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Vernal pools in fall and winter: A Book Signing

November 1, 2004
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Vernal pool book cover

On December 1, 7:00pm, a book signing and slide show at Harvard Forest will celebrate the release of Vernal Pools: Natural
History and Conservation
, a new book by aquatic ecologist Betsy Colburn.

Vernal pools are small woodland ponds that are flooded in springtime by melting snow and rainfall. They range from seasonal pools that contain water for only a few months in spring, to semi-permanent ponds that dry up only occasionally. Vernal pools provide habitat for a host of animal species that do not occur in permanent waters where there are fish as predators.

The kinds of animals found in a given pool vary depending on how long water is present, and different species have different strategies for surviving when the pools are dry. Hundreds of thousands of terrestrial amphibians that live in the woods migrate to vernal pools early each spring to breed, and a wide variety of crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic insects, and other invertebrates complete their life cycles in these tiny aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Colburn will provide an overview of the ecology of vernal pools. She will discuss some of the interesting adaptations of vernal pool wildlife for fall and winter, when some pools are dry, and others have started to refill. All these species must make it through several months of winter cold before the great burst of biological activity that occurs in spring. A question and answer period will follow the presentation.

Signed copies of Vernal Pools, which is the first comprehensive summary of information on vernal pools of glaciated northeastern North America, will be available for purchase. 

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