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Abstract Detail


Quesenberry, Erin [1], Metzgar, Jordan [2].

Dispersal strategy in a mid-Appalachian anthropogenic ecosystem.

Plant colonization and succession has been well studied across many natural ecosystems; however, these processes are much less understood in anthropogenic ecosystems. We inventoried the flora of man-made structures on the Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg, VA to determine the importance of dispersal strategy and source populations’ distance from colonization sites. The study system is highly dynamic, with brick, concrete, and Hokie Stone (a mix of dark and light gray limestone-dolomite blocks mined near Blacksburg) buildings dating to 1872. Complications that alter and reset the colonization process include constant turnover as new buildings are added and old ones are renovated and the ongoing maintenance and power washing of buildings. We sampled 121 buildings, recording species, coverage, and aspect of mosses and vascular plants on the buildings. We prepared specimens of each species for identification and as study vouchers. Herbarium specimens were inventoried to find source populations. It was expected that most species would be wind dispersed, primary colonizers, with most source populations in close proximity but some (like ferns and mosses with minute diaspores) potentially farther. We expected non-wind dispersed species to be rare and of low abundance. Identified specimens include 10 species of mosses, four species of ferns, and nine species of flowering plant. These species were then searched for diaspore type and dispersal ability. The nearest source population for each species was used to calculate colonization distance. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test of variables including dispersal distance, percentage of buildings colonized, aspect, and building age will determine biases in colonization success. These data will expand our understanding of anthropogenic ecosystems and provide empirical estimates of colonization ability of the Blue Ridge Mountain flora.

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1 - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Biological Sciences, 926 W. Campus Drive, Derring 2119, MC0406, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States
2 - 926 W. Campus Dr, MC 0406, Derring Hall 2119, Blacksburg, VA, 24061, United States

Blue Ridge flora
anthropogenic ecosystem.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO3, Ecology 3: Vegetation, Community and Restoration Ecology
Location: Tucson A/Starr Pass
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Time: 2:30 PM
Number: ECO3005
Abstract ID:126
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Undergraduate Presentation Award

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