Opening Reception and Poster Session

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Opening Reception and Poster Session

Thursday, October 20 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Bayshore Foyer and Bayshore Ballroom

Explore posters, the exhibit hall, and the art and photography exhibits while celebrating the first day of the conference with peers and friends! Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be provided and cash bars will be open. Poster authors and contributors will be available to answer questions and discuss their work.

Session Chairs: Liv O’Keeffe (California Native Plant Society, Sacramento, CA, USA) and Amina Sharma (California Native Plant Society, Los Angeles, CA, USA)

P.1    The Pinnacle of Jewelflowers–An undescribed potential species of Streptanthus at Pinnacles National Park

Amelia Ryan (National Park Service), Alejandra Vasco (Botanical Research Institute of Texas), Charlotte Okraska (University of Nebraska at Kearney), Bryan T. Drew (University of Nebraska at Kearney), and N. Ivalú Cacho (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)

First collected 40 years ago, the Pinnacles jewelflower has had a long journey to being recognized and described as a distinct species. With features similar to Streptanthus insignis and Caulanthus lemmonii, both of which grow nearby, the genetic lineage of the Pinnacles Jewelflower has been something of a mystery for decades. 

We are assembling a dataset based on new restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RADSeq) data to clarify the relationships of the Pinnacles jewelflower to these two species to which it resembles, as well as its phylogenetic placement in the Streptanthus/Caulanthus complex. 

The tale of recognizing this putative species from a misidentified decades-old herbarium specimen and subsequent field surveys highlights the importance of traditional herbaria and boots-on-the-ground botany as well as digitized collections and newer tools like genetic sequencing in capturing and discovering regional and global biodiversity.

P.2    Using eDNA metabarcoding and CRISPR based technology to inventory vernal pools on USFWS refuge lands

Anderson Tate-Montenegro (Genomic Variation Laboratory, University of California, Davis, CA) 

California vernal pools are complex, biologically diverse ecosystems that support a wide range of rare and endemic plants and animals. Assessing the biodiversity of the pools remains challenging due to multiple factors: the pool’s ephemeral nature, the expertise needed to differentiate between certain morphologically similar invertebrates inhabiting them, and the fragility of resident species and the pools themselves. To aid federal wildlife managers in assessing the biodiversity of managed pools, we will develop environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches using metabarcoding. The first phase of this study is focused on improving metabarcoding taxonomic resolution. For this task, we will develop a reference sequence database. The database will contain DNA barcode sequences for species known to inhabit California vernal pools and based on specific criteria. The species of interest will be prioritized with three criteria; if the species is threatened, endangered, or has special conservation status, if the species is endemic to a refuge or local area, and if the species’ ecological importance to the local vernal pool community. In addition, prioritization will be following federal conservation plans and vernal pool recovery plans. This study will target sequences using common universal barcodes such as 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, 18S rRNA, cytochrome oxidase I, and the plant-specific chloroplast trnL intron to capture different taxonomic groups. Reference sequences for selected barcoding loci will be aligned with the program MEGA7. Potential PCR primers will be identified from the literature and previous research done by the Genomic Variation Laboratory at UC Davis. Expected results for this study phase include a prioritized list of species of management interest and the reference sequence database.

P.3    The Green Biome Institute: Conserving Molecular Profiles of California’s Endangered Plants

Bharti Parihar (California State University East Bay), Chris Baysdorfer (California State University East Bay), Ana M.R. Almeida (California State University East Bay), Brian Perry (California State University East Bay), Joanna Garaventa (California State University East Bay), Christine Scobee (California State University East Bay), Randall Davis (California State University East Bay)

California is home to over 6,000 plant species, a large fraction of which are endemic to the state. Approximately 2,000 plant species are at risk of extinction due to factors such as climate change and urbanization driven habitat loss. Currently, many of these plant species are critically endangered, and their remaining populations of just a few individuals face potential extinction. Meaningful efforts in preserving these remaining populations require foundational knowledge of the species’ ecology and evolution in order to guide conservation and management strategies. The Green Biome Institute (GBI) at California State University East Bay (CSUEB) aims to contribute to the conservation of California’s rare and endangered plant species by creating molecular profiles through the sequencing of plant genomes, transcriptomes, epigenomes, metabolomes, and microbiomes. Thus far, GBI has produced approximately 30X coverage of short-read genome sequence data for 52 species, along with draft genome assemblies for around 10 of these species. Additional data generation includes long-read sequencing, RNA-Seq data, genome size estimations by k-mer analysis, as well as germplasm and propagation efforts. In addition, GBI has created unique opportunities for engagement in research with a diverse student body at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Altogether, we believe these collective efforts will contribute towards data-driven conservation of California’s plant diversity while also fostering an inclusive and diverse workforce.

P.4    Ecology and Distribution of Lewisia leeana, quill-leaf Lewisia, in Eastern Fresno County

Bill Finch (Northern California Botanists, Sierra Foothill Conservancy, California Native Plant Society) 

The purpose of this study is to determine the ecology and map the distribution of the disjunctive population of Lewisia leeana in eastern Fresno County. Mapping was carried out during 113 hiking days in 2013-2021 which included photographing, establishing location with GPS, and posting to iNaturalist. The ongoing baseline study focuses on expanding the five areas where 15 observations of L. leeana were made from 1900 through 2006. I have posted a total of 692 observations of L. leeana to iNaturalist. L. leeana is almost always found in soil of granitic origin on north-facing slopes at elevations greater than 2600m, and it shows no consistent associations with any other organisms. An additional 3,276 other plants and fungi (181 species) were identified during the study and posted to iNaturalist. Continued study of the distribution of L. leeana may help monitor effects of climate change. I recommend follow-up monitoring of key locations every five years.

P.5    Botanical collections and military expeditions in the West–John C. Frémont and the Sacramento River Massacre of 1846

Bill Helmer (Bristlecone Chapter, CNPS)

John C. Frémont’s expedition of 1845-1846 in California was mainly focused on promoting his role in the incipient war with Mexico. While in northern California, Frémont’s party, including Kit Carson, massacred Nomlaki or Wintu families on the upper Sacramento River on April 5, 1846. At the same time, Frémont collected plant specimens in the vicinity of this massacre and later sent them to botanist John Torrey in Princeton for classification. The approximate areas of the plant collections and the massacre are mapped, as well as the transport path of the plant collections to the herbarium of John Torrey at his home in Princeton, New Jersey. The paper will illustrate the relationship between scientific study and the expansion of the United States into indigenous territories, and the geographic paths which bound these intertwined activities. It concludes with a call to begin to change the names of common plants which presently honor  Frémont.

P.6    Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos) – Gifts that Keep on Giving 

Bill Waycott, (Field Trip Coordinator, San Luis Obispo Chapter, CNPS), Diana Waycott, (member, San Luis Obispo Chapter, CNPS), Michael Vasey (Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University

The California Floristic Province (CFP), from southern Oregon to northern Baja, is the center of diversification for the genus Arctostaphylos. Out of 107 taxa, only one subspecies has a restricted distribution outside of the CFP (in Guatemala). Most manzanitas occur in specialized micro-habitats presenting adaptations to nutrient-poor soil types, diverse micro-climates, and differing elevations. Recent discoveries have documented their dependence on symbioses involving mycorrhizae, dispersal via rodent caching, and provision of various foundational services to many insects, birds, and other mammals. Many different manzanitas exist in and around large human centers, particularly along the California coast. Access to these areas is quite manageable for local residents and includes the potential for new discoveries via field trips and citizen science activities.   

One such recent outing to Point Sal in northwest Santa Barbara County identified a series of unrecognized variants of Arctostaphylos. New taxon or hybrid? A preliminary study suggests there is widespread hybridization occurring at the site between A. purissima and A. crustacea spp. or A. rudis, exhibiting distinct morphological recombinations. The data are of heightened interest knowing these particular species segregate into distinct sub-groups with respect to their taxonomic relationships, ploidy levels, and/or post-fire regenerative schemes.

We will describe a local CNPS program in San Luis Obispo that gets members and guests out to these special places several times a year. The recent Field Guide to Manzanitas (Kauffman et al. 2nd Edition 2021) provides guidance to many of these sites.  Wherever you live, especially along coastal bays such as San Francisco, Monterey, or Morro Bays, the diversity of surrounding manzanitas is surprising and dramatic. We suggest that a great way to get to know this challenging group of plants is to visit these diverse sites and, in the process, experience the exceptional diversity of California’s rich flora in places shared by the manzanitas. In the process, have fun, get to know your community, and at the very least get some good exercise! 

P.7    Assessing and conserving the endemic Dudleya cymosa (Lem.) Britton & Rose (Crassulaceae) taxa of the Santa Monica Mountains after the 2018 Woolsey Fire

C. Matt Guilliams (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Kristen E. Hasenstab-Lehman (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Annie Ayers (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Ben Carter (San Jose State University), Daniel Cisneros (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Susana Delgadillo (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Eli Balderas (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Sean Carson (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Alejandro Cisneros Lopez (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Jessica Fernandez (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Caitlin Hazelquist (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Jackie Khanna (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Kevin Mason (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Isabel Rivera (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Heather Schneider (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Emily Thomas (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Stephen W. McCabe (U.C. Santa Cruz, retired), Mark A. Elvin (United States Fish and Wildlife Service), Danielle LeFer (California State Parks), Mark Mendelsohn (National Park Service), Ken Niessen (United States Fish and Wildlife Service), and Kelly Schmoker (California Department of Fish and Wildlife).

The Woolsey Fire ignited on November 8, 2018 in the Santa Susana Mountains, Ventura County, California. Before being extinguished, it burned 39,234 hectares (96,949 acres), primarily in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Woolsey Fire burn scar almost completely encompassed the ranges of three rare subspecies of Dudleya cymosa (Lem.) Britton & Rose (Crassulaceae) — subsp. agourensis K.M. Nakai, subsp. marcescens Moran, and subsp. ovatifolia (Britton) Moran — along with two unnamed morphological forms (D. cymosa “Slant Rock” and D. cymosa “Split Rock”). It was unclear the extent to which the fire directly or indirectly impacted populations of these Dudleya, however. Here we describe a project aimed at assessing the impacts of the Woolsey Fire on these Dudleya and performing a series of conservation actions to bolster the most heavily-impacted populations. In 2020, we performed direct counts of all target Dudleya taxa and forms throughout their known ranges to assess fire impacts. Based on these surveys, we made targeted seed collections for both long-term conservation as well as restoration seed bulking. We sowed seeds of each taxon or form by population in January 2021, and grew the resulting plants in pollinator exclusion tents. Many plants flowered in the first year, and we successfully gathered seed that will be used for later in situ restoration. In parallel with the greenhouse work, a study is underway to understand the dynamics of moss recruitment on rock, potentially a critical step in Dudleya habitat recovery. In 2022, we will work with resource agencies and land owner-managers to selectively return population-specific seed to the most heavily-impacted populations.

