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Karpowicz, Kayleigh [1], O'Connor, Brittney [2], Sharp, Davyd [3], Kilgore, Jason [4], Rollinson, Emily [5].

Anthropogenic impacts alter richness-abundance relationship in woody plant communities.

Plant communities can be characterized in many ways, including species richness and abundance of individual plants, but the relationship among these characteristics may vary depending on environmental context. The goal of our study was to assess how the relationship between species richness and individual abundance varies depending on human influence on a landscape. In 2020, we characterized woody plant communities in seventeen 400-m2 plots in the American Northeast as part of an Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) study focused on studying Plants in the Human-Altered Environment (PHAE). Woody plants with a diameter >1 cm at breast height (1.3 m) were identified to species and tallied. We compared these plant communities, in human-altered environments, to reference woody vegetation plots from the Harvard Forest site (in central Massachusetts) of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). The relative human impact was quantified by estimating the area of impervious surface in the plot (average 15% in local plots, no impervious surface in NEON plots), as well as determining in-plot canopy cover using the National Land Cover Dataset (average 56% in local plots, average 83% in NEON plots). The relationship between woody species richness and individual abundance differed between the NEON reference site and the PHAE human-impacted sites. Although the relationship between richness and abundance was positive in both sites (PHAE r = 0.85; NEON r = 0.62), the reference site had a larger increase in abundance per unit increase in species richness than did the local human-impacted sites (p = 0.003). This result suggests that human impacts have a more negative effect on abundance than richness, perhaps due to retention of larger diameter woody plants and removal of smaller woody plants during land conversion activities. By comparing local human-altered environments to reference woody vegetation sites, we can quantify the effects of our anthropogenic influence in these landscapes.

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1 - 259 RIDGE RD, HIGHLAND MILLS, NY, 10930, United States
2 - 227 S 2nd St, Emmaus, PA, 18049, United States
3 - East Stroudsburg University, Department of Biological Sciences, 200 Prospect Street, East Stroudsburg, PA, 18301, USA
4 - Washington & Jefferson College, Biology, 60 South Lincoln Street, Washington, PA, 15301, United States
5 - East Stroudsburg University, Department Of Biological Sciences, 200 Prospect Street, East Stroudsburg, PA, 18301, United States

community ecology
species richness
anthropogenic effects

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P1, Ecology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P1EC017
Abstract ID:721
Candidate for Awards:None

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