Floristics is the study of plant species present in an area. In other words, it's the act of picking an area of land and then documenting all the plant species that occur there! To document the flora of an area, physical specimens are collected, pressed, identified, and turned into herbarium specimens. These specimens provide physical proof that a plant species occurred in a specific area, on a specific date. They are also vital for many other types of botanical research, often used for DNA extractions, phenological research, and so much more. As technology continues to advance, we don't even know all the ways that herbarium specimens will continue to be useful in the future! 

Manter and Salmon Creek Watersheds

My master's thesis was a floristic inventory of the vascular flora of the Manter and Salmon Creek watersheds in the southern Sierra Nevada, Tulare County, CA.

The Manter and Salmon Creek watersheds encompass a 51 sq. mi. section of the Kern Plateau, ranging in elevation from 3,400 to 9,800 ft and containing a diversity of habitat types, including large montane meadows, coniferous forests, granite rock outcrops, and perennial streams. This region is known to host numerous endemic plant species (e.g. Frasera tubulosa and Horkeliella purpurascens) and species of conservation concern (e.g. Eriogonum breedlovei var. shevockii and Carlquistia muirii). The Domeland Wilderness, which makes up 25 sq. mi. of the study site, has few herbarium specimen records documenting plant diversity. Conducting a systematic floristic inventory of this under-documented region provides an opportunity to record rare plant locations, species at the edge of their range, and disjunct plant populations. Documenting this diversity is vital, as there are several ongoing impacts from land use and climate change. Cattle grazing, off-highway vehicular use, logging, severe drought, and an altered fire regime were all documented during the study. These disturbances will have lasting impacts on the flora.


Throughout the project, I completed a total of 24 field trips, totaling 90 field days, and resulting in the collection of 1,412 herbarium specimen records. The primary goal of this project was to produce an annotated checklist of the regional flora. You can find my preliminary results in my thesis (link below). Note that, at the time of thesis submission, annotations still needed to be completed so the minimum-rank taxa total, as well as several other aspects of the checklist, are not completely up to date. If you would like the most up-to-date version of the checklist, please contact me.

With field work, plant identification, and analyses for this project complete,
I am planning to have my manuscript submitted for publication by the end of 2023.