Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Southern California sagebrush better suited to climate change, study finds

Date:
April 1, 2013
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
California sagebrush in the southern part of the state will adjust better to climate change than sagebrush populations in the north, according to researchers.

Jessica Pratt, pictured, and Kailen Mooney transplanted sagebrush from sites up and down the California coast to a test garden near UC Irvine to see which shrubs were best able to withstand particular environmental challenges.
Credit: Steve Zylius / University Communications

California sagebrush in the southern part of the state will adjust better to climate change than sagebrush populations in the north, according to UC Irvine researchers in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology affiliated with the Center for Environmental Biology.

The results of their study, which appears online in Global Change Biology, will assist land management and policy decisions concerning coastal sage scrub restoration.

California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), also known as "cowboy cologne," is the fragrant gray-green shrub that once filled area ranch land. It's found on coastal hillsides for more than 400 miles along California's Pacific coast. Only about 10 percent of its original habitat remains -- the rest having been converted to human use -- and is home to a number of endangered species, including the California gnatcatcher, which depend on plants like sagebrush.

In their study, Jessica Pratt and Kailen Mooney transplanted sagebrush from sites up and down the California coast to a test garden near UC Irvine to see which shrubs were best able to withstand particular environmental challenges. They measured the differences in plant traits and responses to experimentally altered precipitation.

The researchers found that populations from southern sites, with historically variable rainfall amounts, adjusted with greater ease to altered precipitation than did populations from the historically invariant north. Accordingly, they asserted, reaction to climate change will differ across this species's range, with southern populations adapting more readily to future conditions.

"For instance, sagebrush from San Diego stretches, where precipitation varies substantially from year to year, were better able to respond to changes in precipitation than those from the San Francisco area," said Mooney, an assistant professor of ecology & evolutionary biology.

He and Pratt also analyzed long-term climate data from along the California coast and discovered that year-to-year variability in rainfall has been increasing.

Taken together, these findings suggest that it might be prudent to plant Southern California sagebrush on Northern California hillsides to compensate for this heightened fluctuation in precipitation.

Taxpayers and private donors currently spend millions trying to properly manage the remnants of coastal sage scrub and other diverse habitats that remain on public and private land. Pratt and Mooney hope to determine which strategies are most effective for the least cost.

"This work addresses basic issues in ecology in an applied framework that will be immediately useful in informing land management and policy decisions for coastal sage scrub restoration," said Pratt, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology & evolutionary biology. "Understanding the responses of important species to environmental change -- and how those responses scale up to affect other species -- will help us predict and mitigate the impacts."

The study received support from the Newkirk Center for Science & Society, the UC Irvine Graduate Division (through a 2011-12 Public Impact Fellowship), the Orange County Association of Environmental Professionals, the Newport Bay Conservancy and the Lake Forest Garden Club, as well as grants from the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Center for Environmental Biology at UC Irvine links academic research and education with ecosystem management, stewardship of natural resources and sustainability efforts throughout Southern California.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica D. Pratt, Kailen A. Mooney. Clinal adaptation and adaptive plasticity inArtemisia californica: Implications for the response of a foundation species to predicted climate change. Global Change Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12199

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Southern California sagebrush better suited to climate change, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401132100.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2013, April 1). Southern California sagebrush better suited to climate change, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401132100.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Southern California sagebrush better suited to climate change, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401132100.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins