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2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium-Conservation Science in Action

Presentation Title: “The Phenological Response of Native Grasses and Forbs to Climate Change”

Presenters: Augustine Beard Adrienne Bowles, Alena Hartmann, Kylea Garces, Emily Roque, Samantha Hoffman

Abstract:
Pacific Northwest prairies are biodiversity hotspots with a high number of endemic, endangered, and rare species, but have been depleted to 2% their extent in 1850. Climate change threatens to further threaten biodiversity and ecosystem function in these prairies. Confronted with a changing climate, individual populations have three options: migrate, adapt, or go extinct. While numerous studies have examined the capacity of plants to adapt to climate change, fewer have sought to understand adaptations across a regional scale. In this study, we contribute to ongoing work to analyze the phenological response of 12 native grasses and forbs to manipulated climate parameters in three site locations at different latitudes. The climate parameter treatments are drought, temperature increase, temperature increase plus precipitation increase, and control. We hypothesize that the plants within the heated plots will experience a greater rate of primary productivity, allowing for a greater chance of overall success within the species. This study will contribute to our understanding of the capacity of plants to adapt or migrate under climate change and inform restoration projects of Pacific Northwest prairies.

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