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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Cannon, Brandi [1], Frangos, Samantha [2], Ray, Jessica [3].

Genetic diversity, habitat dynamics, and demography: The conservation of endangered American Chaffseed (Schwalbea americana).

American chaffseed (Schwalbea americana) is, a monotypic, root hemi-parasite that parasitizes the root of a host plant. It procures nutrients through a specialized organ called the haustorium, through which the water and nutrients are siphoned from the host plant. It is both rare and endangered in the United States, a consequence of construction, land development, low genetic diversity, and fire suppression. Schwalbea has been documented as being extirpated in 72% of its historic range. Currently, the northern population is of utmost concern because the only extant population is found in New Jersey out of 18 historical occurrences. For fire-dependent organisms like American chaffseed, increased fragmentation, a lack of genetic diversity, and reliance on ecosystem dynamics are compounded by the exclusion of fire, making conservation of this species difficult. Understanding how to manage the preservation and health of population of species that are known to encounter these obstacles is vital to developing robust conservation programs. Herein, the analysis of genetic variation patterns throughout Schwalbea’s historic and extant range using both herbarium samples and extant living tissue will be discussed, followed by an assessment of the root dynamics of Schwalbea’s typical hosts. This will focus on host plants’ responses to fire disturbance in greenhouse and field experiments. Finally, the correlation between root density and successful haustorial connections by planting seedlings onto treated hosts both in greenhouse and field experiment settings will be evaluated.

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1 - Columbia University, Ecology, Evolution, Environmental Biology
2 - New York Botanical Garden
3 - Rutgers University

parasitic plant
prescribed fire

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 36, Conservation Biology
Location: Sundance 1/Omni Hotel
Date: Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Time: 11:30 AM
Number: 36006
Abstract ID:213
Candidate for Awards:None

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