Extinction in our backyards: Habitat loss, land use, and climate change in our native prairies – Virtual Program

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Date(s) - Wed, Jun 15, 2022
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM



Once among the most abundant plant communities in southwest Michigan, prairies, or native grasslands, have now all but disappeared. We will discuss prairie ecology before exploring how habitat loss, land use, and climate change have influenced the extinction of many prairie plant species. Human activities threaten thousands of species with extinction, but it remains difficult to predict extinction risk for many vulnerable species. Historical records can help us test for patterns in species losses and identify traits that influence vulnerability to local extinction. I use historical botanical data from Kalamazoo County, Michigan, to examine whether species characteristics or family relationships explain native species loss. Having identified at-risk species, I then address whether human-caused changes, including nitrogen fertilization, deer herbivory, and climate warming, influenced local extinctions by planting resurrected populations of extinct species back into local restored prairies.

Presenter:  Dr. Meredith Zettlemoyer