California Botanical Society

annettacarter1932 Annetta Carter in 1932 on the Calypso Club trip to Ft. Bragg

Photo: Debra Valov

Annetta Carter Memorial Fund Grants

The Annetta Carter Memorial Fund honors Annetta Carter, who devoted the last 40 years of her life to the study of the Baja California flora. Her special interests were floristics, history, biogeography, and ethnobotany of the Sierra de la Giganta.

The review committee will consider proposals from members of the California Botanical Society who are conducting or proposing to conduct botanical research on the green plants of Baja California. Studies of populations outside Baja will also be considered if they elucidate problems in Baja California.

Application details are here:

- In English

- En Español

Next deadline is December 31, 2021


2018 - Isaac H.L. Marck: Revising the Systematics of Amauria, the Baja California endemic rock daisies

2018 - Benjamin T. Wilder: Botanical Diversity and Change of Volcan Tres Virgenes

2016 - Andy Siekkinen: Searching for Hechtia gayorum, the Baja Endemic Bromeliad

2014 - C. Matt Guilliams: Distribution, extent, and floristics of vernal pools in Baja California, Mexico

2014 - Daniel E. Winkler: Reconnaissance of the status of a rare, endemic plant species in Sierra de San Pedro Mártir National Park, Baja California, Mexico

2012 - Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman: The vascular flora of Greater San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico

2010 - Christopher DiVittorio: Adaptive radiation of Encelia (Asteraceae) in Baja California

2008 - Sula Vanderplank: The vascular flora of Greater San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico

2006 - Peter J. Garcia: Plant collecting on Isla Angel, Sea of Cortez

2005 - Jon P. Rebman: Checklist of the plants of Lower California, Mexico

Publications by Grant Recipients

Paul Silva in 1954 in Collioure, France





Paul Silva Student Research Grants

The Paul Silva Student Research Grant is named after Paul Silva (1922-2014), a phycologist and Curator of Algae at the University Herbarium, UC Berkeley, whose bequest to the Society has made this award possible. Awards are made to qualified undergraduate and graduate student members of the Society working on projects that will help achieve the Society's goal of advancing Western American botany. Students from any accredited university doing botanical research within western North America and who are members of the Society are eligible for this award.

The next deadline for receipt of applications for a Paul Silva Student Research Grant is May 15, 2021. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of experts, and winners will be announced within two months of the application deadline.

For application details and application form are here:

Application Details

Application Form

2020 Recipients

Ernesto Chavez-Velasco, University of California, Santa Cruz

Does coastal fog interact with drought to affect plant water use and endophytic pathogenesis in California coastal prairies?:

Climate change will potentially exacerbate drought stress for California plants. Previous research shows native plants in the coastal zone can sometimes mitigate drought stress through foliar water uptake or by utilizing fog drip and cloud shade to reduce water loss. Drought stress may increase fungal virulence, which has shown to cause a direct loss of forage production and the removal of legume or grass components. We are investigating the potential for fog to mediate stress-induced pathogenesis with a greenhouse experiment, and whether endophytic fungi mediate drought induced virulence in coastal grasslands.  We will also investigate the interactive effect of drought and fog on Stipa pulchra and Sidalcea malviflora by measuring their survivorship, biomass, δ13C and percent damage from pathogens. we expect fog to mediate drought stress and reduce the effects of pathogenic degradation. However, we also anticipate that increased moisture conditions could potentially affect the establishment of endophytic fungi. In a future consisting of increased precipitation and, identifying potential endophytic symbionts may aid restoration practitioners in combating potential pathogenesis induced by drought stress. Our results may also provide insight into how endophytic symbionts affect the productivity and potential susceptibility of coastal prairies to invasion, as well as their implications for shaping ecosystem structure.

Jenna Ekwealor, University of California, Berkeley

UV tolerance in Mojave Desert mosses:

Mosses are small, non-vascular plants that are poikilohydric and desiccation tolerant, which means their tissues quickly equilibrate to ambient water content and they are able to recover from being completely dry. Terrestrial mosses will dehydrate and go dormant between precipitation events. While many mosses are found in cool, low-light environments, several species are abundant in deserts where they are desiccated for much of the year. Mosses that live in the desert spend most of their time in a desiccated, inactive state exposed to high solar radiation due to low atmospheric water vapor. In nature, desert mosses not only have to withstand the damage of desiccation itself but must also be able to recover from any damage incurred while dry or have adequate mechanisms for protection. Mosses have no ability for active repair when dry and face risk of damage to sensitive molecules, including those in the photosynthetic apparatus and DNA which absorb wavelengths in the UV spectrum. My research investigates UV protection mechanisms used by two desert mosses Syntrichia ruralis and S. caninervis, two extremely desiccation-tolerant Mojave Desert mosses. These plants can lose almost all of their cellular water and recover after rehydration. For my project I am investigating the transcriptomic responses to acute and chronic UV exposure to understand the genes involved in UV tolerance and the evolutionary history of this trait. This research will contribute to understanding how these plants are able to survive extended periods of intense solar radiation while dry and dormant in their desert habitat.

