Sork For Web

Saturday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.: A Trilogy of California Oak Studies: Phylogeny, Phenology, and “Flow-ology”

Free lecture with Victoria Sork and Andy Lentz

Saturday, February 11, 7:00 p.m.
Tipton House, UC Sedgwick Reserve.
3566 Brinkerhoff Avenue, Santa Ynez.

As oaks in California face ever-changing threats to their survival, this timely talk will deepen our understanding of their evolutionary history as well as their fragility and potential resilience. Victoria Sork and Andy Lentz will present three related studies illustrating the ecological and evolutionary processes of oaks. The first study will use genetic data to describe the evolutionary relationships (phylogeny) among California white oak species with an emphasis on clarifying the taxonomy of California scrub oaks. The second study will describe ten years of observations on the timing of springtime leaf and flower emergence (aka phenology) of Quercus lobata, valley oak, and the reproductive consequences for acorn production. The last study will discuss the flow of acorns and genes (“flow-ology”—our word) through the foraging behavior of acorn woodpeckers and California scrub jays. Collectively, this trilogy highlights the fascinating natural history of California oaks.

Professor Victoria Sork is a plant evolutionary and conservation biologist who has studied trees and other organisms in temperate and tropical ecosystems, with a current focus on California oaks. Her research interests include the evolution of local adaptation, plant response to climate, and ecological genomics. She has published more than 100 articles in major journals and presented at numerous national and international conferences. She has conducted research at UC Sedgwick Reserve since 2000 and produced 36 publications on oaks and lichens with data taken entirely or in part from this locality. Professor Sork is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the California Academy of Sciences and a dedicated teacher and student mentor. She holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and BS degree from UC Irvine. Currently, she is Dean of Life Sciences and a Professor with a split appointment in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA.

Andy Lentz is a research associate who grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley. A graduate of the UCSB Sedgwick Reserve’s first docent class in 2000, he has led hundreds of adult and school-age visitors on stimulating and fun natural history tours. He holds a certificate as a California Naturalist. He and Victoria began their ongoing collaboration on the valley oak phenology project in 2007; it has been presented at state and national conferences.