Monday, March 20, 2017

Vernal Pools are Really Cool! (Ha.)

Vernal pools are an interesting landmark in Santa Barbara, but surprisingly not well known. If you live in the dorms, these unique ecosystems are just a couple hundred steps away. Vernal pools are, essentially, basins that fill up and drain over time, which creates a unique environment for flora, as pictured here:

 The pools are home to many endemic species, such as mole salamanders and fairy shrimp. Due to the nature in which they form, vernal pools usually do not have any fish and are thus able to support species that would not be able to survive in other aquatic environments.

In California, over ninety percent of vernal pools have been destroyed or otherwise damaged by human activity. Thus, restoration efforts have been necessary and have helped to account for some damage. On campus, all of the vernal pools are restored and surveyed by CCBER. 

One paper compares different types of vernal pool restoration and their effectiveness and gives a more in-depth insight on restoration specifically in Santa Barbara.

CCBER Website

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