    The amount of organic carbon is a direct indicator of the soil’s ability to sequester carbon dioxide. We study how organic carbon varies with land use and habitat type.


    California red-legged frog

    California red-legged frog studies

    2016 to 2019
    Faculty: Derek Girman, Fran Keller
    Partners: Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation

    We are studying the habitat requirements, and effects of bullfrogs and rainfall on frog movement to help identify factors that could improve California red-legged frog conservation.

    California Tiger Salamander

    Tiger salamander movement and distribution

    2015 to 2019
    Faculty: Derek Girman, Jeff Baldwin
    Partners: Sonoma County Water Agency, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife

    The California tiger salamander, Ambystoma califoriense. is an endangered species that is endemic to California. To better understand the movement patterns and distribution of this species, we studied the movement of adult salamanders movement between aquatic and upland habitat on the Santa Rosa Plain, and investigated how environmental factors affect reproduction.

    Juvenile turtle and calipers

    Growth and recruitment in western pond turtles

    Faculty: Daniel Crocker

    The western pond turtle (Emys marmorata) is listed as a California Species of Special Concern. We are studying factors that influence growth rate, a key variable in maintaining viable populations.