Ad hoc instrumentation methods in ecological studies produce highly biased temperature measurements

In any region-spanning collaborative effort, using (as-much-as-possible) unbiased methods is of course desirable.

Check out the recent paper by Terando et al. It’s open access, available here:

They experimentally compared 11 different sensor brand and shield combinations to weather station data, and found that quite a few methods had a positive bias. It’s not something we haven’t known is a danger, but this is a nice way to standardize methods with some experimental backing behind it.

Longest running successional plot network in the world: All photos

The longest running ecological plot network in the world looking at succession (1916-present) is in Glacier Bay, and now all available photographs have been compiled.  They show a plant community evolving, from mostly bare rock to a variety of current states – spruce, alder, and willow, very different endpoints and something apparently unique to this portion of the bay.  For more information, higher resolution, and some data, see


New map of yellow-cedar decline published

A new map of both the range and decline of yellow-cedar has been published in Global Change Biology with help from researchers in Alaska, BC, and Washington.  The high resolution range map stretches from northern California to southcentral Alaska, from sea level in the north to treeline in the south.  The decline, now quantified at ~400,000 ha (about 7-8% of the total range area), covers southeast Alaska and central coastal BC, down to about 50 degrees north.  It is primarily located in areas where the mean winter temperature is between -2 and +2 degrees C, as anticipated.  The future climate of the region is expected to warm to that threshold by 2070 in most locations.  However, there are a few places above that threshold where cedar is apparently healthy, probably due to a lack of cold winters to trigger the decline when there is no snow on the ground like the outside of Vancouver Island.  How representative these sites are of the population at large needs to be further quantified.  Next steps include a predictive model of decline and comparison of the decline maps to other sources of mortality data.

Buma B, Hennon PE, Harrington CA, Popkin JR, Krapek J, Lamb M, Oakes LE, Saunders SC, Zeglen S.  Emerging broad-scale mortality driven by climate warming and loss of snowpack.  Global Change Biology.  In press.


New range layer of yellow-cedar and observed mortality.  Insets show detail at extreme range edge.   A:  Northern California and southern/eastern Oregon (red box).  B:  Prince William Sound and Icy Bay.  Inset arrows show small, disjunct populations.

Yellow-cedar, meet red cedar


It’s very wet on Prince of Wales Island.

Yellow-cedar, a prominent tree species along the coastal margin (ranging from California to Alaska) is dying, in some places rapidly.  About 8% of the current range is currently affected, and in places where the mortality hits, generally about 70% of the basal area dies.  Basal area is a measure of how much area the trunks (stems) cover near the ground. This mortality is directly related to a warming climate, as it is related to low snow coverage and subsequent root freezing in cold snaps. Continue reading “Yellow-cedar, meet red cedar”

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