Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Diane Thomson

Reader 2

Emil Morhardt

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Rights Information

© 2016 Kaylee Anderson


Coastal Sage Scrub (CSS) is a low scrubland plant community native to the coasts of California, housing many threatened and endangered species. Due to the invasion of non-native plants, many areas of CSS have type converted to annual grasslands and the fire frequency has accelerated; fire in turn, may facilitate further invasion, leading to a loss of biodiversity. While many studies document post-fire succession in these communities, pre-fire data are rarely available for comparison, especially data on seedling emergence. I analyzed post-fire recovery of a type-converted grassland community, comparing seedling emergence data for the first and third year after fire to the three years preceding the fire. Non-native species abundances declined more after the fire than did native abundances. This pattern was still present in 2015, three years post-fire. Two native species, Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia (Amsinckia) and Phacelia distans (Phacelia), were subjects of seed addition treatments pre-fire, but I found no evidence that past seeding increased their abundances post-fire. Amsincki did recover to its pre-fire density three years after the fire, while the density of Phacelia declined over 75% in both the year immediately post-fire and three years after the fire. However, a third native species, Lupinus bicolor (Lupinus), was both much more abundant and also more spatially widespread both immediately after the fire and two years later. This supports the hypothesis that Lupinus is stored in the soil seed bank and the fire may have given this species the opportunity to recover by lowering abundances of non-native competitors. This analysis will inform future conservation efforts by improving our understanding of how seed banks impact the post-fire recovery of native species.