All posts by integrenz

Pine Cone Exhibit at CSU

Renee at Project Pine Cone Exhibit

7/24/2011 Last Tuesday I was treated to a tour of Renee Popp’s new pine cone exhibit. It is currently located on the CSU Campus, Yates Hall Lab Room 209  (directions). It took me a little time to find, but there were signs posted on the main door and in the building, so I knew I was on the right track. When I arrived there was a sign saying Renee was working in the CSU Herbarium with a number to call.  She appeared in  just a couple of minutes and welcomed me to her extensive exhibit. She has collected cones and needles from over half of the world’s pine species, displayed in interesting categories and with distribution maps.  There are several examples from GVM, including an interesting witches’ broom in the diseases section. This is an amazing work in progress and to get more specimens, Renee will continue visiting arboreta and universities. She has also set up a Facebook Page so that other pine-lovers can donate cones and share information. If you want a nice escape from the heat, stop by Project Pine Cone on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 am and 2 pm. During the summer you can park free at any of the Z parking lots at CSU.

Pheromone Pouch on Old Ponderosa

Pouch Ponderosa
Pouch placed on this Ponderosa

7/7/2011 Email from Wynne: “I put pheromones on a 500 yr. old tree (one we looked at with Jim Erdman on walk ? 2 yrs. ago, who determined the age)—trunk curls around a big rock. ”    Thanks Wynne!

More information from Jim E. about the old Ponderosa in the Haystack USFS Property:

“I looked at the core, one of two I’d taken from opposite sides of that tree 1/20/’09; both hit punk ~5 inches in.  I labeled it ‘2nd Meadow Ponderosa.’  Laurie Huckaby did her usual keen followup dating from mine and got an inside ring date of 1737 into the heartwood – a mere 271 years on a tree with a 2 foot DBH (diameter breast height).  The rings that spanned 1800-1900 were ~1 inch long on the core. So it could well be ~500 years old, among the oldest cohort ponderosas in this area – the 1500s, a favorable century for reproduction.  During the last decade, the years 2002 & 2006 appear as micro-rings for that period, especially very little dark latewood.
* Every time I look at my cores that Laurie dated over the past couple years, I’m amazed at how her penciled writings and other notations can be so tiny!  You’ve got to see the cores for yourselves. “

Project Pine Cone Exhibit

6/17/2011 From the Coloradoan: “Project Pine Cone is a display of pine cones from around the world in a celebration of our “lowly” or “everyday” pine. It is a hands-on, educational exhibit assembled by local professional botanist, Renee Galeano-Popp. The goal is to share the beauty and diversity of pines while stimulating interest in botany, forestry and ecology. Colorado State University Herbarium is hosting PPC this summer in hopes that local school teachers will incorporate PPC as a learning tool into their science curricula.”

June 16 Garden Work Day

Harry C. checked the Demonstration Garden before our 6:30pm Ecology Meeting 6/8/2011

6/10/2011 From Susan: “The spring work day for the demonstration garden is set for Thursday, June 16, at 8:00 AM. For new comers, the garden is located across the road from the GVM office. We welcome any and all who would like to stop by the garden to check it out or join us in pulling a few weeds, pruning bushes, planting new vegetation, etc.  It’s a great way to get your hands dirty and meet some new folk! Don’t forget sunscreen, hats, and water bottle.”

Easter Daisy near Gate 13

Easter Daisy, Townsendia hookeri
Easter Daisy, Townsendia hookeri

4/9/2011 Jim E. found the beautiful early-bloomer Easter Daisy, Townsendia hookeri on his hike today along the North Rim Road (aka Gate 13). He keyed it out using his microscope and wrote that this species can be distinguished from and similar species, T. exscapa, by the:  “tuft of tangled cilia” at the tips of the phyllaries (bracts) below the head of flowers.  He also sent this description from  Weber & Wittmann “Blooming in early spring in open, rocky sagebrush. Widespread on the plains and outwash mesas of the Front Range.”  Thanks, Jim, for sending the beautiful photo.

Maroon Bells Trail

Maroon Bells Trail Marker
Maroon Bells Trail Marker

Last Friday (4/1/2011) I hiked part of the Maroon Bells Trail and was impressed by the improvements made by the GVM Trails Committee. Here’s a photo of my nephew’s foot next to one of the newly painted orange trail markers. Thanks, Trails Committee!

