Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Botany, MS



Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

J. Travis Columbus

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Naomi Fraga

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2022 Martin D Purdy


biodiversity, botany, endemic, floristics, plants, Sierra Nevada

Subject Categories

Biology | Botany


California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range contains a disproportionate share of the state’s plant diversity and is one of the most floristically diverse regions of its size in the United States. The high Sierra Nevada, in particular, has been identified as an important center of species richness and endemism within California. Anthropogenic climate warming is expected to disproportionately affect mountain ecosystems, and models have predicted serious habitat contraction and extirpation for many alpine plant taxa. A specimen-based inventory of the vascular and non-vascular plants of Coyote Ridge and Flat was conducted to establish baseline data for one such sensitive alpine and subalpine habitat. Located in the northwest corner of Inyo County, California, the study site encompasses ca. 130 km2 (50 mi2) and ranges from 2600 to 4120 m (8500–13,500 ft) in elevation. Coyote Ridge and Flat marks a topographically and geologically unique region of the Sierra Nevada’s eastern slope above the northern Owens Valley and has long been known to botanists for harboring populations of rare and disjunct plant taxa. Fieldwork and herbarium searches conducted between July 2019 and August 2021 documented a total of 543 minimum-rank taxa, 273 of which were not previously known to the area. New collections and examination of historical specimens have yielded occurrences of 12 new rare plants for the area including new records for the Sierra Nevada mountains and one new record for the state of California. Background information for the area, the results of this inventory, and an annotated checklist of the flora are presented here.