University of California, Riverside

Center for Conservation Biology



Projects


Center for Conservation Biology Projects

The Center for Conservation Biology works in the development and management of multi-investigator and multi-disciplinary research projects. We are pleased to present these projects that attempt to explore and understand varying aspects of the physical world.

>> Science and the MSHCPs (Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plans)

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  • One of the primary emphases of the Center is to address science-based questions regarding multiple species habitat conservation plans, especially those of western Riverside County and the Coachella Valley. We look at questions of spatial and temporal scale and identifying important ecological relationships. Crucial to successful community level approaches are scale‐sensitive nested sampling designs, and simultaneous sampling of important taxonomic assemblages (usually vertebrates, arthropods and plants) to detect interspecific relationships. Identification of important ecological relationships will require data collected over several years and will likely move beyond the conceptual stage next year.

    Current projects

    Implementation of the science and monitoring tasks for the Coachella Valley MSHCP
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: Coachella Valley Association of Governments (2013-2014)

    Assessing climate related changes to water sources in the Santa Rosa – San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: US Bureau of Land Management (2013-2014)

    Reducing uncertainty regarding the effects of change on biodiversity in the California Desert
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: US Fish and Wildlife Service (2013-2014)

    Managing species in transition zones in the face of climate change in Joshua Tree National Park (NPS)
    Project PI: Cameron W.
    Funding Agency: National Park Service

    Desert Tortoise Habitat Modeling 29 Palms Marine Base
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: Department of Defense (2013-2014)

    Rare plant distribution Modeling in the California Desert
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: ECorp and US Bureau of Land Management (2013-2014)

    Past projects

    Coachella Valley Wildlife Corridor Analysis
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: Coachella Valley Conservation Commission, Friends of the Desert Mountains (2011-2012)

    Assessment of oak die-off in southern California.
    Project PIs: Akif Eskalen & Tom Scott
    Funding Agency: USDA Forest Service – CA CESU (2009-2011)

    Integrating bioenergetics, spatial scales, and population dynamics for environmental flow assessments
    Project PIs: Kurt Anderson & Roger Nisbet (UC Santa Barbara)
    Funding Agency: UCSB/UC Instream Flow Assessment Program (2009-2010)

    Career opportunities and exploration in the natural and agricultural sciences
    Project PIs: Cameron W. Barrows & Kurt Leuschner (College of the Desert)
    Funding Agency: College of the Desert/USDA CSREES Hispanic Serving Institution

    Alien invasion: Effects of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on sagebrush steppe vegetation dynamics at Upper Columbia Basin Network Parks.
    Project PIs: Edith B. Allen, James Sickman, G. Darrel Jenerette
    Funding Agency: USDI National Park Service - CESU (2010-2013)

    Riverside County Vegetation Sampling Research Project – Lake Matthews.
    Project PI: Edith B. Allen
    Funding Agency: County of Riverside (2010)

    Development of Fire Management Tools to Maximize Training Days and Minimize Habitat Conversion at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
    Project PIs: Helen Regan, Janet Franklin (ASU)
    Funding Agency: Dept of Defense SPAWAR (2010-2012)

    Evaluating Wildlife Corridor Linkages: Do Underpasses Connect the Peninsular and Transverse Mountain Ranges at Stubbe, Cottonwood, and Whitewater Canyons?
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen & Michelle Murphy (Graduate student researcher)
    Funding Agency: Friends of the Desert Mountains

    Evaluating Wildlife Corridor Linkages: Do Underpasses Connect the San Bernardino and Little San Bernardino Mountain Ranges?
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen & Michelle Murphy (Graduate student researcher)
    Funding Agency: Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

    Coachella Valley MSHCP Monitoring Framework Priorities.
    Project PI: Michael F. Allen
    Funding Agency: Coachella Valley Association of Governments (2007-2008).

