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Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve Symposium

March 21, 2018 - 8:30am to 2:00pm

Please join us as we celebrate and hear about some of the cutting edge research that is being conducted on the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve!


Half Dome-Crescent Arch Room (Housing Area)

8:30 a.m.: Coffee and pastries

8:50 a.m.: Introduction

9-9:20 a.m.: Diet analysis of American kestrels (Falco sparverius) breeding on the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve by Ecologist Joy Stewart, applied technology and science

9:20-9:40 a.m.: Hydrologic monitoring and modeling for management and restoration analysis at Avocet Pond by Anna Fryoff-Hung, master’s student, UC Merced

9:40-10 a.m.: Monitoring soil moisture from unmanned aerial vehicles: Surface soil moisture retrieval using machine learning and multi-spectral images by Samuel Araya, Ph.D. candidate, UC Merced

10-10:20 a.m.: Using environmental DNA to monitor for listed vernal pools fairy shrimp in California by Shannon Kieran, Ph.D. candidate, UC Davis

10:20-10:35 a.m.: Break

10:35-10:55 a.m.: The secret life of vernal pool soils: plant genetic diversity above and below ground by Molly Stephens, assistant project scientist, and Dannise Ruiz-Ramos, postdoctoral researcher, UC Merced

10:55-11:05 a.m.: Soil effects on an endemic vernal pool annual plant, Limnanthes douglasii ssp. rosea (meadowfoam) by Daniel Toews, Ph.D. student, UC Merced

11:05-11:35 a.m.: Conservation genomics of endangered California tiger salamanders by Distinguished Professor Brad Shaffer, UCLA

11:35-12:30 p.m.: Lunch

Please also join us as we head over to enjoy the Environmental Systems seminar in Student Services Building (SSB) 170 for the afternoon.


12:30-2 p.m.: Connecting the dots: Hydrological connectivity between vernal pools and downgradient waters by Professor Mark Rains, University of South Florida

For details, please go to:


Crescent Arch meeting room

Contact Information

Sierra Nevada Research Institute