Research Areas

Sat, 07/15/2017 - 09:08 -- seltmann@ccber....

Coastal California Ecosystem Restoration and Management

CCBER manages more than 250 acres of open space between Ellwood Mesa and Goleta Slough. Characterized by a rich complex of oak woodland, coastal sage scrub, grassland, and wetland ecosystems, the area is known for its high biodiversity. CCBER’s restoration project sites and management areas serve to protect the region’s ecology through habitat conservation, upland restoration, wetland creation and enhancement, and the implementation of sustainable stormwater management solutions. By careful integration with local watersheds and surrounding natural areas, CCBER's management areas provide important refuge for wildlife and ensure the protection of natural resources. Contact: Lisa Stratton



Arthropods of Coastal California

California dune, coastal sage and chaparral are home to many unique and endemic insects and other arthropods. CCBER biologists are interested in understanding our rich insect biodiversity and analyzing their underlying ecological specialties, such as their associations with host plants and other biological interactions. Many of these insects are important to humans, such as pollinators and pest species, while others help us explore fundamental evolutionary questions and the effects that human disturbance on biological systems. CCBER maintains a regular sampling program around UCSB and has a regionally focused insect collection for voucher specimens. Contact: Katja Seltmann

Projects: Ophionine Wasps of CaliforniaCoccinellidae Communities at Coastal SitesDetritivore distributions in human impacted ecosystems

Checklists: Bees of Coastal CaliforniaAnts of Santa Barbara CountyUC Santa Barbara Insects


Plant Speciation via Hybridization and Allopolyploidy

In recent years, it has been recognized that hybridization and allopolyploidy are important mechanisms of speciation in plants. Previously, hybrid origin has been inferred through morphological intermediacy, by tracing maternal parentage using plastid DNA sequences, and through cloning of nuclear DNA sequences. However, these methods can be misleading, inconclusive, or are extremely laborious and expensive. In order to unravel reticulating patterns of evolution in hybrid species, a new approach is needed to generate haplotype-resolved, or haplotype-phased, nuclear DNA sequences. One focus of systematics research conducted at CCBER is optimizing haplotype-specific DNA extraction for use in plants to detect and confirm hybrid origin in a number of Californian groups, including manzanitas (Arctostaphylos spp.), pines, chaparral mallows (Malacothamnus spp.), and Clarkia. Contact: Greg Wahlert


Natural History Collection Information Science

CCBER houses the UCSB Natural History Collections, which includes about half a million plants, insects and vertebrates. Natural history collections constitute our biodiversity libraries and they have broad cultural significance, and more importantly, constitute enormous primary resources that support fundamental research in the biological sciences. Our library of biological specimens, ranging from preserved pollinating bees to deep ocean core samples, shed light on the past, and illuminate ways that the climate has changed, that species are lost, and how biological knowledge has evolved. They also constitute voucher repositories for specimens used in research and identification of organisms of all varieties. As informational resources, natural history collections hold tremendous value, but remain underused. A major focus of CCBER's research is the examination of processes through which we capture information in digital formats, how we publish and share biological information, preserve at risk information, and use this information in scientific activities. At its heart, this process involves the digitization of physical specimens and textual collection event data, how we manage these digital records, how we assess the quality of these data, and how we may augment them with salient metadata. This work is consequently aligned with a major thrust of research in biodiversity informatics that has sought to enable access to biodiversity data troves via computing systems, data science methods, and new technologies. Contact: Katja Seltmann and Greg Wahlert

Endangered Endemic Plants

The California Floristic Provence is home to approximately 6,500 species, subspecies, and varieties of unique endemic plants that are found nowhere else in the world. CCBER is involved in studying the requirements for these plants to help ensure their survival. These studies include categorizing their pollinators and pests, habitat preferences, and genetics. CCBER restoration emphasizes regional diversity by outsourcing for local plant genotype and planting a rich mix of plant species on its restoration sites. Contact: Lisa Stratton and Greg Wahlert



Santa Barbara Breeding Bird Study

The Santa Barbara Breeding Bird Study is recording birds breeding in Santa Barbara County, with records dating back to the 1930s. The majority of the data comes from a Field Note Archive held at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration. The archive is based on data gathered from UCSB environmental study contracts, from consultants’ efforts in places such as the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, and from conscientious local birders. Contact: Mark Holmgren and Lisa Stratton