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, 2023

2022 Recipient

Sophie Winitsky, Montana State University

Investigating taxonomic hypotheses of Baja California’s hyper-diverse genus Marina (Fabaceae) using target enrichment:

Marina is a genus of 45 minimum rank taxa in the legume family (Fabaceae) that includes many rare, overlooked, and geographically-restricted species distributed primarily throughout Mexico. The center of diversity of Marina falls within Baja California, Mexico, a biodiversity hotspot with floristic endemism estimated between 23-30%. Of the 15 currently described taxa of Marina found on the peninsula, 11 are only found there. Despite increasing botanical collection in Baja California Sur, the majority of Baja’s Marina remain rare and seldom collected, and include island and sky island endemics. So far, I have compiled a highly supported molecular phylogeny for the genus, resolving many relationships and illuminating cryptic taxa that I plan to investigate further. I hope to expand this molecular phylogeny with denser sampling to be able to address whether the narrow endemics are supported as distinct taxonomic entities by molecular evidence and if there are overlooked or cryptic taxa within the highly variable species complexes. Two new, geographically restricted species, Marina brevis León-de la Luz and Marina victoriae León-de la Luz have been described from the Cape Region of Baja California recently and more undescribed species are suggested by this study’s preliminary phylogenomic results. These new taxa, as well as the narrow endemics described in Barneby’s 1977 monograph, are lacking ecological or morphological data to help inform their conservation status and taxonomic circumscription. Here, I am proposing a field expedition to Baja California to further investigate the natural history, ecology and morphology of the potentially new species suggested by my preliminary phylogenomic results as well as collect voucher specimens to expand the phylogenomic sampling of Baja California’s other Marina taxa.


2022 - Sophie Winitsky: Investigating taxonomic hypotheses of Baja California’s hyper-diverse genus Marina (Fabaceae) using target enrichment

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, 2023. 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

2022 Recipients

Peri Lee Pipkin, Claremont Graduate University/California Botanical Garden

A Floristic Inventory of the Silver Peak Range, Esmeralda County, NV:

The Silver Peak Range sits in a remote corner of western Nevada. Its subalpine peaks descend into unusual geology that bears both diverse plant communities and mineral rich soil, some of which are notably high in lithium. Because of this, the region is a hot-spot for proposed lithium extraction, a critical mineral in our transition to renewable energy sources. Due to increasing demand and new projects being proposed on public lands, baseline biological data is needed to inform management decisions that can maximize protection of biodiversity. Unfortunately, Nevada's botanical diversity is largely under-documented. Botanical specimen collection density is estimated at 0.34 specimens/km2 on average, while neighboring California has 4.76 specimens/km2 on average. This underscores the need to collect herbarium specimen data and understand geographic patterns of plant diversity, which can inform appropriate siting of mineral extraction and energy development in order to reduce conflicts with sensitive resources such as rare plants and ecological communities. Despite the lack of botanical documentation, we know that the Silver Peak Range is home to narrowly endemic and imperiled species such as Tiehm’s buckwheat (Eriogonum tiehmii) and Tecopa bird's beak (Chloropyron tecopenseis). Its proximity to other specialized habitats, such as those located in the White Mountains and Death Valley National Park in California, as well as the presence of unique ecosystems such as alkali wetlands lends potential for this area to host high levels of species richness and endemism. It also straddles the transition zone between the Great Basin and Mojave deserts, and includes the northernmost extent of the western Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia), a species predicted to undergo widespread extirpation in the southernmost region of their range. These factors underscore the urgency and importance of a floristic inventory in this region.

Selena Vengco, Claremont Graduate University/California Botanical Garden

Maintenance of flower color polymorphisms in a non-model system of Erythranthe discolor (Phrymaceae):

Across angiosperms there are a broad diversity of biotic and abiotic factors that maintain color diversity. Abiotic pressures such as UV, temperature or precipitation are known to drive floral pigmentation production in plants, which can cause color variation. In addition, plant-pollinator relationships have long been considered as major drivers of floral diversity. The same factors maintaining floral color diversity across angiosperms could also be mechanisms for maintaining intraspecific color differences also known as flower color polymorphisms (FCPs). FCPs could present as gradient color changes or discreetly colored corollas. Understanding FCPs can illuminate microevolutionary processes that maintain color diversity within and among populations across angiosperms.
Erythranthe discolor (Phrymaceae) is a narrow California endemic aninual that occurs in the Southern Sierra Nevada and is known to have discrete FCPs. Some populations are monomorphic with yellow flowers only, while others are polymorphic and include both pink- and yellow-flowered plants. A previous study of E. discolor found precipitation was only partially responsible for the maintenance of FCPs in polymorphic populations. Biotic pressures, in particular pollinator preferences, were not tested in this study and may have a stronger influence on FCPs maintenance. This study aims to pinpoint the factors that allow FCPs in this non-model system by assessing gene flow between inter- and intra-color morphs and through pollinator observations. To date, no studies have examined population structure or characterized pollination biology as a potential contributor to the maintenance of FCPs in E. discolor.
Additionally, E. discolor is not currently recognized by California or the US federal government as a species of conservation concern despite its narrow distribution. This research can provide population structure and genetic diversity metrics needed to potentially consider E. discolor as an endangered species.

