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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Reed, Jennifer [1], Marsico, Travis [2].

Don’t doubt the Delta: Collection biases may skew plant species richness measurements in Poinsett County, AR.

Collection biases, including species bias, infrastructure bias, and the botanist effect, can lead to misrepresentations of species richness and distribution, which can complicate conservation planning. These collection biases, when paired with areas that are already thought to have poor species richness, can mean that certain regions are poorly studied, leading to misrepresentations of known species richness. One such area is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain or “Delta” region of Arkansas, which has undergone drastic vegetation and land-use changes at the hands of settlers and modern residents. Poinsett County is located within the Delta region, and it is dominated by row crop agriculture, yet it offers protected areas such as Lake Poinsett State Park and Bayou De View Wildlife Management Area, which provide a diversity of wetlands, riparian areas, and uplands, including a variety of Crowley’s Ridge forest habitats and remnant prairies. As a result, Poinsett County should have a high species richness of vascular plants. Yet previous specimen collection effort has been poor. A preliminary plant species survey was conducted in the 1960s, and only 363 species were identified. The objectives of this study are to: 1) create a complete list of vascular plant species in Poinsett County, Arkansas, 2) map all previous plant collections in Poinsett County, Arkansas, and 3) determine which type(s) of collection bias have affected plant species richness measurements in Poinsett County, Arkansas. To achieve this, we have identified all habitats in Poinsett County, which has elevational changes, a variety of soil types (including Loring, Brandon, and Memphis associations), as well as six level IV ecoregions designated by the US EPA. We will also collect voucher vascular plant specimens during two entire growing seasons and identify specimens to the species level. After our first field season, we collected 1,169 specimens over the course of 20 field trips. Of these specimens, so far we have found six new species records for Poinsett County, including Acer negundo, Carex typhina, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, Heuchera americana, Neottia bifolia, and Taraxacum officinale. Based on our preliminary observations, it appears as though Poinsett may have diminished species richness possibly due to the botanist effect, infrastructure bias, and species bias. Because of the potential for underexplored areas of Poinsett County and the lack of specimen collections, we expect to nearly double the known species occurrences in the county, and for the first time generate a list of species by habitat.

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1 - Arkansas State University, Department of Biological Sciences, PO Box 599, State University, AR, 72467, USA
2 - Arkansas State University, Department Of Biological Sciences, PO Box 599, State University, AR, 72467, USA

Collection bias
species richness
Arkansas Delta
county flora.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Conservation Biology
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: PCB001
Abstract ID:163
Candidate for Awards:None

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