Faculty Mentor

Dr. Benjamin Sikes; Dr. Jim Bever

Proposal Type

Poster

Start Date

2-11-2019 10:20 AM

End Date

2-11-2019 11:30 AM

Location

Cleveland Ballroom

Abstract

Tallgrass prairies harbor unique biodiversity, but agricultural conversion left only ~4% of prairies remaining. Restoration efforts often fail to reconstruct communities as diverse as remnant prairies. Land conversion changes soil properties, including plant associated soil biota, which may be a key reason for this shortfall. Additions of native soil microbes can benefit many conservative prairie plant species, but little research has explored if island additions of remnant prairies may serve a similar role. This research asks whether proximity and island size of remnant prairies impact fitness-related measures (growth and flowering) of plants from contrasting successional stages (early vs. late succession). We contrasted these effects across recipient sites that differ in land use history. Our field experiment transplanted intact prairie monoliths into restored, post-agriculture, and disked recipient sites, while varying the local concentration of monoliths moved (isolated, clustered, and aggregated). We then planted Rudbeckia hirta and Liatris pycnostachya within and at increasing distances from the prairie monoliths. We found L. pycnostachyasurvived better in the restored site compared to Redbeckia hirta. However, both species’s survival depended on the location in the site. For R. Hirta, treatment was very important. This research increases our understanding of the role remnant ecosystems can play in prairie restoration, including the importance of target plant species, land use history of restoration sites, and the size and distance of remnant prairies. These aspects link fundamental ecological theory (e.g. Island Biogeography Theory) and provide direct information to assist restoration practice.

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Nov 2nd, 10:20 AM Nov 2nd, 11:30 AM

#22 -Benefits of Remnant Prairies Patches to Prairie Plant Restoration: The Effects of Land-Use History, Patch Size, and Proximity to Plant Success

Cleveland Ballroom

Tallgrass prairies harbor unique biodiversity, but agricultural conversion left only ~4% of prairies remaining. Restoration efforts often fail to reconstruct communities as diverse as remnant prairies. Land conversion changes soil properties, including plant associated soil biota, which may be a key reason for this shortfall. Additions of native soil microbes can benefit many conservative prairie plant species, but little research has explored if island additions of remnant prairies may serve a similar role. This research asks whether proximity and island size of remnant prairies impact fitness-related measures (growth and flowering) of plants from contrasting successional stages (early vs. late succession). We contrasted these effects across recipient sites that differ in land use history. Our field experiment transplanted intact prairie monoliths into restored, post-agriculture, and disked recipient sites, while varying the local concentration of monoliths moved (isolated, clustered, and aggregated). We then planted Rudbeckia hirta and Liatris pycnostachya within and at increasing distances from the prairie monoliths. We found L. pycnostachyasurvived better in the restored site compared to Redbeckia hirta. However, both species’s survival depended on the location in the site. For R. Hirta, treatment was very important. This research increases our understanding of the role remnant ecosystems can play in prairie restoration, including the importance of target plant species, land use history of restoration sites, and the size and distance of remnant prairies. These aspects link fundamental ecological theory (e.g. Island Biogeography Theory) and provide direct information to assist restoration practice.