- Paper accepted: Fryday, A. M., Medeiros, I., Pope, N., Siebert, S. and N. Rajakaruna. Burrowsia, a new genus of lichenized fungi (Caliciaceae), plus two new species B. cataractarum and Scoliciosporum fabisporum, from Mpumalanga, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany (in press)
- Congratulations to undergraduate research student, Nicole Argueta, for winning a 2020 Ned Rogoway Memorial Scholarship from the Channel Counties Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals
- Congratulations to undergraduate research student, Dylan Stephens, for winning the Mothers for Peace Scholarship in recognition of his educational and career goals that will have a positive impact on issues of peace, social justice, or the environment
- Undergraduate research student, Zach Raposo, is selected as the Environmental Earth and Soil Science Professional of the Year by Natural Resources Management & Environmental Sciences Department at Cal Poly. Congratulations, Zach!
- Keeping busy in the age of COVID-19: Building Community
- Great News: Both Rosie Deak and Michael Mulroy receive research grants from Northern California Botanists for their graduate research on meadow plant diversity-fire relations and lichen-substrate-climate relations, respectively. Congratulations to you both!
- Nishi joins the Editorial Board of AoB Plants. Published by Oxford University Press since 2010, AoBP is dedicated to rapid publication of high quality research on all aspects of plant biology and ecology. All papers are available online to anyone, anywhere, free of charge.
- Incoming grad student, Emma Fryer, has a new e-shop highlighting her amazing natural history illustrations. Check it out!
- Nishi joins the council of California Botanical Society starting this month
- Adjusting to a new normal: faculty-student interactions in the age of Covid-19
- Congratulations to Michael Mulroy for winning the 2020 Culberson and Hale Award for field research from the American Bryological and Lichenological Society. Great work, Michael.
- April disappointments: Nishi’s research trips to the Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station on the Galapagos Islands and to Northwest University, Potechefstroom, South Africa were sadly canceled due to COVID-19 related travel bans.
- Congratulations to current and past lab members – Michael Mulroy, Anthony Ferrero, Peter Walsh, Zach Raposo, Charlotte Miranda, Jordon Gosse, Dylan Stephens, Reid Dawley, Alex Pena, Mary Devlin, Teiana Cataldo, and Chris Howington – for getting their oral and poster presentation abstracts accepted for presentation at the 10th International Conference on Serpentine Ecology to be held at the Ural Federal University, Eketerinburg, Russia. 7 undergraduates (Zach, Alex, Dylan, Reid, Peter, Anthony, Mary) and 1 grad student (Micheal) were making travel arrangements to attend the conference when the conference was postponed until June 2021 due to the pandemic. We hope to make it to Russia in 2021. Accepted abstracts are found here.
- More disappointments: my trip to South Africa in September to give a keynote address at the MEDECOS conference was also canceled due to the pandemic! Presentation Info – Life on the Rocks: What plants on harsh substrate ‘islands’ can teach us about diversity, ecology, evolution, and conservation and restoration practices. Keynote Presentation at the session on Plant life on atypical substrates in Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems, MEDECOS 2020 (International Society of Mediterranean Ecology), Langebaan, Western Cape, South Africa. September 7-12
- My Field Botany Course in Maine (Aug 2-15) also canceled due to the pandemic….never had so many disappointing travel/work disruptions in one month ever before!
- Sad to miss Jesse Miller (Stanford University; invited by Rosie) and Elsa Cleland (UC San Diego; invited by Michael) we were supposed to host for the Biological Sciences Department Seminar Series this spring. Both their trips were canceled due to the pandemic. Hope to bring you back next year!
- Emma Fryer receives an Honorable Mention in the 2020 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) competition. Great achievement, Emma! Congratulations!
- Rosie Murphy-Deak wins a California Native Grassland Association’s Grassland Research Awards for Student Scholarship (G.R.A.S.S.). Congratulations, Rosie! See announcement here.
- Emma Fryer is awarded a Graduate Assistantship for her first year of her MS starting Fall 2020 – Congratulations, Emma!
