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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Wednesday, 09 January 2013
in Mother Nature's Vegetation

California's Plants Are Extra Special

A not yet published study about California’s plants says that the reason the Golden State is a shining california-poppies-mfile-k4example of biodiversity is because low extinction rates over the past 45 million years have allowed flora to thrive.  California’s climate is just one of the contributing factors to the singularity of the plant life and researchers say the plants may not have survived elsewhere in the country.

“Because California has so many unique and relatively young plant species, it was long assumed by biogeographers and naturalists that high speciation rates were the cause of California's biodiversity," said ecologist and evolutionary biologist Lesley T. Lancaster Ph.D, currently with Lund University in Sweden, "It turns out that these species have not arisen at a particularly high rate in California compared to elsewhere. Instead, features of California's climate, topography, and latitude have preserved these species, allowing us to see them today, when they may have simply gone extinct if they had arisen elsewhere."

California has more than 5,500 native plant species and almost half (40 percent) are endemic or can only be found in California. The state has more species and more endemic species than any other state in the union (poor Hawaii and islands are usually so unique) and is considered to be more species rich than most other places on Earth-probably not the rainforests; though let’s not get too presumptuous no matter what the facts may be.

Lancaster is a former student of Kathleen Kay, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and together they studied 16 different plant lineages thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation. All the lineages can be found in and outside of the state and each lineage included California’s endemic species.

Eriogonum-fasciculatum-cal-buckwheatThe team used DNA sequence data to reconstruct the evolutionary "family trees" of these lineages and also used fossil records to calibrate the dates when different branches of each family tree split.

Their study's findings differ from some of the ideas that were put forth over 30 years ago in: "Origin and relationships of the California flora," by Peter Raven and Daniel Axelrod.  That study hypothesized that California’s Mediterranean dry summers and wet winter millions of years ago was a key factor in the spurring the state’s unusual plants.

“It seems that California has been an important refuge for plant lineages for a long time," said  Kay. "These findings speak to the importance of protecting areas in California so that it can continue to be a refuge for biodiversity in the future."

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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