Conservation Biology of Eastern Tallgrass Prairie: Integrating Issues of Management and Restoration for the 21st Century
Gustafson, Danny .
Genetic and competition studies of Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, and Purple Prairie Clover in remnant and restored Tallgrass Prairies.
Although genetic differentiation among plant populations is well known, its relevance for preserving the integrity of native ecosystems and its importance in establishing new communities has received limited empirical testing. In this presentation I will summarize a series of genetic and competition studies of Andropogon gerardii, Sorghastrum nutans, and Dalea purpurea from remnant and restored Tallgrass Prairies in Illinois (local), non-local remnant prairies, and six grass cultivars. This research focused on significant components of the plant community, rather than rare or endangered species, because matrix / dominant species have a disproportional influence on community dynamics. There were genetic differences between local and non-local seed sources, large populations do not necessarily have higher genetic diversity relative to small populations, and differences in plant performance could be related to seed source. Although obtaining large quantities of non-local and cultivar grass seed may be affordable, available, and desirable given the amount of seed required for Tallgrass Prairie restoration, this research indicated genetic and plant performance differences between local and non-local seed sources in all three species. Based on empirical data from two dominant grasses and a common legume of the Tallgrass Prairie, I would respectfully suggest that non-local and cultivar plant material should not be considered functionally equivalent to locally collected material from documented remnant Tallgrass Prairies.
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1 - The Citadel, Department of Biology, 171 Moultrie St, Charleston, South Carolina, 29409, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Williford B/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 4:15 PM