Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


Coastal dunes are a unique and dynamic habitat, containing fauna that have adapted to life in harsh maritime conditions. While these species have managed to thrive in such a habitat, human influences may undermine their continued success. Beach layia (Layia carnosa), a small annual herb, is one example of a species which has become isolated by habitat loss from human expansion. Endemic to California, it exhibits a patchy distribution along the coast, and occurs in two dunes systems on the Monterey Peninsula, Asilomar State Beach and Indian Village Dunes. Previous estimates at these two sites indicate a small population size, less than 200 plants at Asilomar State Beach and unknown numbers at Indian Village Dunes. A complete census conducted at both sites in March 2009 revealed a total population of 1,973 plants. Density estimates at Indian Village Dunes showed less than one plant per square meter. Staggered germination timing was also discovered from late January to March, and most plants did not reach reproductive maturity until late March early April. Understanding basic population biology and timing, along with an accurate census, is essential for protection and management of this species.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Division of Science and Environmental Policy