05 de junio de 2012

Trees tour

On May 15, the class was brought around different parts of campus to find trees. We started with the Western Red Cedar (Thuya plicata) which has a very fibrous trunk which was used by native people to make clothing for thousands of years. The Burke Museum displays many of these clothes-they're quite fragile and can be affected by light. The Burke can have them made and repaired by local Native Americans in the region. It's amazing what people were able to make with the natural materials around them-it makes our world look very materialized and shallow. The craftsmanship needed to make these garments is a dying quality- traditional ecological knowledge should be preserved for as long as possible.
Next, we saw a giant sequoia-it was very wide and has intricate bark with interesting colors and textures. The tree can grow hundreds of feet-basically a world wonder. Next, we identified a Horse Chestnut with very large leaves. The leaves are poisonous to most animals. The trunk was also quite intricate and solid. The tree produces small balls that kids use to play with. Next, we found a madrone-a commonly seen tree in the region- it has it's own insulation to keep the tree cool always.
Finally, we saw a Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba). This tree has historically never changes since prehistoric eras. It has never evolved any other way, which is quite a rare feat. The leaves are quite beautiful and the bark has light striations running down it. I enjoyed learning about this tree and its uses.
I would say I have learned the most about trees in this class. It has made me see my world in a much different way than before. I'm quite attune to the species around me-I'm thankful for my new identification skills and knowledge of the natural world.

Publicado el 05 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Snoqualmie Pass

I went up to Snoqualmie Pass on a trip with my friends. A few of us decided to go snowshoeing on April 27. The weather is overcast and 40s degree f with many feet of snow on the ground. The most common trees were Spruce, Douglas Fir, Cedar, and Hemlock. Kayleigh Wells and I went snowshoeing and were able to explore the alpine region. I discovered that Hemlock needles taste like tangerine-it's delicious! I sketched many cones in my journal of all the trees we could find since we couldn't sketch any understory plants due to the copious amounts of snow. Many of the cones we found were individuals and were not found anywhere else. This led me to presume that cars from I-90 may have been carrying pine cones from other areas. We crossed a stream and I wasn't sure, but I think there is flattened Red Alder next to the stream. It's being crushed by the snow, but I imagine they'll be just fine. However, the snow is very thick. Interestingly, /i found many types of fungi-Witch's butter, shelf fungi, and other brightly colored fungi, sketched in my journal. The fungi were all on dead stands-most likely white rot fungi that feed off all woody materials. There was one tree that had a very interesting fungi that had created a pattern around a notch in the wood-possibly white rot again?

Species List: Thuya plicata, spruce, hemlock, noble fir, shelf fungi, witch's butter, red alder, tamarack, douglas fir- Pseudotsugaa menzezii, Lichen, moss, and sap.

Publicado el 05 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 4 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

Birds and Waterfowl

Spending some time at my cabin with the eagles and hummingbirds made coming to class to listen to the bird group speak very interesting! I discovered that I'm a huge fan of Red-Winged Blackbirds. On May 30, the weather was overcast but partially sunny in 50 degree temperature. We wandered around Union Bay Natural Area. I was surprised at how well I was sketching some of the birds even though they were moving and flying all over the place. Some common birds we found or heard were the Virginia Rail, swallows, American Goldfinch, gold crowned sparrow, hummingbirds, Cedar waxwings, warblers, and chickadees. My first observation was a crow in the area where I happened to find a lot of fungi. Next, we saw a red winged blackbird in a tree above us. It was being quite social and showed off with a few songs. It sang beautifully and chirped otherwise. It's characterized by its red stripe near its wings and its zig-zag tail. It can be parasitized by cowbirds (we learned about this at the Burke Museum). Next, we saw a savannah sparrow which would land in the pathway in front of our group. It was very small, maybe 4 inches, and had many markings across its feathers. Next, we saw two different swallows, a Barn swallow and a violet green swallow. They're both the same size, around 5-6 inches long, but they differ by their feather colors and bellies. Finally, we learned that one of UW's most common birds, the American Robin, can feel worms beneath their feet in the soil Can other birds do this? What allows for this specialty?
Next, I'll talk about waterfowl; most are monogamous, migrate annually, are hunted for sport and food, possess web-feet, can filter feed, and are mobile once hatched. First, we learn about Morganzers, which eat fish from the sea but prefer freshwater, and can fully submerge underwater to catch fish with their serrated bill (sawbill). Hooded Morganzers are classified as the smallest and can change the refractive quality of their eyes underwater. Next, we learned about teals, a duck I'd seen before at UBNa. They don't submerge, they're a dipping duck because they're buoyant. They're extremely sexually dimorphic-the male is light orange with red eyes while the female has patterned brown feathers. Next, we learned about geese which can live for more than 20 years and weigh 20 lbs. They like water, fields, or well manicured lawns to keep watch for predators. The Great Blue Heron, one of my favorites, is a methodical hunter, waiting in water. When they hunt, their neck forms an s-shape. They're not particular about what to eat: rats, small birds, etc-sometimes, sadly, they eat it whole, then choke, and die. They're specialized plumage allows for the production of a powder that can be scratched to fall on fish to congeal the slime. They're present year long and nest in groups.
I had a great time on this group day!

