Field work is the best work that I know of. There's nothing more fun, exhilarating, and outright educational than spending time immersing one's self in an environment packed with experts and often thrilling activities. A few biologists and I head out into tributaries to dunk our heads under that thin molecular line to see what fish species are surviving in the quickly disappearing fresh water pools. Join un on a GoPro conservation mini-adventure.
"We think there are now more endangered white abalone in captivity than remain in the wild. While this sadly highlights the critical state of wild white abalone, it also demonstrates the huge success of the white abalone captive breeding program.
Intense overfishing of this tasty marine snail earned it a spot on the endangered species list in 2001. With wild white abalone now so far apart from one another that they are unable to reproduce successfully, experts determined that captive breeding and outplanting were the best ways to save the species. After early breeding efforts were hampered by disease, the program headquarters moved to UC Davis’s Bodega Marine Lab in 2011. Between antibiotic cleansing baths and exfoliating, coconut oil and beeswax treatments, our white abalone healthcare plan now reads like a relaxing spa retreat. With healthy animals and a great deal of collaboration among scientists, aquarists, and aquaculturists to help get the animals “in the mood” for spawning, captive production has skyrocketed, from just a few dozen produced during the 2012 spawning season to thousands in 2015.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now lists white abalone as one of its eight “Species in the Spotlight,” those species most at risk of going extinct in the near future. Happily, captive breeding efforts bring new hope to recovery efforts, and we are excited to start pilot outplanting work in the next few years. By replacing overhead pipes with towering kelp forests and swapping out submersible pumps for steady ocean swells, we hope our precious baby snails might save their species from the verge of extinction." - Dr. Kristin Aquilino
Thank you so much for joining me on my first blog post. I am very excited to share some adventures with you and I hope you like this new series of photo blogs.
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There are some tiny little birds along California's coastline that you wouldn't even know were there if you didn't take the time to sit in very specific areas for some considerable amounts of time. They are not particularly charismatic or beautiful. They are not loud or boastful... But they are survivors. Western snowy plovers are hardcore-living little birds and they are endangered. Out with Biologist Karine Tokatlian of San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, we searched for them in Eden's Landing Ecological Reserve to get an idea of how they are doing in the small and extremely specific environments they need to survive. You can read more about them in Wild Expectations' upcoming online magazine, due on November 22, 2015. Click here for previous online magazines about California's wildlife conservation.
In the Field.
See what it's like to work with wildlife and biologists.