Presentation Title

The Effects of Competition for Water and Light on the Establishment and Persistence of Prairie Wildflower Seedlings

Advisor Information

Danae Dinkel

Location

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

4-3-2016 2:30 PM

End Date

4-3-2016 4:00 PM

Abstract

The tallgrass prairie ecosystem can be broken into two main plant categories; grasses and wildflowers. Wildflower species are far more diverse than grass species, thus the overall diversity of the prairie relies heavily on wildflower establishment. As land managers seek to restore lost plant diversity, one of the main challenges is successful establishment of newly planted wildflower seeds. This study attempted to show the main mechanism behind the establishment and persistence of wildflower seedlings throughout a grow season. Thirty plots were set up at UNO’s Glacier Creek Preserve. The amount of light and water each plot received was manipulated through various techniques. Thirteen species of native wildflowers were planted in early April. The plots were to be watered every fourth day that there was no significant rainfall. However, this summer brought unusually high amounts of precipitation. There were only five times throughout the six month study where rainfall totals were low enough to justify watering. Thus we were only able to look at the effects of the differing light treatments. We found no significant differences in the plots with different light levels. This could be because many wildflowers species have become highly adapted to sprouting up through thick layers of dead and live vegetation, so decreased amounts of light are not a major hindrance in seedling establishment in the first year.

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COinS
 
Mar 4th, 2:30 PM Mar 4th, 4:00 PM

The Effects of Competition for Water and Light on the Establishment and Persistence of Prairie Wildflower Seedlings

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

The tallgrass prairie ecosystem can be broken into two main plant categories; grasses and wildflowers. Wildflower species are far more diverse than grass species, thus the overall diversity of the prairie relies heavily on wildflower establishment. As land managers seek to restore lost plant diversity, one of the main challenges is successful establishment of newly planted wildflower seeds. This study attempted to show the main mechanism behind the establishment and persistence of wildflower seedlings throughout a grow season. Thirty plots were set up at UNO’s Glacier Creek Preserve. The amount of light and water each plot received was manipulated through various techniques. Thirteen species of native wildflowers were planted in early April. The plots were to be watered every fourth day that there was no significant rainfall. However, this summer brought unusually high amounts of precipitation. There were only five times throughout the six month study where rainfall totals were low enough to justify watering. Thus we were only able to look at the effects of the differing light treatments. We found no significant differences in the plots with different light levels. This could be because many wildflowers species have become highly adapted to sprouting up through thick layers of dead and live vegetation, so decreased amounts of light are not a major hindrance in seedling establishment in the first year.