laboratory studies


laboratory studies

The Laboratory Studies program mobilizes molecular tools to further our understanding of the population genetic structure of California native plants.
Excellent laboratory facilities at CalBG house an ABI 3130xl genetic analyzer, tools for  molecular sample preparation, a state-of-the-art scanning electron microscope, and equipment and chemicals for light microscopy. Coupled with the botanical and analytical expertise of CalBG staff, the lab forms the vital infrastructure for a research program that can undertake a broad variety of projects examining population genetics and molecular systematics, fine plant structure, reproductive biology, or other work demanding careful project design, data collection and data analyses. Our goal is to provide objective, scientifically based information to government agencies and private organizations that can aid in natural resource management decisions.

available services




Population genetics



RECENT Projects

Island Barberry (Berberis pinnata subsp. insularis)
Island barberry is a rare subspecies of shrub currently found only on Santa Cruz Island and formerly known from two other Channel Islands. This federally endangered taxon numbers fewer than twenty known individual plants on Santa Cruz Island. CalBG molecular research on the genetics of these plants and their mainland relatives is playing a core role in plans by multiple partners (USGS, TNC, SBBG, USFWS) for restoring this species through propagation both on and off the island, and for on-island ex situ breeding of remaining genotypes.

Nevin’s Barberry (Berberis nevinii)
Nevin’s barberry is restricted to the foothills of southern California and primarily found in just two populations – one native, in Riverside County, and the other planted a century ago in Los Angeles County. There are fewer than 500 plants left of this federally endangered species. Our research on the population genetics of this species looked at the extent of genetic variation remaining in the species and how this was distributed throughout its range.

Landscape genomics for genetically informed desert restoration
In collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey, CalBG is part of an effort to develop seed stocks for post-fire habitat restoration in the Mojave Desert. The lab is genotyping plants of some key Mojave plant species using RADseq methods for use in a landscape model for identifying species-specific seed transfer zones.  This project is part of the National Seed Strategy for Restoration and Rehabilitation.

laboratory facilities

Two laboratories (the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics & Evolution and the Laboratory of Plant Anatomy & Morphology) are available for use by both resident and visiting scientists. The molecular lab is well equipped for diverse molecular approaches, including DNA sequencing and DNA sample preparation for NextGen sequencing. The Laboratory of Plant Anatomy & Morphology is likewise well equipped, including a wet lab and equipment for producing permanent microscope slides, research-quality microscopes and imaging equipment, a new Hitachi SU3500 scanning electron microscope, and software for morphometrics analysis of plant images. Information on DNA sequencing can be found here. For genotyping or other molecular or anatomical studies, please contact our laboratory manager.

DNA Sequencing and Genotyping
The Laboratory of Molecular Systematics & Evolution provides DNA sequencing and genotyping services for members of the Claremont University Consortium and other outside users.

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Conservation Geneticist and Laboratory Manager