Presentation on theme: "Pacific Prairie Wildflowers: Stalking Wild Camas Lilies Susan Kephart, Suzanne Torre, Josef Uyeda, Joel Shinn Biology Department, Willamette University."— Presentation transcript:
Pacific Prairie Wildflowers: Stalking Wild Camas Lilies Susan Kephart, Suzanne Torre, Josef Uyeda, Joel Shinn Biology Department, Willamette University Contact : email@example.com Common camas (C. quamash) Upswept petals, bilateral symmetry Early flowering, petals wither separately Site 1: Fairview Mitigation Wetlands Project Objectives Apply the best scientific tools to practical issues in local areas Scientists and volunteers will use field and lab-based methods to create and monitor visually and functionally diverse landscapes. Field and genetic data will help guide the management of ecologically and historically important communities. Restore degraded communities by enhancing biodiversity Educators, students, and citizens will reintroduce native camas and other flowering plants to reconstructed grassland “islands” that occur near local businesses. Enlist public support to maintain camas meadows and wetlands We hope this broad participatory effort will be a national model that exemplifies how citizens and scientists can work together to understand ecological processes. A new website, videotaping, and interpretive signs will highlight the potential for a future, on-site nature center that local citizens can enjoy. Introduction Globally, many populations of plants are now highly fragmented. This creation of isolated ‘sky islands,’ has led to rarity and a loss of genetic diversity (Young et al 2000). From the Willamette Valley to the mountains, camas lily meadows create exciting landscapes, rich in species and spectacular to behold. Today, in remnant grassland prairies in Oregon, the large, blue-flowered patches still resemble the vast blue “lakes” of flowers traversed by early pioneers. These sites also create outstanding laboratories for teaching us about life’s diversity and the many ecological services that organisms provide as they interact in space and time. Butterflies, bees, moths and even bats carry pollen that produces both the fruits and seeds we enjoy in the marketplace, and those that sustain natural populations (Kearns & Inouye 1997). Cultural Significance: Great and small camas lilies are emblematic of a rich, Pacific heritage. For centuries, Native Americans shared the highly prized bulbs in marriage and funeral rites, wrapping them in cornhusks. For Nez Perce and Kalapuyans in the Willamette Valley, camas was the most widely traded item apart from salmon. The sweet bulbs were pit-cooked or sun dried. The leaves were also used in mattresses and basketry (Gunther 1973, Stevens & Darris 1999). Research Approaches Monitor Survival & Reproduction Locate & count surviving plants in wet-dry; shaded-sunny habitats Record % of emerging plants that produce flowers and fruits Study Hybrid Zone Dynamics of Camas Lily Populations Use genetic markers to identify potential hybrid seedlings Determine relative success of seedlings by species and habitat Observe Plant-Animal Interactions Use diversity indices to assess potential for upward cascade in biodiversity Hypothesis 1: new plants will provide more habitat for pollinators & herbivores Hypothesis 2: diversity will also improve ecological function in wetland prairie Compare: Natural versus Reintroduced for Species diversity (H’) and Species Richness (S) -Surveys of randomly selected points along belt transects in multiple sites for Plant Fitness traits -fruit & seed production, plant size, height for Genetic Diversity - protein and DNA fingerprinting Results: Reintroducing Camas Lilies > 1000 plants reintroduced by local volunteers: February and October 2004 ~ 90% survival and 53% reproduction of Great Camas transplanted in February Team braves rain in Feb to plant camas! Conclusion Reintroduction is an important tool for restoring degraded habitat. In Oregon, the Fairview Mitigation Wetlands are quickly becoming known as an area with great potential for educational and leisure space, and for in-depth scientific study. Our project links volunteer site restoration with research on reintroduction, pollination biology, and plant hybridization. It is part of long-term efforts to understand plant-animal-soil interactions in grassland prairies and the ecological functions they mediate. Acknowledgements Special thanks to: City of Salem, Pringle Creek Watershed Council, Native Plant Society, 21st Century Schoolhouse, Mortar Board, Ecos, Willamette University classes & grounds crew Photos: W. Bluhm, C.Collins, S.Kephart, J. Shinn, S. Torre, J. Uyeda Circa 1850 From: Wetlands Vol. 23 http://home.att.net/~TanyaHarvey/art/paintingslarge/camas.htm Habitat Significance Targeted for protection as biodiversity hotspots, grassland habitats are highly productive, with a rich flora and fauna (Wilson 1998, Stromberg et al 2001). Wetland prairies are an important class of grass- dominated ecosystem, offering critical ecological services. The early spring “vernal pools” and hydric soils sustain killdeers, water striders, and frogs, yet also filter pollutants, recharge precious water supplies, and buffer neighborhoods from flood waters (Zedler 2003). In the Willamette Valley, most wetlands were drained for agriculture or urban growth, leading to a 57% loss since pre-settlement days. Over 85% of our wildlife species use streamside riparian zones and wetlands. What’s Up in Oregon Meadows? Willamette University scientists and students, along with Earthwatch volunteers and Salem citizens are engaged in a joint endeavor that weds cutting- edge science, K-12 schools, and local businesses in a partnership to enhance and protect beautiful grassland prairies, wetlands and upland oak savannas. These areas form the habitat of the famed Camas lilies and the largest gopher known to the Northwest. The Camas pocket gopher (Thomomys bulbivorus), reproduces in April-May and can dig tunnels over 200 meters long (i.e., 2 soccer fields)! Great camas (C. leichtlinii) large petals & leaves, radial symmetry Late flowering, petals wither together Habitat Diversity INSIDE A NEWLY CREATED WETLAND Formerly farmed ~46 mitigated acres 283 acre park Can we enhance biodiversity in a wetland created to mitigate nearby business development? Site 2: Bush Pasture Park Natural Population for Comparison Planting: The First Expedition: Feb 2004 Great Camas Transplants: from Buds to Fruits! Dipteran (fly) visitor takes a pollen meal… Camas Survival & Reproduction Genetic Diversity: PGI Pilot Study: Genetic variation in protein fingerprints for plants from Bush Park Camassia sp ( Lily Family. Liliaceae)
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