Saturday, May 30, 2015

A New Fairy Shrimp for BC: Eubranchipus intricatus

Male Smoothlip Fairy Shrimp (Eubranchipus intricatus), photo by Ian Gardiner

E-Fauna BC freshwater mollusc editor Ian Gardiner has done it again.  Earlier this month, he discovered a new crayfish species for BC, and now he has discovered another new species for BC--the Smoothlip Fairy Shrimp (Eubranchipus intricatus).  Ian photographed and collected this tiny crustacean from two temporary sloughs near Jaffray BC in the Kootenays.  His find is a first for BC and specimens have been sent to the Royal BC Museum for their collection.

Ian indicates that this species of fairy shrimp is found in temporary pools of low salinity and its range in North America is limited to Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Montana, Minnesota, Wyoming and Massachusetts.

View Ian's fabulous photo set for this species here.
Read more about Ian Gardiner here

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Four New Rare Bird Articles Now Available on E-Fauna BC

Thanks to expert birders Rick Toochin, Don Cecile and Jamie Fenneman, four more rare bird articles are now available on E-Fauna BC. These cover Black-headed Gull, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Loggerhead Shrike, and Whooper Swan,  To view the articles along with a comprehensive distribution map, visit the atlas pages.  To view the full articles (PDF) with photos visit our Notes and Articles section on the home page.

These rare bird articles are comprehensive and are extremely informative about each rare bird species found in BC. They review the distribution of the species globally, in North America and in British Columbia. The full article provides a detailed species description to aid in identification in the field and a complete list of observations for BC. 

These new articles brings the total rare bird articles on E-Fauna BC to sixty, with more articles now in preparation. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mapping Update 2015

The interactive GIS mapping available on E-Flora and E-Fauna BC has been updated with new, easy-to-use software. Visit our full-size GIS maps to view new features, easy-access legends, and additional map tools.  We have added special zoom features to regions of interest, and map coordinates are now readily visible.  We will continue to add features to the maps, including additional biogeographic layers.

As an additional bonus, we have now added the ability to view map data (the data behind the distribution dots) from both the full-size maps and from the small maps on the atlas pages.

Click here to view a sample atlas page (Common Garter Snake).  Click on the full-size map link below the map to view the new mapping.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New Crayfish Species Documented in British Columbia: Northern Crayfish (Orconectes virilis)

Northern Crayfish (Orconectes virilis), photo  by Ian Gardiner

The Northern Crayfish (Orconectes virilis) has been documented in British Columbia for the first time.  E-Fauna BC freshwater mollusc editor and photographer Ian Gardiner has both photographed and collected this species in the East Kootenays.  Until Ian's work, BC had only one reported crayfish species, the Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), which occurs further to the west in BC.   

In describing his find, Ian says:  "Informal reports of crayfish in the Kootenays, east of the known range of the Signal Crayfish, have occurred in the popular outdoors press and on internet sites but without reference to any particular species. In 2014 and 2015, this author both collected and photographed specimens of the Northern Crayfish in the east Kootenays. It was documented at the following sites: 1) a pond 3.2 km SW of Grasmere, BC 2) Loon Lake, 1.8 km NW of Grasmere, BC."

"There appears to be no reference in the formal literature to the occurrence of Northern Crayfish in British Columbia. The E-Fauna BC photographic documentation and specimens collected by the author, from the East Kootenays just north of the US border, would seem to be the first confirmation of this species in British Columbia."

View our atlas page for the Northern Crayfish.
View Ian's photos of the Northern Crayfish.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More Rare Bird Articles Now Available on E-Fauna BC

Several new rare bird articles have now been posted on E-Fauna BC in our Notes and Articles section.  These include articles for Smew, Gray Wagtail, Hooded Warbler, White-tailed Kite, White Wagtail, and White-winged Dove.  Thanks to authors Rick Toochin, Jamie Fenneman, Don Cecile and Gary Davidson for providing such detailed species accounts.  All articles are accompanied by voucher photos and include details on all occurrences in British Columbia. 

These articles are an excellent way to learn about vagrant and accidental species in BC, and include informative discussion on species movements and migration.  Full global range summaries are provided. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

E-Flora BC: List of non-established species in the province now updated

E-Flora BC presents an atlas of the recognized flora of the province, species that have been confirmed as growing wild in BC in sustaining populations. These are the established species.  However, there are other species found in the province and new species appear on a regular basis.  These include incoming species and garden escapes that are periodically found growing wild but are not yet established and populations often do not persist. 

