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2018 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.

2018 DeDecker Botanical Grant Recipients Announced

The Bristlecone Chapter is very pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s DeDecker Botanical Grant. We had many competitive applications. It is through the success of our annual native plant sale and the generous donations of plant enthusiasts that we are able to support these excellent projects:

Eileen Berbeo, Sierra Nevada buckwheats: species limits and sexual system evolution
Emily Brodie, Patterns in post-fire diversity in high elevation forests of the Sierra Nevada mountains

The summer of 2018 was the first field season in a 2-year project designed to answer the question: how does fire severity affect understory diversity and tree regeneration in subalpine forests of the Sierra Nevada? This study is the first to consider the effects of fire on biodiversity in our iconic subalpine forests and comes at a time when subalpine forests in the Sierra Nevada are experiencing climate-driven changes at an unprecedented scale. Densifying forest stands combined with a trend in increasing size and upper elevation of fire in the Sierra Nevada may contribute to larger and more severe fire events in subalpine forests in the near future.

Adobe Hills

A great vantage on the Willow Fire (2007) in foxtail pine forest, Sequoia National Park.

We sampled 5 fires in 2018 across a range of 2-16 years post-fire and in three different National Parks or Forests. We found that post-fire species richness (or total number of species) increased with fire severity and was greatest in stands that experienced >75% tree mortality by basal area. This is interesting as fires were historically infrequent in subalpine systems and the increase in species cannot be attributed to plants that evolved to fill a post-fire niche. More data and further analyses are needed to understand how members of the high severity plant community differ from lower severity and unburned plant communities. Regenerating tree seedlings had a much different response to fire. When compared to unburned forest, they were found in greater densities after low to moderate severity fire (25-50% tree mortality by basal area) and lower densities after high severity fire (>90% tree mortality by basal area). In the case of tree seedlings, the mechanism for the pattern is more apparent and we can conclude that while conifer seedlings may benefit from the increased light and resources caused by reduced canopy cover after moderate severity burning, they are damaged by severe fire.

For more photos - see report in PDF version here.

Trevor Carter, Changes in leaf morphology in Pinus albicaulis using decades of herbarium specimens
Isaac Marck, Systematics of the rock daisies (genus Perityle; Asteraceae) of Inyo County, California
Keir Morse, Taxonomy and conservation of the genus Malacothamnus (Malvaceae)
Jackie Shay, Exploring Fungal Endophytes of Native Monkey Flowers
Sophia Winitsky (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Claremont Graduate University): A vascular flora of the Adobe Hills and Valley, Mono County, CA
Adobe Hills

The Adobe Hills Valley where Sophia Winitsky is continuing to conduct her Master’s thesis work with the assistance of DeDecker Botanical Grants

Progress Report on the Flora of the Adobe Valley from 2017

For my master’s thesis, with the generous support of the Bristlecone Chapter of CNPS, I am undertaking a floristic inventory of the Adobe Valley and surrounding hills in Mono County, CA. This past field season, I was able to collect over 1,400 specimens. Since most of the historic collections have been along Highway 120 and other roads, I tried to focus on collecting from the less explored peaks and remote areas near the Nevada border. Some of the rare taxa documented this year that were either new to the area, or were found in new locations within the Adobe Valley include Tetradymia tetrameres, Allium atrorubens var. atrorubens, Micromonolepis pusilla, and Eremothera boothii var. boothii. The most endangered endemic plant in the area is Calochortus excavatus, which had a very prolific bloom this year along the shore of Black Lake.

My study area received high levels of precipitation this past winter, which allowed for many annual plants to germinate that may not be present each year, adding to the overall count of taxa new to the area. This winter I am working on identifying my specimens, traveling to herbaria that hold specimens of the region, preparing for my next field season, and presenting my project’s progress at the CNPS statewide conference. Thank you to White Mountain Research Station and the Bristlecone Chapter’s Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant for helping me fulfill my research goals! As well as to Mary DeDecker herself for paving the way and documenting rare and interesting taxa in the Adobe Valley.

Congratulations and good luck to each of you with your project!

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