P.8    A common garden study of the endemic subspecies of Dudleya cymosa (Lem.) Britton & Rose in the Santa Monica Mountains

Annie Ayers (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), C. Matt Guilliams (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Kristen .E. Hasenstab-Lehman (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Alejandro Cisneros Lopez (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Daniel Cisneros (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Susana Delgadillo (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Jackie Khanna (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Isabel Rivera (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Caitlin Hazelquist (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Emily A.Thomas (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden) 

The Santa Monica Mountains contain the global ranges of three endemic subspecies of Dudleya cymosa (Lem.) Britton & Rose (Crassulaceae) — subsp. agourensis K.M. Nakai, subsp. marcescens Moran, and subsp. ovatifolia (Britton) Moran — along with two unnamed morphological forms (D. cymosa “Slant Rock” and D. cymosa “Split Rock”). The three recognized subspp. are each federally listed as threatened, while the forms are known from single rock outcrops and are treated as rare. Here we report on a greenhouse study of these three taxa and two forms. We gathered seed from 13 populations of these taxa or forms and grew the resulting plants in pollinator exclusion tents under similar conditions by population. We performed daily counts of germination, flowering, and fruiting. At anthesis, we gathered data on 24 morphological and color features for up to 10 individuals per population. The resulting data showed taxon/form-specific differences in the timing of germination and flowering. We found moderate morphological differentiation between populations of the three recognized subspecies, with subspp. agourensis and ovatifolia particularly well-marked. The “Slant Rock” and “Split Rock” forms were not morphologically differentiated in these analyses. Interestingly, plants grown from seed of putative subsp. marcescens were not found to be morphologically different from plants grown from seed of co-occurring subsp. cymosa, suggesting that fine-scale habitat differences may be responsible for the expression of the suites of morphological features commonly associated with subsp. marcescens and cymosa in the Santa Monica Mountains. Collectively, this common garden project sheds light on a rare and taxonomically difficult group of Dudleya. Future work will include in situ studies to characterize the micro-habitat of subsp. marcescens.

P.9    Expand Native Plants to New Housing Projects and Beyond Through Governments

Caren Hanson (Sierra Club Santa Margarita Group) 

Native plants need to be added to the local city guidelines throughout the state to replace non-native ornamental plants now being used. In our local areas, we have managed to include small butterfly gardens inside city parks in two cities. But there are many new subdivisions in this area under construction (it’s one of the fastest growing areas in the nation). We’ve tried reaching out to the cities to get them to change their guidelines, with limited success. They are interested, but that’s about it. We need to tackle this issue either through county or state government to get an across-the-board change in policy. Our native creatures need our help.

P.10    A Natural Resource Inventory of the Dingell Lands, Death Valley National Park,  Inyo & San Bernardino Counties, California

Carolyn Mills (Death Valley National Park & Great Basin Institute) 

On March 12, 2019, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Dingell Act) was signed into law, expanding the boundaries of Death Valley National Park (DEVA) to include an additional 35,292 acres of land. In 2020, this study was initiated by park managers to inventory the flora of these lands. This inventory documented a total of 224 minimum-rank vascular plant taxa, representing 48 families, as well as an additional 32 minimum-rank taxa, including an additional 2 families, that were observed but could not be collected due to the exceptional drought conditions of 2020-2021. Less than 3% of the documented flora was comprised of non-native species. This inventory detected new populations of potential species of management concern, such as the western Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia), and alerted park managers to the landscape-scale changes occurring as a result of feral burro grazing and trampling on these lands, which particularly threatens sensitive desert springs and their associated flora.

P.11    Tule River Native Plant Demonstration Gardens

Catherine Sandra Capone (Tule River Parkway Association) 

The purpose of the project is three fold, to demonstrate to the public that native plants can be used to create appealing and water conserving gardens, to bring a wide variety of native plants back to a river corridor that has been stripped of its understory, and finally to provide wildlife the food and habitat it needs to re-establish in the river corridor.

P.12    Banking on Success: California Plant Rescue Lessons and Progress in Conservation Seed Banking and Beyond

Christa Horn (San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, California Plant Rescue) 

California Plant Rescue (CaPR), a collaborative initiative focused on ex situ conservation efforts in California and the California Floristic Province, has made immense progress towards their goals. When CaPR members came together in 2014, just 30% of the state’s CRPR 1B taxa were known to be conserved in regional seed banks. Currently, the proportion of conserved 1B-ranked taxa exceeds 75% – a global conservation target. We have identified several factors in CaPR’s history, governance, and membership we believe are key to this success. 

CaPR members cooperate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which outlines the sharing of data, participation in annual meetings, the role of a coordinator, governance guiding adaptation of policies and dispersal of shared funding, and more. Support from the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) in building and hosting our shared database was a key feature for understanding the breadth, quality, and patterns within our collective seed bank accessions. CPC also serves as the group’s fiscal sponsor, a registered non-profit that allows us to take in funds from various sources – including from the State of California. 

In 2019, the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) led an effort to secure seed bank support in the state budget and directed it towards CaPR. The CaPR members serve as a networked state seed bank. The cumulative $3.6 million has thus far led to 399 taxa ranked as rare by CRPR being conserved in seed banks for the first time. The funding has also supported important infrastructure investments to help the network better secure and curate their conservation collections. 

Early successes in building a strong network and processes allowed CaPR to make the most of the funding opportunity and in making strategic steps moving forward in conservation efforts.

P.13    Ecology on California Rangelands: Monitoring Vegetation, Birds, and Soil

Dabid Garcia, My-Lan Le, Sophie Noda (Point Blue Conservation Science) 

There is space at the intersection of land stewardship and food systems to enrich native plant and animal diversity. The Rangeland Monitoring Network (RMN) is a program within Point Blue Conservation Science that spans over 25 counties in California. RMN’s purpose is to measure the ecological function of rangelands through vegetation, soil, and bird monitoring. We are interested in the ways that grazing management affects on-the-ground ecological change at the properties we monitor given the information provided by managers and ranchers on their management practices. To increase communication and collaboration among land managers, this data is summarized, analyzed, and returned directly to land managers. Management recommendations are included with the intention to positively influence management on rangelands in ways that increase biodiversity, native plant recruitment, soil health, and provide wildlife habitat. Using this data set, we also explore the differences in vegetation functional groups of rangelands across different regions of California – Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Sierra Nevada Foothills, and Central Coast – and how they relate to soil properties and avian diversity. Line point intercept surveys and soil sampling showed that soil organic carbon was found to be positively correlated with the presence and percent cover of woody plants. When specific California Wildlife Habitat Relationship categories were aggregated into grassland, oak woodland, coastal scrub, and miscellaneous habitats, functional diversity on rangelands was similar across regions except for perennial grasses which had a higher percent cover in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and Central Coast. Rangelands in the Sierra Nevada Foothills had the highest functional diversity, where rangelands also include mountain meadows and edge habitats.

P.14    eDNA metabarcoding California vernal pool plant communities: A new tool for biodiversity assessments

Daniel J. Toews (Environmental Systems Graduate Group, University of California, Merced Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Merced) 

Understanding patterns of plant diversity and species distributions across environmental gradients is important for mitigating impacts of current and future environmental change. Quantifying plant communities is traditionally performed by visual surveys but is complicated by dormancy or the phenological stages at the time surveys are taken, a species’ ability to persist over time in the soil seed bank, and time or logistical issues. Aboveground species surveys of California’s vernal pool plant communities show year-to-year fluctuation in both species diversity and population sizes. Moreover, fluctuations in precipitation and inundation typically necessitate repeated surveys within a single season to achieve a complete census. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding techniques enable detection of trace amounts of species DNA present in environmental samples and may give researchers the ability to detect species that may be present but missed by above-ground assessment methods. Here, we compare both traditional botanical surveys and eDNA metabarcoding techniques in vernal pool plant communities where it is difficult to detect all plant species present within a given year. We found that eDNA metabarcoding can detect differences in biodiversity between inundation zones of vernal pools. Vernal pool plant communities varied in composition among samples, but remained distinct from upland grass communities, similarly to traditional vegetation surveys. We detected the endangered plant species, Colusa grass (Neostapfia colusana), in a single sample (2mL of soil) taken from a large playa pool and where the plant was abundant the previous year. Nevertheless, Colusa grass was not detected in other soil samples from this same pool. We highlight promising results for using eDNA as a biomonitoring tool and discuss benefits, challenges, and unanswered questions for using eDNA to monitor plant communities.

P.15    Visualizing floristic patterns of California’s rare lichens 

Danielle Ward (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden) and Rikke Reese Næsborg (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden) 

California’s rare, threatened, and endangered lichens are important contributors to the overall health and functioning of California’s diverse ecosystems. CNPS and the California Lichen Society (CALS) have collaboratively promoted the conservation of rare lichens through the assessment of the biogeography, trends, and threats to each considered species. These initiatives have culminated in a list of 15 rare California lichen species to date, which is formally recognized by the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB). The CNDDB data are used by a variety of entities for conservation decisions, land use change projects, and endangered species recovery. This project analyses the spatial distribution of these 15 rare lichens in California using publicly accessible data from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s lichenarium, the Consortium of Lichen Herbaria (CNALH) and the Calflora database. It aims to highlight the morphological, habitat, and substrate diversity of these species, which reflects the diversity of roles they play in their ecosystems. 

P.16    Ecological Impacts of Wildfire Hazard Mitigation in the Coast Redwood Home Ignition Zone

David Benterou (San Jose State University) 

Increasing frequency of wildfire climate conditions, and ahistorical fuel loads, has resulted in consecutive years of devastating home loss, demanding improved wildfire management and safety. Wildfire research positively correlates house survival with specific improvements to building materials and defensible space 30 m into surrounding vegetation, and California requires home hazard mitigation of this Home Ignition Zone (HIZ). Available fuel break research finds plant invasions following repeated vegetative clearance contribute to forest fragmentation. Studies describing mitigation compliance are nonexistent thus the ecological impacts of the HIZ are unknown. This project aims to fill this gap for Sequoia sempervirens ecosystems by asking how canopy cover, fuel load, and understory plant composition vary with increasing mitigation? Using 75 participating residences across three representative Santa Cruz Mountains neighborhoods, and 225 additional roadside rapid assessments, data will be collected on mitigation adherence in regulated zones (0-5’, 5’-30’, and 30’-100’), forest stand and understory plant characteristics, and surface fuels. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post-hoc analysis will be used to assess differences in mean understory species cover factored by zone and neighborhood. A generalized linear mixed-effects model (GLMM) will be used to predict associations of native plant and noxious weed cover relative to mitigation compliance.

