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What is the meaning of spring? It may seem clear: a seasonal shift as the days lengthen and warm, blooms start to appear on trees, and birds and bees get busy. But the signs of spring may be different for different people, organisms, and ecosystems—and they may vary from year to year, influenced by climate change and other factors.
In this After Dark, part of our series Conversations about Landscape, we’ll be joined by scientists who observe nature through different lenses, from the community-driven science project iNaturalist to long-term scientific observations of landscapes and plankton in San Francisco Bay, and find out what their observations reveal about shifting seasons and the broader impacts of climate change on landscapes, ecosystems, and human communities.
This program features:
Dr. Lisa Micheli, President and CEO
Pepperwood Foundation in Sonoma’s Mayacamas Range
As a hydrologist, Dr. Micheli studies how climate change impacts water availability and ecosystem resilience—everything from fire and drought to the ways in which plants and animals respond to seasonal changes in rain, fog, and soil moisture. Pepperwood stewards a 3200-acre living laboratory that combines rigorous climate research studies with community-driven observation, education, and climate resilience programs.
Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Co-Director
Center for Biodiversity and Community at the California Academy of Sciences
Dr. Johnson is a marine biologist and an expert on nudibranchs, colorful slug-like denizens of tidepools and kelp forests, and is passionate about how community-contributed observations of nature can improve scientific understanding of change and resilience in natural and human-dominated ecosystems. Using the iNaturalist platform, she and her colleagues organize events—such as local bioblitzes, the City Nature Challenge, and Snapshot Cal Coast—that bring people together to make and share observations of plants and animals and to build community while bearing witness to our changing world.
Tara Schraga, M.S., Oceanographer
US Geological Survey
Tara manages the research program that has been measuring environmental conditions and plankton populations in San Francisco Bay since 1969. This extraordinary data set, gathered during monthly sampling cruises from the South Bay to the Sacramento River, reflects the impacts of natural variability and human activities on the estuarine ecosystem. Tara will discuss the ways that plankton, as the base of the food web, have responded to seasonal shifts, such as the “spring bloom,” and larger climate trends.
The panel will be moderated by Mary Miller, Director of Environmental Science Partnerships at the Exploratorium.
Click here for optional RSVP to get reminders and updates to this and future Conversations about Landscape programs.
Shifting Spring is funded in part through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.