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This short course was held on
Saturday, March 6, 2004 (with optional Sunday field trip March 7)
9:00 am to 4:00 pm (Registration at 8:30 am)
2040 Valley Life Sciences Building, UC Berkeley campus




Welcome and Logistics

The Big Squeeze: The Topographic Evolution of the San Francisco Bay Region
    David Howell, US Geological Survey, Menlo Park
The bedrock that forms the underpinnings of the San Francisco Bay regions evinces a complex history spanning 140 million years. However, the topography that we know today is quite young, generally less than two million years old. A small component of east-west compression associated with the San Andreas fault system is responsible for the uplift of mountains and the downward warping of valleys. Further sculpting is the result of gravity where massive chunks of rock have slid to lower elevations.

10:10–11:00 Aquatic Reptiles to Saber-toothed Cats: Evolution of California’s Vertebrate Faunas
    Bill Clemens, Interim Director, UC Museum of Paleontology
Assembling California was a long-term process. Until about 100 million years ago the Pacific Ocean, inhabited by a diverse fauna of aquatic vertebrates, covered most of what is now California. During the last 60 million years a more complete fossil record documents changes from tropical forests, inhabited by primitive primates and small relatives of modern horses, to the rigors of the Ice Age when California’s landscape was dotted by herds of mammoths and camels stalked by the occasional saber-toothed cat.

Indians, Missionaries, and Merchants: The Archaeology of the Greater San Francisco Bay
    Kent Lightfoot, Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
California is truly unique: it was here that colonial empires of Imperial Spain and Tsarist Russia first touched on the Pacific Coast. Caught within and between the Russian and Spanish colonies were hundreds of communities of coastal hunter-gatherers whose entanglements with the foreigners laid the foundation for our multi-ethnic state. Recent archaeological investigations have unearthed many new findings about the cultural encounters that took place during the late 1700s and 1800s.



Break for Lunch

Relicts and Radiations: Rise of the California Flora
    Bruce Baldwin, Jepson and University Herbaria, UC Berkeley
California’s flora is famous among botanists worldwide for its unique composition, extraordinary richness, and well-studied evolutionary examples. Climatic stability, upheaval, and isolation all played roles in shaping our native plant life to resemble an oceanic-island assemblage. Recent studies have begun to reveal another, finer layer of plant diversity that offers new perspectives on how our flora arose.

2:10–3:00 Genes and Geologic Process on the California Coast: Connecting Antarctica to California
    David Jacobs, Department of Biology, UC Los Angeles
California has a diverse temperate marine fauna. Molecular data connects that diversification with the start of upwelling along the coast that began about 15 million years ago, triggered by the cooling of the South Pole and Southern Ocean. Such is the nature of our globally-connected world that California diversity has its origin in Antarctic climate change!

California’s Coast Redwood and the Land-Sea Connection
    Todd Dawson, Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley
California’s State Tree, the coast redwood, is the tallest on Earth and sustains some of the highest growth rates ever measured in a conifer. How is this possible in a Mediterranean climate characterized by summer drought? One answer lies in understanding the unique coastal climate of California and the connection between near-shore redwood forests, the Pacific Ocean and the resources it can provide, and the biology of our State Tree.

Please note: Regretfully, Dr. Dawson was unable to participate in the short course. In his place, Dr. David Lindberg kindly stepped in and added to our program by speaking on his research to determine the evolutionary relationships among groups of limpets. Interestingly, his recent molecular work on California limpets has not only produced a phylogeny, but has also provided a methodology for identifying patterns in the movement of a group of warm-water limpets. This has significance in that changes in their distribution can provide a signal of changes in water temperature and changing climate patterns at a more global level.

SUNDAY FIELD TRIP: Click here for photos from our Sunday adventures.

This year we offered a Sunday field trip for those who would like to personally experience the geology and oenology of the Napa Valley. Departing from the UC campus at 9:00 am, our exploration began at the lookout platform of Opus One winery, in the heart of Napa Valley. We observed the critical features of the valley, including giant landslides, and sampled some Napa nectar. From Opus One we traveled by bus, visiting several bedrock outcrops, reading some of the 140-million-year history of the Valley. Then we went to the vineyards at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars to examine soils and vines. We ended the day in the SLWC cave, cut into the neck of an ancient volcano, and while there, sampled an array of wines. We returned to campus shortly after 5:00 pm.


Link to more information on our speakers and additional resources mentioned by our speakers during the lecture symposium.

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