Reducing invasion by targeting vulnerable life stages: effects of fire on survivorship of Lespedeza cuneata
Wong, Bryant M.
AdvisorHouseman, Gregory R.
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Bryant M. Wong. (2012). Reducing Invasion by Targeting Vulnerable Life Stages: Effects of Fire on Survivorship of Lespedeza cuneata. -- In Proceedings: 8th Annual Symposium: Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p.153-154
There is growing interest in whether invasive species may be controlled by targeting key life stages. In this study, I test whether fire applied at potentially vulnerable life stages can increase mortality and limit the spread of the invasive legume, sericea. Although laboratory experiments indicated that fire inflicted extremely high mortality on sericea seeds, fire enhanced germination rates in the field suggesting that seeds may be protected from fire by mixing with soil. Furthermore, fire had little effect on seedling survival even for very young plants. This suggests that sericea seedlings may quickly reach a size from which they are capable of resprouting. These results illustrate that, although certain life stages are presumed to be vulnerable to disturbance, such untested assumptions can result in unanticipated outcomes due to interactions between biotic and abiotic factors.
Paper presented to the 8th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Marcus Welcome Center, Wichita State University, April 18, 2012.
Research completed at the Department of Biological Sciences, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences