Presentation Title

Effect of experimental disturbance on forest vegetation biodiversity

Time

9:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Biological Sciences

Abstract

Kerria Burns1, John Wenzel2, Kayla Perry3, Kimberly Wallin1,4

1Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 2Powdermill Nature Reserve, 3The Ohio State University, 4USDA Forest Service

Disturbances shift forest ecosystem structure and function through changes in biodiversity and alteration of abiotic conditions. Understanding how communities assemble after these events has implications for conservation and management in response to natural and anthropogenic disturbance. An experimental implementation of canopy gap creation and understory vegetation removal at Powdermill Nature Reserve in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania seeks to examine changes in vegetative species at various plots before and after disturbance. Comparison of community composition pre and post disturbance will yield information about which types of species and functional traits thrive in response or are resilient to sudden environmental changes. Data was collected in 2013 prior to implementation, and in 2014 and 2015 post-experiment and will be analyzed for species richness, evenness, abundance, and other biodiversity metrics.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Kimberly Wallin

Status

Graduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Natural Resources

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Effect of experimental disturbance on forest vegetation biodiversity

Kerria Burns1, John Wenzel2, Kayla Perry3, Kimberly Wallin1,4

1Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 2Powdermill Nature Reserve, 3The Ohio State University, 4USDA Forest Service

Disturbances shift forest ecosystem structure and function through changes in biodiversity and alteration of abiotic conditions. Understanding how communities assemble after these events has implications for conservation and management in response to natural and anthropogenic disturbance. An experimental implementation of canopy gap creation and understory vegetation removal at Powdermill Nature Reserve in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania seeks to examine changes in vegetative species at various plots before and after disturbance. Comparison of community composition pre and post disturbance will yield information about which types of species and functional traits thrive in response or are resilient to sudden environmental changes. Data was collected in 2013 prior to implementation, and in 2014 and 2015 post-experiment and will be analyzed for species richness, evenness, abundance, and other biodiversity metrics.