    The utility of habitat corridors for providing connectivity for Palm Springs Pocket Mouse populations in the Coachella Valley.
    Project PI: Michael F. Allen
    Funding Agency: Coachella Valley Association of Governments (2007-2008)

    Removal of exotic weed species in Riverside County.
    Project PIs: Cameron W. Barrows & Edith B. Allen
    Funding Agency: UC Integrative Pest Management (2006-2009)

    Incorporating Larval Host Plant Plantago erecta Niche Models into Quino Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha quino) Niche Models to Improve Performance
    Project PIs: Richard A. Redak & Kristine L. Preston
    Funding Agency: UCR CNAS Shipley-Skinner & Riverside County Reserves (2006-2008)

    Coachella Valley MSHCP Monitoring Program Administrator (Years 1-3)
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen, Cameron W. Barrows, Edith B. Allen, Richard A. Redak, John T. Rotenberry, William Walton, G. Darrel Jenerette
    Funding Agency: ICF Jones & Stokes/CVCC (2008-2011)

    Inventory and Monitoring Western Burrowing Owls throughout the Coachella Valley Multispecies Habitat Conservation Plan/NCCP Area.
    Project PI: John T. Rotenberry
    Funding Agency: Coachella Valley Association of Governments (2009)

>> Environmental and Land Use Change in Arid Regions

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  • These research initiatives encompass a broad dimension of anthropogenic impacts to natural lands such as changing hydrological conditions, invasion by exotic species, alterations to both air and waterborne nutrient flux (e.g., nitrogen deposition), toxic chemical runoff, altered predation rates, fragmentation of natural habitats and species populations, altered wildfire regimes, and soil erosion. These activities cover local geographic areas, from western Riverside County, Coachella Valley, and Joshua Tree National Park to the Cabos of Baja Peninsula to the Chihuahua Desert.

    Current projects

    Carbon Balance in California Deserts: Impacts of widespread solar power generation
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen, G. Darrel Jenerette, Louis Santiago

    Thresholds of vegetation change following N deposition in southern California ecosystems.
    Project PIs: Edith B. Allen, Richard Minnich, Bai-Lian Li
    Funding Agency: NSF Division of Environmental Biology (2005-2011)
    [Reports and Publications]

    Climate change impacts on plant functional groups in a biodiversity hotspot.
    Project PIs: Helen Regan & Janet Franklin (ASU)
    Funding Agency: NAU-National Institute for Climate Change Research (2010-2011)

    Modeling Current and Future Distributions of Targeted Species in the Greater San Jacinto-Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument Ecosystem
    Project PIs: Cameron W. Barrows, Michael F. Allen & John T. Rotenberry
    Funding Agency: Coachella Valley Conservation Commission (2010-2011)

    Niche modeling and implications of climate change on desert tortoises within Lake Mead National Recreation Area
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: USDI National Park Service – DS CESU (2010-2012)

    Niche modeling and implications of climate change on the distribution of plant communities and invasive plants within Joshua Tree National Park
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: USDI National Park Service – DS CESU (2010-2011)

    The relative importance of climate, food limitation, and nest predation in influencing avian populations on the Baja California Peninsula
    Project PI: John T. Rotenberry, Kristine L. Preston, & Ricardo Rodríguez-Estrella (CIBNOR-La Paz)
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS-CONACYT Collaborative Grant (2008-2010)

    Past projects

    Understanding the algal bloom on the vernal pool of the Santa Rosa Plateau.
    Project PI: Michael F. Allen
    Funding Agency: The Nature Conservancy (2009-2010)

    Across-Border Research on the Ecology and Conservation Biology of Desert Sand Dunes.
    Project PI: Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS-COINACYT Collaborative Grant (2007-2009)

    Removal of exotic weed species in Riverside County.
    Project PIs: Cameron W. Barrows & Edith B. Allen
    Funding Agency: UC Integrative Pest Management (2006-2009)

    Modeling the Landscape Niches of Reptiles among the National Parks and Monuments in the Chihuahuan Desert Network
    Project PIs: John T. Rotenberry, Kristine L. Preston, Kenneth J. Halama, Cameron W. Barrows
    Funding Agency: USDI National Park Service – DS CESU (2007-2008)

>> Habitats Environmental Sensing

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  • Since 2004, we continue with the established studying of soil-atmosphere C and N exchanges at varying spatial and temporal scales, most activities taking place at the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve. The prototype of the automated minirhizotron (AMR) is built, and are deployed coupled with soil sensor arrays at the James Reserve, Sevilleta LTER (U. of New Mexico), and La Selva OTS (Costa Rica). Also at the James Reserve, our work continues with the UCLA Center for Embedded Network Sensing, Networked Infomechanical Systems, and Terrestrial Ecology Observing Systems in providing core infrastructure for the deployment and remote operation of experimental networked instruments and environmental sensor arrays. Spring 2007 marked the initiation of the James Reserve diagnostic testbed as part of the NEON cyberinfrastructure. This entailed the field‐testing and deployment of environmental sensors, a NEON wireless platform, communications, and power systems.