- Building Community – Faculty-in-Residence position highlighted in Cal Poly News
- Exciting NEWS! Emma Fryer joins the lab for her MS research starting Fall 2020. We are excited to welcome Emma to our lab. Her bio follows:
Emma has spent the past two years working as a field biologist and specialist environmental planner with Central Valley and Sierra Nevada rare and endangered plant and animal species while based in Fresno, and volunteering at the Fresno State Herbarium to get it up and running again, with a particular focus on the lichen collection. She earned her B.S. in Botany from Humboldt State University, where she worked in the Tomescu Paleobotany lab for three years, describing and taxonomically placing Cretaceous fossil wood specimens with pinaceous and araucariaceous affinities. Emma has research and/or work experience with rare plant surveys and collecting, lichen and bryophyte identification, paleobotany and paleontological taxonomy, wood anatomy and identification, and enjoys amateur mycology. She is interested in expanding her knowledge of how plants interact with their environment and communities, in particular as it relates to rare California natives, their community structure, and management of rare plant populations. At Cal Poly, she plans on working with vertic clay-endemic plant communities in the San Joaquin Desert, studying their morphological and physiological adaptation to sodic, vertic clay soils, quantifying the primary edaphic factors that define each species’ niche, assessing whether competition from Bromus madritensis is causing niche compression, and developing a model of this flora’s community assembly. Emma enjoys backpacking, reading, and botanical illustration in her free time, and is looking forward to continuing her exploration of mycology, bryology, and lichenology, and getting to know the flora of the San Luis Obispo area when off-campus.
- Alex Pena presents his undergraduate research at the 2020 CSU Student Research Competition (Cal Poly).
- No hope for a super bloom at Carizzo Plain in 2020?
- Dr. Hugh Safford visits Cal Poly to present the weekly seminar at the Biological Sciences Department! It was a lot of fun hosting Hugh today.
- Exciting NEWS! Eli Baldares joins the lab for his MS research starting Fall 2020. We are excited to welcome Eli to our lab. A brief bio of Eli follows. Eli is currently an herbarium curatorial assistant in the Clifton Smith Herbarium. He earned his B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he volunteered and interned at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration. Eli has experience collecting California native plants, curating plant collections as well as performing research into taxonomic questions. He is interested in developing a greater understanding of lichens while also cultivating his knowledge of the general flora of California. At Cal Poly Eli plans on working on Sulcaria isidiifera, the splitting yarn lichen, a rare endemic that is known to occur in Los Osos Oaks Reserve, Montana De Oro and Morro Bay State Park. The goal of his project is to understand the extent of the population distribution and the ecology of this rare lichen in support of CESA and FESA listing status petitions.
- Congratulations to Zach Raposo for being selected as this year’s recipient of the SASES National Student Recognition Award for Cal Poly. Way to go, Zach!
- Congratulations to Alex Pena for making the internal selection competition of the CSU Student Research Competition. He has been selected to present his research on Layia to the Academic Senate Grants Review Committee. Good luck, Alex!
- We are excited to welcome Ryan O’Dell [Natural Resource Specialist (Botany/Soils/Paleontology), Central Coast Field Office, Bureau of Land Management, California] to the Geoecology Lab. As of February 2020, Ryan will be a Research Associate with us. Look forward to working with Ryan!
- Congratulations to grad student, Michael Mulroy, for winning the California Lichen Society grant for his ongoing research on serpentine-sandstone lichens along a coast-inland gradient
- Nishi receives a Terrance Harris Excellence in Mentorship Award, Cal Poly State University (2020)
- Congratulations to Nicole Argueta on her selection for participation in the Cornell University 2020 Diversity Preview Weekend
- Lab research highlighted in the College of Science and Mathematics news on Faculty Publications and Awards Summer 2018
- Celebrating five years with Rhodora: Rhodora Editor-in-Chief
- Congratulations to Dylan Stephens for winning the Frost Summer Research Photo Contest for 2019. His winning photo made the cover of the Frost Fund Annual Report 2018-2019
- Undergraduates Alex Pena, Kevin Tran, and Dylan Stephens present their summer research at the Biological Sciences Department, Frost Summer Research Symposium, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. (August 23)
- Paper accepted: Gunarathne, V., A. U. Rajapaksha, M. Vithanage, N. Adassooriya, A. Cooray, S. Liyanage, B. Athapattu, N. Rajakaruna, A. D. Igalavithana, D. Hou, D. S. Alessi, and Y. S. Ok. 2019. Heavy Metal Dissolution Mechanisms from Electrical Industrial Sludge. Science of the Total Environment (in press)
- Nishi teaches a 2-week field botany class on New England plants at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine
- Nishi visits Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia to present a seminar on plant evolution on serpentine soils and help Russian colleagues in their organization of the 10th International Conference on Serpentine Ecology to be held in Russia in June 2020. Photos are of visits to serpentinite outcrops in the central and southern Urals of Russia.
