Death Valley Superbloom 2016
This spring, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Death Valley National Park to witness a rare "Superbloom" of wildflowers. Only under perfect conditions does the desert fill with a sea of yellow, purple, pink, red, and white flowers. A good wildflower year requires abundant rainfall throughout the winter and spring, sufficient warmth from the sun, and a lack of drying winds. The last Superbloom in Death Valley was in 2005, but conditions in 2015-2016 were ideal, and vast expanses of ephemeral flowers were on magnificent display throughout the Park. I always love visiting the desert. But this year was special. Here's a few photos from the trip.
Drought impacts on giant sequoia trees: recent insights and prospects for the future
The severe 2012-2015 drought in California has had a massive impact on the state's forests and other ecosystems. Extreme water deficits resulting from low rainfall, reduced mountain snowpack, and increased temperatures have caused millions of pines, firs, cedars, and oak trees to die, with still unknown but likely substantial ecological consequences. I have been working with colleagues from UC Berkeley, the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Carnegie Institution for Science to understand how the drought has impacted the iconic giant sequoia trees. Here's a brief update on what we have found so far, and what the future might hold for these iconic trees and forests.