Conservation Biology of Eastern Tallgrass Prairie: Integrating Issues of Management and Restoration for the 21st Century
Wagenius, Stuart .
Genetics and demography interact in the management and restoration of a widespread purple coneflower.
The tallgrass prairie used to be vast. Now, prairie habitat exists in small and isolated patches. How long will small populations in remnants and restorations persist and what can we do to conserve them? To answer this central question in conservation biology requires understanding ecological and evolutionary processes and how they interact. For example, small populations lose genetic diversity and inbred individuals contribute less to population growth. I will describe long-term research on a common native prairie plant, Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae). Like many prairie plants, this species experiences reduced reproduction and greater inbreeding in small remnants. First, I will explain how I quantified reproductive failure and tested two hypothetical causes: reduced diversity at the mating compatibility locus and reduced pollinator visitation. Computer simulations forecast population-level consequences of reproductive failure. Second, I detail how a plant's genetic background influences total lifetime fitness (survival and reproduction) in plants up to 11 year old and explain potential consequences for population growth. Finally, I will describe how management strategies, such as prescribed burning, influence both evolutionary and ecological processes in remnant prairie plant populations.
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Echinacea project website
Stuart Wagenius's webpage
1 - Chicago Botanic Garden, Institute for Plant Biology & Conservation, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL, 60022, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Williford B/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 3:45 PM