Saturday, August 4, 2007: 8:30 AM-5:30 PM
Lower Level Lobby, San Jose McEnery Convention Center
FT 2 - A trip through time: Plant-soil relationships of the Santa Cruz marine terraces
Coastal California has stunning vistas, redwood forests, active tectonics, exotic species, fog, sand chaparral, soil chonosequences, pocket beaches, grasslands, mima mounds, micro-climates and agriculture. This field trip will place you among all these features and introduce you to the many plant, soil, and geologic processes acting to create the landscape. We will visit Wilder Ranch State Park west of Santa Cruz, California where ecosystem studies of the California State Parks and biogeochemical studies of the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Lawrence Livermore National Lab have been ongoing. USGS scientists will briefly review the tectonic and geologic context for these terraces, and use the chronologic sequence of terraces to explore the processes and products of soil development. We will visit soil pits of different aged terraces to see first hand the effect of time on soil development. At these sites we will discuss the microbiology and biogeochemistry of the soils and the influences these soil processes have on the plant communities found in this area. As time permits, we will visit additional areas with several different plant communities including coastal terrace prairie, home to well over 200 plant taxa. These remarkably diverse grasslands are being actively managed by California State Parks using prescribed fire. We may spend some time among coast redwoods nearby at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, mixed evergreen forest, and several other shrub communities on our whirlwind tour of this diverse landscape. And finally, we promise you lunch under an oak tree overlooking the Pacific Ocean. August is ‘fog season” in coastal California. Please dress in layers. It can be cool 60oF and hot 80oF (16oC to 27 oC) in the same day. A hat, sunscreen, and long pants are recommended. We will be walking up to three miles along dirt roads. Please wear good hiking shoes; sandals are discouraged. There will be poison oak. Other risks we might encounter: feral pigs, ticks, mountain bikers, and possibly rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and bobcats. Wilder Ranch State Park Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Organizers:Mark P. Waldrop, United States Geological Survey
Marjorie Schulz, United States Geological Survey
Tim Hyland, California State Parks

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