Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Devils Teeth

My partner and I Jill finally made it out to the coast yesterday, what a gorgeous day! It's looking like the fog is easing up a bit, but I doubt the drought is. The bouys were suggesting a bit of a south swell with a nice long period, oddly Point Reyes wasn't picking it up. I went by way of bike (bofax - alpine dam - seven siters - pantoll - stinson -whew) and Jill met me there. It was a great place to finish The Devil's Teeth, I could almost see the Faralones offshore. Poor Peter Pyle...he ended taking the fall for this piece of journalism, it's really too bad. But I will be interested in following the work of Barbara Block's Lab and the TOPP program - they ended up with the permits. Talk about marine biogeography - these guys are getting some really cool data. After seeing a talk by Pat Halpin from Duke, I got really interested in looking at these type of data against marine physiographic data (salinity, chlorophyll, sst) - too bad that stuff is so f'ing hard to process. Anyway DT was great in a Outside Magazine kinda way - just the right mix of natural history and personal interest for a great summer read.

Geog 316 journal - Why take a class in biogeography?

Well that's really the question right? It was for me at least, I've spent the last 10 years putting off an advanced degree mostly because it was the path of least resistance. I've been lucky enough to be really working as a geographer - GIS mostly. Now that I'm back in the academic mix I keep thinking "what was I waiting for?" Biogeography is extremely relevant for me right now. Managing all the GIS support for TNC in CA calls on the fundamentals quite a bit.

For the better part of the last two years I've been the GIS analyst supporting a number of marine planning projects. These are done at a the ecoregional scale and for California that means the California Current. So biogeograpy is concerned with the distribution of species through space and time....this notion is the crux of representative conservation planning. While for some taxa there are good GIS data sets available, for most there are not, this particullarly true for marine. In cases where there are not data available they can be modeled. This is where biogeography comes in. The better I can understand the relationships taxa have to their spatial environment, the better the GIS models to use a surrogates for conservation.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Geog 316 journal - The Fog and The Drought

So there was some talk in the first meeting about fog and fog dynamics and I couldn't help but start to think about what a cool summer it's been on the coast. I regularly check the NRL satellite for fog at the coast and this summer seems the coast seems to have had more foggy days that "normal" (n=15yrs of amatuer observations). Now this is just a feeling, no hard data, but it got me wondering why. Given that bay area fog is generally driven by central valley warming and thus the creation of localized low pressure - (warm air rising in the valley creates a vacuum and thus the marine layer is sucked eastward) - I couldn't help but wonder if the midwestern drought has anything to do with our more than "normal" foggy days at the coast - particularly since they've lasted well into August which is generally clear. My simple thinking is this, the mid and pacific northwest are likely to be warmer than average thus creating this vacuum effect but at a little larger scale than just the bay area / central valley dynamic. Strictly anecdotal science at this point but maybe an idea worth pursuing.

Geography 316 - SFSU

Just went to the first meeting of Geography 316 - Biogeography at San Francisco State University yesterday. The instructor Liam Reidy gave a short overview of the broad topics we will cover in class. I was a little nervous about getting back into the academic fold (currently enrolled as a Master's student in Geography) but this class eased my fears. The topics were highly relevant (biodiversity, island biogeography) to my line of work which makes it that much better. I'm going to attempt to use this blog for weekly journal entries required for this class. Those posts will have Geo 316 journal as headings. Look for more soon!