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					Biology 40                  Dr. Bibit Traut                 Fall 2010

   Introduction to California Plants & Animals and Biogeography

Cultural Diversity
 Native American cultures were among the most diverse and complex in
 North America before European contact
 Today, human population extremely dense, most in USA
 Original habitat loss >75%

California— “biodiversity hotspot”
 Biodiversity hotspot
     region that contains more unique species (endemics) and are at
     greater risk from human impact than other regions
 34 global terrestrial hotspots
 CA designated a “hotspot” in 1996
 California has high endemism due to its varied:
     Climate zones

California Floristic Province

Diversity & Endemism in CA


Central Valley Vernal Pools
  Vernal pools are seasonal wetlands that form where natural depressions
  occur in non-porous soils.
  Examples of organisms: Vernal pool tadpole shrimp,Delta green
  ground beetle, Tiger salamander

Mediterranean Shrublands
 Dominated by shrubs, grasses, small trees adapted to a wet winter &
 long, dry summer
 California is 1 of 5 places in world where these shrublands grow
 Cover 8.5% of California’s landscapes
 Have > 20% of the Earth’s plant diversity.
  Example organism: Mission blue butterfly
Biology 40                   Dr. Bibit Traut                  Fall 2010

Sierra Nevada
  “snowy range” in Spanish
  Extends 400 miles along eastern California
  Sierra is much steeper on east side than west
  Example of organisms: clark’s nutcracker, Yosemite Toad

Cascade Range Volcanoes
 Harsh environment often due to soil conditions
 Volcanoes are concentrated on edges of continents, along island chains
  or beneath ocean
 75% of world’s volcanoes on land form a ring around the Pacific Ocean
  basin called the “Ring of Fire”
 Example organisms: Archaea bacteria, Wolverine
Redwood Forest
 Date more than 200
 million years ago, when dinosaurs lived
 Distribution limited to refuges where abundant rainfall & stable
 temperatures (“relic”)
 Among oldest & largest living organism on earth
 Example organisms: Marbled murrelet, Banana slugs

Klamath-Siskiyou Wilderness
  Among the most biologically diverse temperate coniferous forests
  Escaped extensive glaciation:
    served as refuge for many species
    long periods of favorable conditions promoted species specialization
  Example organisms: Barred Owl, California Coast Coho Salmon

Vascular Plants
  More vascular plant species in the California Floristic Province than all
  plant species of central & northeastern United States & adjacent parts of
  Canada (10x area of CA)
  Areas of very high diversity:
     Sierra Nevada
     Transverse Ranges in southern California
     Coast Ranges
Plant Diversity
Biology 40                   Dr. Bibit Traut                   Fall 2010

Diversity of Mammals
  ~197 native species; majority small
  ~20 species endemic to CA, as compared to
  7 in AK & 3 in OR
  Many large mammal species gone. These include
     grizzly bear (Ursus arctos)—last one in 1920
                   Ur us ar os
     grey wolf (Canis lupus)
                Cani upus
     jaguar (Panthera onca)—last one in 1860
              Panther onc
     bison (Bison bison)
             Bi    bi

Terrestrial Mammal Diversity

Marine Mammal Diversity
 36 species of marine mammals regularly use California’s coastal waters

Diversity of Birds
  ~602 native California bird species
  <10 endemic bird species found in California Floristic Province
  more species of birds (~325) breed in this region than anywhere else in
  the United States
  California condor (Gymnogyps californianus, CR)
                     Gymnogyps al ornianus
    largest North American bird
    once ranged across most of the continent; its main stronghold is in the
    CA hotspot
    In 1970’s only about 25-35 condors remaining, but captive breeding
    programs have increased the population to > 100

Bird Diversity

Diversity of Marine Birds
  Largest breeding colonies of seabirds in the United States
  >120 seabird species
  >160 shorebird species
  >400 species of birds offshore at the Farallon Islands

Diversity of Reptiles
    ~ 84 native species (e.g. Western Pond Turtle, Lizards &
    ~ 4 endemic species
Biology 40                   Dr. Bibit Traut                    Fall 2010

Reptile Diversity

Diversity of Amphibians
  51 native species
  highest levels of faunal endemism in the California Floristic Province
  Salamanders are high in endemism
  Toads & frogs—many threatened or endangered

Amphibian Diversity

Diversity of Freshwater Fish
  Relatively small number of inland fish in CFP (~70 species). Includes:
  Freshwater isolated from eastern North America by mountains & deserts

Freshwater Fish Diversity

Diversity of Invertebrates
  Very high invertebrate diversity
  28,000 species of insects in CA, about 9,000 endemic—representing
  ~30% of all known insects in the United States and Canada

Invertebrate Rarity

                          CALIFORNIA BIOMES
  Coniferous Forest
  Temperate Rain Forest
  Temperate Deciduous Forest
Biology 40                  Dr. Bibit Traut   Fall 2010

  Valley Grassland

 Cactus Scrub
 Sagebrush Scrub
 Creosote Bush Scrub
 Shadscale scrub
 Alakali Sink
 Blackbrush Scrub
 Joshua Tree Woodland

  Coastal Sage Scrub
  Lower Chaparral
  Upper Chaparral
  Desert Chaparral
  Oak Woodland

Coniferous Forest
 Pinyon-Juniper Woodland
 Yellow Pine Forest
 Lodgepole-Red Fir Forest
 Subalpine Forest

Temperate Rain Forest
  Coast Redwood Forest
  Mixed Evergreen Forest


Temperate Deciduous Forest
  Riparian forest

Habitat Loss
 91% wetlands
 89% riparian woodlands
 >90% perennial grasslands
 >30% diverse conifer forests

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