The Only Organization Working Exclusively to Conserve and Restore

California's Native Grasslands

CNGA GRASS Award Speaker Series: Brooke Wainwright

  • Tuesday, January 30, 2024
  • 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Online


  • Members attend for free!
  • Join CNGA and attend the complete series for free!
  • Free with Registration Code. Please email a copy of your student ID to


California Native Grassland Association GRASS Award Speaker Series

Join Us for the CNGA’s Virtual Speaker Series showcasing the amazing work undertaken in California Grasslands by some of our Grassland Research Awards for Student Scholarship Winners.

Talks are on Tuesdays from 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM PST featuring one 40-minute talk, or two 20-minute talks, with time for Q&A. 

Members: Free      Non-Members: $10       Non-Member Students: Free with Student ID

Reproductive investment of grasslands plants under variable rainfall regimes: Preliminary results

Brooke Wainwright, PhD Candidate, University of California, Davis

Tuesday, January 30, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Abstract: The global climate is changing and becoming more severe, making wet years wetter and dry years drier in most places. In California, perhaps no ecosystem is more sensitive to interannual variation in precipitation than grasslands. This is due in part to California grasslands being dominated by annual species, both native an not native, whose primary goal is to reproduce in a single growing season. Here, I ask: how do precipitation differences affect the reproductive investment of California grassland plants? And how does that vary by source location and native status? To do this I collected seeds from five grasslands throughout the north-south precipitation gradient in California. Grasslands were a mix of native and non native species. I subjected them to a common garden drought experiment in Davis, California in spring 2023. I collected reproductive parts biweekly from February to October, before harvesting aboveground biomass before senescence. I then weighed the reproductive and aboveground biomass to measure reproductive allocation. Sorting and weighing is currently underway. This work will give context to native and nonnative dynamics in grasslands and informs the possibility of assisted migration in restoration.

Bio: I am a first year PhD student in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis, advised by Jennifer Funk and Valerie Eviner. I am passionate about the diversity within and among California plant communities, how those types of diversity are affected by global change factors and human activity, and how they affect ecosystem health. I received my masters in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2021, investigating the ecotonal recruitment dynamics of grassland foundation species under novel climate regimes. Currently, I am pursuing projects related belowground diversity dynamics (e.g., seed banks) under drought conditions in Northern California as well as a large-scale project examining the functional traits related to drought coping strategies of California grassland species, with the intention of creating a novel functional trait framework that helps land managers restore ecosystem functioning and prepare for the future.

Contact Justin Luong ( with any questions.

Upcoming Speaker Series Schedule (Download a Flyer Here)

  • February 6 – Spencer Peterman (UC Riverside)
  • February 13 – Katherine Brafford (UC Davis)
  • February 20 – Taylor Akers (CSU Sacramento)
  • February 27 – Mary Badger (UC Davis)

Help Support Student Research - Donate to the GRASS Program

CNGA's GRASS Program: 

  • Focuses student research on important grassland-related questions. 
  • Inspires students to become more involved in California Grassland Conservation and Restoration. 
  • Trains future employees for your agency or company.
  • Creates advocates for California Grasslands 
Learn More About GRASS - Applications Accepted Nov 1 - Jan 31

CNGA Communicable Disease Event Policy: This event will align with the current regional health guidelines. Please bring a mask and be prepared to wear it. If you do not feel well, please do not attend.

California Native Grasslands Association  is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization.                                                                                         © All rights reserved

This organization does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, disability, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.

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