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Abstract Detail


Johnson, Sara [1], Molano-Flores, Brenda [2], Zaya, David [2], Coons, Janice [3].

A restorative spark: Revisiting the role of fire and landscape heterogeneity in the distribution, abundance, and reproduction of a rare Florida endemic mint, Macbridea alba. .

A lack of up-to-date research regarding the basic ecology, habitat associations, and reproduction of at-risk plants can create barriers to their effective management and protection. Particularly for endemic and specialized species, fine-scale variation across the landscape can greatly impact species occupancy, abundance, and reproductive output. We examined patterns in vegetative cover, woody encroachment, microtopography, and burn history across sites to understand the habitat associations of a rare mint Macbridea alba, endemic to a narrow range within the Florida panhandle. We compared the characteristics of sites where the species was present to those where it was absent. Macbridea alba most frequently occurred in sites with high levels of ground cover and median ranges of both mid and canopy cover. Populations were most abundant in sites with a sloping microtopography and low levels of woody encroachment. Macbridea alba population size was negatively correlated with increased time since burn, reflecting previous work conducted with the species. A decrease in the occurrence of vivipary (e.g. pre-germination within the calyx) was observed as cover and encroachment increased, providing interesting relationships worth further research. While long-term trends are yet to be determined, Macbridea alba may be tolerant to median levels of encroachment, however, tolerance rapidly declines as encroachment intensifies. Additionally, this research supports long-held assumptions regarding Macbridea alba’s specificity to sloping transitional ecotones between upland and lowland depressional wetlands and persistence in recently burned or disturbed sites. Our study emphasizes the importance of integrating both broad and local-scale patterns of distribution and population dynamics into conservation planning and implementation. Further, revisiting population dynamics and recruitment strategies across a temporal scale can improve the protection and management of species in a changing world.

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1 - Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 S. Oak St, MC 652, Champaign, IL, 61820, United States
2 - University Of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL, 61820, United States
3 - 305 Robin Lane, Minonk, IL, 61760, United States

rare species
Rare plants
Vegetation Dynamics
plant reproduction
Plant associations
Plant ecology.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO6, Ecology: Restoration and Conservation
Location: /
Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Time: 4:15 PM(EDT)
Number: ECO6006
Abstract ID:1054
Candidate for Awards:None

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