Log Cabin Rd vs. Boy Scout Rd

4/3/2011 In the previous post, Jim accessed the new Elkhorn Creek Trail from the Log Cabin Rd. I asked him if that was the same as the Boy Scout Rd. He emailed:  “Log Cabin Road and Boy Scout Road (CR 68C), the same, although the latter name appears in Among These Hills: A History of Livermore, Colorado.  The former stems from the Log Cabin Hotel, post office, and stage stop at the T juncture of  CR 68C with the Red Feather Lakes Road (CR 74E).  One can still see the concrete foundation of one of the buildings.” Thanks for the clarification and history lesson, Jim.

Jim sent additional information from that book on p. 26 : “The two-story [hotel] structure was originally built at the Ashley Grange, a place for training young English ‘remittance’ men how to become ranchers.  It had been moved several miles north to this site in 1888 . . ..”   Jim added “Such men appear to have been not a rarity in the Livermore region.”

First Blooms

4/2/2011 Email from Jim E.: “What a memorable high-country hike early afternoon, on this balmy but windy day on the US Forest Service’s Elkhorn Creek Trail at ~8,000 ft.  Its trailhead was renovated last year (I’d not even known it was there down the Log Cabin Road, which I’ve been on so many times).  To my amazement I spotted the first flowers of the season!  I could not believe it; had to go back to the truck for my digital camera.

“We Like Lichen” KUNC Segment

3/15/2011 Email from Jim E.: “On listening to this feature on Living on Earth (KUNC at 5p), I thought this might be an interesting bit …  It might pique someone’s interest in the handful (9 species) of lichens in the plant list for GVM.  The genus Umbilicaria – on our list – is mentioned and illustrated.”

Thanks so much Jim, this is a fun piece, very interesting angle on studying old cemeteries in Massachusetts! I’ve pasted the link to the broadcast and also inserted the transcript with captions but not photos.

We Like Lichen

GELLERMAN: In the first stanza of his poem “Auguries of Innocence,” William Blake writes an ode to the ordinary and asks us to open our eyes to the miracles lying right before us. It begins:
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
and a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
With Blake’s rhyme and verse in mind, reporter Ari Daniel Shapiro tracked down a couple of biologists who are taking the Romantic poet at his word.
SHAPIRO: In the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts – in bustling Harvard Square – there’s a small cemetery called the Old Burying Ground. Twelve hundred historic tombstones huddle inside, including a handful of local Revolutionary War heroes.

Anne Pringle at a local cemetery in Cambridge, MA. (EOL Learning and Education Group)

PRINGLE: You can see it here, 1765.
SHAPIRO: Anne Pringle is an Associate Professor at Harvard. And this isn’t her first time walking through this snow-covered cemetery.
PRINGLE: The funniest comment I ever got was somebody…somebody who thought that I was mourning, and they were wondering why I was mourning for so very long on my hands and knees in front of a particular tombstone.
SHAPIRO: And what were you doing in fact?
PRINGLE: I was counting lichens.
SHAPIRO: Pringle’s a mycologist. That is: she studies fungi. And lichens are a special type of fungus. They’re often first to colonize new habitats, and they can grow on tree bark, fence posts, and stones, including tombstones like the ones in this cemetery. But, that’s not all.
SHAPIRO: Back in her office, Pringle unfolds a paper packet containing a kind of lichen called Xanthoparmelia plittii. She points out the tiny, crusty swirls the color of spearmint.
PRINGLE: Lichens are symbioses – that means that they are made up of multiple species living together. And generally, a lichen is one individual fungus, and living inside, embedded in the matrix of that fungus, there are algae, and maybe more than one species of algae.

Examining lichen on a gravestone. (EOL Learning and Education Group)

SHAPIRO: It’s a complicated organism. A lichen is a fungus with algae living inside it. The algae photosynthesize, converting carbon dioxide into sugars – food that the fungus can consume. It’s not clear whether the algae get anything out of the arrangement, except maybe a home they wouldn’t otherwise have.
PRINGLE: What’s also interesting about a lichen is realizing that it’s an entire habitat for other creatures inside it: of bacteria, of other fungi. So, when you look at a lichen, when you’re walking by, it’s not just an individual – it’s an entire ecosystem, sort of like a tropical rainforest in miniature, just maybe the size of the palm of your hand growing on a fencepost.
SHAPIRO: Within the lichen, how many species are there – of the bacteria, the fungi, the algae?
PRINGLE: Oh, I don’t know. Hundreds, order of magnitude.
SHAPIRO: Next door, in Pringle’s lab, mycologist Benjamin Wolfe holds up what looks like a giant black potato chip the size of his hand. This lichen’s a different species – Umbilicaria mammulata – but the story…it’s the same.

