Major

Biology

Research Abstract

How will longitudinally constrained coastal flora fare in the face of rapid anthropogenic climate change and disturbance? Coastal communities pose a unique problem for climate change and its associated risks. Species that are concentrated along the coast are naturally vulnerable to the influence of harsh abiotic ecology, such as coastal erosion and high salt concentrations. In addition, analogous to montane species-habitat interactions, coastal communities may be “pushed” off the coast edge as a result of tracking preferred climate in the face of climate variability and sea level rise. This can be problematic for species that cannot disperse quickly enough to track suitable climate, nor adapt quickly due to a lack of a genetic variability. The California plant Arabis blepharophylla (Brassicaceae) is a native, endemic, and rare short-lived perennial herb with a narrow geographic range, confined to central coastal California, and concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area and nearby California Coast Ranges. A. blepharophylla’s range has been reduced from its already restricted distribution and low abundance due to direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change.

Faculty Mentor/Advisor

John R. Paul

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Apr 13th, 12:00 AM

Plant Biodiversity in the Face of Climate Change: What Will Become of Coastal Endemic Species?

How will longitudinally constrained coastal flora fare in the face of rapid anthropogenic climate change and disturbance? Coastal communities pose a unique problem for climate change and its associated risks. Species that are concentrated along the coast are naturally vulnerable to the influence of harsh abiotic ecology, such as coastal erosion and high salt concentrations. In addition, analogous to montane species-habitat interactions, coastal communities may be “pushed” off the coast edge as a result of tracking preferred climate in the face of climate variability and sea level rise. This can be problematic for species that cannot disperse quickly enough to track suitable climate, nor adapt quickly due to a lack of a genetic variability. The California plant Arabis blepharophylla (Brassicaceae) is a native, endemic, and rare short-lived perennial herb with a narrow geographic range, confined to central coastal California, and concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area and nearby California Coast Ranges. A. blepharophylla’s range has been reduced from its already restricted distribution and low abundance due to direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change.