February 2, 2012
I just returned from an awesome field trip to Catalina Island. My ENST 495 classmates and I had the privilege of spending Friday and Saturday on the island learning first hand what we went over in class the past three weeks: Catalina natural history, fires in the wild, and Marine Protected Areas.
My favorite part of the weekend was an assignment to collect 15 plant specimens, identify them, and put them into a plant press. I not only learned about native and non-native species, but I am also now able to point out which plant species are endemic to Catalina.
I made a little video about some of the plants:ENST 495 Catalina Video
I think the coolest thing I learned was about why many of the plants have little hairs, or fuzz on them. This is to shade themselves from the sun. Catalina has a Mediterranean climate, which means very dry, and little rain. Therefore, the plants need to keep in moisture as much as possible, so with hairs that provide shade, the plants release less water into the atmosphere because their surrounding temperature is a little bit lower. That is SO COOL!
And to top it off, we got to go snorkeling!
This post was authored by Nina Gordon-Kirsch ’12 an Environmental Studies major (BS) with a minor in marketing.