Genetic Study May Help Inform Future Native Thistle Replanting Efforts

Crystal Springs Reservoir

A current study by San Francisco State University master’s degree candidate Carly Miranda aims to research the genome of native thistles in the genus Cirsium, many varieties of which are threatened or endangered. 

By sampling thistles endemic to different geographic regions throughout the Bay Area, Miranda’s research also evaluated subpopulation genetic diversity and their geographic distribution. Her research included thistles on nearby Mount Hamilton, in part of the Diablo Range, not far from Henry Coe State Park. 

Cirsium thistles play important role in ecosystems, such as providing nectar, pollen, and seeds for insects; nest material for birds; and food for birds and herbivores. 

Ultimately, this research will help inform future replanting efforts. The more scientists and land managers understand the genetic diversity within and between isolated pockets of endangered thistles, the better-informed replanting efforts can be. 

This study was funded by the Mary Bowerman Science and Research Program.

Susan Ingersoll contributed to this blog post.

The presentation starts at 1:40:50 and ends at 1:51:20

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