Small but mighty: researchers find periodically flowing streams in California are surprisingly diverse

September 23, 2015
Researchers sampling California streams

Previous research has indicated that intermittently flowing streams in Mediterranean climates like California’s might be less diverse than streams that flow year round. However, after four years of sampling and a concentrated effort to identify more species, ESPM researchers are starting to find that at least some intermittent streams may be just about as diverse as their larger counterparts. Postdoctoral researcher Michael Thomas Bogan, recent graduate Jason Hwan, and Professor Stephanie Carlson studied small creeks in northern California and found more diversity than they expected, including larger animals like California giant salamanders, California news, Pacific chorus frog—all encouraging signs of resilience.

Read more about their field work and findings on this UCANR blog by Faith Kearns.

Read the research: Bogan, Michael T., Jason L. Hwan, and Stephanie M. Carlson. In Press. High aquatic biodiversity in an intermittent coastal headwater stream at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California. Northwest Science.

Related Video: Follow Michael Bogan in the field in this video by Hakai Magazine.
Related Article: “Embracing the Weirdness of Waterless Waterways

This research was supported in part through a grant to Principal Investigator Stephanie Carlson at the University of California, Berkeley from the California Institute for Water Resources in the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.