Scientific Name: Microseris bigelovii
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2006
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: A small annual herb present in a few fragmented sites within a narrow coastal fringe on southeast Vancouver Island in a densely inhabited urbanized region. Development, recreational activities, site management practices and competition from invasive alien plants continue to impact the species.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2006.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2007-12-13
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Coast Microseris is a small stemless annual herb of the aster family. The narrow leaves are at the base of the plant and measure 3 to 25 centimeters in length. They can be without teeth or lobes or can be deeply cut with slender or broad tapering lobes. Each plant develops a leafless flower stalk 4 to 35 centimeters tall and bearing a single yellow or orange strap-shaped flower. The flower stalk is nodding until mature. Its fruits, called “achenes,” are brown to bronze, sometimes spotted. They are crowned by five scales, each terminating in a long, hair-like bristle arising from the pointed scale. Each achene contains a single seed.
Distribution and Population
The range of Coast Microseris extends from Vancouver Island south along the west coast to California. In Canada, the species is restricted to southeastern Vancouver Island from Hornby Island to Victoria and vicinity. Coast Microseris is found on six sites along a coastal strip no more than 50 meters from the water’s edge in a densely populated urban area on southeastern Vancouver Island. According to records from 2002, 2003, and 2004, the six extant sites are small, with populations varying in size from 100 to 2500 plants per site for a total of 5500 to 6500 individuals. Coast Microseris has been extirpated from at least four, and perhaps as many as six, previously reported locations in Canada. There is no reliable information on past population sizes, so fluctuations and trends in the size of extant populations cannot be determined. This species, like many other annuals, may experience significant natural fluctuations in population sizes.
In Canada, Coast Microseris occurs on open rock bluffs without tall vegetation and on the margins of shallow depressions in the rock within 100 meters of the ocean. These areas remain open because of wind exposure along the shore, summer drought stress in thin soils, or seepage that waterlogs soils, all of which prevents taller vegetation from dominating. The sites are moist in autumn, winter, and spring and dry during the summer. The low-elevation band of coastal environments, where the species occurs in British Columbia, is narrow and quickly gives way to uplands that lack the necessary conditions.
Little information is available on the biology of this species in Canada. It is known, however, that Coast Microseris is an annual that flowers and fruits in late spring. Seed dispersal between patches is probably restricted to fairly short distances. The species therefore relies on self-pollination, with its flowers being fertilized primarily by its own pollen. Most seeds are likely dispersed over short distances by wind and gravity. Seeds do not appear to have any dormancy mechanism; some germinate in the fall and others in late winter.
Habitat loss and degradation are the main threat to the species in Canada. An estimated 95% of the potential habitat was lost during the 20th century, and the loss of habitat is likely to continue into the future. Urban and industrial development pose a serious threat to this species, which occurs at the heart of one of the fastest growing regions in North America. A major threat to remaining populations of Coast Microseris comes from recreational and outdoor activities. Several populations occur in popular walking areas. Recreational use is likely to increase in all of these locations as the number of people in southeastern Vancouver Island increases. Recreational use also poses an indirect threat as new structures, such as park benches and interpretive displays, are installed. The species is also threatened by the invasion of exotic herbs and shrubs that take over suitable sites. These species compete with Coast Microseris for moisture and nutrients. Some extant populations of Coast Microseris occur at sites dominated by many invasive alien species. Lastly, fire suppression is a limiting factor. The increase in light levels and decrease in competition that result from burning favour the growth of low herbaceous plants such as Coast Microseris.
The Coast Microseris is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
In British Columbia, Coast Microseris is not afforded protection under any provincial legislation. However, under the British Columbia Park Act, it cannot be collected in provincial parks or protected areas.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Coast Microseris (Microseris bigelovii) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry
Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team
Conan Webb - Chair/Contact - Parks Canada
Phone: 250-478-5153 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
9 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Permits and Related Agreements (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Exceptions (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statements - Coast Microseris (2006-11-29)A small annual herb present in a few fragmented sites within a narrow coastal fringe on southeast Vancouver Island in a densely inhabited urbanized region. Development, recreational activities, site management practices and competition from invasive alien plants continue to impact the species.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.