Over the past two decades, biological invasions have come to the forefront as a major factor driving global environmental change. Introduced species can reduce biodiversity and inhibit the natural process of succession, and alter ecosystem functions such as nutrient and carbon cycling. Throughout much of the eastern U.S., forests are rapidly being invaded by the non-native grass Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass). This grass was unintentionally introduced in the early 1900s but has only recently been recognized as a widespread invader. It colonizes roadsides, trails, and disturbed areas, but can also invade intact forests. Luke Flory will present data from multiple experiments that demonstrate the dramatic impacts of Microstegium on native biodiversity and forest succession. Microstegium reduces the abundance and diversity of native herbs, suppresses tree regeneration, and affects other trophic levels such as arthropods. In addition, Microstegium invasions may interact with prescribed fires that are used for natural areas management, resulting in unusually intense fires that can have unintended consequences. Fortunately, removing Microstegium from naturally invaded sites can be accomplished efficiently using a grass-specific herbicide, which allows native species to return. Tune in with Luke Flory of tunehe Indiana University and Lisa Brush of the Stewardship Network for this informative upcoming webcast!
Luke Flory - His research program is focused broadly on understanding the ecology of biological invasions and their effects on native systems. In much of his current work he uses the invasive grass Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass) as a model system to investigate the community and ecosystem consequences of invasions, interactions between invasions and fire, evolution of introduced species, and the accumulation of pathogens on this introduced species. He is currently funded as a postdoctoral researcher at Indiana University by a grant from the Joint Fire Science Program. He has a bachelor's degree from DePauw University, a Masters from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, and a PhD from the Department of Biology at Indiana University.
Lisa Brush - Lisa is the Executive Director of The Stewardship Network. Lisa has been leading collaborative conservation initiatives in the nonprofit environmental sector for over two decades. In her role as co-founder and Executive Director of The Stewardship Network she has engaged thousands of professionals and volunteers in identifying community and conservation needs of the 21st century and determining strategic support The Network can provide. She has managed and overseen grant projects from federal and state agencies, as well as family and private foundations. She has been involved in all aspects of organizational management including foundation/agency relationships, grant based project funding, budget tracking, contract negotiation, implementation, accountability, project reporting and staff and board development. Lisa has facilitated strategic planning sessions, focus groups, citizen task forces, community visioning sessions, and public involvement and feedback meetings with groups ranging in size from four to four hundred. Lisa emphasizes tried and true in-person methods of bringing people together augmented by the use of cutting edge online technology. Lisa serves on numerous boards of directors, has a BA in Science in Society from Wesleyan University, an MS from University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, and is a graduate of Michigan State University's Great Lakes Leadership Academy.