News and Dates for Friends of Sedgwick Reserve                                                                                                                                               No. 13                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Summer, 2015
For Your Calendar  


Friday, June 19 9am-noon 

Botany Basics: the Mighty Oak 
Dr. Bob Cummings
Santa Barbara Community College

Saturday, July 11  4pm - 9pm 

2nd Saturday Hikes  

Ecology Lecture Series
will resume in 
November 2015!

Whether you are interested in becoming a docent or just want to know more about local ecology, history, flora and fauna, we hope you join us in the classroom or on the trail in a few short months!!

There is no charge for Sedgwick events.
Reservations are recommended for hikes
as space is limited.

Reservation Links:  
1. Click on link above and scroll to bottom of page, or:

2. copy and paste this address  into your web browser:

2. if it asks for a user name
and password use these:

login: root
password: 201406ucsbSNR

laughing jennie

New research 
submitted spring 2015

Female Mate Choice Plasticity under Changing Density in Field Cricket
Chelsea Stehle
University of Nebraska
June 2015 - December 2016

Measuring Infiltration Rates of Historic Landslides to Determine Thresholds for Instability
Paul Alessio
UC Santa Barbara  
Jan - October, 2015

SmartFarm: Private and Local Cloud-based Sensor Systems for Simplifying and Automating Agriculture Analytics
Chandra Krintz & Rich Wolski
UC Santa Barbara
Jan 2015 - Oct 2017

Effects of hormone levels on the venom composition of Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)
Emily Taylor, Tony Frazier & Natalie Claunch
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
January - October 2015


The potential for native and exotic plants to adaptively evolve their phenologies in response to climate change: a test with Stipa pulchra and other widespread species sampled from a latitudinal gradient in California
Elsa Cleland  & Joseph Waterton
UC San Diego
Apr 2015 - Jun 2018

UC Climate Initiative Fellowship--Carbon Turnover Rates Along a Gradient
Elsa Cleland  & Laurel Brigham
UC San Diego
Apr 2015  -  May 2015

Climate Change Modeling
Erin Riordan  & Kelly Easterday
UC Berkeley
Oct 2014  - Apr 2016

 Variation of fire-adapted traits in space and time: what can Ceanothus tell us about shrubland resilience in the face of shifting fire regimes?
Alexandra Weill
UC Davis
Apr 2015 - Sep 2015
by the numbers

So far this academic year...
173 researchers have spent 3791 days working on 46 scientific investigations

The outreach program held 21 public events: 7 public hikes, 6 private party hikes, and 8 Walking Ecology lectures.  


389 college students and 671 grade school students spent 1204 days learning at the reserve.

45 docents & volunteers 
contributed 1215 days of service 
Contact Us



Sedgwick News
and upcoming events.....
Walking Ecology Lecture
Botany Basics 
the Mighty Oak 

Friday, June 19th 
9am-10am lecture
10-11am walk


Join Santa Barbara City College instructor Bob Cummings for a primer on the anatomy and physiology of an oak tree. 


If you have ever wondered how the Santa Ynez Valley's majestic valley oak (Quercus lobata) are able to grow so large and live so long, Dr. Cummings will marvel us with information about these fascinating botanical giants. 


A short walk (1 mile round trip) into a grove of valley, blue and live oaks west of Tipton House will follow the lecture.   

Barn Dance!


Reservations are required and space is limited 
register here

A suggested donation of $10 per person or $15 per family is appreciated but not required. Donate online or at the door. 

Research in the News
Researchers and students from the Physiological Ecology of Reptiles Lab (PERL) at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, continue their studies on the Reserve's abundant population of Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) .

This season, graduate student Natalie Claunch is concentrating her focus on 30 tagged male rattlesnakes, all living within a mile of the Sedgwick Field Station.

She is investigating the snakes' stress hormones, venom composition, behavior, movement, and color. Since the Reserve's rattlesnakes don't appear to be displaying stress behavior because of the abundance of ground squirrels in their diet, Natalie has injected stress hormones in them to simulate drought stress. 

