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Natural History of Lake Abert at Worthy Brewing

August 20 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Hear about Oregon’s culturally and ecologically extraordinary hypersaline lake.

Ron Larson, PhD shares why Lake Abert is so extraordinary – both culturally and ecologically, and that it urgently needs our ongoing attention so that it remains an essential part of the Great Basin ecosystem.

Ron’s presentation will focus on his newly published book, A Natural History of Oregon’s Lake Abert in the Northwest Great Basin Landscape. Ron will share with us his striking photos, videos, and his concerns about the future of Lake Abert. Introductory chapters in his book include information of the geological processes that formed the Great Basin and Lake Abert, such as Basin and Range faulting, desert varnish, desert pavements, patterned ground, and moving rocks. In another chapter, he discusses the lake’s physical processes: such as how a salt lake is created, storm surges, desiccation polygons, and tufa – a type of rock made in water. Then, Ron explains the ecology of the lake, especially the importance of brine shrimp and alkali flies as a vital food source for the birds. Additionally, Ron will cover the impressive diversity of lichens that are so conspicuous on boulders surrounding the lake, as well as the wetland and upland plants (including a variety of sagebrush species) that are adapted to the high desert climate. Also highlighted will be the wildlife – from scorpions to bighorn sheep, plus a major chapter on birds – all having evolved to survive the harsh conditions around the lake and the high-desert uplands. The birdlife is particularly amazing – where tens to hundreds of thousands of migratory shorebirds, such as the avocets, stilts, and phalaropes, come to the lake to feed prior to their long-distant migrations, with some birds flying as far south as Tierra del Fuego.

Archaeological investigations isanother topic discussed. This chapter describes the fascinating evidence of indigenous peoples, called “The Chewaucanians,” who lived along the lakeshore more than 3,000 years ago and then about 500 years ago disappeared. The evidence suggests the lake was less salty then and fish and other aquatic resources were likely critical to their survival, but drought might have changed that.

Ron Larson has a BS Degree from Oregon State University, an MS Degree from the University of Puerto Rico, and a PhD Degree from the University of Victoria in British Columbia. After conducting a Post-doc at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Florida, he had a lengthy career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Georgia, Mississippi, and finally in Klamath Falls, before retiring in 2014. Ron’s interest in Lake Abert started in 2008 and he continues to be involved with studies and conservation of the lake though the Oregon Lakes Association and the newly-formed “Partnership for Lake Abert and the Chewaucan.” His hobbies include nature photography, writing, native plant gardening, travel, and birding. Ron and his wife Kathy live in Klamath Falls.

Worthy Brewing
 495 NE Bellevue Dr, Bend, OR 97701


August 20
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Deschutes Public Library
(541) 312-1020
View Organizer Website


Worthy Brewing
495 NE Bellevue Dr
Bend, 97701
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