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A year in the life of an endangered plant

A year ago, we were out in the field working furiously to try to get our plantcam project set up after weeks of work up in the ridge and gulch below. It was already late enough that we were racing the sunset to hike out before dark. But after so much frantic work we realized that we actually had everything in place to connect our plant growth sensor to Caly (a Cyanea calicina), the star plant of this project. I did take a moment to acknowledge the significance of the occasion. Caly’s growth measurements, along with those from the other species, and all other environmental sensors and real time imagery would be providing us a window into the life of incredible native plants and surrounding forest.

I could see the value of the effort already- just working around the plant over the previous few months I could see subtle changes to the plant and its surrounding forest. This time around after a particularly dry and hot number of days, the plant seemed dessicated, the small ferns around it drying out, as if the moisture reservoir of the thick layer of moss around the plant had been depleted. So much effort goes into making these rare species persist, away from the never-ending hum of the large city below… While we worked carefully around the plant, Ryan seemed worried about the stunted leaves of the younger shoots of the plant. “This is also our baby now”

Check the full 1-year time lapse below. There is so much to see: Caly’s leaf flush, Caly’s keiki rebounding after the strike, flowering, all of the surrounding plants (Manono, many ferns) growing all around… Almost every time I see it there is something new. What else do you see?

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