P.17    Pine Hill Preserve – A gabbro soil island in El Dorado County

Debra Ayres and Virginia Meyer (El Dorado Chapter, CNPS) 

Pine Hill is near the center of a 30,000 acre gabbro soil intrusion in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in El Dorado County, CA. This gabbro island is a plant biodiversity hotspot that contains over 8% of the flora of the entire State (741 native and non-native plants) while covering a minuscule area (0.024%) of the State. The flora is sorted into chaparral, oak woodland, and grassland plant communities. Eight rare perennials or shrubs occur in the chaparral and oak woodland; five are federally listed. Each species has found a way to deal with summer drought, decades of shrub competition, and fire but are at risk mainly due to development. The Pine Hill Preserves have been established to provide protected habitats for these plants and communities.

P.18    Effects of selective mowing of invasive grasses on pollinator networks in a California oak savanna environment

Destiny Mendoza (California State University, East Bay), Yvette Morales (California State University, East Bay), Jenny Hazlehurst (California State University, East Bay)

Invasive species are threatening ecosystems, causing native populations to be decimated. Native wildflowers are especially threatened due to invasive grasses outcompeting them, affecting populations of native pollinators that rely on these wildflowers. Mowing as an ecological restoration technique has been shown to greatly influence environments to restore and aid damaged habitats. It is known that plant-pollinator networks can be influenced by relative abundance of flowers and diversity of flowering plant species, but the effects of selective mowing on plant-pollinator interactions have not been thoroughly examined. To analyze the effects of selective mowing of invasive grasses this study compared pollinator community and network structure in paired mowed and unmowed plots in California. Vegetation and invertebrate pollinators were sampled to calculate pollinator diversity and interaction networks.  We found significant differences in pollinator species diversity between the mowed plots of land and unmowed plots of land, and significant effects of mowing on some indices of network architecture including robustness to secondary species extinction. This study will provide critical data to land managers about the effects of common grassland restoration techniques on pollinator communities, without which restoration cannot be achieved.

P.19    Dirca occidentalis, a Proxy for the Diminishing Arcto-Tertiary Geoflora in California?

Don Thomas (Santa Clara Valley Chapter, CNPS) 

Dirca occidentalis, western leatherwood or Dirca, is a rare plant endemic to the San Francisco Bay Area and the only member of the family Thymelaeaceae native to California. It is one of the earliest blooming native plants, flowering in late winter. For the past 10 years, the Santa Clara Valley Chapter, CNPS has conducted an annual early-season field trip to various parks to view dirca in bloom. In 2020 a field trip was led to Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve in Los Altos to observe it, the last previous visit having been in the year 2000. It was discovered that of the 14 GPS point locations recorded for Dirca in 2000, only 2 remained in 2020. This disappearance of Dirca had occurred unnoticed and unrecorded during this 20-year time period. The suspected causes of this die-off include climate change and the transformation of the oak woodland plant community by Sudden Oak Death disease. With rapid climate change, it appears that there is a need for more comprehensive and systematic monitoring of rare plants on the San Francisco Peninsula. A systematic monitoring program is being developed to track changes in the populations of Dirca, and preliminary results are presented. This program includes periodic recording of plant locations in the Calflora and iNaturalist online databases and the tagging of a sample of plants to detect changes in abundance in the plant community. Perhaps Dirca occidentalis can serve as a proxy for the decline of other Tertiary-era plant relicts in California.

P.20    Dome Fire Joshua Tree Restoration Project: Leveraging volunteer efforts to help a species imperiled by climate change.

Drew Kaiser (Mojave National Preserve, National Park Service) 

In August 2020, the Dome Fire consumed nearly 44,000 acres (70 square miles) in Mojave National Preserve (MNP), and burned an estimated 1.3 million eastern Joshua trees (Yucca jaegeriana) in one of the largest and densest Joshua tree forests in the world. Predictive models have been developed to forecast how the Joshua trees will respond and shift to changing climatic conditions, and one such model predicted that Cima Dome could be a refugia for the species. The perimeter of the Dome Fire overlaps the modelled refugia almost entirely. In response to the fire and the existing literature on poor seed dispersal for Joshua trees, MNP began a project to restore these plants to the most severely affected areas of the burn. For this restoration project, MNP used a variety of outreach methods to attract volunteers and the response was nearly overwhelming. People all over the country answered the call to come to the desert to help plant and water Joshua trees. During the first year of planting, approximately 140 people contributed over 2,500 volunteer hours to make this project possible. Volunteers ranged in age from 7-76. There were geologists, Department of Defense personnel, rocket scientists, off-road enthusiasts, conservationists, utility repair technicians, photographers, construction workers, historians, engineers, lawyers, chemists, students, and retirees. Aside from planting, watering of Joshua trees throughout the year will be done largely through volunteers through MNP’s Adopt-a-Joshua-Tree program. Planting events will continue over the next three years, and so MNP anticipates hundreds, maybe thousands, of volunteers will be engaged over the life of the project.

P.21    Science and Art

Elise Cypher (UC Santa Barbara) 

Illustration is an essential tool for communicating science. It connects people with concepts on a level that photographs and words alone cannot, and more funding for scientific illustration is needed. I will present the scientific illustration process using some of my previous works, and the importance of science communication with ongoing projects, such as illustrations of chaparral degradation and a simplified field guide to the Santa Barbara area. 

P.22    Applying Cluster Analysis to Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Data

Eric Smith (Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting) 

Vernal pool and wetland restorations are often monitored with intensive floristic surveys, but the analysis of the data is usually restricted to simple summary statistics such as richness and cover of wetland indicator plants, native plants, and invasive plants. I used non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) and other alternative statistical techniques to compare the plant communities of restored/created and natural reference wetlands across multiple years. Cluster analyses provide a visual representation of the similarities and differences between communities that are concealed by the simple performance criteria written into mitigation plans. I present the results of cluster analyses side-by-side with the evaluation of mitigation wetlands according to their performance criteria.

P.23    Removal of Eucalyptus Forest and Establishment of Oak Woodland in Wunderlich County Park

Erin McDermott (Nomad Ecology, LLC), Jaclyn Inkster (Nomad Ecology, LLC), Robert Vogt (Pacific Gas & Electric), Amy Hiss (Jacobs), and Lynne Hosley (Jacobs)

Eucalyptus forest is an undesirable vegetation type in California because it displaces native habitats, suppresses native species, and poses a fire threat. PG&E, Nomad Ecology, and Jacobs worked with San Mateo County to remove 16 acres of dense blue gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) forest in Wunderlich County Park in 2019 and restore oak woodland in its place. Trees were removed using standard forestry equipment. Due to agency restrictions and limitations for material disposal, all Eucalyptus material was chipped and stored on site. Due to the abundance of wood chips on site, an experiment was designed to test the effectiveness of planting coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia) acorns in differing depths of Eucalyptus wood chips. Five experimental treatments that correspond to wood chip depth were used (4 treatments and a control). Acorns had higher germination and higher seedling survival in areas where the acorns were planted in soil, compared to planting in wood chips, but it did not matter if adjacent wood chip depth was 12 inches or greater in depth or whether adjacent wood chip depth was reduced to 6 inches. The observed early results of the treatments were used to direct additional planting efforts. Invasive weed cover and native understory plant recruitment varied across the restoration area and were related to wood chip depth. 

P.24    Promoting a market for environmental education in Baja California

Ernesto Abel Salmerón Pillado

“Pétalos y miel” is a project dedicated to promoting the biodiversity of Baja California, which since 2020 began promoting environmental education and scientific outreach activities within a tourism market and nature activities. The history of this project, its challenges and how it has managed to position itself as a service provider while promoting a conservation message will be addressed.

P.25    Screening the ornamental potential in a neglected, tropical megadiverse grassland in Eastern Brazil

Flávia Santos Faria (Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden of Federal University of Minas Gerais), Fernando A. O. Silveira (Federal University of Minas Gerais)

The “campo rupestre” (CR), is a montane, fire-prone and montane grassland occurring on nutrient-poor quartzitic substrates in Eastern Brazil. It is a center of biodiversity and endemism, and home to more than 5,000 plant species in an area smaller than 0.8% of the country, of which 40% are endemics. A unique combination of harsh abiotic conditions (high solar radiation, seasonal droughts and fires, shallow and extremely impoverished soils) produces exceptional plant phenotypes and architectures that have not been explored from the ornamental perspective. Here, we present the results of the first screening of the ornamental potential of species from CR aiming at supporting their suitability for commercialization. We found a range of ornamental potential values suggesting that domestication and commercialization can be implemented as a strategy to mitigate the negative effects of overharvesting on plant populations. We also show that, contrary to previous experiences, some species are amenable to cultivation using commercial and accessible techniques for plant propagation. Given the astounding biodiversity of CR, our results indicate an enormous potential to reconcile entrepreneurship and biological conservation in one of the most biodiverse and threatened ecosystems of the world. The work developed by CNPS has inspired this project since the model involves science, education, conservation and gardening allied to community involvement, which increases the value of native species. This model seems adequate to the reality of the CR in Brazil since there are initiatives of small producers in the production of seedlings, as well as a strong appeal for the conservation of this environment. We must encourage the production of seedlings and gardening with native species, in order to i) reduce the impact of predatory harvest on the natural populations of some species and ii) connecting these activities with conservation, restoration and social inclusion.

P.26    Wood traits vary with water availability and age in a semi-arid shrub

Gregory E. Vose (University of California, Irvine) 

Climate models predict precipitation variability in drylands will become more extreme in the future with consequences for plant water relations, growth, and reproduction. However, phenotypic plasticity, may help long-lived species to mitigate environmental stress by allowing for production of tissues more suitable to an altered precipitation regime. But, these shifts in morphology may canalize plant developmental trajectories constraining other plant processes. Xylem traits that determine the functional potential for water transport reflect this dichotomy with plasticity allowing for tissues suited to a particular growing season while the permanence of these tissues may impact future growth and function. We investigated how wood traits in Artemisia californica varied over a precipitation gradient as a function of age and how this variation impacted potential hydraulic conductivity. We hypothesized that 1) wood anatomical traits would differ with age, becoming more conductive as plants got older 2) wood anatomical traits would be more conductive with increasing water availability 3) plants would experience interactive effects of water and age on wood traits, such that older plants in high water treatments would have wood traits that are more than additively conductive.

  In general xylem traits became more conductive as plants got older and under higher water availability, with convergence in trait values as plants aged and in high water scenarios. Mean vessel area increased with age and water availability, but converged in year three. Vessel density was similar across years and treatments except for year one which saw greater vessel densities in the high and low water environments. Ring area increased with water availability and age with differences becoming more pronounced. Potential specific hydraulic conductivity increased with age and water, converging by year three. Total growing season potential hydraulic conductivity increased with age and water availability.

