Author Archive | Erin Loury

Citizen scientists collect data that will help researchers track the spread of sudden oak death. Photo: E. Loury

SOD Blitz: Volunteers take on Sudden Oak Death

Ah, the signs of spring. The sun is out, the rain has stopped (for now)—and sudden oak death is on the move. This invasive, fungus-like tree killer, which is related to the Irish potato blight, moves in fits and spurts with bouts of warm spring rains. Every spring for the past four years, scientists from…

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Blue Marbles and Ocean Microbes: A Sea Change at TEDxMonterey

A volunteer placed a translucent, blue marble in my hand as I walked through the door.  Everyone else in the darkened auditorium held a similar token.  Ocean-philes of one kind or another, we were gathering at the Monterey Institute of International Studies for the third TEDxMonterey.  A community-organized event modeled after the popular TED talk…

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Mushrooms are the main attraction all weekend long at the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair (photo: E. Loury)

Mushrooms Take Center Stage

After four years of living near Santa Cruz, last weekend I finally ventured to the annual Fungus Fair for the first time.  With elements of nature, science, and hippie culture, it’s an event that sounded just so… Santa Cruz. My expectations were tempered after hearing Meghan’s first radio story for KUSP, which shadowed volunteers searching…

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Rows of native plants at the Thimann Lab greenhouse, grown for coastal prairire restoration (photo: E. Loury)

Plants on a Hot Green Roof

There’s a room at UC Santa Cruz filled with chocolate and vanilla, cinnamon and green tea, bananas and pineapple.  But far from ready-to-eat desserts, all are leafy and green, basking in the humid light of one of the three UCSC campus greenhouses. A certain former UCSC student and plant aficionado in my life recently told…

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Researchers and conservationists are giving some seabirds and extreme home makeover on Año Nuevo Island (photo: Erin Loury)

Not Your Average Birdhouse

On a little island off the coast of central California, researchers, conservationists and artists are teaming up to help some threatened sea birds raise their next generation. The helping hand comes in the form of some stylish new housing. The Rhinoceros Auklet is a small seabird that researchers call the “the penguin of the North…

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