For presentation and poster abstracts, as well as information for presenters, visit the abstracts page »
Themed sessions provide a forum for researchers and thought leaders to present new conservation science and share ideas. Each session has one to four time blocks, and each time block contains five 20-minute oral presentations.
Scientific and student posters will be on display throughout the conference, with an additional poster session during the opening reception on Thursday evening.
CONFERENCE SESSION TOPICS: Click the session title or scroll down to see the full description. Icons identify the following tracks:
Conservation Plant Science Horticulture
- A Quality Environment for All: Justice & Inclusiveness in Native Plant Conservation
- Biogeography & Conservation of “Plants” Without Seeds
- California’s Changing Climate: Translocation, Transplantation, Assisted Migration
- Citizen Science
- Current Research (Student Session)
- Emerging Tools in Conservation Science
- Fire & Native Plants
- Grasslands & Prairies
- Horticulture as Part of Conservation
- Invasive Plants
- Lightning Talks
- Managing Lands for Native Plant Conservation
- Marketing for Motivation: Imagery, Storytelling, & Talking Points
- Oaks & Oak-Rangelands
- Pathogens & Pests
- Plant Science
- Plants & Pollinators
- Rare Natural Communities
- Rare Plants
- Vegetation Classification, Mapping, & Monitoring
A Quality Environment for All: Justice & Inclusiveness in Native Plant Conservation
Session Chairs: Matt Guilliams, Vern Goehring
Both economic and environmental inequality exist in our society and have significant lasting effects on people’s quality of life. This session will examine the ideas of “Environmental Justice” and “Social Justice,” address how we recognize environmental inequality and support communities facing this inequality, and how these realities relate to the native plants we work to protect and conserve.
Biogeography & Conservation of “Plants” Without Seeds
Session Chair: Paul Wilson
California’s floristic diversity includes a wealth of lichen and bryophyte diversity. This session will explore the biogeography of our lesser explored photosynthetic biota and the resulting implications for conservation.
California’s Changing Climate: Translocation, Transplantation, Assisted Migration
Session Chair: Arlee Montalvo
Transplantation, translocation, and assisted migration of plant populations are often considered when restoring, recovering, and conserving plant populations, whether rare or common. The choices one makes are now further complicated by projected changes in climate and how different populations, taxa, and interacting species might be affected. The purpose of this session is to explore when there may be a need for translocation, transplantation, and assisted migration to restore, recover, and conserve plant populations, how information about projected changes in climate might alter choices, how populations may be selected and deployed in a way that reduces risk, and to identify knowledge gaps and future research needs.
Session Chairs: Rick Halsey, Jon Keeley
Chaparral contains 24% of California’s native vascular plant species, more of which are considered rare than can be found in any other plant community. Since it exists in every single county, chaparral represents the most accessible native plant experience to the greatest number of Californians, providing unique research and educational opportunities. This session will explore the chaparral’s remarkable biodiversity, resilience, and value it provides to all the life forms that call it home.
Session Chair: Rachel Meyer
Public participation in scientific research can generate multiple benefits and presents unique challenges. This session explores a variety of projects across California where volunteers have assisted professional scientists and their institutions to collect scientific data, and reports results of these efforts.
Current Research (Student Session)
Session Chairs: Allyson Ayalon, Jane Van Susteren
This students-only session provides a venue to highlight research that focuses on the California flora. A number of topics will be explored in this session, including plant taxonomy, rare plant biology, and plant ecology of both native and invasive plant species.
Emerging Tools in Conservation Science
Session Chairs: Naomi Fraga, Greg Suba
As threats to plant diversity and habitats continue to escalate, so conservation science and its many applications must match the pace and scale of these challenges to inform effective decision-making. This session will examine new and emerging technologies, tools, and innovative resources that are developing to address plant conservation issues.
Fire & Native Plants
Session Chair: Marti Witter
For many native plant communities fire is an essential ecological disturbance process, and the use of fire in management is essential for the health and longevity of forests and plant communities. This session will explore California native flora’s relationships to fire.
Grasslands & Prairies
Session Chairs: Michele Hammond, Jennifer Buck-Diaz
California grasslands are among the most endangered ecosystems in the United States and are important subjects of ecological research and experimentation. This session focuses on native grassland research and management including invasive species, livestock grazing, and restoration within our unique California grassland/prairie ecosystems.
Horticulture as Part of Conservation
Session Chair: Brett Hall
The acceleration of ongoing and emerging threats to native plant biodiversity requires proactive wildland management, land acquisitions for conservation, and conservation seed banks, among other strategies. This session will examine the following challenges: How do we propagate native plants; how can we establish aesthetically beautiful and viable habitat gardens where pollinators and wildlife are encouraged and where short and long-term soil seed banks might be established; what best practices and techniques should we be incorporating, and how can we engage the public through outreach and education.
