Habitat monitoring and improvement for Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. palustris
C. maritimus ssp. palustris, also known as Point Reyes bird’s beak, is a rare hemiparasitic salt marsh species native along the Eastern Pacific coast from central California to Northern Oregon. The
C. maritimus ssp. palustris, also known as Point Reyes bird’s beak, is a rare hemiparasitic salt marsh species native along the Eastern Pacific coast from central California to Northern Oregon. The population of C. maritimus ssp. palustris at the Coos Bay North Spit has relatively recently been protected from damaging Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use and is one of the only protected populations of this species. Following protection, the population dramatically increased but has since been in decline. It has been hypothesized that in the absence of disturbance, the density of other salt marsh plants, particularly Salicornia depressa (pickleweed) and Limonium californicum (western marsh-rosemary) has increased, and may be inhibiting recruitment, growth, and/or reproduction of C. maritimus ssp. palustris. Changes in the plant community and industrial use of the surrounding bay may have also altered hydrology and sand accretion rates, thus changing site microtopography.
Long term monitoring transects were established in 2010 and competitor species were removed in a subsample of plots. Annual mapping and plot measurements such as C. maritimus ssp. palustris size and reproductive status as well as total cover of all species have been monitored annually in the following years.
The two primary goals of this project are to track changes to population size and location and to test interspecific competition on C. maritimus ssp. palustris recruitment.