Invasion Potential of the Annual Plant Dittrichia Graveolens in Grasslands: Competition, disturbance, biotic resistance, and seed dormancy

Miranda MelenParker Lab

Positions: 1 – 2 interns

Tentative dates: June – September 2022 (Felixible)

Project Location: UCSC Coastal Science Campus, and potential day trips to Blue Oak Ranch Reserve.

Project Background: We are seeking an intern with a passion for plants and a keen interest in learning about rapid evolution and ecology. Join Team Dittrichia at the Parker Lab, where we study the invasion potential of invasive weeds in California. Dittrichia graveolens (stinkwort) was first found in California in 1984 in Santa Clara County, and has since spread rapidly across the state. Although Dittrichia initially spread mostly along roadsides, it has now started to invade native plant communities, restoration land, and grasslands. We use a variety of field, greenhouse, and lab approaches to study how rapid evolution has contributed to the invasion of Dittrichia.

Intern duties: The intern will be involved in a project that focuses on the early germination biology of Dittrichia graveolens and further exploring the mechanisms behind invasion. Depending on the intern’s background, skills, and interests, activities may include growing, measuring, and harvesting plants in the greenhouse and field. Greenhouse and lab work will take place at the Coastal Science Campus, with the potential for day trips to do field work at the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve in Santa Clara County. At the end of their project, the intern will present a poster with the results of their research. The intern will work closely with Miranda to learn data collection techniques and other critical skills for conducting invasion biology science.

Intern qualifications: We are looking for an enthusiastic student with a strong motivation to dig into the evolutionary ecology of invasive plants. Essential skills include ability to communicate effectively on multiple platforms (email, text, Zoom, and phone), strong attention to detail, and excellent record-keeping. Previous experience with plants is desirable and the ability to work in the greenhouse and laboratory settings is needed. Any field element of the project will require the ability to work outdoors under hot summer conditions and access to a vehicle or willingness to carpool. Familiarity with the statistical package R and/or JMP, and botanical knowledge is desirable, but not required.

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
We love getting to know our CAMINO students before the summer! Please consider volunteering with Team Dittrichia during Spring quarter so that you are familiar with the projects, up to date on your lab safety training, and integrated with the other team members so that we have a fun summer!

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.