Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Aquatic Invertebrates of the Devereux Slough 2018-19

Aquatic Invertebrates of the Devereux Slough 2018-19

(2022)

In 2018, the hardscape construction of NCOS (North Campus Open Space), a restored, closed estuary, wetland on the Northern border of COPR (Coal Oil Point Reserve), was completed; thus, approximately doubling its overall size and offering the rather unique opportunity of being able to compare the well-established COPR wetland with the newly constructed, adjoining, NCOS wetland. Basic water quality and aquatic invertebrate monitoring data collection of both sites were undertaken to help better understand the dynamics of how a newly constructed wetland develops into an established wetland and to establish a baseline for future monitoring. Aquatic invertebrate sampling protocols were evaluated indicating that sampling in algae gives more than an order-of-magnitude greater abundance and diversity than sampling in open water and that the Filtered Beaker method gives more precise species density information than the Sweep-Net method; when sampling at shallower depths where the Sweep-Net is not fully submerged. Additionally, there are significant issues with how benthic samples are traditionally collected and analyzed. Four taxa are the more significant contributors to the total taxa observed –Copepods, Ostracods, Cladocera, and Corixidae. Additionally, we found Oligochaete, Chironomids, Nematodes, and Ephydridae in significant abundance. The type and number of invertebrates collected are evaluated in terms of site, salinity, and location in the sampling column (planktonic or benthic).

Cover page of North Campus Open Space Restoration Project Monitoring Report: Year 4 (2021)

North Campus Open Space Restoration Project Monitoring Report: Year 4 (2021)

(2022)

The University of Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) North Campus Open Space (NCOS) 100 acre restoration project has restored more than 40 acres of estuarine and palustrine wetlands that historically comprised the upper portion of Devereux Slough that was filled in the mid-1960s to create the Ocean Meadows golf course. Led by the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) the project is also restoring more than 60 acres of upland habitats that include native grassland, coastal sage scrub, riparian, oak chaparral woodland, vernal pools and seasonal wetlands. In addition to wetland and upland habitat restoration, goals of the NCOS project include flood reduction, support for threatened and endangered species, public access and the provision of educational opportunities.

This report presents monitoring results from the past 4 years with more emphasis on the fourth year (2021) of monitoring. This report documents the efforts and results of monitoring that include monthly bird surveys, yearly vegetation surveys, water quality and hydrology sampling, well depth monitoring, rodent, reptile and amphibian monitoring, aquatic arthropod monitoring and much more. The project is meeting key success criteria with variation in bird composition, vernal pool hydrology, and native cover associated with the extreme drought conditions of 2021.

Cover page of Extending Anthophila research through image and trait digitization (Big-Bee) proposal.

Extending Anthophila research through image and trait digitization (Big-Bee) proposal.

(2021)

Overview: The Big-Bee project will advance research on bee ecology and taxonomy through the creation and standardization of open datasets for taxonomic and computational analysis. It will overcome challenges in bee identification and discovery by linking ecological and anatomical traits. Today, the vast majority of digital insect records include only taxon names, dates, and locations. This paucity of data greatly limits opportunities for research. To achieve fundamental changes in how insect specimens are digitized, the project will supply innovative methods for deep digitization of target taxa, including high-resolution imaging methods. These image data will enable the scoring of life-history traits and will facilitate identification from digitized specimens. Big-Bee will further revolutionize processes of insect specimen digitization by enabling global bee data to be integrated and linked. The project will produce important partnerships between researchers, industry, and government agencies. Specifically, Big-Bee will:

1) Digitize over 0.5 million new specimens via an image-to-data workflow that will capture both labels and specimens of 5,509 agriculturally and phylogenetically important global bee species.

2) Create over 1.3M specimen images from which the project will capture detailed functional trait information at the specimen level. It will create a widely accessible and citable image datasets. The data will include 109K high-resolution, focal-stacked exemplar and diagnostic images, and 10,300 image suites each consisting of 64 images capturing 360 degrees views of specimens, including over 659,000 high-resolution images of bees.  This will enable the scientific-grade 3D reconstruction of specimens from images and will supply rich data for computational discovery and computer vision applications.