    Current projects

    Automated mini-rhizotron and arrayed rhizosphere-soil sensors.
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen, Edith B. Allen, James Borneman, Michael P. Hamilton (UC Blue Oak Reserve), & Tom C. Harmon (UC Merced)
    Funding Agency: NSF Emerging Frontier (2004-2010)
    [Reports and Publications]

    Center for Embedded Networked Sensing
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen, John Rotenberry, & G. Darrel Jenerette
    Funding Agency: UC Los Angeles/NSF Science & Technology Center (2008-2012)

    Soil metabolic variability across a 3000 meter topographic gradient: Understanding the long term consequences of short duration dynamics.
    Project PIs: G. Darrel Jenerette & Michael F. Allen
    Funding Agency: UC Kearney Foundation of Soil Science (2009-2012)

    Past projects

    Center for Embedded Networked Sensing
    Project PIs: Michael P. Hamilton, Michael F. Allen, & John Rotenberry
    Funding Agency: UC Los Angeles/NSF Science & Technology Center (2005-2008)

    NEON Diagnostic Testbed and ECI and CI Technology Evaluation
    Project PI: Michael P. Hamilton
    Funding Agency: NEON/AIBS

>> Interdisciplinary Conservation-Sustainability Studies in the Tropics

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  • Since 2004, we continued with the critical general topic of carbon dynamics in tropical ecosystems and their interactions, ranging from agroforestry to conservation reserves. Ken Baerenklau, along with Eddie Ellis from Universidad Veracruzana, initiated the development of an agricultural land use model that allows conservation biologists to predict spatial distributions of natural habitat driven by market conditions for agricultural products in Veracruz. The impact that Hurricane Wilma had upon El Eden Reserve was the focus of our 2006 research in the tropics. We studied the impact of the hurricane on known seral stages and restoration experiments focusing on carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous accumulation and dynamics, tree species damage, mycorrhizal fungi, and epiphyte composition and distribution, plant architectural changes, and responding insect and bird communities. Today, we are expanding our research to explore the historic anthropogenic impacts on these tropical ecosystems, and initiating environmental reconstruction studies.

    Current projects

    Wetland Dynamics of the Yalahau Region, Quintana Roo, Mexico: A Pulse-based Ecosystem.
    Project PI: Scott L. Fedick, Yann Henaut (ECOSUR-Q Roo) & Gerald Islebe (ECOSUR-Q Roo)
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS-CONACYT Collaborative Grant (2008-2012)

    An ethnoarchaeological and experimental approach to understanding the role of root and tuber crops in ancient lowland Maya subsistence.
    Project PI: Scott L. Fedick & Lucia Gudiel (Graduate student)
    Funding Agency: NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant (2010-2012)

    The Yalahau regional wetland survey: Ancient Maya land use in northern Quintana Roo, Mexico.
    Project PI: Scott L. Fedick & Daniel Leonard (Graduate student)
    Funding Agency: NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant (2010-2012)

    Ancient Maya Landscape Management in a Dynamic Wetland Environment: El Eden, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
    Project PI: Scott L. Fedick & Jennifer Chmilar (Graduate student)
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS Dissertation Grant (2009-2011)

    Past projects

    Impact of Hurricane Wilma, a Large, "Infrequent" Enrichment Disturbance, on Tropical Seasonal Forest: Establishing the Legacy Effect on the Post-disturbance Mosaic.
    Project PI: Allen, M.F.
    Funding Agency: NSF Small Grant Exploratory Research (2006-2008)

    Ecophysiology Epiphyte establishment in the Yucatan Peninsula.
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen & Laurel K. Salzman (Graduate student researcher)
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS Dissertation Grant (2007-2009)

    Importance of water for seedling establishment and tree growth in a seasonally dry tropical forest in Quintana Roo.
    Project PIs: Michael F. Allen & Niles Hasselquist (Graduate student researcher)
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS Dissertation Grant (2007-2009)

    Soil carbon dynamics in a tropical seasonal forest: From natural succession to ecological restoration.
    Project PI: Michael F. Allen & Rodrigo Vargas (Graduate student researcher)
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS Dissertation Grant (2005-2007)

    An Economic Analysis of Land Cover Change in the Coffee Growing Regions of Veracruz.
    Project PI: Ken Baerenklau & Eddie Ellis (CITRO-U Veracruzana)
    Funding Agency: UC MEXUS-CONACYT Collaborative Grant (2006-2009)

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Center for Conservation Biology
1435 Boyce Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5494
E-mail: debbie.brown@ucr.edu

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