P.27    Post-Fire Recovery of Tree Anemone (Carpenteria Californica), A Rare California Endemic Shrub

Hannah Maroney (Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, CA) 

Eight populations of the rare, endemic shrub Tree Anemone (Carpenteria californica) were surveyed in the central Sierra Nevada foothills of California one year following the 2020 Creek Fire. Six of the populations were exposed to moderate to high-intensity fire, while two were unburnt. 87% of burnt stumps resprouted. Stump sprouts demonstrated significantly fewer signs of drought stress in comparison to individuals that remained unburned. Only two burned populations gave evidence of significant post-fire seedling reproduction. High levels of post-fire asexual regeneration suggest positive prospects for short-term viability of C. californica, but low levels of post-fire sexual reproduction raises concerns for long-term ability of the species to adapt to climate change.

P.28    The role of drought stress physiology in shaping post-fire regeneration in California’s mixed evergreen forest

Hugh Leonard (University of California, Santa Cruz and West Valley College) 

High severity fire can drive development of alternative stable states in Mediterranean ecosystems worldwide, shifting previous plant communities such as a forest to novel ones such as chaparral. However, the mechanisms driving plant community shifts in response to fire remain unclear. Specifically, while low severity fires are known to promote ecosystem function and support established plant communities, high severity fires may have the opposite effect. A key potential driver in the establishment of these alternative stable states is drought, which increases in habitats following high severity fire by altering the forest structure, soil moisture, and microclimate states. In California, the effects of post-fire water deficit are exacerbated by seasonal and climate change scale droughts. How plant communities recover then is contingent on the drought adaptations of their species. While post-fire impacts on community ecology have been explored at a large scale, investigations of concomitant drought and physiologically adaptive traits have yet to be considered. To this end, my PhD research will address this knowledge gap by using low and high-severity post-fire habitats to examine physiological impacts on five California native tree species (Arbutus menziesii, Notholithocarpus densiflorus, Quercus agrifolia, Sequoia sempervirens, and Umbellularia californica) and the potential for alternative stable state establishment in Mediterranean habitats. I will examine the drought stress physiology behind plant species recovery and recruitment success, and the impact of microclimate alteration in supporting seedling recruitment.

P.29    Investigating the germination requirements of three Channel Islands endangered plants

Jagger DeLacy Joyner (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden) and Heather E Schneider (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden)

Understanding the germination requirements of rare plants is foundational to advancing their conservation and recovery in the wild. Yet, this information is lacking for many species. In this study, we investigated the germination requirements of three endangered Channel Islands plants: Hoffmann’s slender-flowered gilia (Gilia tenuiflora ssp. hoffmannii; CRPR 1B.1, FE), island malacothrix (Malacothrix squalida; CRPR 1B.1, FE), and island rush-rose (Crocanthemum greenei; CRPR 1B.2, FT). All three species are the focus of ongoing conservation and restoration activities, but this work has been limited by a poor understanding of their germination behavior. To improve our understanding and facilitate propagation, we tested five pre-germination treatments and measured their effect on germination rates: control, scarification, nicking + soaking, dry heat and liquid smoke. The scarification and nicking treatments are designed to assess physical dormancy, while the dry heat and liquid smoke treatments are aimed at understanding whether fire plays a role in the life cycle of any of these rare taxa. Following treatment implementation, seeds were placed on agar gel in Petri dishes in a germination chamber set to diurnal fluctuations approximating conditions during the winter rainy season. Based on observations made during preliminary research, Gilia was placed in a refrigerator, as it requires exposure to cold temperatures to germinate. Here, we summarize our findings and offer insights into how this information will be put into practice to restore wild populations of these imperiled plant species.

P.30    Sierra Nevada Foothills Vegetation Classification and Mapping

Jaime Ratchford (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program), Rachelle Boul (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program), Betsy Harbert (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program), Rosie Yacoub (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program), Todd Keeler-Wolf (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program), Edward Reyes (Aerial Information Services Inc.), Arin Glass (Aerial Information Services Inc.), Debbie Johnson (Aerial Information Services Inc.) Julie Evens (California Native Plant Society), Jennifer Buck-Diaz (California Native Plant Society)

Between the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the floor of the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevada Foothills provide expansive landscapes, important wildlife habitat, and clean water resources. However, the Sierra Nevada Foothills have the potential for substantial increase in residential development, catastrophic wildfires, and forest mortality due to drought and disease. Recognizing these threats and the conservation and planning needs of the region, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) prioritized the Sierra Nevada Foothills for fine-scale classification and mapping. Beginning in 2005, vegetation data was collected in the northern Sierra Nevada Foothills and a fine-scale vegetation map for that portion of the ecoregion was completed in 2011. Data collection for the southern Sierra Nevada Foothills began in 2008 and after experiencing some setbacks, the fine-scale vegetation map was completed in 2022.

CDFW’s Vegetation Classification and Mapping Program (VegCAMP) analyzed the vegetation data across the Sierra Nevada Foothills, identifying and describing over 130 Alliances and 330 Associations. Forty-seven Alliances are identified as sensitive natural communities. Aerial Information Services Inc. created the fine-scale vegetation maps, meeting the standards developed by VegCAMP, for both the northern and southern Sierra Nevada Foothills totaling nearly 4.5 million acres. Over 120 mapping units were mapped, mostly identified at the Alliance level. 

Currently, about 60% of the state has been mapped, or is in the process of being mapped, to the state’s standards. The completion of this project brings California closer to achieving the goal of fine-scale vegetation maps for the entire state. It also provides critical tools for planning and conservation processes across the Sierra Nevada Foothills ecoregion.

P.31    Plant data–as required for sustainable design.

James Clews Cowan (Microdesk (Autodesk’s premier reseller), U.C. Berkeley Extension, San Francisco, CA) 

The design of buildings is addressed by building information modeling (BIM) software. The Autodesk product called Revit is dominant in the marketplace. The data related to plants in those models is inadequate but the product is easily customized and can have new plant data added directly or from spreadsheets. Such an approach creates opportunities to select plants matching multiple criteria such as plant origin, water requirements, etc. The design can be queried to graphically color code plants meeting combined criteria, so as to quality check designs for factors such as provenance or plant community. The goal would be to push Autodesk towards making their product better able to address sustainability for natural plant communities or as an option to show that multiple agencies could collaborate on managing plant data so there are criteria of use to designers of the “perennial movement”, and those who restore native landscapes.

P.32    Seed For Imperiled Species Recovery: The Creekside Science Conservation Nursery

James Quenelle (Creekside Science) 

Producing high-quality seed in quantity is critical for advancing recovery of our most imperiled species. In 2015, funded by the Central Valley Project Conservation Program, we established the Creekside Science Conservation Nursery in Morgan Hill, CA to produce seeds of the endangered hemi-parasitic Tiburon paintbrush (Castilleja affinis var. neglecta). In 2016 we added the endangered San Mateo thornmint (Acanthomintha duttonii), taking over from our collaborators at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. In 2017, funded by Disney Conservation Fund’s “Reverse the Decline” program, we started producing seeds of three perennial lupine species (Lupinus albifrons, L. formosus and L. variicolor), hostplants for the endangered Mission blue butterfly. Most recently, we added the endangered Metcalf Canyon jewelflower (Streptanthus albidus ssp. albidus), as well as growing the perennial Antioch Dunes buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum var. psychicola) for seed and as live plants to support captive rearing of the endangered Lange’s metalmark butterfly.

We now annually produce hundreds of thousands of seeds for field restoration projects, quantities that are needed to run rigorous experiments, scale up, and establish viable populations. We adhere to Phytophthora Best Management Practices and focus on seeds to avoid spreading soil-borne pathogens. We research maximal seed production, species-specific scarification, stratification, proper storage, and seed planting techniques, and execute replicated field experiments to make the most of our seeds. Through 2021, cumulative nursery production has resulted in well over a million seeds of some of our most imperiled species planted in diverse habitats.

Our nursery is a scientific facility: all seeds go to permitted field projects in pursuit of species recovery goals. We partner with myriad agencies and organizations and look to further assist in conservation efforts of California flora in a rapidly changing world.

P.33    Desert moss and friends: Stress-tolerant Mojave biological soil crusts

Jenna T. B. Ekwealor (Smithsonian Institution) 

Desert plants experience extreme fluctuations in light, temperature, and water availability. While the thought of mosses may conjure up a scene of a damp, dark forest, mosses are actually common in deserts where intense conditions shape their development, life history, and evolutionary trajectory. Mosses in the genus Syntrichia have evolved specialized adaptations, allowing them to survive the challenges of high light and low water habitats common in deserts. From living under milky quartz rocks as hypoliths, to female-biased species, to the ability to equilibrate to dry air in a state of quiescence and resume normal metabolic activity after rehydration¬—Syntrichia demonstrates remarkable levels of stress tolerance and adaptive avoidance. I will present studies investigating these and other traits in a variety of field, laboratory, and combined settings, revealing insights on the adaptive mechanisms that allow these organisms to thrive in desert habitats.

P.34    Petersen Ranch and How Mitigation Banking Can Conserve California Native Plants

Joe Broberg (WRA Environmental Consultants) 

Mitigation banking is a well-established mechanism for incentivizing conservation of wetlands, streams, and threatened and endangered species. Mitigation banks can also provide conservation and restoration opportunities for some endangered plants, as well as for sensitive vegetation communities protected under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For example, the Petersen Ranch Mitigation Bank is over 4,000 acres, and is the largest wetland mitigation bank in California and one of the largest mitigation banks in the United States. Located in northwest corner of Los Angeles County, it occupies a unique transitional ecotone between the western Transverse Ranges and the Mojave Desert. Floristic surveys and vegetation mapping have been conducted in two areas of the ranch, each of which have over 30 unique vegetation alliances. These two areas also have over 360 plant species, and a CNPS rare plant treasure hunt in 2017 found five rare plant species. While this unique assemblage of vegetation communities and rare plants is not the primary focus or driver of mitigation crediting, the conservation of a property such as Petersen Ranch inherently protects these resources from development and other impacts. Mitigation banking is therefore an effective method of conserving California’s diverse native flora. 

P.35    Fragmentation Drives Dominant Plant Encroachment on a Horizontal Wastewater Treatment Levee

Joia Fishman (San Jose State University, Avila & Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc.) 

Urban coastal wetlands protect humans from sea-level rise while providing valuable habitat for wildlife. Degradation and loss of these wetlands threaten urban infrastructure such as wastewater treatment facilities. Nature-based adaptive solutions with the combined purposes of bioremediation, coastal defense, and habitat creation are being tested to make communities safer and more resilient. The current research examines a 6-year-old experimental horizontal levee at the Oro Loma Sanitary District in San Lorenzo, California. Using horizontal transects and quadrat sampling, I compare the success of two planting strategies – a wet meadow and a riparian scrub community – on an ecotone slope. I document the effects of fragmentation and dominant plant species on plant diversity and abundance in the wet meadow. Although most planted species survived from 2015 to 2021, plant diversity decreased over time in both plant communities. Fragmentation was also associated with encroachment by invasive nonnative species in the wet meadow. Both fragmentation and the presence of native dominants willow (Salix lasiolepis) and cattails (Typha) correlated with reduced planted native species diversity and cover in the wet meadow community. In the absence of natural disturbance processes, created wetlands, especially fragmented wetlands with substantial edge, may progress to a successional state dominated by a few species. Future projects might benefit from specifying habitat creation goals in addition to wastewater treatment goals, selecting native plant palettes that inhibit succession or incorporate natural disturbance to break dominance cycles and planting larger patches with lower edge ratios.

