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US-IALE 2018 has ended

Tuesday, April 10 • 10:45am - 11:00am
SYMPOSIA-10: Impacts of seed pool diversity on established plant community diversity in a long-term vacant lot management experiment

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AUTHORS: Authors: Anna L. Johnson1*, Dorothy Borowy2 & Christopher M. Swan21Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh2Geography and Environmental Systems Department, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

ABSTRACT: Ongoing urbanization is known to be a major driver of both biodiversity loss and compositional change. The quality of many vital urban ecosystem services, however, is dependent on the ability of city habitats to maintain functionally diverse urban plant communities. We present results from a three-year field experiment which manipulated both functional and phylogenetic diversity of seed additions into vacant lots in Baltimore, MD to determine how increasing the diversity of the urban species pool impacted community assembly and establishment in vacant lots, a common urban habitat type that is often discussed as a potential location for urban ecosystem restoration projects. Twenty-five vacant lots were cleared in the spring of 2014, and 21 received seed additions while 4 were left to recolonize spontaneously from the soil seed bank or ambient regional species pool. All treated lots were mowed biannually, but no additional management (e.g. weeding) was performed. We found that simply clearing lots and allowing them to recolonize on their own increased species diversity compared to unmanipulated sites. However, over time, vacant lots receiving more phylogenetically diverse seed mix additions led to more diverse established plant communities. Our findings suggest, overall, that overcoming dispersal filters via seed additions can enhance the diversity of urban plant communities, but that there are particular plant characteristics which lead to more successful establishment in vacant lots. Additionally, we discuss preliminary findings linking manipulated diversity of the plant communities to urban ecosystem services, including availability of floral resources for pollinators. Establishing policy-relevant biodiversity experiments in cities which can directly inform urban environmental management with non-academic partners. Thus, we also share lessons learned from the establishment of this large urban community engagement project and discuss how these findings are informing follow-up work.Keywords: Baltimore, MD, USA; biodiversity; dispersal; experiment; plant community; plant traits; vacant lots

Tuesday April 10, 2018 10:45am - 11:00am
Hancock Parlor

Attendees (3)