I have had the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of exciting, innovative, and important projects. These projects have included working with a variety of species from taxa including bees, butterflies, fish, frogs, fishers, birds, beaver, trees, grasses, and wildflowers. Often equally engaging have been the human groups involved including non-profits, government agencies, universities, businesses, and individual landowners. I have highlighted a few of these projects below but feel free to visit my C.V. on the 'About Me' page for a complete list.
Pollinator survey of Mt. Tamalpais
I worked with the LeBuhn Lab at San Francisco State University, the Marin Municipal Water District, and California State Parks to complete the first survey of native bees on Mt. Tamalpais. Mt. Tamalpais, located just north of San Francisco, provides essential habitat to a huge variety of species. The area is home to a number of ecologically aware and engaged groups that have worked to catalogue many of the species that rely on it. Surveying the native bees on Mt. Tam will help us understand current populations while also enabling continued monitoring.
In this study we used pan traps to construct a baseline of what pollinators are found on Mt. Tam. Bees were collected from the traps every 2-3 weeks, washed and dried to remove the preservative used in the traps (using a conventional washing machine and dryer!), pinned, sorted, labeled, and sent to a taxonomist for species identification. Some sites were located closer to the urban wild interface while others were further away in order to analyze the effect of the the urban wild interface on wild bee populations. This project began in April 2017 and involved two years of data collection. The sites will be resampled over time to track populations.
Bull trout reintroduction with USFWS
Hayes, M.F. and N. Banish. 2017. REVIEW: Translocation and Reintroduction of Native Fishes: A Review of Bull Trout Salvelinus confluentus with Applications for Future Reintroductions. Endangered Species Research. 34: 191-209.
ABSTRACT: Declines in freshwater biodiversity resulting from anthropogenic landscape and climate changes are occurring throughout North America. Reintroduction techniques including translocation, captive rearing, and artificial propagation are often used to create new populations, repatriate extirpated populations, or supplement declining populations. Bull trout Salvelinus confluentus, a salmonid endemic to the northwestern USA and southwestern Canada, experienced significant reductions in abundance and distribution throughout the 20th century, leading to its listing in the US as ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1999. A variety of projects involving reintroduction or stocking of S. confluentus have occurred across the western USA and southwestern Canada. In this review, we summarize case studies involving the reintroduction of S. confluentus and use these case studies to develop recommendations and guidelines for future S. confluentus reintroductions. We recommend that the threats leading to the initial decline of S. confluentus must be adequately addressed prior to reintroduction. Further, translocation and reintroduction project documentation is essential for informing future projects.
Sucker rearing and research with USFWS
Hayes, M.F. and J.E. Rasmussen. 2017. Evaluation of Endangered Lakesucker Rearing in Tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake by use of X-ray Imaging. Western North American Naturalist. 77:1.
ABSTRACT: Two species of endangered, primarily lake-dwelling sucker are endemic to the Upper Klamath Basin in southern Oregon: shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) and Lost River sucker (Deltistes luxatus). A third unlisted species, Klamath largescale sucker (Catostomus snyderi), also occurs in the basin. Apart from a small group of adult Lost River suckers documented in a tributary to Upper Klamath Lake in the late 1990s, it is generally believed that though the listed sucker species spawn in tributaries, the larvae out-migrate within days of swim-up, and therefore, there is no juvenile residence in the tributaries. We used X-ray imaging and vertebral counts to identify 347 juvenile suckers collected from tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake between 2006 and 2008. We positively identified 13 individuals as Lost River sucker. Our finding of juvenile endangered suckers rearing in tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake challenges the previous finding that larval and juvenile suckers only spend a small portion of their lives in rivers. This finding may have broader implications for future research and management of endangered suckers in the Klamath Basin.
Rusty patched bumble bee conservation with the Xerces Society
The story of a declining pollinator and the effort to bring it back from the brink of extinction
In the spring of 2016 the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee, a species of bumble bee once fairly widespread in the Eastern US and now constrained to a very limited range, was considered for listing as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. In collaboration with Rich Hatfield, senior endangered species conservation biologist at the Xerces Society, I created a story map using Arc GIS to spread awareness about the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee and other declining pollinators.
Forest fire history study with the Teton Research Institute
Fire History of Grand Teton National Park and surrounding areas: Did an historical map from 1898 capture the distribution of late 19th century fire?
ABSTRACT: There were widespread stand-replacing fires in the late 1800’s in the Grand Teton area. Polygons of areas affected by these fires that were mapped by the Brandegee timber survey map published in 1898 are highly accurate as 93.5% of our plots in these areas show clear evidence of post-fire tree establishment from 1860-1898. Though not as accurate, forested areas mapped as not burned during this time period were indicative of older post-fire patches 83% of the time. In general, the Brandegee map and our sampling illustrate a landscape of relatively young (100-150 years old) lodgepole pine and aspen patches that regenerated following high-severity fires, and a broad range of patch ages for the conifer, Douglas fir and spruce-fir forest types. These results will allow for the calculation of fire rotation period and the analysis of recent rates of fire in the context of historical patterns of wildfire.
Songbirds in Oregon forests
Effects of Management Practices on Avian Abundance in Oregon Coast Range Forests - Hayes MF, Hutchison D
Undergraduate thesis at Whitman College
ABSTRACT: Forestry in Oregon has traditionally used an industrial model aimed to maximize timber production and revenue, with little attention to the potentially negative affects on ecosystem health and biological diversity. However, some landowners have begun experimenting with more sustainable management practices. This study examines the affect of some of these innovative silvicultural techniques on avian abundance and diversity in the Oregon Coast Range. Data on bird number and species were collected across designated stops for three years with each stop characterized by forest type (predominantly Douglas fir, mixed, or predominantly a species other than Douglas fir), understory (woody shrub, fern, or herbaceous), and treatment (control, lightly thinned, thinned, or patch cut). Total number of birds, number of birds in certain foraging guilds, and four indicator songbird species were compared across stops. Because data were collected with no clear analysis in mind, not all combinations of stop characteristics could be considered. Data were analyzed using one and two-way ANOVA, and results were corrected using the Bonferroni correction. While no significant results were found related to forest type or understory, birds clearly preferred the lightly thinned treatment. Studies analyzing all combinations of forest characteristics and comparing sustainably managed forests to industry methods should be implemented to more thoroughly answer the question of what management practices maximize forest ecosystem health.
The beaver believers documentary film
With carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere 400 parts per million and rising, climate change has become a pressing reality. The effects of climate change can already be seen across the western United States, where we are experiencing hotter and drier conditions compared to historical averages. Most reporting on these changes is full of gloom and doom, but our film is different. The Beaver Believers tells a fresh and inspiring story of how five activists learned to stop worrying about climate change and do something creative that will help us better cope with what’s coming. Through the stories of these five activists, we learn how the simple act of restoring beaver to our watersheds can connect all of us in new and sometimes unexpected ways.