P.36    Exploring Habitat Suitability for Dudleya verityi

Karla Julisa Gonzalez Reyes (Santa Monica Mountains Fund), Su Jin Lee (Ventura College), Mark Elvin (US Fish and Wildlife Service), Joseph Algiers (National Park Service)

Dudleya verityi is a succulent in the family Crassulaceae endemic to Eastern Ventura County. Although poaching, development, and poor air quality were primary factors for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the species as federally threatened in 1997, the populations were nearly decimated by the 2013 Springs Fire. The small populations have since struggled to recover, and their limited range adds to the challenge due to low genetic variability. Future assessments of their status should consider not only recounting amounts of D. verityi per occurrence, but also gaining a full view of the extent of the species’ habitat.

Through the use of ArcGIS, suitable habitat for D. verityi was derived from Digital Elevation Model data from the United States Geological Survey as well as publicly available geological and ecological data from the National Park Service. The data was transformed to raster values which were reclassified into a simple binary model. All reclassified values which highlight the species’ particular growing conditions were overlaid, resulting in the map of potential habitat for D. verityi. Comparing previously documented observations of D. verityi populations to the map demonstrates overlap between the occurrences and a section of suitable habitat, as expected. However, the map also highlights the remainder of suitable habitat in which observations have not yet been recorded around Eastern Ventura County and the Santa Monica Mountains, particularly along the Pacific Coast Highway, where D. verityi has never been expected to exist due to its endemic range, therefore presenting new sites for the scientific community to scout.

P.37    Analysis and Recommendations for Management of Endangered Plants in Pebble Plain Ecosystems

Katherine Stilwell (University of Redlands) 

The Pebble Plains are a collection of geologic deposits of Saragossa quartzite uplifted over time, and specific to the San Bernardino Mountain range. The flat, orange, and pebbled landscape is home to rare and endemic alpine plants, including Eriogonum kennedyi and Eremogone ursina, among others. These plants are federally endangered and sensitive, and yet the Pebble Plains ecosystems are under threat from anthropogenic disturbance, including trampling from nearby walking trails, crushing from unauthorized off-highway-vehicles (OHVs), introduction of invasive weeds, climate change, and other natural threats. Management strategies to prevent this disturbance include fencing, signage, and blocking off the area using boulders or snags. How effective these measures have been in preventing disturbance is not currently known. In order to study this question, spatially recorded management and disturbance data were collected, catalogued, and compared. To collect the current management data, the Collector app was used in the field at Pebble Plain sites to qualify the types of management being used, related to fencing, barriers, and signage. To determine the amount of disturbance, unauthorized OHV usage, as well as walking paths, and fence breach data were recorded. These two categories of data – disturbance and management- were combined to determine what practices result in the best protection of the plant species from disturbance and associated harm to the plant populations. After preliminary data collection and analysis, current management practices were seen to be effective, but that emphasis on practices like informational signage, preventing OHV access at in-roads, and upkeep and enhancement of fencing would most effectively protect and stabilize the plant communities at Pebble Plain habitats.

P.38    Population Genetics of Two California Species of Checker Lily (Fritillaria)

Andrew Cardenas (California State University, Fresno), Jacklyn Fajardo (California State University, Fresno), Arshnoor Kaur (California State University, Fresno), Chris Winchell (Novaterra Biological Consulting), Katherine Waselkov (California State University, Fresno) 

Our project focuses on genetics of two species of wildflowers called checker lilies, Fritillaria atropurpurea and F. pinetorum. Fritillaria is a genus that consists of approximately 140 perennial plants and is known for its huge genome (30-80 Gb of DNA). F. pinetorum is listed as rare (limited range) by the California Natural Diversity Database. Both species are found at 1000-3200 meters elevation in the Western U.S., and both have underground bulbs with 2-5 scales. In F. pinetorum, the flowers are usually erect, whereas in F. atropurpurea the flowers are usually nodding. Another distinction between the two is whether the cauline (stem) leaves exceed the length of the inflorescence (F. pinetorum) or often do not (F. atropurpurea). Aside from these slight and inconsistent morphological differences, the species are generally found in different but contiguous parts of California, overlapping only in the southern Sierra Nevada. Because these two species are morphologically very similar, we are interested in seeing whether F. atropurpurea and F. pinetorum are distinguishable genetically. Because of the large size of the nuclear genome in this group, we are first utilizing chloroplast DNA to answer this question. We are conducting DNA extractions, PCR, and gel electrophoresis to test primers for chloroplast regions, including chloroplast microsatellites, that have shown variation in Asian Fritillaria species. Our results so far show that primers for the chloroplast region trnC-petN amplify well in our two species, and have enough variation to discriminate between these species and their close California relative F. micrantha. The implications of our work could affect the taxonomy of California checker lilies, and also conservation decisions involving F. pinetorum and a possible new species (previously described as F. pinetorum) limited to the southern Sierras.

P.39    Restoring a Cloud Forest on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands National Park, California

Kathryn McEachern (U.S. Geological Survey-Western Ecological Research Center) 

Cloud forests grow where cool moist foggy air is blown up against coastal bluffs or mountains, where it compresses and condenses on twigs and leaves and drips to the ground like rain. The high central ridge of Santa Rosa Island is inundated by fog nightly during the summer. But the vegetation was lost from the ridge over the past 150 years as the result of ranching and military land use, and there are no plants to intercept the fog as it blows by. In a vicious cycle, the plants can’t grow without the fog, and the fog can’t be captured without the plants. Since 2016, we have been working to restore upland chaparral and woodland cloud forest vegetation with the goals of recovering endemic plants, slowing erosion and jump-starting hydrologic recovery on the ridge. We use several techniques to capture organic matter and fog water and grow plants, including placing wattles along slope contours accompanied by low fences covered with fabric to harvest fog and deliver it to plants, placing low fences along contours to trap leaves and twigs as they blow by, and planting nursery-grown groves of Bishop pines and island oaks. We have had the help of about 400 volunteers, interns, students, and agency staff on this project so far! The restoration occupies about 10 acres; we are funded for another 3 years to fill-in and expand the footprint starting in summer 2022.

P.40    More than Just a Database: The Tools of CNDDB

Katie Ferguson (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Natural Diversity Database), Jennifer Poore (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Natural Diversity Database)

The California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB), a program housed in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), tracks the status and locations of rare plants and animals in California. The CNDDB is the state’s Natural Heritage Program and is one of the largest of its kind in the nation. The high-quality species and population data that is produced by the CNDDB is available to the public and subscribers via a variety of tools. For people who may be new to using the CNDDB or simply need a refresher, this poster will outline the primary tools used to submit data and view data in CNDDB. For single species observations, the preferred method of data submission is the CNDDB Online Field Survey Form. The CNDDB QuickView tool is a free application that provides species lists at the USGS 7.5’ topographic quad or county level and allows users to see if there are records within a specific quad/county that have not yet been processed by the CNDDB. For subscribers, RareFind 5 is an application that allows for complex querying and reporting of the textual component of CNDDB data. Subscribers can view the spatial component of CNDDB data in the new CDFW Biogeographic Information and Observation System (BIOS 6) Data Viewer. For those who prefer to view CNDDB data on their own GIS system, we also offer GIS data downloads. Non-subscribers can purchase a PDF map of CNDDB data for a 1:24,000 scale USGS base map with an associated text report. The CNDDB is committed to connecting our users with the valuable biological data needed to advance conservation efforts for California’s most at-risk species. As part of this commitment, over the next year our program will be assessing how best to meet user needs and program goals by evaluating our system, processes, and tools. We welcome any feedback from users and can offer the option for attendees to take a CNDDB user survey.

P.41    The Policies Protecting Our Biodiversity: Data Mining California County General Plans and Opportunities For Native Plant Conservation

Katie Michel (UC Davis), Alma Wilcox (UC Davis)

County General Plans are overarching policy documents that guide land use, policy, and governance, and can advance or hinder local native plant conservation. To advance conservation efforts, we quantified and analyzed the presence, absence, and context of forty-six conservation-related keywords within each of California’s 58 counties’ General Plans to determine the extent of native plant protection in 33,782 pages of text. Although the degree and type of protection of native plants vary widely, the overwhelming majority of county General Plans offer little comprehensive plant conservation language, leaving numerous opportunities for expanding native plant protections within existing open space, habitat, landscaping, drought, construction, and wetland protection policy language. Fifty examples of model ordinance language have been identified as collectively providing comprehensive protection, and further research will identify relationships between the degree of native plant protection with environmental, social, governmental, and economic variables. 

P.42    Systematics and conservation of the genus Malacothamnus (Malvaceae)

Keir Morse (California Botanic Garden, Claremont Graduate University) 

Malacothamnus (bushmallows) is a genus of fire-following shrubs mostly limited to the California Floristic Province. Taxonomy within the genus is controversial with different treatments recognizing between 11 and 28 taxa. This is problematic from a conservation standpoint as 16 taxa have a California rare plant rank but six of these are not recognized in the most recent Jepson treatment and 10 are not recognized in the Flora of North America treatment. To clarify which taxa should be recognized, I used a total evidence approach considering results of both morphometric and phylogenetic analyses as well as potential reproductive barriers. As a result, I will recognize 30 taxa in a new treatment of the genus, which will include baseline conservation information related to the full genus and to each included taxon.

P.43    Gaviota Tarplant, a Tale of Two Seeds

Kevin M Mason (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Carex Working Group) 

Gaviota tarplant (Deinandra increscens ssp. villosa; CRPR 1B.1) is a state and federally endangered rare plant that occurs exclusively in Santa Barbara County. Like other members of the Madieae tribe of Asteraceae, Gaviota tarplant produces both ray and disk flowers. The fruits produced by these two floral types are markedly different in their shape and texture. The disk achenes are fragile and easily broken upon rolling between the fingers, while the ray achenes have a very strong seed coat. Gaviota tarplant produces on average 4.8x more viable ray fruit than disk fruit. Little is known about the germination requirements and the potential differences between these two fruit types in Gaviota tarplant. In a preliminary study, we measured the germination rates of ray and disk fruit without any treatments. Most of the disk fruit germinated within a week of plating; however, the ray fruit exhibited little to no germination. In an effort to increase the germination rates of ray fruits, we implemented the following treatments: (nick+ liquid smoke+ soak), (nick+ soak), (boiling water), (liquid smoke), (liquid smoke+ nick), (gibberellic acid). A cold stratification treatment was implemented for most of these treatments as well: seeds were either placed in a refrigerator for two weeks and then into a germination chamber, or seeds were placed in the fridge for the entire duration of the germination study. The gibberellic acid and the nick+liquid smoke+ 2-week cold stratification treatments both had the highest germination rates of any of the ray fruit treatments. These two treatments resulted in 100% and 80% germination, respectively. Our results suggest that these two fruit morphologies represent a bet-hedging strategy, whereby disk fruit germinate readily from initial rains, while ray fruit may germinate less frequently in the absence of disturbance (such as fire) and may contribute to building a larger soil seed bank.