On E-Flora BC, we present a list of non-established species of vascular plants compiled by BC botanist Frank Lomer.  Frank has been keeping track of reports of new species and has found many himself during his field work.  Each year, new species are added to the list, while others are assessed to determine if they have become established and should become part of the flora of BC or if they should be kept on the non-established list, which is effectively a 'watch list' for the province.

We have just updated this list of non-established species for 2014, with some new additions, and some species now added to the BC flora.

One example of a species just added to the non-established list in 2014 is the watermelon (Citrullus lanatus). In his note on this species, Frank says: "The watermelon will sprout from seeds, but rarely grows large enough to produce ripe fruit. Plants with immature fruits will show up in landfills and soil dumps (Lomer 8574 @ UBC). Ephemeral. Year first noted: 2013."

Another example is the Asian dwarf bamboo (Arundinaria humilis).  Frank says:  "Perennial Asian dwarf bamboo is occasionally cultivated and will persist from dumpings and spread from plantings. Collected along a grassy ditch dyke by a blueberry field in Richmond, Metro Vancouver (Lomer 8216 @ UBC). Occasional. Year first noted: 2013." 

The 'watch list', or non-established species list, is important. It provides an early warning system of sorts for incoming and escaping species that can have the potential to become significant invasive species in the BC landscape.

You can view Frank's list of non-established and incoming species for 2014 here.

Aaron Baldwin, Marine Invertebrate Editor, E-Fauna BC

Marine biologist Aaron Baldwin has agreed to take on the role of marine invertebrate editor for E-Fauna BC.  An Alaskan Fisheries biologist and marine taxonomist, Aaron has been functioning as editor since the project began in 2007. He has compiled checklists for many marine species groups, updated nomenclature, investigated new species occurrences, and has been handling photo identifications on an ongoing basis. 

Aaron juggles his work on E-Fauna BC with other projects and with his work as a fisheries biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game where he works on the Groundfish Project for Southeast Alaska and Yakutat.  Groundfish Project manages and performs research for groundfish fisheries in Southeast Alaska from the Canadian border to the Yakutat area.

Aaron has produced an online guide to seashore animals of southeast Alaska (read more here).

Read Aaron's profile on our blog here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Introuduction to the Marine Fishes of British Columbia Now Available

E-Fauna Fish editor Eric Taylor has now provided an introduction to the Marine Fishes of British Columbia, covering the origin of our marine fish fauna, their biogeography, and conservation issues.

He says: "Canada has about 1,100 marine species of fishes spread across the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific regions. The Pacific Basin contains approximately 371 purely marine fishes (i.e., those that do not enter freshwater). Several other species (at least 20) occur in adjacent marine waters of Alaska and Washington State and 25 or so occur both in marine and fresh waters (e.g., Pacific salmon)."

Read Eric's full article here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Just Posted: An Introduction to the Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia


British Columbia is well-known for the freshwater fish species found in its lakes and rivers, especially the salmon that return to the rivers of their birth each year to spawn. But what do you really know about BC freshwater fish species?  Did you know that we are home to both native and introduced species, or that the glaciers wiped out all of the habitat for fish in BC? What about the oldest known freshwater fish species in BC?

We have just posted the new Introduction to The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia by fish expert Eric Taylor. In it, Eric talks about these things and more, including the effect of glaciation on our fish species. He says:  "... the Wisconsinan glaciation, one of up to 20 that occurred during the Pleistocene, lasted from about 85,000 to ~11,000 years ago and covered virtually all of BC with ice sheets up to 3 km thick which eliminated all of the habitat for freshwater fishes. Consequently, the current native fish diversity of BC stems almost exclusively from post-glacial immigration of fishes that survived glaciation in ice free areas north, west, east, and south of the ice sheets (known as “glacial refugia”).

Read Eric's new Introduction to the Freshwater Fish of British Columbia and learn more about our 67 native species and 15 introduced species of freshwater fish

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Biogeographic Atlases of BC: Jamie Fenneman Takes On Birds and Vascular Plants

 Western Scrub Jay, photo by Jamie Fenneman

Jamie Fenneman has played a significant role in the biogeographic atlases of British Columbia, first as a photographer submitting photos to both E-Flora and E-Fauna BC, then as an author of an article on plant taxonomy. Since then, he has taken on the role of vascular plant editor on E-Flora BC, become co-coordinator (science) for both projects and, now, has become bird editor on E-Fauna BC.

Jamie took on vascular plants on E-Flora a few years ago, which ties in nicely with his current work on the BC Flora project and his Ph. D. work at UBC on the taxonomy of the Asteraceae. He is lead author and editor for the updated flora of British Columbia that is now underway. Many changes to our vascular flora are coming up, both changes to the species recognized as present in BC and the families they are placed in.

Now, by becoming bird editor, Jamie is really just taking one step forward from his ongoing contributions to E-Fauna as a bird expert since its inception in 2007. He has submitted 80+ single-authored articles on the rare birds of BC (complete with detailed range maps), and is co-author of numerous additional bird articles with Rick Toochin and other expert BC birders. He has compiled key bird checklists for BC, and will now both review and publish bird photos on the site.

In additon to working on his Ph.D. at UBC botany, Jamie holds a B.Sc. in Wildlife Management from the University of Northern BC in 2001, and is a former consultant with LGL Environmental Research Associates. Taxonomy is a major interest for him.  In his Introduction to Plant Taxonomy on E-Flora BC, he provides a clear defintion of taxonomy that could be applied to any species group.  He says:

"Taxonomy is the method by which scientists, conservationists, and naturalists classify and organize the vast diversity of living things on this planet in an effort to understand the evolutionary relationships between them. Modern taxonomy originated in the mid-1700s when Swedish-born Carolus Linnaeus (also known as Carl Linnaeus or Carl von LinnĂ©) published his multi-volume Systema naturae, outlining his new and revolutionary method for classifying and, especially, naming living organisms. Prior to Linnaeus, all described species were given long, complex names that provided much more information than was needed and were clumsy to use. Linnaeus took a different approach: he reduced every single described species to a two-part, Latinized name known as the “binomial” name. Thus, through the Linnaean system a species such as the dog rose changed from long, unwieldy names such as Rosa sylvestris inodora seu canina  and Rosa sylvestra alba cum rubore, folio glabro to the shorter, easier to use Rosa canina. This facilitated the naming of species that, with the massive influx of new specimens from newly explored regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas, was in need of a more efficient and usable system."

Read Jamie full article on plant taxonomy here.
View Jamie's plant photos on E-Flora BC here.
View Jamie's wildlife photos on E-Fauna BC here.
Read a sample rare bird species account by Jamie, on the Cooper's Hawk, here.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five New Rare Bird Articles Now Available on E-Fauna BC

Five new rare bird articles, authored by Rick Toochin and Don Cecile, are now posted in our Notes and Articles section.  These provide detailed information on occurrences, distribution and identification of the following rare species:

Black-billed Cuckoo
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Norther Parula
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

These articles are noteworthy for their inclusion of photos, tables, and detailed record lists.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Guide to Seashore Animals of Alaska Available Online: Common Seashore Animals of Southeast Alaska

 Aaron Baldwin on the seashore. Photo by Lisa Ward.

The 2015 edition of Aaron Baldwin's online guide to seashore animals is now available and well worth browsing through.  Common Seashore Animals of Southeast Alaska covers the Alaska coast in the area immediately adjacent to British Columbia--the Alaskan Panhandle.

Aaron says:  "Southeast an ecologically diverse region that extends from Yakutat to Dixon Entrance south of Prince of Wales Island. A complex of several hundred islands, fjords, channels, and bays, SE Alaska has over 3,000 miles of coastline....The marine life of SE Alaska is exceptionally diverse for several reasons. One is simply the amount of coast, over twice the amount of the coastline of Washington, Oregon, and California combined! Within this enormous coastline there is an incredible variety of habitats, each with their own ecological community."

"Another reason for SE Alaska’s marine diversity is that we are in an overlap zone between two major faunal provinces. These provinces are defined as large areas that contain a similar assemblage of animals. From northern California to SE Alaska is a faunal province called the Oregonian Province. From the Aleutian Island chain to SE Alaska is the Aleutian Province. What this means is that while our sea life is generally similar to that seen in British Columbia and Washington state, we also have a great number of northern species present." 

Aaron Baldwin is author of many of E-Fauna's marine invertebrate checklists, and has contributed hundreds of photos of sea life to the atlas.  He is a fisheries biologist in Alaska. 

View Aaron's photo gallery here.
View Aaron's online guide here.