The California Acorn Survey
In collaboration with Dr. Jean Knops of the University of Nebraska, Bill Carmen of Mill Valley, and postdoctoral scholar Ian Pearse, the California Acorn Survey quantifies acorn production of over 1,000 trees at 19 sites throughout California each year as part of our continuing quest to understand patterns of acorn production in California oaks. This effort is currently funded by an LTREB grant from the National Science Foundation.
Our technique involves visual surveys during which two observers count as many acorns as they can in different parts of the tree, each for 15 seconds. These counts are added to yield an index of acorn production for the tree that year. This method is discussed in more detail in Koenig et al. (1994b).
We have monitored acorn production of five species of oaks at Hastings Reservation, Monterey County, California, since 1980. Starting in 1994, we expanded work to include several additional species and other sites throughout most of California (see map). These sites include several field stations (Hastings, Jasper Ridge, Hopland, Sierra Foothills, San Joaquin Experiment Station, James Reserve, Sedgwick Reserve), two Nature Conservancy sites (Dye Creek and the Santa Rosa Plateau), several parks (Yosemite and Palomar Mountain SP) as well as several other strategically-located sites scattered throughout the oak woodland areas of the state.
The California Acorn Survey has its own newsletter, the California Acorn Report, the most recent edition of which (vol. 16) can be downloaded as a pdf here. Most prior editions are available at the Hastings Reservation website. Eventually we plan on providing summaries of the California Acorn Survey data on this web site as well as publications and more information on the study. In the meantime, if data for a particular site are of interest to you, feel free to contact me at wkd4<at>cornell.edu.
A poster that talks about some of our work on acorn production in California oaks is available on the Hastings Reservation web site here. Notable publications of the California Acorn Survey include:
Koenig, W. D., R. L. Mumme, W. J. Carmen, and M. T. Stanback. 1994a. Acorn production by oaks in central coastal California: variation within and among years. Ecology 75: 99-109.pdf
Koenig, J. M. H. Knops, W. J. Carmen, M. T. Stanback, and R. L. Mumme. 1994b. Estimating acorn crops using visual surveys. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 24: 2105-2112. pdf
Koenig, W. D., J. M. H. Knops, W. J. Carmen, M. T. Stanback, and R. L. Mumme. 1996. Acorn production by oaks in central coastal California: influence of weather at three levels. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 26: 1677-1683. pdf
Koenig, W. D. and J. M. H. Knops. 1998. Scale of mast-seeding and tree-ring growth. Nature 396: 225-226.pdf
Koenig, W. D. and J. M. H. Knops. 2000. Patterns of annual seed production by northern hemisphere trees: a global perspective. American Naturalist 155: 59-69.pdf
Koenig, W. D. and J. M. H. Knops. 2005. The mystery of masting in trees. American Scientist 93: 340-347. pdf
Knops, J. M. H., W. D. Koenig, and W. J. Carmen. 2007. A negative correlation does not imply a trade-off between growth and reproduction in California oaks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 104: 16982-16985. pdf
Koenig, W. D., J. M. H. Knops, W. J. Carmen, and R. D. Sage. 2009. No trade-off between seed size and number in the valley oak Quercus lobata. American Naturalist 173: 682-688. pdf
Koenig, W. D., J. M. H. Knops, J. L. Dickinson, and B. Zuckerberg. 2009. Latitudinal decrease in acorn size in bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is due to environmental constraints, not avian dispersal. Botany 87: 349-356. pdf
Koenig, W. D., J. M. H. Knops, and W. J. Carmen. 2010. Testing the environmental prediction hypothesis for mast-seeding in California oaks. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40: 2115-2122. pdf
Sage, R. D., W. D. Koenig, and B. C. McLaughlin. 2011. Fitness consequences of seed size in the valley oak Quercus lobata Née (Fagaceae). Annals of Forest Science 68: 477-484. pdf
Abraham, S. T., D. N. Zaya, W. D. Koenig, and M. V. Ashley. 2011. Interspecific and intraspecific pollination patterns of valley oak, Quercus lobata, in a mixed stand in coastal central California. International Journal of Plant Sciences 172: 691-699.pdf
Koenig, W. D., K. A. Funk, T. S. Kraft, W. J. Carmen, B. C. Barringer, and J. M. H. Knops. 2012. Stabilizing selection for within-season flowering phenology confirms pollen limitation in a wind-pollinated tree. Journal of Ecology 100: 758-763.pdf
Barringer, B. C., W. D. Koenig, and J. M. H. Knops. 2012. Interrelationships among life-history traits in three California oaks. Oecologia 171: 129-139. pdf
Knops, J. M. H. and W. D. Koenig. 2012. Sex allocation in California oaks: trade-offs or resource tracking? PLoS One 7(8): e43492. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043492 pdf
Koenig, W. D. and J. M. H. Knops. 2013. Large scale spatial synchrony and cross-synchrony in acorn production by two California oaks. Ecology 94: 83-93. pdf
For a photomontage that goes along with the California Acorn Survey and Koenig and Knops (2013), see Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 94: 89-91 (2013) pdf
Walter D. Koenig
Bird Population Studies
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd,
Ithaca, NY 14850
Office: 607 - 254-2151
My office in Mudd Hall: W361
This study is funded by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the University of California's Integrated Hardwood Range Management Program.