- Paper hot off the press: Paukov, A., A. Teptina, M. Morozova, E. Kruglova, S. Favero-Longo, C. Bishop and N. Rajakaruna. The effects of edaphic and climatic factors on secondary lichen chemistry—a case study using saxicolous lichens. Diversity (PDF)
- South African research on Ni hyperaccumulator plants is highlighted in Veld&Flora, the quarterly journal of the Botanical Society of South Africa (PDF here)
- Paper hot off the press: Naikoo, M. I., M. I. Dar, F. A. Khan, F. Raghib, and N. Rajakaruna. Trophic transfer and bioaccumulation of lead along soil – plant – aphid – ladybird food chain. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (PDF)
- Paper accepted: Paukov, A., A. Teptina, M. Morozova, E. Kruglova, S. Favero-Longo, C. Bishop and N. Rajakaruna. The effects of edaphic and climatic factors on secondary lichen chemistry—a case study using saxicolous lichens. Diversity (in press)
- Paper hot off the press: Gunarathne, V., N. Rajakaruna, U. Gunarathne, J. K. Biswas, Z. A. Raposo, and M. Vithanage. Influence of soil water content and soil amendments on trace metal release and seedling growth in serpentine soil. Journal of Soils and Sediments (Online Version; PDF)
- Paper accepted: Naikoo, M. I., M. I. Dar, F. A. Khan, F. Raghib, and N. Rajakaruna. Trophic transfer and bioaccumulation of lead along soil – plant – aphid – ladybird food chain. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (in press)
- Paper accepted: Gunarathne, V., N. Rajakaruna, U. Gunarathne, J. K. Biswas, Z. A. Raposo, and M. Vithanage. Influence of soil water content and soil amendments on trace metal release and seedling growth in serpentine soil. Journal of Soils and Sediments (in press)
- Nishi’ talk on rock outcrop plants for the CNPS Santa Clara Chapter is found here
- Mary Devlin, Dylan Stephens, Alex Pena, Kevin Tran, Nicole Argueta, Anthony Ferrero, Peter Walsh, and Zach Raposo present their undergraduate research at the College of Science and Mathematics 2019 Research Conference (May 16-17)
- Upcoming talk (May 17) at the California Native Plant Society (Santa Clara Chapter) is highlighted here
- Upcoming talk (May 14) for the Central Coast Biological Society is highlighted here
- Hike to Elfin Forest highlighted. See page 7
- Congratulations to Nate Pope, former research student from College of the Atlantic, for successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis at the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas, Austin. Nate published two papers as an undergrad and have continued to help my undergraduate research students over the years. So proud of you, Dr. Pope!
- Faculty in Residence Program highlighted in Mustang News
- Students present their research at the California Botanical Society’s 27th Graduate Student Symposium on April 6 2019. Photos are of undergraduate research students Alex Pena, Mary Devlin, Zach Raposo, Chris Howington, Peter Walsh, and Anthony Ferrero and graduate student, Paul Excoffier
- Kristen Nelson (Botanist, Terra Verde Environmental Consulting) and Nishi Rajakaruna lead a field trip on Irish Hills to explore serpentine-associated plants of San Luis Obispo. The trip was organized as part of the 27th Graduate Student Symposium of the California Botanical Society
- Incoming Grad Student: Michael Mulroy will be joining the Geoecology Lab for his graduate studies this coming fall. A warm welcome to him. Michael hails from Carpinteria, California. He graduated in 2010 from Pomona College with a degree in Environmental Analysis. Since then, he has spent 6 years in the San Francisco Bay Area working as a wildlife biologist, and recently completed 2 years of service as an Environmental Conservation volunteer with the Peace Corps in Panama. Currently, Michael is working as a field technician and biologist for Channel Islands Restoration. Michael is broadly interested in species diversity and ecology, as well as how plant communities change across spatial and temporal scales, and how these changes relate to patterns of historic and present-day land use and management. At Cal Poly, Michael looks forward to investigating lichen communities of serpentinite substrates. In his free time, Michael enjoys reading, riding his bicycle, birding in remote areas, searching out edible mushrooms, and most recently, identifying lichens. Congratulations, Michael!
- Incoming Grad Student: Roisin ‘Rosie’ Murphy-Deak will also be joining the Geoecology Lab for her graduate studies this coming fall. A warm welcome to her! After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in Environmental Science and Management Rosie has pursued botanical field work that brings her far and wide. For the last seven years she has spent her time in the employment of various agencies including UC Davis, CNPS, and the US Forest Service. She is broadly interested in disturbance and the maintenance of biodiversity on the landscape and using insights gained from the field to inform land management practices. She is planning a collaboration with the US Forest Service to investigate how controlled burns can be used to maintain meadow diversity and whether they are effective means of preventing Pine invasion. Congratulations Rosie!
- Alex Pena, Dylan Stephens, and Kevin Tran win Frost Summer Research Fellowships to conduct undergraduate research in the Geoecology Lab Summer 2019. Congratulations!