P.44    Bringing resilient ecologies into urban horticulture through TPF’s Local Source Initiative

Laura Breidenthal (Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants), Genevieve Arnold (Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants)

The effects of climate change and continued development overtly impact the well-being of habitats in urban areas; correspondingly, our communal call to act in support of these threatened local ecosystems becomes more urgent. Programs that provide resources to address this increasingly acute need are imperative. Theodore Payne Foundation’s Local Source Initiative (LSI) began in 2012 to provide Los Angeles residents with locally adapted and resilient native plants. Over the past decade, the LSI has been guided by the integration of conservation practices with urban horticulture. It has since become a conservation resource for land managers and regional partners, and a platform to encourage LA residents to incorporate locally adapted native plants in the urban landscape. The LSI thrives through its multi-faceted components, including a field program utilizing conservation collection protocols, robust plant propagation efforts, and a conservation seed bank based on collaborative principles. TPF’s regional conservation seed bank securely stores locally sourced seed that can be provided to our partner agencies for restoration and accessed for research purposes. Additionally, our seed program and nursery work together to grow out locally sourced plants from genetically diverse seed, tracking watershed and locality. At its core, the LSI provides the resources to grow resilient landscapes, and actively connects people to their local environment. Through the sharing of knowledge, resources and methods, the work of this program serves regional partners and networks, and actively supports urban conservation efforts. By bringing conservation into urban horticulture, at both public landscape and individual levels, TPF aims to harness community interest and support urban greening efforts. With the opportunity to choose plants with resiliency as a guiding force, everyone can contribute to the health of regional ecosystems.

P.45    Movement and Microbes: How Dispersal Distances and Microbial Communities Interact to Affect Seed Germination in Native and Invasive Plant Species

Lauren Ward (Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis), Marina LaForgia (University of California, Davis), Jennifer Gremer (University of California, Davis)

Invasive plant species pose a critical threat to native plant biodiversity in California. Invasive plants have exceptional dispersal abilities, while natives are typically more dispersal-limited. Microbial communities play an important role in the growth and development of plants and may also affect germination, though little research has addressed microbial effects during this life stage. Seed germination is a pivotal life stage transition and the microbial community a seed is exposed to during germination will depend on how far it is able to disperse. Short-distance dispersal species may have evolved stronger relationships with their local microbial community, whereas long-distance dispersal species may have weaker interactions with any single microbial community. The interaction between dispersal distance and microbial communities may thus play a key role in the ability of plant species to germinate. Further, the ability of plants to utilize microbial communities during germination may differ between native and invasive plant species. To understand how dispersal distances interact with the microbial community during seed germination, we chose 12 native and invasive plant species that vary in dispersal distance and conducted a germination experiment after inoculating seeds with microbial communities extracted from local and foreign soil. We expect short-distance dispersers to germinate at higher rates with local microbial communities, whereas long-distance dispersers will be less affected by microbial origin during germination. Moreover, we predict invasive plants to germinate well regardless, though their microbial relationships will likely be weaker in comparison to natives. How these plant-microbial interactions differ between short- and long-distance dispersers and between native and invasive plant species is critical to understanding the biological constraints native plants face during dispersal and the role microbes play in aiding invasive plant species.

P.46    California annual plant community demographic responses to long-term variation in climate—implications for coexistence and global change

Mary Van Dyke (University of California, Los Angeles), Jonathan Levine (Princeton University), Nathan J.B. Kraft (University of California, Los Angeles)

As the climate changes, precipitation is generally expected to become more irregular which may have profound effects on plant coexistence and community composition. Modern coexistence theory suggests that coexistence mechanisms, such as the temporal storage effect, may be important in communities experiencing fluctuating abiotic conditions, and therefore understanding these phenomena can help predict how communities will respond to future variability. To examine the effects of temporal variation on coexistence, here we explore changes in species interactions over time in an annual grassland in southern California with high interannual variability in rainfall. Specifically, we set out to answer Q1) Is species performance correlated across years? Q2) Can species functional traits help us understand differences in species responses to wetter versus dryer years? Each year we set up plots within a cleared and fenced-in area, and sowed seeds before winter rains began. We recorded germination and seed production for several species over 12 years, which included extremely dry and wet years. Additionally, we measured 11 key leaf, stem, and root functional traits for each species. Preliminary analyses of eight annual plant species over 12 years show evidence that species demographic responses are not perfectly correlated across years, indicating that species differ in which years they perform best. Additionally, species differences in functional traits, especially specific leaf area, rooting depth, specific root length, and leaf N were well correlated with differences in species demographic responses, such that species with similar traits did best in the same years. This sheds light on how coexistence is currently maintained in the community and provides context for future responses. By connecting these responses to functional traits, we hope to make the study more broadly useful and identify traits indicative of species responses to changing water availability.

P.47    Using LiDAR to Monitor Riparian Vegetation Structure and Composition: Does it Work?

Megan Keever (Stillwater Sciences), Karley Rodriguez (Stillwater Sciences), Ian Pryor (Stillwater Sciences), Zooey Diggory (Santa Clara Valley Water District

Mitigation monitoring of riparian restoration is essential to ensure achievement of associated habitat functions and compliance with environmental regulations. However, conducting such monitoring for large-scale riparian vegetation mitigation, particularly in urban areas presents a unique set of challenges. Such as potential error from extrapolating results from sample transects and plots to the larger mitigation area, quantifying impacts from the intensive human uses of the river corridor, on-the-ground safety concerns, and disturbance to wildlife that may occur during monitoring. In 2020, as part of a pilot study on the Guadalupe River in downtown San Jose, California, we compared traditional field-based monitoring results with LiDAR-based assessments. Using LiDAR point cloud data and related analysis products (e.g., canopy height models), the LiDAR-based assessments were effective at quantifying tree height, stream shading, and vegetative cover by height class. While aerial imagery supported remote species identification of upper canopy species with unique aerial signatures, LiDAR was not able to readily inform species composition. In addition, the dense riparian canopy resulted in poor canopy infiltration by LiDAR, decreasing vegetative cover assessment accuracy in the understory when dense overstory vegetation was present. Despite these limitations, we found LiDAR-based monitoring allows for cost-effective remote data collection which is both repeatable and scalable across a large area without the need for subsampling and extrapolation, while addressing safety concerns and minimizing disturbance to the ecosystem.

P.48    The impacts of surface sterilization and environmental variables on the mycobiomes of the California lichen species Ramalina menziesii (lace lichen) and Evernia prunastri (oakmoss)

Michal Borton (UC Davis) 

Ramalina menziesii (lace lichen) and Evernia prunastri (oakmoss) are native lichens to California and are widespread throughout the state. Lace lichen is particularly iconic as it is the California state lichen. Both lichens have potential uses as bioindicators of environmental conditions, including pollution and more generally contribute to the biodiversity of nature and are used by animals and humans as food, nesting materials, and for commercial purposes. Lichens have historically been viewed as symbioses between a single fungus and a single alga, but recent research has shown that multiple obligate fungal partners may be present within a lichen, and numerous other fungal species may be present. This variety of fungi associated with a lichen make up its mycobiome, yet these communities and the factors that structure them are poorly understood. Sterilizing the surface of lichens before sequencing them may alter the detectability of mycobiome taxa, but the effects of surface sterilization have received little quantitative study. Sterilizing the surface of lichens prior to sequencing may decrease the amount of unwanted fungi present on the surface of the lichen, but it also may impact the fungi within the lichen thallus. We investigated how surface sterilization alters the composition of the mycobiome, either by removing unwanted species, such as unassociated yeasts that land on the lichen surface, or altering the composition of the internal mycobiome. We sampled Ramalina menziesii and Evernia prunastri at five different sites and applied two treatments, with or without surface sterilization prior to amplicon sequencing. We show that surface sterilization decreases the number of fungal taxa detected by sequencing. Our data also suggest that lichen mycobiomes shift gradually along environmental gradients. Future research is needed to investigate the role of these additional fungi within lichens as well as looking into factors that impact mycobiome composition.

P.49    Four years after: post-fire coast redwood seedling regeneration in extremes of the species range

Michelle Geary (West Valley College; WV Redwood Team), Hugh Leonard (UC Santa Cruz), John Adams (WV Redwood Team)

Climate change is predicted to reduce coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) range due to increased temperature, decreased fog, change in rainfall, and increases in fire frequency and intensity. The species occupies a narrow fogbelt range of California from the Oregon border to the southern coast ranges. First indications of climate change effects are likely to show up at the fringes of a species’ range, at current limits of species’ tolerance; what happens at extremes may give insight into future change. In the past, coast redwoods have been resilient post-fire, but changes in fire pattern plus factors such as drought may alter the level of resilience. Coast redwood seedling survival post-disturbance will affect populations at the extremes.  

We have three monitoring sites at Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County, established after the 2017 Tubbs Fire; we have been measuring air temperature, relative humidity, and redwood seedling survival since spring 2018. Our Grouse Hill site burned at high intensity; our sites at Redwood Canyon (MN and TN) burned at moderate intensity. Site MN has more canopy cover; site TN has less.

In the four years post-fire, no redwood seedlings have emerged at the high-intensity site. Since 2019, spring seedling recruitment in Redwood Canyon has been relatively high. Seedling mortality has been low in spring-early summer (high temperatures drawing in fog may help), but mortality in late summer-early fall has been significant. At MN (more shaded), there has been year-to-year survival of small numbers of seedlings, but at TN (more exposed) no seedlings have survived from one year to the next. 

Canopy cover is critical for seedling survival at Pepperwood. At Grouse Hill, redwood canopy had been recovering, but now we are seeing needle discoloration and loss (drought effects?); canopy loss may impair seedling establishment. In addition, if future fall weather in California is dry, seedling survival at sites like Pepperwood may become unlikely.

