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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Bocian, Lindsey [1], McGivern, James [1], Brown, Nathalie-Ann [2], Perenic, Joseph [3], Ganger, Michael [1].

The Vascular Plant Species of the Fringing Habitat Ecotone in the Erie Bluffs State Park.

The Erie Bluffs State Park is a 450-acre property located in northwestern Pennsylvania along Lake Erie. The park contains various habitats including broadleaf terrestrial forest, broadleaf terrestrial woodland, broadleaf palustrine forest, terrestrial herbaceous openings, agricultural fields, and a fringing ecotone habitat, hereafter referred to as the fringing habitat. The management plan for the park includes converting the agricultural fields to native habitat. Given that the fringing habitat surrounds these fields, this habitat is likely to serve as a source of colonists. Therefore, the characterization of the fringing habitat is crucial to successfully predicting the post-conversion community. In the summer of 2010, 146 quadrats, one meter wide and 50 meters apart, were established within the fringing habitat. The vascular plant species present in each quadrat were recorded. A comparative analysis was conducted to compare the native/non-native status of species to those present throughout the park, as well as the number of species unique to the fringing habitat. Life history data, species richness data, frequency of species, and frequency across families were also obtained for all of the species in the fringing habitat. A comparison was made between the species found in the one agricultural field that was allowed to go fallow in 2009 and the species found in the fringing habitat. The fringing habitat was found to contain 158 of the 441 species present in the park overall, despite containing roughly 2% of the park's area. These species include forest and field species along with 64 species (41%) unique to the habitat. Most species, 65%, were perennials indicating a persistant community. Approximately 40% of the species were non-native. Of species in the one abandoned field, 98% also occurred in the fringing habitat. Together, these data highlight the importance of the fringing habitat in old field succession. Managing the fringing habitat prior to agricultural field abandonment is therefore crucial to managing the transition from agricultural fields to native habitat.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Gannon University, Biology, 109 University Square, Erie, PA, 16541, USA
2 - Gannon University, Biology Department, 109 University Square, Erie, PA, 16541, USA
3 - Gannon University, Biology Department, 109 Universiy Square, Erie, PA, 16541, USA

Plant community

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PEC010
Abstract ID:289

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