Tracking devices were implanted in each study snake to make it easier to find them in the field using radio telemetry. Unlike the snake photographed below, Natalie's study snakes have had their tail rattles colored with bands of brightly colored paint for field identification.


A few facts about rattlesnakes:
  • Venom differences (the toxins in it) are more based on the types of prey they are eating than on gender or species.
  •  Venom can be neurotoxic, hemotoxic, or both.
  • Male rattlesnakes battle each other for a female by standing up and pushing each other's head down until one gives up or is too tired to keep competing.
  • Females can store sperm for 2+ years.
  • A single clutch of babies can be sired by different males.
  • The oldest rattlesnake on record is 31 years old.
  • Since they live longer than both their prey and predators, rattlesnakes have neurostem cells that increase parts of their brain as needed.
Monitoring the Deer Herd
Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are one of the few large mammals in California that migrate, even if their seasonal shift is relatively close to home (from higher to lower elevations). Locally, mule deer migrate seasonally from the Santa Ynez Mountains in the south, and the San Rafael Mountains in the interior, and northeast into the Santa Ynez Valley where they live in small herds of generally segregated sexes. Typical home ranges of small doe and fawn groups average .4 to 1.1 square mile. Bucks are usually solitary, although may associate in small groups in spring and summer.

Mule deer may live more than 10 years in the wild, especially in areas protected from hunting such as the Sedgwick Reserve.

An interesting note about deer: they require about 3 quarts (.75  gallon) of water per day for every 100 pounds of body weight, which is why we often see them at Sedgwick's watering troughs! 

For the past two years, Sedgwick staff has been assisting California Department of Fish & Wildlife biologists to perform systematic deer counts on the Reserve using the route shown in pink on the map below.

These surveys have shown that deer numbers may fluctuate depending on time of day and season, but the local deer herd appears to be sizable and stable. The DF&W would like to see more fawns (a sure indication of population growth) but we've found that we're far more likely to see fawns in our trail cameras than from the Jeep. In an uncommon count conducted Monday June 8th, we saw far more bucks than does (survey results not included in the summary table).
Deer feed on grasses and forbs in the spring and summer, however they are primarily browsers. High quality forage items like young tender shoots, young shrubs, leaves of plants that are high in nutrients, succulent grasses, and forbs are selected. During dry months and in times of drought, deer will move into irrigated areas in search of edible forage. But when necessary, deer will also eat items such as bark, buds, and acorns.

Male deer ("bucks") have a set of branching antlers, with each side branching into two main beams, and each beam forking into two tines. The number of forks, or points, is dependent on the buck's age, nutrition, and genetics. Antlers are shed each year in January or early February, after the breeding season. New antlers, covered by a soft velvety skin begin growing in late spring. During mid-summer, after normal growth of the antlers is complete, the velvety skin gradually dries and is shed from the antlers. In early fall, as the breeding season approaches, bucks will go into rut. During the rutting or mating period bucks spar for females, and become more aggressive as they compete with other bucks for mates. Mule deer are serially polygamous, one buck mates with many does. Gestation period is about 200 days. Does can give birth to one, two, or three fawns, though triplets are rare. Fawns are born in late spring to mid-summer and are spotted at birth but loose their spots within a few months. Fawns are weaned in the fall after about 60-75 days and continue to stay with their mothers during the first year. Fawns will become sexually mature at a year and a half. (source: California Fish & Wildlife).

65,000 rifle hunting tags are allocated to deer hunters wishing to pursue a buck in the South Unit of Zone A that includes our local mountains. Rifle season opens for a month starting August 15th. The wise members of the local deer herd will be residing on the Sedgwick Reserve during those dates and wardens and the UCSB Campus Police will be patrolling the Reserve to ward off poachers. |
3566 Brinkerhoff Road
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
(805) 686-1941