The UC Merced Weather Station is Online!

This last storm brought a wonderful amount of rain to the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve (2.45 inches!), increasing our total rainfall this season to 3.66 inches.  It not only is exciting to see water falling from the sky, but it is also exciting that all users can now get up-to-date information on local campus weather through a new weblink.



Listen Up: Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve on RadioBio!

By Lillie Pennington, PhD student, Environmental Systems Graduate Group, UC Merced                                                                                             

The Christmas Bird Count on the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve, by Nathan Parmeter

On December 21st, 2017, a small group entered the Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve (MVPGR), armed with cameras, identification guides, binoculars and spotterscopes. The group was part of a larger group of birdwatchers in eastern Merced County, scouring the land for birds in an area ranging from the UC campus to Lake McSwain in Mariposa County.

UC California Naturalist Certification Program- Registration and Scholarship Deadlines Extended!

Now is your chance to become a California Naturalist!! Registration is open and scholarships from the Upper Merced River Watershed Council are available!

NRS California Ecology and Conservation Program: Why You Should Apply

By Michael Spaeth, Reserve Intern

            For anyone interested in or unaware of the Natural Reserve System (NRS) California Ecology and Conservation Program, I wanted to provide some insight into why this course is a must for undergrads looking to study life and environmental sciences. This program is a UC-wide field course for undergraduate students interested in learning about ecosystems found throughout California, traveling and staying at various UC natural reserves, and conducting hands-on independent research. 

California Naturalist Course

The Merced Vernal Pools Reserve is delighted to be one of the training sites for the UC California Naturalist Program.  Students in the program will become part of a committed corps of volunteer naturalists and citizen scientists, equipped with the skills needed to take an active role in local natural resource conservation, restoration and education.  The ten-week course combines science instruction with guest speakers, field trips, and project-based learning to explore the unique ecology and natural history of the San Joaquin Valley and central Sierra Nevada foothills region.  The course b

Reserve Has a lot of vernal pools

Although we do not know the exact number of vernal pools in the Reserve, we've always known there are a lot of them. Determining exactly how many pools are in the reserve will require aerial imagery taken in late winter or spring, the time period when pools are filled with water. Graduate students in the MESA lab on campus are poised to help with this task. They've been testing their UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for over a year and a half. When they rains come, they'll be ready.

Predators on the Reserve

Coyotes are a well-adapted species of the Canidae family that can be found in many parts of North America ranging from cold, mountainous terrain to low, dry elevations. At the Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve, Coyotes are the largest land predator, preying on California Ground Squirrels and other small rodents and birds as well as anything else it can find. Coyotes are also largely opportunistic and there have been reports of berries and plants found in their feces when more substantial food such as meat is scarce.


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