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Solar Development Impacts on Annual Plants in California’s Desert Communities 
Friday, July 19, 2019 07:30pm

California’s desert region supports hundreds of rare and unique plants, and is also the location of a renewable energy development boom. Even where vegetation communities are left intact or restored inside facilities, ground-mounted infrastructure may have negative impacts on desert-adapted plants because it creates novel rainfall runoff and shade conditions.

Join us for this talk to learn how Karen is using experimental solar arrays in the Mojave Desert to test how these altered conditions affect plant performance. She is studying the response of the annual community overall, and focusing on populations of two sunflowers in greater detail: the rare Eriophyllum mohavense (CRPR 1B.2) and the closely related common E. wallacei. She will discuss how panels alter local microhabitats, how annual species respond and how insights gained may help reduce negative impacts of energy development.

Karen Tanner is a PhD candidate at University of California, Santa Cruz, where she also studies strategies to improve salt marsh restoration outcomes at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (Monterey County). Learn more about her salt marsh restoration studies at

Karen served as our Chapter’s Invasive Plant Chair for Santa Clara County in 2014. Before training as a plant ecologist, she worked in the computer software industry for 15 years and prior to that she earned a degree in fine art.

Location Los Altos Library Program Room
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