I grew up in Central New York. I often spent time outdoors, but I didn’t develop an active interest in plants until late in my undergraduate career. After receiving my bachelors degree in biology from the State University of New York at Oswego in 2017, I moved to southern California and officially started my botanical journey! An internship with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy gave me my first introduction to the California flora. I then began working at the California Botanic Garden (CalBG) as a seed conservation intern in early 2018. During this job, I gained a solid foundation in botanical field work, plant identification, and seed banking. I began as a masters student at CalBG in the fall of 2019.
I am forever grateful for the opportunities CalBG has given me and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow in the graduate program and as a botanist!
My study is an inventory of the vascular flora of the Manter and Salmon Creek watersheds, a 51 sq mi section of the Kern Plateau in the southern Sierra Nevada. The site ranges from approximately 3,400 to 9,800 ft and contains a diversity of habitat types, including large montane meadows, coniferous forests, granite rock outcrops, and perennial streams.
Approximately 25 sq mi of Domeland Wilderness is included within the study site as well, rugged backcountry that has seen very little in the way of plant collections.
With climate change becoming an increasing threat, the need for comprehensive knowledge of the flora of the region has never been more vital. The impacts of climate change are being seen throughout California in the form of drought, higher temperatures, and altered fire regimes. The Sierra Nevada is a particularly interesting place to witness these changes. High elevation environments often experience more rapid changes in temperatures compared to lower elevation environments, making them some of the first places to exhibit the impacts of climate change. Montane plants adapted to relatively cool climates are likely sensitive to these changes.
The primary goal of this study is to document the flora of the Manter and Salmon Creek watersheds by implementing a rigorous specimen-based study. Areas of priority will include those without previous collections, different habitat types, and different soil types. Documenting rare plant taxa will also be of high importance. The final result of this research will be a published annotated checklist of the vascular flora of the region. My hope is that this information will establish a baseline that can guide management, conservation, and facilitate our understanding of landscape scale change in a warming climate.
Grants and Awards
California Native Plant Society (CNPS), Doc Burr Grant (2020)
Southern California Botanists Susan Hobbs Grant for Field Research (2020)
Mike Hagebusch (2019-2020)
Botanical Society of America (BSA), Graduate Student Research Award (2020)
California Botanic Garden, Jean Platt Memorial Fund for Graduate Research (2019-2020)
CNPS Alta Peak Chapter (2020)
CNPS San Gabriel Mountains Chapter (2020)
American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT) Congressional Visits Day Travel Grant (2020)
BSA and ASPT, Botanical Advocacy Leadership Grant (2020)
Southern California Botanists Annual Grant (2019)
CNPS, Natalie Hopkins Grant (2019) $600
Presentation - California Botanical Society Graduate Student Symposium (2021)
Presentation - CNPS Kern Chapter (2021)
Poster - Southern California Botanists, virtual symposium. Awarded best poster. (2020)
Professional & Volunteer Service
Aug 2020-Present CalBG Graduate Program; Student chairperson
Aug 2020-Present ASPT, Environmental and Public Policy Committee; Student representative
Feb 2019-Present Southern California Botanists; Vice president
Linkedin: Nina House
Inaturalist Project: Vascular Flora of the Manter and Salmon Creek Watersheds