P.50    El Dorado Chapter Does It—Being carbon neutral is within your chapter’s grasp this year too

Natalia Blackburn (El Dorado Chapter, CNPS) 

As part of the El Dorado Chapter’s commitment to native plants, its members made a carbon neutral pledge in 2019 and developed tools to become carbon neutral for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 fiscal/activity years. For the time being the chapter is focusing on just its transportation carbon; that is, how far members, visitors and customers travel to get to meetings, to hikes, to conservation work parties, and to plant sales. For 2020-2021 the chapter’s transportation carbon footprint was estimated to be 7 tons (a $110 purchase of carbon credits). Last year there was an increase to 8 tons and a $150 purchase of carbon credit was made. (Yes, we bought more than needed for our 8 ton carbon footprint, but at this price there is little value in discussing long and hard over a ton or two.) The chapter’s pledge mirrors the pledge taken by the statewide CNPS organization which is to take effect in 2030. Though CNPS remains well engaged in most native plant issues, the organization’s carbon footprint is just beginning to be addressed at the state level. It is of value for individual chapters to move towards carbon neutrality prior to the organizational goal of 2030. This poster will show how the El Dorado Chapter did it – Best guess to start. Just start. Then collect data. Fix guess. Next, better data. Fix guess again. [repeat…] Topics will include lessons learned and resources available.

P.51    State of knowledge, conceptual models, and key conservation uncertainties for Santa Ana River Woolly-star, and Slender-horned Spineflower in the Upper Santa Ana River Wash.

Nicole Jurjavcic (Stillwater Sciences), M. Pfeffer (Stillwater Sciences), B. Orr (Stillwater Sciences), A. Montalvo (U.C. Riverside), N. Fraga (California Botanic Garden), K. Palenscar (San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District), J. Gibson (San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District), M. Mitrovich (San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District)

Santa Ana River woolly-star (Eriastrum densifolium subsp. sanctorum), and slender-horned spineflower (Dodecahema leptoceras) – both federally and state endangered CRPR list 1B.1 – occupy habitat that has historically been dependent on a natural flood regime and have been adversely affected by land use in the Santa Ana River watershed (San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties). Through a variety of projects (i.e., the Comprehensive Adaptive Management and Monitoring Program [CAMMP] for the Upper Santa Ana River HCP in collaboration with the Upper Santa Ana River Wash HCP and Woolly-star Preserve Area), the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (Valley District) seeks to restore habitat for these species and monitor population dynamics. To that end, our team has consulted with experts and reviewed scientific literature available on the life history and habitat requirements for each of the species to develop conceptual models to improve our understanding of natural drivers and threats and stressors, which informed development of success criteria and monitoring techniques tailored to each species’ life strategies. We present the current state of knowledge for these species including our conceptual ecological models that show connections between threats and stressors, natural drivers, and ecological responses and identify key conservation uncertainties. Though there is still much to learn through the implementation and monitoring of restoration projects, we hope to unravel some of these uncertainties through targeted studies associated with implementation of the Upper Santa Ana River HCP as well as other conservation activities occurring within the ranges of these species.

P.52    California Native Trees Ideal for Urban Areas

Noemi Gorostiola (Cal Poly Pomona) 

Trees are one of the most common components of our urban landscapes, and with the rapid growth of cities and increase in pollutants, they have other roles besides being part of aesthetics. Having trees in urban areas not only improves the way our cities look but also helps to improve air quality, carbon sequestration, storm management, and reduction of high temperatures created due to the urban heat islands. Often, many of the trees that are planted in our cities are not native to the region. This does not always represent a problem since some non-native trees often bring some value to our communities. But in recent years, many of our native species have been threatened by the destruction of their environment, and many non-native plants have become a problem by displacing native plants in their habitats.

Along with these issues, there is the outgoing problem of climate change, and the droughts throughout California are more frequent and last longer. The rapid decrease of many of our native species, along with the need for water conservation, should help us reconsider which types of trees are planted in our cities and how we incorporate native trees into our urban landscape. I researched different types of native trees in the state and compared the potential for root damage, rate of growth, water consumption, planting space, utility friendliness, and aesthetics. With this information, I have selected three native trees that would be ideal as street trees in the Southern California region. Incorporating native trees into our urban landscapes would not only promote biodiversity but create a sense of community and civic pride among local residents.

P.53    Investigating the relationship between biological soil crusts and crusts and a federally threatened plant (Hooveria purpurea var. purpurea) found on California’s Central Coast

Nora Bales (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) 

Purple amole, Hooveria purpurea var. purpurea, is a threatened Californian endemic plant known from only four populations, all on Department of Defense lands. The largest of these four populations occurs at Camp Roberts, a California Army National Guard Training Site. Prior field studies of purple amole have observed greater purple amole plant density in populations associated with biological soil crusts, also referred to as ‘biocrusts’. Biocrusts perform important ecological functions in arid ecosystems worldwide including soil stabilization, water retention, and nitrogen fixation. The objective of this study is to understand the relationship between purple amole density and biocrust presence, level of development, and diversity. In 2020, we found a significant positive correlation between purple amole density and biocrust presence (R2=0.45, p<0.05). In the spring of 2021, we collected further data on purple amole density; biocrust cover, composition, and level of development; plant community associates; and a suite of soil variables. We expect to find greater purple amole density in areas with more extensive and developed biocrusts. Previous management efforts have focused on strategies to increase purple amole reproductive output without considering other habitat parameters. If purple amole density is truly correlated with biocrust presence, then any future management, conservation, or restoration efforts for this plant must also consider biocrusts.

P.54    A First Assessment of Native Bees and Plants in Our Campus: Toward A More Bee-Friendly Landscape

John Juarez (Antelope Valley College), Justin Tiv (Antelope Valley College), Patricia M. Palavecino (Antelope Valley College)

Pollination, the transfer of pollen from flower to flower, is inevitably linked with honey bees, an introduced and naturalized species. People rarely know about native bees, efficient pollinators of native plants and crops, including fruits, nuts, and vegetables. There are 4,000 species of native bees in the US, including 1,600 species in California. Different studies have mentioned that native bee populations are declining; therefore, the study and monitoring of native bee populations have increased, and the need to implement more sustainable practices to restore bee habitats by incorporating native plants in urban landscapes. College campuses are excellent locations to apply sustainable landscaping practices that can support a strong community of pollinators. This study is the first approach to investigating the bee assemblage at the Antelope Valley College campus and comparing it to those in nearby natural areas and their association with surrounding flowering vegetation. Bees were surveyed during May and the beginning of June 2022. They were collected by netting at the flowers during the morning and for about 2 to 3 hours. Seven genera were found at Antelope Valley College (AVC), six at the Tejon Ranch Conservancy (TRC), and two at Ripley Desert Woodland (RDW). The bee assemblage differed among the three surveyed locations as well as the species of plants from where they were collected.

P.55    The effect of drought and warming on Lupinus nipomensis survival, morphology, reproduction and associated soil microbial communities

Peter Nguyen (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Climate change will increase drought and heatwave frequency in California, which will hinder plant growth and reintroduction efforts. Lupinus nipomensis is a plant endemic to the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes and that is a federally and California state-listed endangered species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a concentration in genomics where environmental samples such as soil are gathered to determine what microbial communities are in the environment. For conservation efforts, we are interested in the effect of water and temperature stresses on growth, reproduction, and associated microbial communities. We hypothesized that L. nipomensis will have reduced seed production and photosynthesis when experiencing drought and warming, and an interactive effect between both will further impact L. nipomensis. We expect that eDNA will illuminate the differences in microbial communities between climate treatments. We grew 80 Lupinus nipomensis individuals in separate containers and exposed them to four climate treatments: drought, warming, drought and warming, and a control. Drought was imposed by withholding water, and plants were re-watered when they reached a threshold stomatal conductance. 4°C warming was applied using a polycarbonate cube and heat lamp. We measured growth, seed production, photosynthetic rates, water use efficiency, and specific leaf area to assess the role of increased drought and elevated temperatures. We will measure microbial communities using eDNA from drought and well-watered experimental plants to compare to the microbial communities from soils in similar conditions from a long-term field experiment. Our results indicate that plants experiencing warming showed high levels of stomatal conductance, even in drought conditions. While we saw drought has a positive effect on reproductive efficiency, it had a negative effect on seed pod production.

P.56    Compositional shifts in coastal plant communities and microclimates in response to tule elk herbivory

Raphaela E. Floreani Buzbee (University of California, Berkeley), David Ackerly (University of California, Berkeley), Hall Cushman (University of Nevada, Reno) 

Species distributions are expected to shift across large spatial and temporal scales as species migrate to keep pace with anthropogenic climate change. Within a plant community, taxa from warmer regions or exposures (that are better adapted to the novel climate) will become more prevalent with increased warming and/or aridification. This process may be influenced or accelerated by disturbances or environmental processes that alter the availability of microclimates. Because grazing by native and introduced herbivores has complex effects on plant community composition and structure, grazing’s influence on microclimate availability may affect how ecosystems respond to climate change. This study uses a 24-year exclusion experiment at the Tomales Point Tule Elk Preserve in Point Reyes National Seashore, to investigate individual and interactive effects of grazing and microclimate on a coastal grassland plant community. By combining fine-scale climatic data with plant community metrics across paired grazed and ungrazed plots, we seek to test the following hypotheses: (1) elk herbivory results in higher soil temperatures and lower soil moisture; (2) since grazing decreases shrub cover, elk decrease the diversity of microclimates; and (3) elk herbivory will shift the community toward greater dominance of xeric-adapted plant species. If grazed sites are indeed warmer and drier, then grazed plant communities may already be adapting to future climate conditions. These results could also suggest that grazing promotes community resistance or resilience to climate change. 

P.58    Microclimatic refugia of disjunct chaparral relicts in the Mojave Desert

Shane E. Jordan (California State University Northridge) 

Disjunct populations of plant taxa associated with coastal and interior chaparral are found in just a few mountains within the Mojave Desert. These mountain biotic communities represent ecological confluences where plant species characteristic of distant floristic regions often co-occur. Some of these species have widespread distribution in chaparral ecosystems of both the California Floristic Province (CFP) and the warmer Madrean Floristic Province (MFP). While the Mojave Desert does not fall within the CFP or MFP, the occurrence of coastal and interior chaparral species within this arid region is an interesting exception. Here, the plant community composition of sites where several of these species occur was censused in 6 mountain ranges across the Mojave Desert landscape. The distributions of 8 focal chaparral species were found to be influenced by topographic variables including slope position, aspect and terrain wetness, in addition to climatic variables such as summer monsoon precipitation and temperature. A k-means clustering analysis pointed towards community assemblages characterized by species associated along a gradient from xeric shrublands to relatively mesic woodlands where chaparral is found in these ranges. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) indicated a significant difference in the composition of sites sampled explained by species occurrences frequently associated with more mesic assemblages. Ecological niche models predicted that the availability of suitable habitat for most of these focal species is likely to contract within the Mojave Desert under projected climate change scenarios over the next 50 years. These results demonstrate how the distribution of relict plant populations can be influenced in an arid environment, and illustrate challenges chaparral taxa face with prolonged environmental stress.