 3) Create and steward a new Symbiota portal, Bee Library, that will index all digitized bee occurrence data. Through it, the project will furnish new tools for annotating and sharing ecological and anatomical information. The Bee Library will facilitate identification by producing curated, and openly reviewed datasets about critical bee functional traits, biotic interactions (parasites, floral associates), geographic distributions, and identification features. Project data curators will steward the Bee Library, evaluating and correcting georeference data for all digitized bee species, and providing reports back to collections.

Intellectual Merit: Animal pollination accounts for 35% of global food production. Insects pollinate 80% of wild plants. Most of these insect pollinators are bees. Although limited in scope, extant data show bee abundance is declining due to anthropogenic disturbances. A growing body of research demonstrates that pollinator responses to anthropogenic disturbances, such as land use and climate change, are mediated by functional or life-history traits that impact the fitness of individual species within the community. These effects impact plant-pollinator interactions in both natural and agricultural systems. While the US currently possesses a wealth of digitized historic bee specimen data, most records do not include associated data reflecting functional traits. This greatly limits the mechanistic insights they can provide about factors driving long-term community response to anthropogenic disturbances. In order to accurately track how and why pollinators are declining, better tools are urgently needed to support bee identification, functional trait annotation, and the exchange of historical species and trait information among researchers, industry, and policymakers.

Broader Impacts: Big-Bee will collaborate on the creation of the US National Native Bee Monitoring Plan as part of the Bee Monitoring Research Coordination Network currently funded through the USDA. It will create an infrastructure to support hundreds of bee researchers in specimen digitization. The project published datasets contribute to the Open Traits Network, Global Biotic Interactions, and other downstream applications. It will develop computer science and collections-based undergraduate curricula, increasing capacity in entomology for bee identification and research. Participating institutions will develop undergraduate course materials that involve examination of bee specimens and the use of data derived from specimens, and will contribute lesson plans to BLUE (Biodiversity Literacy for Undergraduate Education). Extensive workforce training in biodiversity informatics, museum preparation, bee identification, and the creation of citizen science monitoring programs will be offered to collections within and outside the Big-Bee network. Big-Bee museums will contribute to a new syndicated college radio science program, The Buzz, that will be produced by undergraduate students in science communication.

Cover page of UCSBlooms: Tracking the phenology of UCSB campus plants and using citizen science on a university campus

UCSBlooms: Tracking the phenology of UCSB campus plants and using citizen science on a university campus

(2020)

Phenology is becoming more important to study with human impacts on the environment including urbanization and climate change. The UCSBlooms project is a year-long blooms tracking project that began March 11, 2019 and concluded on March 17, 2020. This project uses the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) citizen scientists and the citizen science program iNaturalist to track the phenology of six species of plants found on the UCSB campus. Citizen scientists are much more likely to participate in organized events rather than an open-ended project. Citizen scientists are also more likely to observe species in flower than species that are not in bloom. Non-native species have less variation in phenostages at a single date than native species. The environmental cues used to determine movement through a species’ phenology differs between families. There are many factors that affect the phenology of campus plants including urban heat islands, phylogeny, and native status. This report is the undergraduate senior thesis of the author in fulfillment for the UCSB Biological Sciences Senior Honors Program.

