Effect of Harding Grass Land Management on Native and Non-Native Plant Diversity in Coastal Grasslands

<p><b><u>Meta-Data</u></b></p> <p><b>Methods</b>:</p> <p>This experiment was performed at two grassland locations in Cambria, California that were subject to two different management strategies. At the first location, Rancho Marino Reserve, two different transects were set up – one with no history of tilling or planting*(35.52895, -121.07758) and one that had been previously tilled and planted (35.53932, -121.09002). At the second location, Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, two transects were set up - both with no history of tilling or planting (35.54976, -121.10072 and 35.5508, -121.10195). All four transects were 100 meters long with 25 quadrats (0.5m x 0.5m) randomly placed along them. Plant community structure and composition were assessed in one census per transect over a three-day period. We observed abundance through species diversity, percent coverage, density, and flower count. Species diversity was measured through direct count of the number of different species found in each quadrat. Percent coverage was assessed visually and flower count was counted directly. The density was calculated by counting the number of individual plant stems in four circular rings (20.27 cm2) placed in the center of each quarter of the quadrat and then dividing by the total surface area of the rings (81.07cm2). These measurements were taken separately for <i>Phalaris aquatica</i>, native species, and non-native species. Co-variants and soil moisture levels were also considered to control for any confounding variables.</p> <p>*“Planting” refers to the intentional introduction of <i>Phalaris aquatica</i></p> <p><b>Data</b>:</p> <p>The column site has two values: RM refers to Rancho Marino Reserve and FR refers to Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Management indicates the historical management strategies of both sites and whether there was an introduction of <i>Phalaris aquatica </i>(Harding grass). Each location has two sampling sites on 100-meter-long transects and the column rep.day refers to the quadrat sample number at each transect. Harding cover, exotic plant cover, and bare cover refer to the percentage of ground covered by each. Animal sign indicates any animal presence found within the quadrats including scat, holes, trails, and/or individuals. Abundance is a calculation derived by adding the diversity value for Harding grass, exotic plants and native plants. Diversity is a count of all different species of plant present in each quadrat. Sampling time and rate per hour are irrelevant to this experiment. Harding density, native density, and exotic density refer to the number of relevant individuals that occur in the quadrat. The density value was calculated by adding the number of individual plant stems in four surface area samples and dividing the resulting value by the total surface area sampled. This value was then multiplied by 100 to extrapolate for the entire quadrat. Native flowers and exotic flowers is a direct count of the number of flowers found within the quadrat. Soil moisture is a measure of the water content of the soil in the quadrat taken with a digital soil moisture meter - all results indicated the soil was “too dry.”</p> <p>**Authors are all equal contributors listed in alphabetical order. </p>