Programs/speakers

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 7:30 p.,m.:Talks by two of our 2019 grant recipients: This month we have two 20-minute talks from two CNPS San Gabriel Mountains Chapter 2019 grant recipients.

Maria Jesus is a master’s student at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden/Claremont Graduate University. Previously, Maria managed a multi-agency vegetation monitoring program aimed at informing adaptive management of public lands in California and Nevada. She is committed to the advancement of native plant conservation, mentoring emerging botanists, and increasing public support and understanding of plant science.

Glen Morrison began his scientific education at Citrus Community College, in Glendora, California, where he first was involved in field biology and botanical research, before transferring to Cal Poly Pomona to complete his bachelor's degree. As an undergraduate, Glen fell in love with botany, exploring the flora of the San Gabriel Mountains, and found research experiences at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Cal Poly Pomona, and UC Riverside on a diverse range of botanical topics. He is now in the third year of his PhD in the Plant Biology graduate program at UC Riverside, where he works with Amy Litt, applying new methods to evaluate the distinctiveness of currently recognized species and subspecies in the most species-diverse woody genus in the California flora, the manzanitas (Arctostaphylos Adans.). After graduating from his PhD, Glen plans to pursue a career as an educator and researcher.

Floristic exploration in the land that time forgot: A vascular flora of the southern Inyo Mountains, Inyo County, CA, with Maria Jesus: The Inyo Mountains in Inyo County, California, are an important plant area where the Great Basin and Mojave Deserts meet. This area was once home to several thriving mining towns, but today is rarely traveled. Despite high numbers of endemic species, the southern portion of this mountain range is nearly roadless and remains botanically underexplored. Here, one is more likely to encounter a mining artifact or relictual plant species than another person. Mining may return to this important plant area which is currently under threat by an exploratory gold mining project. My floristic research in this area establishes baseline data that will help stakeholders better understand the potential impacts of a mining project and garner public support in favor of conservation. In this presentation, I will share preliminary results of my floristic research, including new occurrences of rare taxa and an update on the status of the Conglomerate Mesa drilling project

Studies in Eastwood manzanita, Arctostaphylos glandulosa, with Glen Morrison: Delimiting biodiversity units is difficult in organisms in which differentiation is obscured by hybridization, plasticity, and other factors that blur phenotypic boundaries. Such work is more complicated when the focal units are subspecies, the definition of which has not been broadly explored in the era of modern genetic methods. Eastwood manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa Eastw.), is a widely distributed and morphologically complex chaparral shrub species with much subspecific variation that has proven challenging to categorize. Currently ten subspecies are recognized, however, many of them are not geographically segregated, and morphological intermediates are common. Subspecies delimitation is of particular importance in this species, as two of the subspecies are rare. In this study, we applied an evolutionary definition of subspecies, reduced-representation genome sequencing, and environmental data, to evaluate differentiation within Eastwood manzanita. Our analyses did not show genetic differentiation among subspecies of Eastwood manzanita, with the exception of one of the two rare subspecies, San Gabriel manzanita (A. glandulosa subsp. gabrielensis). We present further exploration of the genetic distinction of San Gabriel manzanita, and use our sequence data to evaluate an existing hypothesis that San Gabriel manzanita may be of hybrid origin between A. glandulosa and a second species, A. parryana.


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