Islands of the Californias

Fremontia V.45 N.3 •  November 2017

From the editor

Fremontia V45 N3 is printed in English and Spanish.

After a childhood enchanted with island literature, aptly including Island of the Blue Dolphins, it took nearly 20 years to find myself on a real island. While teaching for the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School, I ventured to Santa Cruz Island in 1998 with ten other young, eager naturalists. Marooned for the weekend, we gained our first place-based experiences with island biogeography while hiking and kayaking.

On this adventure we witnessed island endemics including island scrub jay (Aphelocoma insularis) and island fox (Urocyon littoralis). Checking these and other species off our life lists, our appreciation for island time deepened over a sunset staring back at the mainland—our love for biogeography was burgeoning.

Around a campfire under the eucalyptus at Scorpion Canyon we pondered speciation events, biogeographic patterns, and the audacity of invasive species. Falling asleep that evening, I contemplated my study of Lord of the Flies in high school and further understood all the mainland offers an island.

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Bryophytes Get Growing Respect

During its 50 years, the California Native Plant Society has advanced the protection and celebration of the vascular plants of California. Lo, the myriad flowers and ferns! Today, naturalists are expanding our view of nature beyond vascular plants and vertebrates toward smaller, under-appreciated organisms, often requiring a hand lens to see.

Much to my excitement, the newest issue of Fremontia is devoted to lichens and bryophytes, which will undoubtedly bring a bit more attention to our under-appreciated CNPS Bryophyte Chapter. Our mission is to increase understanding and appreciation of California’s mosses, liverworts, and hornworts—and to protect them where they grow.

As naturalists, we live in happy times in which we look forward to plant conferences and lichen symposia. Attendees to these events can expect to engage with a rich social network of people supporting an increasingly wide-range of natural diversions.

I hope in my lifetime, Californians will move toward supporting the protection of a diversity of organisms—big and small—while also supporting professionals who will study and manage them for conservation. With place-based collaborations including experts and amateurs sharing their passions, I believe one day liverworts will be recognized and appreciated as much as vascular plants are today.

It is paramount that biological consultants be obliged to inventory organisms of all sizes and while also producing comprehensive manuals for other non-experts to read and enjoy. For now, revel in this wonderful issue with a cryptogram focus.

—Paul Wilson
CNPS Bryophyte Chapter, President
Bryophytes-Lichens-Liverworts

The Importance of Geophytes

The Importance of Geophytes

Cultural  Connection

Researcher and author Kat Anderson is perhaps best known for her much-loved work, Tending the Wild. Her contributions to ethnobotany and historic ecologies in California have greatly expanded our understanding of the human relationship to native plants. Recently, we were privileged to have Kat serve as our Fremontia guest editor for a beautiful double-issue on geophytes. The following is an excerpt, capturing some of the highlights.

Excerpt from Kat Anderson and Philip Rundel in California Geophytes

M. Kat Anderson

In the course of evolution, plant species have developed a myriad of adaptive features that help them survive environmental stress. One such adaptation that has evolved multiple times in diverse lineages is the geophyte growth form. Geophytes have an underground storage organ which allows the plant to die back to the ground and go dormant during unfavorable seasons for growth. Renewal buds associated with the storage organs allow a new cycle of leafing and blooming when favorable conditions return.

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