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.