Exotic VS Native Plants Compared by Percent Cover and Height at Varying Distances from Calleguas Creek
Authors:Bryan Castro, Andrew Healy, Jesse McCandless, Kevin Prow, Michael Robertson, Kurt Zias
Mentor:Sean Anderson, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management Program, California State University Channel Islands
Calleguas Creek is a year-round river system feeding Mugu Lagoon (Ventura County), one of the largest remnant coastal salt marshes in southern California. Multiple anthropogenic stressors have degraded both the creek and the marsh. As a first step towards a robust system-wide assessment, we described baseline conditions for both Calleguas Creek and surrounding riparian/chaparral plant assemblages in the Summer of 2012. We are particularly interested in canopy height and cover of native and non-native plants at different distances from the water’s edge, hypothesizing that creek-emanating disturbances drive non-native community composition at this site. Our data revealed both the diversity of plants growing and adapting within different regions of this riparian ecosystem and created a template for predicting subsequent plant assemblages under future restoration schemes. Hopefully, this data will infer how the native plants in different regions of the creek are adapting to exotic species invading the ecosystem.