Session Chair: Steve Schoenig
Invasive plants are a major threat to native plant biodiversity in California. This session will highlight cutting-edge research and new techniques to prevent introduction, and scientifically manage existing infestations, of the most damaging invasive plants in California.
Session Chair: Chris Lortie
Lightning talks are strictly-timed 5 minute presentations intended to spark discussion among conference participants. Presentations should focus on one key point such as results from a successful project, a report on lessons learned, an invitation to collaborate, an especially provocative or original idea, or a demonstration of a new tool or technique.
Managing Lands for Native Plant Conservation
Session Chair: Andrea Williams
Whether mandated by law, required by regulatory oversight, or simply done at the request of a private landowner, effective native plant conservation emerges from a common set of well-designed land management practices. This session presents examples of California plant conservation on federal, state, and local public lands; and on private lands. These examples both clarify the differences among laws and regulations pertaining to different land ownership categories, and highlight underlying themes common to successful land management in all.
Marketing for Motivation: Imagery, Storytelling, & Talking Points
Session Chair: Liv O’Keeffe
Even in a world where facts do matter, fostering an informed citizenry is an uphill climb. Developing effective networks that can communicate engaging, persuasive information is a key element to getting one’s message heard and understood. This session addresses ways these points are implemented in the plant conservation arena.
Oaks & Oak-Rangelands
Session Chair: Tom Gaman
California oak woodlands have been enduring anthropogenic threats since the state was formed in 1849. These threats include urban and agricultural development and ranching, fire suppression, and a mosaic of pressures – disease, drought, invasive species, and fire—associated with and exacerbated by fire suppression and a changing climate. This session is designed to examine critical oak woodland habitats in the oak “belts,” which surround California river valleys. It will explore the science, policies, and practices necessary to conserve, stabilize, and regenerate critical oak woodlands ecosystems in the face of ever-increasing social, climatic, and ecological pressures.
Pathogens & Pests
Session Chairs: Janell Hillman, Sabrina Drill
The California flora is increasingly threatened by the invasion of non-native species which include a broad array of organisms such as plants, arthropods, fungi, and bacteria. The susceptibility and resistance of native species will be evaluated through a combination of ecological techniques, population genetics, genomics, and management. This session will focus on exotic pathogens and pests currently threatening native California flora.
Session Chairs: Matt Ritter, Jen Yost, Dena Grossenbacher, Nishi Rajakaruna
This session is a place for presentation of open submission talks with a focus on genetics/genomics, ecology/population biology, classification/floristics, and other subjects that cannot be accommodated easily into one of the other sessions.
Plants & Pollinators
Session Chair: Graciela Hinshaw
The relationships of plants and pollinators will be explored through a combination of natural resource inventories, species diversity, and habitat analysis. The effects of resource management techniques, restoration, and environmental impacts on plant/pollinator relationships will be evaluated. Presentations will include studies to help understand the role of pollinators on rare plant persistence, and how plant diversity may influence healthy populations of pollinators.
Rare Natural Communities
Session Chairs: Diana Hickson, Jaime Ratchford
This session examines the identification of rare natural communities and the use of vegetation mapping to inform their conservation.
Session Chairs: Aaron Sims, Nick Jensen
This session focuses on research, management, and conservation of California’s rare plants. The session includes a panel discussion focused on conserving cryptic species in light of the increased recognition of plants that are difficult or impossible to identify solely on the basis of morphology. It also includes a subsession on new rare plant discoveries in California.
Session Chairs: Lech Naumovich, Edith Allen
Restoration is one of the most meaningful ways to assess our understanding of flora and its associated ecology. Presentations in this session will share techniques, research, implementation strategies, successes, and failures around flora-focused restoration. Topics likely include planning for resiliency, novel technologies and insights into restoration implementation, soil-plant interactions in restoration, ecological trajectories and succession, establishing meaningful success criteria, restoration and agency permitting strategies, philosophy, and restoration in a world of soil pathogens.
Vegetation Classification, Mapping, & Monitoring
Session Chairs: Julie Evens, Todd Keeler-Wolf
Government agencies, NGOs, academic institutions, and consulting firms have been improving standards and products in vegetation mapping and classification since Geographic Information System and remote sensing technology have expanded in the late 20th century. Vegetation mapping and classification are important tools for species, habitat, and landscape assessment, analysis, monitoring, and conservation, driving many of today’s decisions for land-use planning. This session showcases promising recent uses of vegetation mapping and monitoring for decision-making in conservation and management efforts throughout California.