  • 2 supplemental files
Cover page of North Campus Open Space Restoration Project Annual Monitoring Report: Year 2 (2019)

North Campus Open Space Restoration Project Annual Monitoring Report: Year 2 (2019)

(2020)

Born out of a vision shared by the local community, students, faculty, researchers and state and federal agencies, the North Campus Open Space (NCOS) restoration project is recreating more than 40 acres of estuarine and palustrine wetlands that historically comprised the upper portion of Devereux Slough that was filled in the mid-1960s to create the Ocean Meadows golf course. Led by the UC Santa Barbara Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) in collaboration with other UCSB departments, faculty, student and local community groups, contractors and government agencies, the project is also restoring more than 60 acres of upland habitats that include native grassland, coastal sage scrub, riparian, oak chaparral woodland, vernal pools and patches of annual wildflowers in clay and sandy soils. In addition to wetland and upland habitat restoration, the goals of the NCOS project include flood reduction, support for threatened and endangered species, public access and the provision of educational opportunities. Ancillary benefits of the project include carbon sequestration, preservation of local genotypes, and protection of adjacent ecological values and infrastructure through a design that integrates sea level rise considerations.

Currently in its third year of implementation, the main planting phase of the project is approximately 90% complete, and the focus is now turning towards maintenance, continued monitoring, new research projects, and supplemental planting to add diversity, including special status species such as the Ventura marsh milk-vetch (Astragalus pycnostachys var. lanosissimus). This report describes the methods and results of monitoring for the first two years of the project, from vegetation and wildlife to wetland geomorphology, hydrology and water quality, carbon sequestration studies, community use and a detailed record of restoration efforts by type of worker, task and site location. This work documents the progress of the project and supports longer-term research and monitoring programs. Results from the second year of monitoring show substantial progress towards the project’s restoration goals, with many being met or exceeded.

Cover page of Aquatic Invertebrates of the Devereux Slough - 2018

Aquatic Invertebrates of the Devereux Slough - 2018

(2020)

In 2018, the hardscape construction of NCOS (North Campus Open Space), a restored wetland on the Northern border of COPR (Coal Oil Point Reserve), was completed, thus approximately doubling the overall size of the wetland and offering the rather unique opportunity of being able to compare the two side-by-side.  Basic water quality and aquatic invertebrate monitoring of both sites were undertaken to better understand the dynamics of how a newly constructed wetland developed into an established wetland.

The surprising result of this first year of monitoring is that COPR and NCOS were more or less equivalent in species richness and abundance, with the Shannon-Wiener Index giving a slight nod to NCOS for more diversity and Evenness in the data.

Four taxa are the most significant contributors to the total taxa observed – Copepods, Ostracods, Cladocera, and Corixidae.  Additionally, we found Chironomids, Ceratopogonidae, Ephydridae, and Nematodes in significant abundance.

Sampling protocols were evaluated indicating that sampling in algae gives more than an order-of-magnitude greater abundance and diversity than in sampling in open water and that the Filtered Beaker method gives more precise species density information than the Sweep-Net method; when sampling at shallower depths where the Sweep-Net is not fully submerged.

Additionally, the effect on other aquatic invertebrates of the use of VectoBac for mosquito abatement was looked at – indicating a minimum, if any, affect.

Cover page of BugFlipper: A freeware plug-in for human assisted image processing in the GIMP

BugFlipper: A freeware plug-in for human assisted image processing in the GIMP

(2019)

Bugflipper is an open source plugin for the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) that performs a series of standard image correction tasks that are common when digitizing natural history collection specimens. These tasks include rotating images, color and contrast correction, reduction in overall file size, cropping, and renaming the image with a barcode number as the filename.

BugFlipper automates many of the processes based on preset values, but the program also includes a human assisted step that allows custom processing of non-standard images, quality control, and image renaming during the process. A comprehensive instruction manual for BugFlipper is included here, with troubleshooting tips and advice for modifying the plugin code to simplify a variety of human-assisted image-processing problems.

Cover page of North Campus Open Space Restoration Project First Year Monitoring Report (2018)

North Campus Open Space Restoration Project First Year Monitoring Report (2018)

(2019)

This report describes the monitoring program, methods and protocols for the North Campus Open Space Restoration Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The report also includes a summary of the data collected for the first year of monitoring (September 2017 to October 2018) as an example of the types of data that are collected and the progress of the restoration project and monitoring program during the first year.