Jacob Ewald, California State University, Chico

Species boundaries in two northern California Monkeyflowers:

Recently diverged taxa are thought to maintain species boundaries via the evolution of reproductive barriers. Pre-zygotic barriers such as divergent habitat, flowering phenology, and floral morphology work additively with post-zygotic barriers such as hybrid sterility or inviability to reproductively isolate species. The close relatives Mimulus guttatus and Mimulus glaucescens broadly overlap in range, have similar flower morphology, and flower at the same time. Thus, no barrier to interbreeding is apparent, and they freely interbreed in the greenhouse. However, the two species are not known to hybridize in nature. Previous research characterized fourteen potential barriers to reproduction, but did not find complete isolation. Thus, either unmeasured barriers exist or hybridization occurs in nature. I will conduct microhabitat analyses in M. guttatus and M. glaucescens habitat to evaluate the strength of microhabitat as a reproductive barrier. I have also collected leaf and bract tissue from natural populations; I will run genetic analyses on these tissue samples to test the hypothesis that introgression occurs in nature. Finally, I am currently collecting data on bract shape, glaucous coloration, and trichome density in greenhouse-grown parent species and hybrids to determine the genetic basis of taxonomically informative traits. Ultimately, elucidating the relationship between Mimulus guttatus and Mimulus glaucescens will provide insight into the process of speciation as well as the evolutionary history of this diverse genus.

Michael Mulroy, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

An investigation of lichen biotas of ultramafic and sandstone outcrops along a maritime gradient in central California:

Saxicolous (rock-dwelling) lichen communities vary tremendously in response to abiotic environmental factors. While such variation is widely recognized, little research has been carried out to quantify the effects of abiotic factors on saxicolous lichen community composition. I am investigating the roles of substrate properties and maritime influence in determining species composition and distributions in saxicolous lichen communities. My study will compare ultramafic (i.e., serpentine) and siliceous sandstone lichen communities across a large-scale (~65 km) coast-inland environmental gradient of decreasing maritime influence in central California. Lichen communities on both substrates across the gradient are being assessed via quadrat sampling and species inventory methods. For each of our 18 sampling locations, we are determining maritime influence factors, such as aerial salt deposition and climate variables, and quantifying substrate properties including elemental chemistry and microtopography. We hypothesize that 1) maritime influence will cause lichen communities to be more species-rich and diverse closer to the coast, similar to northern coastal scrub vascular plant communities in the same region; and 2) ultramafic and sandstone communities will be more compositionally similar in the coastal zone than the interior due to maritime influences overriding substrate effects. In order to effectively meet land management and conservation goals in the context of rapid global changes, it is critical that we improve our understanding of spatial relationships between species and environmental variables. This study will improve our understanding of saxicolous lichen community ecology and regional species distributions, as well as provide a rich dataset for future research on lichen-substrate relationships.


2020 - Ernesto Chavez-Velasco, University of California, Santa Cruz: Does coastal fog interact with drought to affect water use and endophytic pathogenesis in Coastal Prairie?

2020 - Jenna Ekwealor, University of California, Berkeley: UV tolerance in Mojave Desert mosses

2020 - Jacob Ewald, California State University, Chico: Species boundaries in two northern California Monkeyflowers

2020 - Michael Mulroy, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo: An investigation of lichen biotas of ultramafic and sandstone outcrops along a maritime gradient in central California

2019 - Lacey Benson, San Jose State University: Desiccation tolerance of western sword fern (Polystichum minimum) gametophytes across the coast redwood forest ecological gradient

2019 - Alec Chiono, University of San Francisco: Testing the climate variability hypothesis in coast-inland systems and implications under climate change

2019 - Maria Jesus, Claremont Graduate University & Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden: A vascular flora of Conglomerate Mesa and Malpais Mesa, Inyo County, California

2019 - Christina Varnava, Claremont Graduate University & Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden: A vascular flora of the Upper Sespe Creek Watershed

2018 - Nicole Kollars - University of California, Davis: The consequences of grazing disturbance on the genetic diversity of seagrass

2018 - Audrey Haynes, University of California, Berkeley: Night-time transpiration in parasitic plants

2018 - Emily Cox, University of California, Berkeley: Lasthenia californica and water stress: A glimpse into the future of California grasslands

2017 - Jennifer Harrower, University of California, Santa Cruz: Investigating the impacts of climate change on Joshua trees and their symbionts

2017 - Nila Le, University of San Francisco: Climate change and limited distribution of the California native plant and rocky outcrop endemic Arabis blepharophylla

2017 - Annie Ayers, Kate Miller, Drew Burke & Maxwell McCollum, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo: A floristic survey of Mt. Conness and Skelton Plateau in Yosemite National Park

2016 - Kristen Peach, University of California, Santa Barbara: Predicting responses of wild plant populations to climate change: Integrating climatic and biological factors influencing the ecology of floral attraction

thumbnail_image Jonica and her project on post-wildfire recovery
IMG_0772 Justen Whittall, Madroño Editor, with Charlotte (left) and Royal (right) IMG_0770 Justen Whittal, Madroño Editor, with Vishnavi (left) and Brian (right) santa cruz winners Justen Whittal, Madroño Editor (left), and Josie Lesage, Nemophila Editor (right) with (starting from left) Jonica, Ruby Evans, Eva, Natalie, Trevor, Katherine, Helen Leslie and Ruby Howard

IMG_7113 Justen Whittall, Madroño Editor, with Arjun (left) and Ayana (right)

CBS award winners.Santa Cruz Justen Whittall with (starting from left) Ashlyn, Caitlin and Emma

California Botanical Society
Student Science Fair Prizes

The Society awards prizes from time to time to K-12 student scientists for botanical projects presented at recognized California science fairs. The program was initiated in 2018 and aims to encourage our next generation of botanists.