- Kristen Nelson and Nishi lead a hike to explore serpentine plants of Irish Hills, San Luis Obispo. The highlight of the hike was the newly discovered and described serpentine endemic plant, Chorizanthe aphanantha.
- Faculty-in-Residence Program highlighted in Mustang News
- Geoecology Lab highlighted in the Intersection Magazine of the College of Science and Mathematics, Cal Poly (See PDF 1, PDF2)
- Congratulations to Nicole Argueta for winning a Montine M. Freeman Scholarship in Native Plant Studies from the Garden Club of America. Funding will help her with a project on creating an Ethnobotany Garden at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden
- Bob Boyd visits Cal Poly to give a departmental seminar on nickel hyperaccumulation and another seminar to the California Native Plant Society (SLO Chapter) on his travels on serpentines of the world. Bob also visited with students of the Geoecology Lab at Cal Poly during his visit.
- Amber Williams presents her summer 2018 research at the STAR (Stem Teacher and Researcher) Conference in San Diego, CA
- Garden Club of America highlights 2018 Scholars. See pages 48 (Anthony Ferrero) and 54 (Mary Devlin).
- Fire project highlighted in the Mustang News
- Anthony Ferrero, Chris Howington, and Zach Raposo present their summer research at the Frost Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Dept. of Bio Sciences, Cal Poly
- Former graduate student from San Jose State University, Teri Barry, is now the collections manager at the Center for Plant Diversity at UC Davis. Congratulations Teri!
- Frost and Garden Club of America Scholar, Anthony Ferrero, and Professor Bob Boyd (Auburn University, AL) taking a break from field work in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. They are collecting seed of Streptanthus polygaloides, one of two known nickel hyperaccumulating plants in the US
- Anthony Ferrero and Bob Boyd on the hunt for Streptanthus polygaloides
- Anthony Ferrero and Mary Devlin are highlighted in the Garden Club of America scholarship announcements for 2018
- STAR Scholar joins the Geoecology Lab for the summer:
Amber Williams is a 4th year Biological Sciences student concentrating in Ecology. She is working under Dr. Rajakaruna through the STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program, which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. This summer, she is working alongside undergraduate research student and Garden Club of America scholar Mary Devlin exploring the effects of nutrient enrichment in serpentine soils on native and non-native species.
- Ecological Society of Japan announces new editors
- University housing faculty-in-residence program highlighted in the Cal Poly Reports
- Nishi takes students from Hotchkiss School, CT on a natural history tour of Udawattekalle, Kandy and introduces tropical fruit
- Hot off the press: Echevarria, G., A. J. M. Baker, R. S. Boyd, A. van der Ent, T. Mizuno, N. Rajakaruna, S. Sakaguchi, and A. Bani. 2018. A global forum on ultramafic ecosystems: from ultramafic ecology to rehabilitation of degraded environments. Ecological Research (PDF)
- Lab members present their research at the Spring 2018 College of Science and Mathematics Student Research Conference at Cal Poly
- Former Student Suzie Woolhouse’s photo makes it to the cover page of Molecular Ecology (May 2018). Her paper can be found here
- Nishi is invited to join the Editorial Board of Ecological Research, the journal of the Ecological Society of Japan
- Nishi gives a seminar at Sedgewick Preserve and co-leads a hike on serpentine (May 12)
- Congratulations to former undergraduate research students from College of the Atlantic, Luka Negoita (Graduate Student, Syracuse University) and Naveed Davoodian (Graduate Student, New York Botanic Garden/CUNY) for successfully defending their Ph.D. theses
- Congratulations to Zach Raposo, Anthony Ferrero, Sam Farrow, and Chris Howington for being awarded a Frost Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship for 2018
- Congratulations to Zach Raposo, Peter Walsh, Anthony Ferrero, and Sean Whitlock for being awarded a Biological Sciences Frost Undergraduate Research Award for Spring Quarter 2018!
- Paper Hot off the Press: Teptina, A., A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Ultramafic vegetation and soils in the circumboreal region of the Northern Hemisphere. Ecological Research (PDF)
- Paper Accepted: Echevarria, G., A. J. M. Baker, R. S. Boyd, A. van der Ent, T. Mizuno, N. Rajakaruna, S. Sakaguchi, and A. Bani. 2018. A global forum on ultramafic ecosystems: from ultramafic ecology to rehabilitation of degraded environments. Ecological Research (in press)
- Congratulations to Mary Devlin for winning a US Fish and Wildlife Service grant for rare plant research to conduct her study titled “The biology and ecology of Cirsium fontinale var. obispoense: Field, herbarium and greenhouse studies for better conservation and restoration practices.”
