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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

The Search for a Relict Prairie Community in Western New York

During the Holocene epoch, prairie graminoid species colonized North American deciduous forests. The resultant prairie communities, often termed oak openings became rare over time. Between 1863 and 1943, one oak opening was identified within Mendon Ponds County Park in New York. The researcher sought to relocate this oak opening and measure changes in community composition. They compared the graminoid composition of the proposed oak opening site with the described composition of the original oak opening. Additionally, they compared their oak opening site to three other sites. Vegetation and soil characteristics varied significantly between sites. The variation between the oak opening and other sites led them to conclude that they had successfully relocated the oak opening. The future of the oak opening, however, remains unclear due to the spread of invasive swallowwort (Vincetoxicum spp.) throughout the site. Swallowwort threatens the persistence of the oak opening, a locally rare floral community.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Julia York (Graduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 122 Hartwell
Time: 11 am Session II