Using Seedling Plugs to Enhance Prairie Species Diversity: Comparing Southern and Northern Species

Although species have shifted ranges during past climate changes, this may not be possible under current climate change. Restorationists must choose species to add to sites which is difficult when current conditions deviate from the past. At two tallgrass prairie restoration sites in central IL, we tested whether northern species (Agastache foeniculum, Oligoneuron ohioense, and Heuchera richardsonii) were more difficult to establish through seedling additions than southern species (Conoclinium coelestinum, Eryngium yuccifolium, and Parthenium integrifolium). Seedling grids (5m spacing, 216 seedlings each) were established spring 2015 and survival, growth, and flowering were measured through September 2016. In 2015, one site was partially flooded and we measured seedling flooding depth. Differences were found in survival among species, and between sites, but these were not related to southern/northern status. Flooding negatively affected survival for all species. However, Conoclinium coelestinum had higher overall survival at the partially flooded site despite seedling loss from flooding. Low survival rates for all species suggest increasing diversity using seedling plugs is difficult.
Friday, January 13, 2017 - 10:45am to 11:40am
Amy McEuen
University of Illinois Springfield
Amy McEuen has taught at the University of Illinois Springfield for the last twelve years including courses in environmental biology, conservation biology, and ecology. She has a PhD in Terrestrial Ecosystems from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment and specializes in plant community ecology. She has collaborated with both graduate and undergraduate students on a variety of research projects. Most of these projects examine factors influencing plant biodiversity within the tallgrass prairie restorations at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon preserve in central Illinois.
Co-Authors: Dana McCarver, University of Illinois Springfield, David Seidel, University of Illinois Springfield, and Jacob Sherell, University of Illinois Springfield
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