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Bay Nature Talks: Chaparral Fire Ecology & the Fire-Following Plants Around Us

March 10, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

In this timely Bay Nature Talk, senior botanist and rare plant specialist Heath Bartosh will delve into chaparral fire ecology, including fire return intervals, life history strategies of chaparral plants, and climate concerns. Learn about how chaparral recovers from fire, meet some common fire following plants, and find out where to see fire followers this spring! Heath will accompany his talk with slides from the California Coast Ranges.

He will be joined by Christina Toms, ecological engineer and senior scientist, who will lead a lively and informative Q&A following Heath’s presentation.

This Zoom webinar is open to all with a suggested (but not required) donation of $20, which helps support Bay Nature. Register today to reserve your spot!

About the speakers:

Heath Bartosh is a senior botanist, rare plant specialist, and co-founder of Nomad Ecology, an ecological consulting and research firm, with over 20 years of experience working in natural resource and environmental related fields. He is considered an expert in the flora of the Bay Area, especially in East Bay (Contra Costa and Alameda counties) and has conducted extensive botanical fieldwork throughout California. One of his primary research interests is the composition and duration of the eruptive dominance and subsequent fleeting abundance of post-fire annual plant species at regional scales within the California Coast Ranges. Having studied fires on the Monterey Coast and Diablo Range, he focuses on plant distribution, soil and geologic relationships, endemism, and regional and local rarity of these fire-following plant species.

Christina Toms is an ecological engineer and senior scientist with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, where she specializes in the protection and restoration of aquatic ecosystems, especially estuarine wetlands. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the California Native Plant Society. Her interest in native plants was fostered during long childhood bike rides exploring the unique botanical riches of the fire-dependent ecosystem in her native New Jersey Pine Barrens. After earning a BS in Biological Resources Engineering from the University of Maryland, she moved cross-country to earn an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley and fell in love with California’s diverse landscapes. Christina is also a director of the NorCal High School Cycling League and provides volunteer science and engineering support to a range of North Bay cycling and environmental nonprofits.

Read about Fire Followers and Heath Bartosh in two Bay Nature stories from 2014: Chasing the Fire Followers and Fire Followers Arrive, with Scientists Right Behind Them.

Virtual event services provided by the David Brower Center.


March 10, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm



Online event
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