Mon, Jun 27|
Clark's Nutcrackers & Whitebark Pines: Pivotal Players in our Western Mountains
Taza Schaming, PhD Wildlife Ecologist, Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative Photo Credit: Jeff Ransom
Time & Location
Jun 27, 2022, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
About the event
Replay Available Here
Whitebark pine and Clark’s Nutcrackers have a fascinating relationship: the trees provide rich, fatty seeds, and the birds “plant” the trees’ seeds —a single bird may hide up to 98,000 seeds in a year. The food caches help the birds get through the winter, and the leftovers grow into new trees. In fact, whitebark pine trees sprout almost exclusively from nutcracker seed caches. This dependency has led to considerable concern for both species because whitebark pine ecosystems are rapidly disappearing in the western United States. While whitebark pine restoration efforts are underway, these efforts will not be effective if Clark’s Nutcracker populations decline or their habitat selection changes to a degree that they are not available to disperse seeds. Tromping through snow, then mud and swarms of mosquitoes, I have been trapping, surveying, radio-tracking, and satellite-tracking nutcrackers since 2009, to study movement, habitat selection, and social behavior. My ultimate goal is to determine which management actions will increase the persistence of nutcrackers throughout their range.
Since 2009, Taza Schaming has been investigating the impact of the decline of whitebark pine on Clark's nutcrackers, studying the stability and resilience of the Clark’s nutcracker-whitebark pine mutualism, to help ensure persistence of these species and the nutcracker’s seed dispersal function. She began her research in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, then branched out into the North Cascades Ecosystem in 2018. Taza finished her PhD at Cornell in 2016, and is continuing her research as a long-term study as a Wildlife Ecologist through Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative. She spends her free time exploring the woods and world with her seven-year-old daughter, Suneva, hiking, camping, canoeing and skiing.