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Abstract Detail


Engel, Ryan P. [1], Caudle, Keri L. [1].

Investigating floral diversity of western Kansas grasslands to assess pollinator productivity.

Evolution of the specialized relationships between plants and pollinators has influenced the ecological productivity of ecosystems across the world; therefore, increasing global biodiversity. As with many biological interactions, the threat of climate change and anthropogenic stresses has increased awareness to study these relationships in nature. Drought, invasive species establishment, and transformation of native grasslands to agriculture are among the stresses exerted on plants and pollinators in Kansas. Even so, little attention has been given to assessing flora diversity in relation to pollinators in the state of Kansas. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the floral diversity of two native grassland sites in western Kansas, and relate findings to pollinator productivity. Two grassland sites were visited seven periods during peak blooming season from June through September 2016. Sixteen transects were randomly selected per site, and canopy coverage for each flowering species (i.e., herbaceous species excluding grasses) was calculated. Plant species with purple and white flowers had some of the highest canopy coverage at both grassland sites. Resinous skullcap (Scutellaria resinosa), sessile-leaf tickclover (Desmodium sessilifolium), and narrow leaf-bluets (Hedyotis nigricans) were among the most abundant plant species, which are known to be selected by pollinators. Therefore, the Kansas grassland sites in this study appeared to be suitable sources in sustaining pollinators. Results from this study can be used to shape future studies on pollinators and plant diversity. In summer 2017, we hope to expand on these findings by incorporating experiments to determine which plant species are preferred by honeybees.

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1 - Fort Hays State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 600 Park Street, Hays, KS, 67601, USA

Kansas grasslands
flower diversity

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Ecology
Location: Exhibit Hall/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PEC005
Abstract ID:150
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Undergraduate Presentation Award

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