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Research - San Juans Survey 2007


In July, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided David Giblin and Peter Dunwiddie with $12,000 in funding to continue their work documenting and the diversity and distribution of small islands throughout the San Juan Archipelago. In place of the April and May trips in previous years to the islands in the core of the archipelago, David and Peter made trips to a cluster of larger islands in Padilla Bay. These islands represent the eastern boundary of the archipelago, and they fall within the land managed by the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Reserve. Director Dr. Doug Bulthius, Paula Markham, and Andrew have generously provided us with boat transportation to islands within the reserve since 2006.

In early May, David, Peter, and UW graduate student Karen Reagan spent one day collecting on Hat Island, a 91-acre chunk of land sitting in Padilla Bay's northwest corner. One of the most remarkable features of the island was its serpentine bedrock. Perhaps the soil conditions generated by this ultramafic rock contributed to the incredible abundance of death camas (Zigadenus venenosus var. venenosus) and surprising dearth of camas (Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii). Spring-gold (Lomatium utriculatum) and prairie Koeler's grass (Koeleria macrantha) were also abundant, and we were pleased to find the unusual fern aspidotis (Aspidotis densa) and the diminutive annual pale spring-beauty (Claytonia exigua ssp. exigua).

Ben Legler from the UW Herbarium joined the group the following day to collect on Dot and Dotlet islands, which located off the Northwest corner of Hat. Unusual finds there included shiny starwort (Stellaria nitens), Menzies's fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii), and our native Queen Anne's lace (Daucus pusillus). Barbara Williams joined David, Peter, and Ben in early June to revisit Hat, Dot, and Dotlet islands.

Later that year in September, Ted Thomas from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Megan Jensen, a National Science Foundation research intern at the UW Herbarium, and Barbara French from The Nature Conservancy helped David and Peter conduct late season surveys on islands in Wasp Passage and along the southern edge of Lopez Island. Phil Green, Yellow Island Caretaker from The Nature Conservancy piloted us quickly and safely among the islands, as well as helped with collecting. The group made nearly 450 collections of three days. Collecting at this time is the only opportunity to get underrepresented species in the UW Herbarium such as Nootka alkali-grass (Puccinellia nutkaensis), silver beachweed (Ambrosia chamissonis), saline saltbush (Atriplex dioica), and California broomrape (Orobanche californica).

We made nearly 700 collections in support of this project during 2007. David and Peter greatly appreciate all of the wonderful help and company that everyone provided over the year.

Ted Thomas, Phil Green, Peter Dunwiddie, Barbara French, David Giblin, and Megan Jensen on Yellow Island with plants collected during September 2007 surveys.
Photo: Ted Thomas
Rocky outcropping on south end of Hat Island, Padilla Bay Research Reserve.
Photo: David Giblin
Zigadenus venenosus var. venenosus (death camas) on grassy bald of Hat Island.
Photo: David Giblin
Peter Dunwiddie, Carrie Marschner, David Giblin, Barbara Williams on Hat Island.
Photo: Paula Markham
Paula, Andrew and Nicole of Padilla Bay Research Reserve.
Photo: David Giblin
Peter Dunwiddie, Ted Thomas, Megan Jensen, and Phil Green on Reef Island.
Photo: David Giblin
Peter Dunwiddie on Castle Island.
Photo: David Giblin
Phil Green, Peter Dunwiddie, Megan Jensen and David Giblin pressing plants on Yellow Island.
Photo: Ted Thomas
David Giblin on Colville Island.
Photo: Ted Thomas