Anyone interested in judging or in helping in their county's science fair can contact Justen Whittall at, who can help coordinate judging and awards. Most California counties have science fairs and the Society is currently only sponsoring Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Recently, several Bay Area counties have merged with San Francisco. Justen hopes to be there next year and will need help.

Please volunteer and spread the word!


2020 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California) (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Tavleen Kaur, Adrian C. Wilcox High School, Santa Clara, CA: Improving crop health and pollinator safety using eco-friendly fertilizers, pesticides, and fire-retardants (1st place High School division)
  • Ananya Aswan Kumar, Los Gatos High School, Los Gatos, CA: The effects of biochar treated soil on the ability of Escherichia coli to infect plants (2nd place High School division)
  • Benjamin Allen Cha and Brandon Zau, The Harker School - Middle School, San Jose, CA: The Effects of Pondweed on Plant Growth (1st place Middle School division)
  • Maryam Zehra and Katherine Helena Fields, The Harker School - Middle School, San Jose, CA: Purified water vs filtered water vs natural water and its effect on plants (2nd place Middle School division)

2020 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Jonica Wilson, qualified independently: Post-wildfire Recovery of Native vs. Invasive (1st place Middle School division)
  • Larkin Steely, Ocean Grove Charter School, Boulder Creek, CA: Salt of the Soil: How much Salt can California Plants Take? (1st place Elementary School division)

2019 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California)

  • Royal Huey III, Oak Grove High School, San Jose: Effects of simulated microgravity through perpetual falling on Raphanus raphanistrum root network development (1st place High School division)
  • Charlotte Lara, Notre Dame High School, San Jose, CA: Allelopathic effects of California native trees on a California native grass, Fistula californica (2nd place High School division)
  • Brian Chen, The Harker School - Middle School, San Jose, CA: Validating novel algorithm generated crop rotations (1st place Middle School division)
  • Vishnavi Katta, Ruhi Batchu, Cabrillo Middle School, Santa Clara, CA: Watering efficiently (2nd place Middle School division)

2019 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair

  • Katherine McCormick, Helen Leslie Schafer-Dews, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA, Ruby Howard, Coast Redwood High School, Felton, CA: Water Percolation in Relation to the Quantity of French Broom in the San Lorenzo Valley Watershed (1st place High School division)
  • Trevor Cambron, Natalie Owens, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA: Trails, Soil, and SOD (2nd place High School division)
  • Ruby Evans, San Lorenzo Valley Middle School, Felton, CA: Do Plants Absorb Microplastics (1st place Middle School division)
  • Eva Ramirez-Truse, Santa Cruz Children's School, Santa Cruz, CA: Which Trees Take the Longest to Burn (2nd place Middle School division)
  • Jonica Wilson, Pacific Elementary School, Davenport, CA: The Effects of Wildfire on Seed Germination of Native and Invasive Plants of California's Monterey Pine Forests (1st place Elementary School division)

2018 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California)

  • Anaya Subramanian, Los Altos High School, Los Altos, CA: Enhancement of mitochondrial function and seed germination by pterostilbene, ellagic acid and nicotinamide riboside (1st place High School division)
  • Alexander Michael Noriega, Oak Grove High School, San Jose, CA: Antimicrobial Synergies of the Digestive Juices Formed by Nepenthaceae Plants (2nd place High School division)
  • Ayana Rose Wilmot, Oakwood School, Morgan Hill, CA: Factors Affecting the Rate of Photosynthesis of California Lichens (1st place Middle School division)
  • Arjun Rajaram, Challenger School-Almaden, San Jose, CA: The effect of different plants on firescaping (2nd place Middle School division)

2018 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair

  • Emma Schaefer-Whittall, Scotts Valley High School, Scotts Valley, CA: Alkaloid Quantification of Catharanthus roseus and Vinca major and its Effects on Cell Viability (1st place High School division)
  • Isabel O'Malley-Krohn, Pacific Collegiate School, Santa Cruz, CA: Trees for the People: Socioeconomic Distribution of Street Trees (2nd place High School division)
  • Caitlin Sullivan, Holy Cross School, Santa Cruz, CA: Effects of X-Ray Radiation on Plants (1st place Middle School division)
  • Ashlyn McDaniel, Baymonte Christian School, Scotts Valley, CA: Vinegar Stops Mold on Strawberries (2nd place Middle School division)