Publicado el 05 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Fungi Part 2!

On May 24, Joe Ammirati took us to the Union Bay Natural Area to find some more fungi. The weather was nice, the sun was peaking through the clouds, yet it hadn't rained in a while- this is bad for finding fungi. However, we faired well. We found Gliophyllum Sepiraum on a few logs next to the parking lot. It's a golden gilled polypore and it is quite tough. It brackets along fallen logs. We found Psathyrella candoliana in the grasses next to the trail. This mushroom had a line shooting across the cap. It likes woody materials and was about 6 inches across. Next, on a single log, we found more than 4 species. First, we found hypoxylon which is characterized as lumpy black bumps that serve to create spores. Next, we found sterium which can be compared to turkey tail, the next thing we found. The difference is that turkey tail has small pores in the white matter underneath the bracket, the sterium does not. This can also be seen in each's mycelium. We also found resupinate which is a white layer found on a branch. They're all white rot fungi in that they consume all woody materials. Next we found mycenus stipata which is a small black mushroom whose gills smell like bleach when touched. It was very small (about 1-2 inches tall). Finally, we found quite a beauty: Leratiomyces ceres. It has a red-orange cap with purple-brown spore prints. It was also very short (1-2 inches tall), and is more common in the autumn.
We've learned many things with Joe such as:
-Never eat mushrooms raw-they're carcinogenic.
-Never eat mushrooms out of a plastic bag-choose paper.
-Never touch or eat a mushroom that you're unsure about.
-Be careful with mushrooms!

Publicado el 05 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 13 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario


On this day, May 10, our class visited the greenhouse area and
Joe Ammirati later took my group around campus to show us what was out! We started out by studying Blumeria, or Powdery Mildew, on a cucumber leaf and a ornamental maple leaf. It shows up as white splotched on the surfaces. It is a good pathogen in that it keeps its host alive. The spores spread while it's warm-just in time for summer planting seasons. We also looked at Hollyhock rust which appear as orange spores underneath the leaf. Like mildew, this also has a parasitic relationship with the fungi. We also studied symbiotic relationships in fungi. We were shown a young conifer in a pot which had infected root which tended to bulge and young roots without it.
With Joe, we walked toward Denny Hall, one of the oldest building on campus, and found many mushrooms in the front lawn. We found parasols which look like elegant parasol umbrellas when mature. Next, we found a Panther Cap which is hallucinogenic in large amounts. These have a symbiotic relationship with Douglas firs, as they only grow near them. Next, we found an artist's conk in a hollow in a tree. It's a bracket mushroom whose bottom can be inscribed on. We wrote "conk" on the bottom of it and left it there for someone else to discover. Joe told us that the hyphae of fungi communicate with pheremones which sense compatibility; it's controllled by a chromosome that causes asexual reproduction. Finally, we found a peziza by a large fallen log next to the Computer Engineering building. It starts out purple when young and grows to be fleshy in both texture and color. The purple one was about 4 inches across while the larger one was one foot across.

Publicado el 05 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 11 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

04 de junio de 2012

Pacific Street

After discovering I had been placed in the fungi group project, I became quite excited and kept my eyes peeled for fungi on campus. I was lucky enough to find some later thatday (May 1). The weather was overcast, cloudy, and 50 degrees f. I found a species of mushroom in woodchips on Boat Street and Pacific Street. Some were underneath plants, but most in full sunlight. As a result, many of the mushroom caps are cracked because they're dry and mature. Wood chips are often imported from other regions all over the world, hence, many non native mushrooms are found in strange conditions. Mushrooms love to grow in the rain and morning-best times to see them. These were thriving in this area because they went on and on for about 30 feet. I wonder if there is a strong myccorhizal relationship based on the number and extent. In a couple weeks, they will shrink away from coming heat in Summer.

Publicado el 04 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Freeland, Whidbey Island

On May 26, I went up to Whidbey Island for a Memorial Day holiday weekend. The weather was very sunny, but in the forest, it was quite dark and shady. There are many more viny plants since the last time I came to Freeland a month ago. For this trip, I was mainly in the forest instead of the beach bluff. Many of the land surrounding the forest has been converted to patureland or for orchards. Common species were: Douglas Firs, Madrones, ferns, salmonberry, low shrubs, forbs, trillium, invasives, rose, eagles, robins, bees, hummingbirds, small birds, and swallows. My proudest find was a Spotted Coralroot, an orchid that grows from the forest floor. It was curious since I was aware that orchids are epiphites-plants that grow from other plant hosts. There were also many flowering bushes which turn out to produce berries of all kinds. Many are observes selections. I saw a Bald Eagle several times a day because it was nesting in the conifer in front of my house. I enjoyed visiting my cabin because I saw such a great difference in the diversity of species present since the last time I came.