Mycologist Benjamin Wolfe holds up a lichen called Umbilicaria mammulata. (EOL Learning and Education Group)

WOLFE: So if you look on the back of it, you see it’s, like, this very rough, velvety, kind of surface. If you touch it, yeah…
WOLFE: Those little nooks and crannies are great places for bacteria to live. And I’ve done a little bit of work using these high-powered microscopes to zoom in on the back of these and you see these huge microbial landscapes – little bacterial gardens nestled into this forest of these underbellies of the lichens. So it’s, sort of, this idea of a world within a world.
SHAPIRO: Unlike other types of fungi that live pretty much concealed inside trees or in the dirt, lichens – these worlds within worlds – are exposed entirely to the elements.
SHAPIRO: So at a place like the Old Burying Ground in Cambridge, the lichens dotting the tombstones have to handle whatever the environment throws their way. Usually, lichens do really well, but not always. Anne Pringle:
PRINGLE: Here in a cemetery, there used to be a thriving community of lichens, and now there isn’t because of the pollution that humans have created. When we walk into a cemetery in rural Massachusetts, it’s a very different landscape. The tombstones are covered in green. They’re covered in very beautiful leaf-like lichens. It’s an entire world that just has disappeared from this local habitat.

Umbilicaria growing on a rock in Maine. (EOL Learning and Education Group)

SHAPIRO: Pringle is comparing the lichens in urban and rural settings – to see how long they live, and how they grow and reproduce. She can use this information to think about how fungi more generally might react to changes in climate and pollution, and what that might mean for entire ecosystems – both the little ones living on and in the fungi, and the big ones that depend on fungi as decomposers. For Living on Earth, I’m Ari Daniel Shapiro.
GELLERMAN: Ari Daniel Shapiro’s story comes to us from the series “One Species at a Time,” which is produced by Atlantic Public Media with support from the Encyclopedia of Life. For more information, go to our website l-o-e dot org. And there you’ll find some photos of lichens and a link where you can post some of your own pictures.

Continue reading “We Like Lichen” KUNC Segment

Using Lichenometry for Historical Dating

2/20/2011 Email from Jim E. “possibly worth a note in EcoBlog (a geologist, Jim Benedict, I knew used the technique to date Ute rock barriers above timberline to funnel elk or deer for the kill):
Benedict:” Thanks so much, Jim, for sending this information, quite fascinating!!

Here’s the link Jim sent  General: and the first few sentences from WikiPedia…..


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Picture of the Map lichen or Rhizocarpon geographicum, the most used lichen in lichenometry.

In archaeology, palaeontology, and geomorphology, lichenometry is a geomorphic method of geochronologic aging that uses lichen growth to determine the age of exposed rock: lichens are presumed to increase in size radially at specific rates as they grow. Measuring the diameter of the largest lichen of a species on a rock surface can therefore be used to determine the amount of time that the rock has been exposed. Lichen can be preserved on old rock faces for up to 10,000 years, providing the maximum age limit of the technique, though is most accurate (within 10% error) when applied to surfaces that have been exposed for less than 1000 years[1]. The use of lichenometry is of increased value for dating deposited surfaces over the past 500 years as radiocarbon dating techniques are less efficient over this period.[2] The most common lichen used for lichenometry are that of the genus Rhizocarpon, for example the species Rhizocarpon geographicum, and those of the genus Xanthoria.

Lichenometry can provide dates for glacial deposits in tundra environments, lake level changes, glacial moraines, trim lines, rockfalls, talus (scree) stabilization and former extent of permafrost or very persistent snow cover.

Among the potential problems of the technique are the difficulty of correctly identifying the species, delay between exposure and colonization, varying growth rates from region to region as well as the fact that growth rates are not always constant over time, dependence of the rate of growth upon substrate texture and composition, climate, and determining which lichen is the largest.