P.59    Assessing the impacts of water deficits on chaparral recovery post-fire

Stephanie Ma Lucero (UC Santa Barbara) 

Chaparral is one of the dominant vegetation types in Southern California. It is characterized by evergreen, sclerophyllous shrubs adapted to a Mediterranean climate and infrequent wildfire. Due to its long-fire frequency and recorded observations of type-conversion in the field, increased fire frequency was initially researched as a driver of chaparral degradation and extirpation. Recent studies, however, have found environmental conditions, such as water availability and aridity indices, are also strong drivers of chaparral conversion and degradation.

In my current project, I am continuing this line of research by investigating how water deficits in the years following fire impact long-term chaparral recovery. I am currently focusing on chaparral stands that burned in wet or dry years between 2007 and 2009 in Santa Barbara or Los Angeles Counties and using Landsat Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), accessed through Google Earth Engine (GEE), to quantify the greenness of chaparral stands before and following fire. I will compare pre- and post-fire NDVI, the rate of recovery, and the trajectory of recovery by water availability (i.e., total precipitation) and by the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) to investigate the impact of water deficits on chaparral recovery. 

Using remotely sensed data will allow me to evaluate the landscape-scale impacts of water availability and deficits on chaparral recovery across multiple fires and multiple yearly conditions. My goal is to quantify the historical impacts of water deficits on landscape-scale chaparral recovery to inform predictions of chaparral persistence in a future where drought-like conditions are expected to increase in frequency and intensity.

P.60    Working towards Healthy Nurseries & Habitats—A new CNPS Committee

Steven L. Goetz (Willis Linn Jepson Chapter of CNPS, CNPS Chapter Council Committee on Healthy Nurseries and Habitats, Benicia Tree Foundation) 

Phytophthora pathogens continue to spread on California native plant nursery stock used for landscaping or habitat restoration. The “Healthy Nurseries & Habitats Committee” (formerly called the Phytophthora Ad Hoc Committee) was established by the Chapter Council of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) to support implementation of the CNPS policy to encourage native plant nursery and propagation practices that help prevent plant diseases and that discourage the spread of Phytophthora and other harmful plant pathogens. The intent of this policy is to foster the use of clean stock used in all landscape and habitat restoration plantings of native plants, including from nurseries, and other native –plant growers, and to ensure the integrity and credibility of chapter sales of native plants. The Committee is conducting outreach, education and training primarily aimed at ensuring that the CNPS chapter plant sales and other activities do not inadvertently spread pathogens to new areas. Container stock can be clean and robust if grown using nursery Phytophthora best management practices designed to exclude Phytophthora from nursery plants, coupled with nursery audits and Phytophthora testing to check for disease. To date, the Milo Baker (Sonoma County) chapter nursery is fully accredited, and grants have been provided to five chapter nurseries for phytosanitary improvements. However, most chapters do not produce their own stock for sales; they purchase plants from commercial nurseries, aka “buy ins”. This presents a risk to California native plant communities. We encourage CNPS members to join us to problem-solve to protect native plant health. It is counter to the status quo of growing plants that may harbor plant pathogens. Together we can do this!

P.61    Cordilleras Health System Project, San Mateo County: Native Landscaping in a Mental Health Setting

Taylor Peterson (MIG, Inc.), Kossen Miller (RHAA Landscape Architecture + Planning), Tanvi Shah (RHAA Landscape Architecture + Planning)

Native landscaping is being used in a new mental health facility to promote awareness of, and interaction with, the natural environment and aid in the healing process. The current Cordilleras Mental Health Rehabilitation Center building in San Mateo County is aged and does not provide adequate facilities to treat people with Serious Mental Illness. The Project Development Unit in the San Mateo County Manager’s Office is replacing the building with a state of the art campus to meet the community’s needs. The project is set in a canyon near the headwaters of Cordilleras Creek, and is very constrained by topography. Several designs and alternative sites were evaluated by the County to minimize impacts. Project mitigation includes protection of rare plants, and creek enhancements, both on and off-site, and a predominantly native palette in the project landscaping. The native palette also melds the campus into the surrounding environment, and brings the surrounding environment into the healing space, so that the facility feels very connected to nature. RHAA landscape architects developed the landscape design, and called on MIG biologists to help them understand which plant species would be suitable for the site. The landscaping includes an expanse of native oak woodland and meadow between the main building and four group living centers. The centers have courtyard gardens that are intended to be sensory, but that also need to be safe. These walled gardens provide opportunities for touch, smell, and taste that are important to bringing people into contact with their surroundings. Because the landscape ties well with the surrounding habitats, many wildlife species are expected to use the habitats seamlessly, particularly birds, further enhancing the experience. Challenges included determining native plant availability and reviewing the palette for toxicity, fire resistance, and drought tolerance. The project is under construction and is slated to open by 2024.

P.62    From Landfill to Nature Preserve: Woodland Regional Park Preserve

Teri Barry (University of California, Davis; Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium), Lars Anderson (University of California, Davis, Research Associate) 

Regular vegetation monitoring is crucial for rare plant conservation, and a protocol is being established at Woodland Regional Park Preserve (WRPP) in Woodland, Yolo County. WRPP is on city land encompassing 160 acres that was once a landfill and is now being restored as a “park-preserve.” CNPS-ranked plants at WRPP include Chloropyron palmatum (Federal List), Extriplex joaquinana, Lepidium latipes var. heckardii, and Astragalus tener var. tener. Native plants, vernal pools, and alkali soil habitats will be protected and enhanced. 

WRPP’s history of disturbance occurred between the 1940s and 1970s when the park was a landfill. In the early 1970s the landfill was capped with borrow pit soils. In the post-landfill period, the land was used for a rodeo, a model airplane field, and model boats. Fortunately, much of the unique native alkali flat soils remained intact, leaving a mosaic of habitats that support native plants. Recent grants have enabled the reshaping of the borrow pit into a combination permanent pond and seasonal wetland area to enhance habitat diversity. Grants also funded construction of an ADA trail and interpretive signage. There are plans for a science/nature/cultural center on the site, and conservation easements and related species protections have been placed on this site.

To support the restoration process, we started a long-term survey project to monitor new plant sightings, document plant distributions, and determine which invasive plants are threatening the rare plants and sensitive habitats. Building on a baseline special-status plants survey in 2009 by Ellen Dean we plan to detect new invasive species before they become too difficult to manage. Preliminary observations have revealed eight new invasive species. Due to the sensitivity of the rare species present, management of invasive species will utilize highly selective, integrated approaches to sustain the beneficial habitats for the native and protected plants.

P.63    Three New Dudleya Taxa (Crassulaceae) from Coastal Northwestern Baja California, Mexico

Thomas W. Mulroy (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), C. Matt Guilliams (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden), Kristen Hasenstab Lehman (Santa Barbara Botanic Garden)

Dudleya brittonii Johans. (Crassulaceae) is a large succulent rosette-plant endemic to coastal northwestern Baja California, Mexico, long considered to include both glaucous and green forms. We determine that the green forms, which were not included in the original description of D. brittonii, are distinct from it and exhibit morphological variation warranting taxonomic recognition. We propose three new taxa, A, B, and C, separate from D. brittonii, based on extensive field measurements of fresh specimens coupled with quantitative morphometric and multivariate statistical analysis. We also demonstrate classical character displacement (exaggerated divergence in sympatry) between glaucous D. brittonii and co-occurring green plants. Populations of Taxon B that are intermingled with D. brittonii show a 6-week to 3-month delay in mean flowering initiation and termination dates compared to nearby populations that are not intermingled with or immediately adjacent to D. brittonii. This delay in flowering may represent a critical prezygotic isolating mechanism in these otherwise highly interfertile plants. A limited common garden study replicated the geographic pattern of differences in flowering time in the green Taxon B and suggests a genetic basis for the observed pattern. Proposed Taxa B and C have a summer flowering period compared to a spring flowering period for proposed Taxon A and for glaucous D. brittonii. The seasonal differences are coupled with morphological differences that may serve to attract different suites of primary pollinators (e.g., hummingbirds vs. insects) thereby limiting interbreeding between these interfertile taxa. Nodding inflorescences, pendent flowers, and summer flowering are associated with predominantly hummingbird pollination in both Taxa B and C while erect or ascending flowers appear to favor insect pollination in the spring-flowering D. brittonii and proposed Taxon A.

P.64    Grow plants, not plant pathogens! Lessons from a research nursery.

Wolfgang Schweigkofler (Dominican University of California) 

Nurseries with their variety of potential host plants and regular irrigation can be ideal settings for the growth and spread of native and invasive plant pathogens. Plant trade is an important pathway for the international spread of pathogens and pests, whereas restoration efforts using native plants can introduce and spread pathogens locally. Over the last 10+ years, we have studied the biology, transmission, and mitigation of plant pathogens in a mock open-air research nursery at the National Ornamentals Research Site at Dominican University of California (NORS-DUC) in Northern California, focusing particularly on Phytophthora ramorum, causal agent of Sudden Oak Death and Ramorum blight. Many of our research projects were conducted in collaboration with partners from other universities and research centers, who have used our facility to study quarantine pathogens in an open, field-like setting. We will present the results on the diagnostics, host range, and spreading of P. ramorum and other pathogens, and discuss control strategies, including chemical, biological, and physical methods, which can help mitigate the effects of the pathogens. In addition, we will introduce our ‘steaming on the go’ program, a service for the steam treatment of potting mix and supplies, which has already been successfully utilized by several native plant nurseries.

P.65    Seaside Pollinator Garden Project: A successful public outreach, conservation and demonstration garden endeavor

Zoe Curcio (RCD Monterey County) 

The City of Seaside is an important target area for pollinator habitat creation. Public parks are ideal locations for pollinator gardens, adding aesthetic and educational opportunities for all those who visit. In a time of physical and social isolation, volunteers benefit from coming together outdoors to work towards a common purpose.

Since 2019, diverse partners have collaborated to establish native plant pollinator habitat in Seaside public parks. This has led to planting nearly one acre of habitat across nine parks in areas previously dominated by iceplant and invasive grasses. On average, about twenty volunteers arrive every Saturday since April 2020 to achieve this much. The long-term existence and expansion of these gardens depends on deliberate coordination between partners plus organizational support. Volunteers are enthusiastic and committed but lack expertise with habitat establishment and other natural resource conservation principles.

RCDMC staff address this need with technical and community building skills. RCDMC Soil Scientist, Laura Murphy, led the Seaside pollinator garden effort as a volunteer. In 2022, funding provided by the Community Foundation for Monterey County allowed RCDMC to provide technical assistance, public outreach and education to ensure best management practices are implemented by both volunteers and city staff in the development and maintenance of the pollinator gardens.

Next steps: further outreach/education on native plant habitat and beneficial insect species within Seaside to be done by a newly placed Grizzly Corps Fellow (Zoe Curcio). These activities will emphasize serving the Spanish-speaking Latino/a community in the neighborhoods surrounding active and proposed habitat sites. 

With a successful model in the Seaside project, RCDMC will develop a broader program of community outreach for natural resource stewardship in Monterey County through the establishment and maintenance of beneficial native plant habitat in public spaces.

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