The Natural Laboratory is a series of podcasts exploring science in Point Reyes National Seashore. This series is produced by Point Reyes National Seashore Association in collaboration with the National Park Service and the Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center.
Recovering Black Abalone: Their Roles in Intertidal Ecosystems and in Ours
After Withering Syndrome devastated black abalone populations in Southern California, an interdisciplinary team teamed up to figure out how to save them. Theodora Mautz speaks with a handful of experts on strategies, lessons learned, and next steps for black abalone recovery. In this second episode of a two-part Natural Laboratory podcast series on black abalone, join us as we learn about what happened next to this resilient species, and why we should care.
A History of Black Abalone in California: From Abundance to Scarcity
Black abalone are a species of marine snail. Until recently, they were an iconic presence in California's intertidal ecosystems. In this first episode of a two-part Natural Laboratory podcast series on black abalone, Theodora Mautz dives into the science and history of black abalone from multiple perspectives, and explains how they went from one of the most ubiquitous intertidal species in the state to federally endangered in just a few years.
How Wildlife Withstand Wildfires
Point Reyes is home to a great variety of animals. Half of North America's birds have been spotted in the park, not to mention its reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals. How do these creatures respond to a fire? In this episode, Jerimiah Oetting speaks to park scientists to learn how certain vulnerable species might be impacted by wildfires. Join us as we hoot for owls and track one of the more elusive and curious species in the park, the Point Reyes mountain beaver.
Now that 2020's historic fire season is over, the plants at Point Reyes National Seashore are in recovery mode. Jerimiah Oetting speaks with fire ecologists and botanists about what that recovery will look like in the coming months and years, and what we can learn from Indigenous practices of managing the landscape with fire.
The Legacy of Fire at Point Reyes
Point Reyes National Seashore was part of California's historic wildfire season in 2020. The Woodward Fire was relatively small, but it still threatened nearby communities with evacuations and smoke. In the first podcast episode of the Natural Laboratory series, Science Communication Intern Jerimiah Oetting dives into how the Woodward fire compares to its predecessor, the 1995 Vision Fire. He also explores how climate change and fire suppression drive the increasing intensity of wildfire in the West.