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




thumbnail_Christina Varnava Jun 2019 2

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, 2020. 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

2019 Recipients

Lacey Benson, San Jose State University

Desiccation tolerance of western sword fern (Polystichum minimum) gametophytes across the coast redwood forest ecological gradient:

Ferns are an integral component of biodiversity and productivity in the coast redwood understory and canopy. Although ferns are the oldest living lineage of plants with complex vascular systems there is still much to learn especially considering how rapidly natural disturbances are expected to change within the coast redwood ecosystem. Given that summer fog is expected to decrease and winter precipitation patterns are predicted to change it is vital to understand the role of microclimates and adaptation strategies utilized by ferns in the coast redwood ecosystem in order to gauge how the distribution, community dynamics, and reproductive success of ferns will be affected in the coming decades. While fern sporophyte water relations are well understood research is still needed to understand how microclimates influence sporophyte production as well as the ecological impact of water retention abilities of gametophytes. Little is known about the abilities of terrestrial fern gametophytes to tolerate and recover from desiccation; however, evidence suggests the degree of tolerance correlates to environmental moisture niches within the sporophyte generation and plays a role in water holding capacity. The specific aims of this study are (1) to compare desiccation tolerance (DT), recovery rates, and morphology of western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) gametophytes from different biogeographic regions and (2) to examine microclimatic differences for the biogeography of P. munitum within the coast redwood forest. We will rear gametophytes from spore and subject them to a series of drying intensities using variation of photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) to compare DT and recovery ability with their associated biogeographic origin. This novel project will illustrate how closely related terrestrial gametophyte physiology is to population dynamics and biogeography.

Alec Chiono, University of San Francisco

Testing the climate variability hypothesis in coast-inland systems and implications under climate change:

The Climate Variability Hypothesis (CVH) states that organisms in more climatically variable environments are adapted to a wider range of climatic conditions than organisms in less variable environments. Due to marine influence, coastal areas typically experience less extreme temperature fluctuations relative to inland areas. According to the CVH, we expect coastal organisms to have more narrow thermal niches because they experience a smaller range of temperatures, but this has yet to be tested. This holds implications beyond the CVH as well; if coastal organisms have more narrow thermal niches, they may be more sensitive to temperature increases from climate change. I will test the CVH by quantifying and comparing the thermal niches of coastal and inland populations of Erythranthe guttata using a growth chamber experiment. I will then use this thermal performance data in ecological niche models to evaluate if coastal populations are more vulnerable to climate change. I hope to provide a better understanding of how populations of E. guttata may respond differently to climate change and use E. guttata as a model for other coastal species so we can better understand the threats facing these unique and important plant communities.

Maria Jesus, Claremont Graduate University & Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

A vascular flora of Conglomerate Mesa and Malpais Mesa, Inyo County, California:

The Inyo Mountains, in Inyo County, California, mark an important transition zone where the Great Basin Desert and Mojave Desert bioregions meet. Very few botanical collections have been made in the southern portion of this rugged and nearly roadless mountain range despite an abundance of unique biogeographic features and high diversity of endemic plant species. I am currently conducting a full floristic inventory of the southern Inyo Mountains in order to establish baseline data while also contributing new knowledge to our understanding of plant distributions in a desert environment. The full research site is characterized by two prominent geologic features – Conglomerate Mesa and Malpais Mesa. Both mesas have similar elevation profiles and are adjacent to one another. However, the surface of Conglomerate is rich in heterogenous carbonate rock with limestone outcrops whereas the surface of Malpais is primarily volcanic. This setting approximates a natural experiment from which to assess how certain edaphic factors might contribute to plant distributions in this region. In addition to compiling a checklist of vascular plants for the southern Inyos, I will test my prediction that Conglomerate Mesa has a greater number of edaphic endemics and higher species richness as compared to Malpais Mesa.

Christina Varnava, Claremont Graduate University & Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

A vascular flora of the Upper Sespe Creek Watershed:

Ventura County is an excellent place for a floristic inventory. It is one of the hotspots of plant biodiversity in California, with several endemic species and many more taxa that are considered rare or uncommon. Sespe Creek is a 61-mile-long stream located in northern Ventura County, California within the Los Padres National Forest. This watershed has a diversity of plant communities, predominantly coastal sage scrub and chaparral, but also riparian, broadleaf woodland, and intact areas of native grassland. The creek is persistent, and remarkably for southern California, has never been altered or modified by humans. These factors all contribute to high plant diversity within the watershed of Sespe Creek. 43 rare taxa have been documented in the area in addition to many common taxa, however most of these collections were made 20 years ago or more. Part of my study will focus on comparing the flora documented there today with past collections to shed light on changes to the area over time. Also of interest are the areas recently burned by the Thomas Fire in 2017, one of the largest fires in the history of California. Much of the watershed was affected by this fire and gathering data on the recovery of plant species in that area is a priority for this study, especially focusing on fire-following native vegetation and opportunistic invasive species. Sespe Creek is home to many unusual environments and rare plants, and there may be undocumented taxa in the area, as well as range extensions of taxa known to occur nearby. For this study I will be establishing a baseline of knowledge about the flora of the area that can contribute to further understanding of the recovery of chaparral and coastal sage scrub plant communities after fire, especially important considering the increase frequency of fires due to climate change.


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 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

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!


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)