- Congratulations to Paul Excoffier for winning a US Fish and Wildlife Service grant for rare plant research to conduct his study “Assessing the seed longevity of San Joaquin Woollythreads.”
- Congratulations to Anthony Ferrero for winning a Garden Club of America, Field Botany Scholarship for his research on the ecology of Streptanthus polygaloides
- Congratulations to Mary Devlin for winning a Garden Club of America, Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship for her upcoming research on native-nonnative plant interactions on serpentine soil under nutrient enrichment
- Upcoming Talk at Sedgewick Preserve, UC Santa Barbara
- Paper accepted: Kay, K.M., Woodhouse, S.^, Smith, B.A., Pope, N.**, and Rajakaruna, N. Sympatric serpentine endemic Monardella (Lamiaceae) species maintain habitat differences despite hybridization. Molecular Ecology (in press)
- Paper Hot off the press: Favero Longo, S. E., E. Matteucci, P. Giordani, A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Diversity and functional traits of lichens in ultramafic areas: a literature-based worldwide analysis integrated by field data at the regional scale. Ecological Research (PDF)
- Paper Hot off the press: Ghasemi, R., H. Share, R. Sharifi, R. S. Boyd, N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Inducing Ni sensitivity in the Ni hyperaccumulator plant Alyssum inflatum Nyárády (Brassicaceae) by transforming with CAX1, a vacuolar membrane calcium transporter. Ecological Research (PDF)
- Paper Accepted: Teptina, A., A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Ultramafic vegetation and soils in the circumboreal region of the Northern Hemisphere. Ecological Research (in press)
- Paper HOT off the press: Medeiros, I. D., Mathieson, A. C., and N. Rajakaruna. 2017. Heavy Metals in Seaweeds from a Polluted Estuary in Coastal Maine. Rhodora (PDF)
- Congratulations to Sam Farrow for being awarded a Biological Sciences Frost Undergraduate Research Award for Winter Quarter 2018. Sam will conduct research on edaphic specialization in Layia and Lasthenia species
- Paper Accepted: Favero Longo, S. E., E. Matteucci, P. Giordani, A. Paukov, and N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Diversity and functional traits of lichens in ultramafic areas: a literature-based worldwide analysis integrated by field data at the regional scale. Ecological Research (in press)
- Paper Accepted: Ghasemi, R., H. Share, R. Sharifi, R. S. Boyd, N. Rajakaruna. 2018. Inducing Ni sensitivity in the Ni hyperaccumulator plant Alyssum inflatum Nyárády (Brassicaceae) by transforming with CAX1, a vacuolar membrane calcium transporter. Ecological Research (in press)
- Nishi presents a seminar on geobotany at the California Native Plant Society (San Luis Obispo Chapter) monthly meeting
- Nishi co-leads a hike at Reservoir Canyon for California Native Plant Society (San Luis Obispo Chapter)
- Paper Accepted: Venter, A., S. J. Siebert, N. Rajakaruna, S. Barnard, A. Levanets, A. Ismail, M. Allam, B. Peterson, T. Sanko. 2017. Biological crusts of serpentine and non-serpentine soils from the Barberton Greenstone Belt of South Africa. Ecological Research (in press)
- Paper Accepted: Siebert, S. J., Schutte, N. C., Bester, S. P., Komape, D. M., and N. Rajakaruna. 2017. Senecio conrathii N.E.Br. (Asteraceae), a new hyperaccumulator of nickel from serpentinite outcrops of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa. Ecological Research (in press)
- Lab visits two chromite/mercury mines in Irish Hills Natural Reserve in preparation for a geobotanical study of the abandoned mines
- Paper HOT off the press (PDF): Lessons on Evolution from the Study of Edaphic Specialization
- Lab members setting up permanent vegetation monitoring plots on burnt and unburnt, south and north facing slopes on serpentine and metavolcanic soils on Poly Canyon
- Lab members visit Poly Canyon to explore post-fire disturbance. We will soon set up plots to monitor post-fire regeneration of plants found on serpentine and metavolcanic soils on burnt and unburnt areas
- Lab visits Poly Canyon with former Geology Professor Dr. David Chipping
- Lab takes first field trip to Rinconada mine, an abandoned mercury mine within Los Padres National Forest
- Paper accepted: Rajakaruna, N. Lessons on evolution from the study of edaphic specialization. The Botanical Review (in press)
- Paper Hot off the Press: Urban, A. J., Mittelhauser, G. H., Dickinson, M., and N. Rajakaruna. 2017. The Alpine Vascular Plants of Baxter State Park, Maine, USA. Rhodora 119: 110-131.