The Only Organization Working Exclusively to Conserve and Restore

California's Native Grasslands

CNGA GRASS Award Speaker Series: Rebecca Nelson

  • Tuesday, January 16, 2024
  • 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Online


  • Members attend for free!
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  • Free with Registration Code. Please email a copy of your student ID to

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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

The effects of plant invasions on grassland plant-pollinator mutualisms 

Rebecca Nelson, University of California, Davis, GRASS Recipient 2021/2022

Tuesday, January 16, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Abstract: Serpentine grasslands remain a critical refugia for California’s native plants and pollinators. Invasive species have decreased biodiversity in California’s grasslands. Although nutrient poor serpentine soils prevent many invasive plants from establishing in serpentine grasslands, invasive plants can affect serpentine plant-pollinator mutualisms through the spillover of shared pollinators across ecological boundaries. I will examine the extent to which two invasive wildflower species common in non-serpentine grasslands, hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) and yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), affect serpentine native plant pollination and seed set through shared pollinators. I will share findings from field research at the University of California McLaughlin Reserve and discuss implications for grassland stewardship.

Bio: Rebecca Nelson is a fourth year PhD candidate in the Harrison and Valdovinos Labs at the University of California Davis. She studies how human-caused changes to the environment affect plant-pollinator mutualisms in California grasslands, particularly invasive species, climate change, and nutrient deposition. Her work includes examining the outcomes of grassland restoration processes for plants and pollinators in California. She is a board member for Northern California Botanists and a student liaison to the board for the California Invasive Plant Council. As a freelance science writer, she tells stories about bees, climate change, and environmental justice. She received her B.S. in Ecology and Evolution and a minor in Creative Writing from Stanford University.

Contact Justin Luong ( with any questions.

Upcoming Speaker Series Schedule 

  • January 30 -- Brooke Wainwright (UC Davis)
  • February 6 – Spencer Peterman (UC Riverside)
  • February 13 – Katherine Brafford (UC Davis)
  • February 27 – Mary Badger (UC Davis)
  • March 12  – Taylor Akers (CSU Sacramento)

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

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