Research Project | 2021

Local adaptation to urban stressors in native plants

Restoration of coastal sage scrub communities is important for the conservation of native biodiversity in urban areas of Southern California. A key species of coastal sage scrub, California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), supports pollinator and arthropod diversity, provides forage and nesting habitat to the federally-listed (threatened) California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica), and is an important cultural and medical resource for the Kumeyaay and Chumash tribes. In collaboration with restoration practitioners at The Nature Conservancy and California Botanic Gardens, Samantha’s project will assess the population structure of California buckwheat across different urban habitat types, and determine how spatial variability in nitrogen deposition, urban heat island effects, and the built environment affect local adaptation in urban ecosystems. Results will guide seed collection efforts to maximize the success as well as genetic diversity of California buckwheat in future restoration projects.