The Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to conserve native species and habitats through restoration, research, and education. Here, we describe some of our projects working with the Conservation Research Program at IAE. The Conservation Research Program conducts research and montioring of native species and ecosystems in order to determine population trends and effective methods for restoration and management, conducts research on invasive species in order to determine effective control methods, and develops plans for the management and restoration of native ecosystems.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Goodbye, Good Luck, and Good Riddance (just kidding)

As the field season comes to a close, we say goodbye to our Conservation Research interns Amy Comstock and Suzanne Joh. The Institute for Applied Ecology relies on our interns and seasonal staff  to complete field work on time (before the plants senesce), enter data, propagate plants in the greenhouse, and write blogs and articles about their experiences. Our interns are an invaluable asset to the organization and each year we have difficulty saying goodbye.

Entering data for Fritillaria gentneri. Photo credit: Emma MacDonald 
As one of the 2014 IAE/NPSO interns, Amy Comstock has been a Jill-of-all-trades, helping out anywhere the Conservation Research Program needed things done. We began our field season in April, and have worked our way through over fourteen field projects as well as mountains of data entry and organization.

The interns kicked off the field season by monitoring the endangered and endemic Erigeron decumbens (Willamette daisy) at multiple sites in the Willamette Valley. Other projects included the removal of invasive Brachypodium sylvaticum (false-brome) at Maxfield Meadows and propagation of Rubus bartonianus (Bartonberry) seeds under various germination conditions. The interns conducted population monitoring of Fritillaria gentneri (Gentner's fritillary), Lomatium cookii (Cook's desert parsley), Sidalcea nelsoniana (Nelson's checkermallow), Lupinus oreganus (Kincaid's lupine), Astragalus mulfordiae (Mulford's milk-vetch), Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. palustris (Point Reyes bird's-beak), Limonium californicum (California sea lavender) and Frasera umpquaensis (Umpqua green gentian).

Looking for Lomatium cookii in all the wrong places.
Photo credit: Emma MacDonald

Amy's cheery personality, positive attitude, and (lack of) pop culture knowledge really pulled our crew together and made long car rides out to our study sites much more enjoyable. Amy Comstock will be leaving us to start graduate school at Oregon State University in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society (FES). This self-proclaimed "Bird Nerd" will be focusing on nesting habits of Purple Martin populations of western Oregon. Before school starts, Amy will be taking a well-deserved respite from us continuously asking "Hey Amy, what bird is that?"

Suzanne came to us as part of the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) program through the Saturday Academy. This program aims to connect high school students with local scientific and engineering companies to provide them with professional work experience. These students then create and present a synopsis of the summer's efforts at a culminating symposium held at the University of Portland campus.

Suzanne counting Cordylanthus 
maritimus ssp. palustris in Coos Bay.
Photo credit: Amy Comstock
 Over the course of her eight week internship with the Conservation Research Program at IAE, Suzanne assisted us with field research for our projects on Erigeron decumbens, Lupinus lepidus var. cusickii, Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. palustris, Frasera umpquaensis and Lupinus oreganus. She was also our invaluable tech support for all of our cell phone and mp3 player problems. Suzanne was a superstar intern, braving fire and ice (on our trips to Eastern Oregon and Coos Bay, respectively) in the pursuit of ecological research. Getting to know her over these past eight weeks has been a real pleasure.We wish her luck as she begins her junior year of high school. For more information on the ASE program please visit their website.

Beating the heat in Unity, Oregon. Photo credit: Tara Callaway
While we have to say goodbye to these two, we get to keep the company of Emma MacDonald, IAE/NPSO intern extraordinaire, and Tara Callaway, our fearless crewleader, for a while longer.  Stay tuned for more adventures in conservation research!