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Abstract Detail

Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC: Where we've been, where we are, and where we are going

Alley, Courtney [1], Shaw, Joey [2].

A Reevaluation Of Tennessee’s Non-Native Plant Species Using Online Herbarium Specimen Data To Develop Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Models.

Almost 17% (486) of the plant species in Tennessee are non-native to the state. These species are a substantial threat to the native flora and native ecosystems in Tennessee and as such they are a problem for conservation. Detection, and ultimately monitoring, of these species present tremendous challenges to conservation groups. As a first line of defense, organizations such as the Tennessee Invasive Plant Council (TN-IPC), work to rank invasive plant species with regard to their invasiveness. Ultimately, the ranking of invasive plants is used to draw attention to the most aggressive species, determine research priorities, create policy, and provide information to land managers. To rank invasive plant species, the TN-IPC has relied heavily on expert opinion and experience as well as the number of counties for which herbarium specimens exist at the flagship herbarium in the state (~50% of the herbarium specimens held in the state). As of December 2018, most of Tennessee’s herbarium collections were digitized and on SERNEC; and at that time we searched the SERNEC database for all records of the 486 non-native species of Tennessee that were collected within the political boundary of Tennessee. This search revealed major discrepancies between the abundance of herbarium records and TN-IPC’s ranking system, which could reveal either a strong collection bias or calls to question the legitimacy of relying heavily on expert opinion to make these determinations, or both. In an effort to test the hypothesis of TN-IPC’s ranking of Tennessee’s non-native plant species, we used locality data from nearly all of the herbarium specimens that were collected within the state, along with iNaturalist data for these species, to create Maximum Entropy models to simulate the potential habitat of 27 different invasive plant species in Tennessee that are currently listed as threats by the TN-IPC. We anticipate that these models will help in a reevaluation of the current ranking system as they are ultimately modeling potential habitat and not relying on expert opinion and the collection abundance from one Tennessee herbarium.

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1 - University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science, 730 Germantown Circle, Apartment 721, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37412, United States
2 - University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Ave, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37403, United States

maximum entropy
invasive plants
introduced species
Herbarium Specimens.

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: CO05, Celebrating 15 years of SERNEC:Where we've been, where we are and where we are going
Location: Tucson H/Starr Pass
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: CO05005
Abstract ID:901
Candidate for Awards:None

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