Peter Nguyen (undergraduate), University of California, Santa Cruz

Using eDNA to characterize associated soil microbes of Lupinus nipomensis that influence survival:

Climate change is increasing the frequency and duration of heatwaves and droughts in California, threatening plant growth and impeding efforts to reintroduce rare plants. Lupinus nipomensis can be found in southern San Luis Obispo County at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dune Complex. The interannual population of L. nipomensis, a state and federally endangered species in California, fluctuates with annual climate variability. In the relatively new field of environmental genomics and conservation, known as environmental DNA, samples of the soil, air, or water are taken in order to identify the organisms present. One use of this is to look for beneficial bacteria that aid plants in water uptake. Most studies on the links between soil inoculum, drought, and plants have only been conducted in agriculture. We are interested (1) whether there are microbial communities associated with drought and warming treatments that affect L. nipomensis’ survival and (2) how microbial communities differ between greenhouse climate treatments and outplanting sites with similar microclimate conditions. We hypothesize that there will be water-assisting microbial communities in drought and warming treatments and that there will be a difference in microbial communities between greenhouse and native L. nipomensis sites. In our study, we collected soil samples from four treatments in a greenhouse study and samples from four treatments from a field study site of L. nipomensis in San Luis Obispo. We will extract DNA from these samples and perform metabarcoding to identify possible critical microbial communities. If beneficial microbial communities are found, soil transplants or plant relocation can be done to help in their species’ recovery. In addition to bolstering current conservation efforts, we believe that our new species conservation model will promote microbial-based inquiry for ecological management as most conservation practices currently focus on what is optically visible.


2022 - Peri Lee Pipkin, Claremont Graduate University/California Botanical Garden: A Floristic Inventory of the Silver Peak Range, Esmeralda County, NV.

2022 - Selena Vengco, Claremont Graduate University/California Botanical Garden: Maintenance of flower color polymorphisms in a non-model system of Erythranthe discolor (Phrymaceae)

2022 - Peter Nguyen (undergraduate), University of California, Santa Cruz: Using eDNA to characterize associated soil microbes of Lupinus nipomensis that influence survival

2021 - Emma Fryer, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo: Community Assembly of Vertic Clay Endemic Annuals of the San Joaquin Desert

2021 - Riley Scaff, Pitzer College, Claremont, California: Restoring a Native Plant Community to a Mojave Desert Burn Site

2021 - Annie Taylor, Boise State University, Idaho: Resolving taxonomic uncertainty and clarifying species boundaries in the Cymopterus terebinthinus species complex

2021 - Kristy Snyder, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington: Analysis of the Role of Annual Seeds in Palouse Prairie Restoration

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

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!


2021 Synopsys Championship (Santa Clara County, California) (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Sia Agarwal, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA: The Effect of Metal Pollution on Zoospore Development of Giant Kelp Macrocystis pyrifera (1st place High School division)
  • Alisa Grebin, The Harker School-Upper Campus, San Jose, CA: Can Mulch be Effective Against Stopping the Spread of Wildfires and Prevent the Growth of Additional Flammable Material? (Runner Up High School division)
  • Swara Ruchirkumar Shah, Challenger School-Berryessa Campus, San Jose, CA: Wonderful Wood: What is the effect of sapwood on the purity of water? (1st place Middle School division)
  • Hima Thota, The Harker School-Middle School Campus, San Jose, CA: Detecting Nutrient Deficiencies and Optimizing Plant Health Using Machine Learning (Runner Up Middle School division)

thumbnail_IMG_5555 (1) Alisa Grebin

image Swara Ruchirkumar Shah

2021 Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair (Virtual due to Covid-19)

  • Bethany Mansfield: Horse Poop Planting! (1st place Middle School division)
  • Nolan Wilson: Are more Monarch butterflies passing through Santa Cruz in the fall or spring? (Runner Up Elementary School division)
  • Caleb Cmaylo: Flame Resistant Wood in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Runner Up Middle School division)
  • Farrah Hartje: How do Wildfires Affect the Growth of New Plants? (Runner Up Middle School division)
  • Levi Tabor: Does Lettuce Grown Hydroponically Grow Taller than Lettuce Grown in Soil? (Runner Up Middle School division)

image0 Bethany Mansfield
IMG_6147 Caleb Cmaylo

IMG_5384 Levi Tabor

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 Campus, 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 Campus, 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)

thumbnail_image Jonica and her project on post-wildfire recovery

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 Campus, 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)

IMG_0772 Justen Whittall, Madroño Editor, with Charlotte (left) and Royal (right)
IMG_0770 Justen Whittal, Madroño Editor, with Vishnavi (left) and Brian (right)

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

Research grants from other sources available to California botanists

California Botanical Society
c/o Jepson Herbarium
1001 Valley Life Sciences Building
Berkeley, California 94720-2465