Burke Museum Home

Research - San Juan 2006


San Juans Survey 2006

Continuing with the work that they initiated in 2005, David Giblin of the UW Herbarium and Peter Dunwiddie of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) led three, three-day collecting trips to document the flora of the small (<100 acres) islands in the San Juan Archipelago. David and Peter focused their efforts this year on islands found in an arc stretching from Eastsound of Orcas Island to the eastern edge of Stuart Island found in the northwest corner of the Archipelago. TNC generously allowed us to use Yellow Island as our base, and Yellow Island Caretaker Phil Green expertly navigated us among our destinations.

During our April, May and September trips, we visited 26 islands and made 1,450 vascular plant collections. An anonymous donor provided the financial support for the September trip, which was invaluable to expanding our species list for the 54 islands that we have visited to date. The majority of vascular plant species in the San Juans bloom between April and June because this is when moisture is most abundant. However, some grass and forb species (e.g., goldenrod [Solidago]) only flower or have mature fruits (e.g., members of the genusAtriplex)in late summer. In the absence of the late summer surveys, we would lack a truly comprehensive understanding of the islands’ flora.

Completing this much work in such a short amount of time would not have been possible without an outstanding group of botanists who donated their time in the field. We really appreciate the help we received from Joe Bennett, Pam Camp, John Floberg, Rod Gilbert, Emily Gonzalez, Eliza Habegger, Steve Hahn, Ben Legler, Carrie Marschner, and Tara Martin. NSF REU intern Jessica Ni organized island by island species lists for the September trip and georeferenced all of WTU’s specimens from San Juan County. Linda Brooking and Barbara Williams databased and processed the specimens, respectively. Support for this project was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Annette de Knijf), Washington Native Plant Society, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Robert Fimbel), U.S. Bureau of Land Management (Pamela Camp), and San Juan County Land Bank. Additional financial support for this research was provided by the Herbarium Endowment and Friends of the Herbarium. 

Meadow in early September
Meadow in early September
Photo: David Giblin.
Deadman Island with Grindelia hirsutula
Deadman Island with Grindelia hirsutula (coastal gumweed).
Photo: David Giblin.
Pressing plants on Fawn Island.
Pressing plants on Fawn Island.
Photo: David Giblin.
Preparing to collect on Flattop Island.
Preparing to collect on Flattop Island.
Photo: David Giblin.
Meadow of Plectritis congesta (sea blush).
Meadow of Plectritis congesta (sea blush).
Photo: David Giblin.
On Yellow Island
Peter Dunwiddie, Tara Martin, Phil Green, David Giblin, Pamela Camp, Joe Bennett, and John Floberg on Yellow Island
Photo: David Giblin
Collecting on islands near Little Cactus.
Collecting on islands near Little Cactus.
Photo: David Giblin.
Loading collecting supplies into the Stewardship on Yellow Island
Loading collecting supplies into the Stewardship on Yellow Island
Photo: David Giblin.
Little McConnell Island.
Little McConnell Island.
Photo: David Giblin.
Camassia leichtlinii (great camas) and Ranunculus occidentalis (western buttercup).
Camassia leichtlinii (great camas) and Ranunculus occidentalis (western buttercup).
Photo: David Giblin.