2016 DeDecker Botanical Grant Awards
The Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has recently awarded these grants for botanical projects. The Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant Program annually awards funding for projects that increase the understanding and appreciation of our region’s unique native flora.
These grants are supported by the annual native plant sale. Persons funded are required to report on their research findings or how they used the grant money.
Graduate Student project recipients:
- Brian Smithers: Fire disturbance-mediated range shifts in Great Basin
sub-alpine tree species
- UPDATE: With support from the CNPS Bristlecone Chapter, Brian Smithers and his crew studied how fire disturbance may speed up species range shifts in long-lived forests like bristlecone pine and limber pine forests. We looked at five fires in the western Great Basin including the Forgotten Fire in the Inyo Mountains, pictured here with research technician Asa Holland. Preliminary results indicate that while there is considerable variation in how species respond to fire, bristlecone pine is very slow to regenerate post-fire. The vast majority of the regeneration in what was once bristlecone pine is pinyon and limber pine. Pinyon pine seems to be the biggest winner as we are finding young pinyon (like the one pictured here) throughout former bristlecone pine and limber pine range. We may be seeing the beginnings of rapid species range shifts if fire becomes more common in these sub-alpine forests, with bristlecone pine potentially losing out to upslope advancing species.
- JonahMaria Weeks: Effects of Fire Severity on Plant Diversity along Temporal and Elevation Gradients in Mixed-Conifer Forests in the Sierra Nevada
- Katherine Ross: Population Structure, Water Use Efficiency, and the
Potential for Upslope Migration in Eastern Sierra
Nevada conifer species
- UPDATE: My research seeks to investigate climatic effects on Sierra Nevada conifer species across an elevation gradient by assessing differences in demographic and physiological patterns. Over the course of the 2016 field season, I measured height, diameter at breast height, and diameter at base for 761 trees comprising four species across four elevations, from ~2300 m to ~2800 m. Two to four cores were collected from the subset of these trees with a DBH greater than 5 cm, totaling 674 cores. In addition, ten trees less than 2.5 m tall were harvested at each site to determine the relationship between base diameter, height, and age. I am currently in the process of mounting, sanding, and cross dating these cores to determine the age and annual growth rates of each tree. After the cores have been mounted, and cross-dated, they will be scanned and ring-width will be measured. This information will be used to compare population structure and growth rates between species and elevations.