Publicado el 04 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Seward Park- Final

For the final, I made the trek to Seward Park, a place that was once an island. I think island ecology can be very interesting-you never know what you might find, even on an isolated island. From what I know about Seward Park, it was an island which gained land access once Lake Washington was drained when the locks were constructed. I grew up in a nearby house and know this area very well. The weather is cold, overcast and muggy. I walked up the trail to the amphitheater and soon followed a path deeper into the forest. I noticed that many species along the trail were the common species I see every time I go hiking. The overall makeup of the island forest is quite similar to the Cougar Mountain Wildland Park. Many similar plants include thimbleberries, Western Red Cedars, Douglas Firs, ferns, buttercups, and oregon grape. I found that I could easily identify many species of plants. The sound of birds singing was ever present on my journey, however, I couldn't identify many of them because I don't know their sounds well enough. I saw and heard many crows-common in an urban park. I saw very small birds that would land on the forest floor frequently, similar to the Savannah Sparrow. I didn't encounter any mammals or amphibians. I also didn't find any visible fungi besides mycelium-I was arduously looking for them under fallen trees and stumps. I noticed there were quite a few non native species such as the California Redwood.

Publicado el 04 de junio de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de mayo de 2012

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Today, I took a short journey to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, specifically the Wilderness Creek Trail. It's right off highway 900 between Renton and Issaquah. The day is rainy, overcast, and mid-50's temperature. The dominant species in the area are Maple trees, Cedar trees, Hemlock trees, Oregone Grape, ferns, nettle, and western sweet coltsfoot along the trail. I found many slugs and snails along the buffer of the trail. I couldn't see any other animals or insects. Since it's the first day of rain in a week, I hoped to find some fungi in the forest. However, even when I turned over dead logs, I could only find white traces of myccorhizae. I did find witch's butter and a small cluster of white fungi under one log. I found many types of mosses and lichens on the trees on the perimeter of the trail. I sketched what I'm guessing is sweet grass on the trail because it was found sparsely. In addition, there were many small flowering plants in both yellow, pink, and purple varieties. Surprisingly, further up the trail, I found one plant which I assumed to be a weed due to it's likeness of several I've seen closer to the city. It was around 8 inches in height with leaves just as long and 2 inches wide. The leaves are intricate; a record is sketched in my journal. One Cedar I found had a shiny black substance coming out of a hollow part of the tree. I assumed it to be sap, but the consistency, amount, and color was too questionable. Overall, a good day to find some native Puget Sound species!

Publicado el 21 de mayo de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 16 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de mayo de 2012

Saratoga Woods

I decided to take a day trip to my cabin on Whidbey Island on April 21 to study all the species the island had to offer. During my times spent up at Whidbey, I would occasionally hike in Saratoga Woods on the South end of the island. These woods are quite diverse-and truly evoke curiosity and adventure. The weather was mainly overcast with some sun breaks while temperature was in the 50s. I believe many of the trees in these woods are old growth. The main site of the forest is a giant glacial rock that was deposited here during the previous ice age. I've had a few wonderful picnics on the top. :) The start to my journey involved finding a light colored fir at the entrance to the trail. I have yet to clearly define it, but it must have been planted there since there were no other trees like it in the forest. I found two different types of snails on my journey, including a still unidentified red flying bug. I wasn't able to see many other creatures, beside MANY bees and a pair of small birds. The first major observation I made was when I stumbled upon a turkey tail fungus growing on a fallen tree on the perimeter of the trail. I also found many shelf fungi, as well as witch's butter. The first trail I found had many Cedars on it, and I decided to switch it up by taking the Pacific Yew trail. This trail was incredibly diverse in that I found 3 different kinds of mosses. There were hardly any undergrowth plants until I found the glacial rock. In this area, there were many tall Oregon Grapes, Red Alder, and Salal. On the trail back (Bent Tree Trail) I found mostly Red Alder and California Huckleberry under giant Western Red Cedars, often bent in strange shapes. I couldn't find a reason for the bent shape other than a human physically manipulated the bark ( as in the bent forest in Europe where someone bent trees for furniture construction). I'd say the major highlight of this observation was seeing all the different kinds of fungi in the forest. This inspired me to be in the Fungi group for the group project. Hopefully it works out!

Publicado el 02 de mayo de 2012 por ajwick24 ajwick24 | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario