Monday, March 25, 2013

Advisor knows best

Not even a week from my last visit and I was back in the Scodies. I was in the Scodies on Monday and ventured back on Saturday.

Another Gilla, with Mentzelia, Bromus, Erodium and Muilla(?)
I'm noticing an interesting pattern in the flower timing in the Southern Sierra.
Last Monday we were in Kern Canyon, near Hospital Flat Campground and we noticed hardly anything flowering. That same day we went to my study site and a couple of species (about four) were flowering. THEN on Saturday we visited my study site and a couple more species were blooming. The same day we ventured back to Kern Canyon near the same campground and the flowers in the canyon were going (semi) crazy.

Therefore, I hypothesize the Scodies will be in better flowering condition in two weeks.
a) Due to warmer weather in the coming weeks
b) Flowering time is late due to little rainfall
These drainages are prime habitat for annuals
c) Flowering time is moving from north to south, from west to east

However, that is not to say that there are not interesting flowers right now in the Kiavah Wilderness. I found a cute little Lepidium and Allophyllum. Dr. Mark Porter (the Polemoniaceae expert) thought that the Allophyllum collection is very interesting due to phenotypic plasticity. The Allophyllum was not more than an inch tall.  I don't have a picture of the Allophyllum because my camera was not cooperating with me due to a dying battery. Next time before going out to the field I'll make sure the camera battery is charged.

There are many seedlings all over the Kiavah Wilderness. Some need more time and others are starting to fruit. From this trip I found that the annuals are flowing in the 4000ft-5200ft elevation range. Anything below 4000ft and the plants are crispy and stressed. Above 5500ft and new sprouts are taking root.

At 5500 ft under a Pinyon forest canopy. What could theses be!?
I can't wait to find out.
My Advisor, Dr. Travis Columbus, was right about me worrying over my site. I was stressing out over nothing. Eventually the plants will do their thing in the next couple of weeks. The plants are late bloomers this year. Boy was he right. The annuals are starting their engines...slowly.
I'm still waiting for the Joshua Trees to open their flowers (any day now) and the Junipers are fruiting in full force. In a place where little rain has fallen, the driest air I have every experienced and brightst blue skies, it really is a an amazing place to study and be a part of.

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