Current Research on Species at Risk: Plants


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Hart's Tongue Fern

About 90% of the U.S. population of American hart’s-tongue fern occurs in two central NY counties (Onondaga and Madison). A census of all 16 populations of American hart’s-tongue fern in NY has been done about every five years since 1916. These populations have had dramatic increases and decreases over the past nearly 100 years, most likely due to precipitation (including snow), especially extreme dry and wet periods. More recently, the habitat of this fern in NY has been studied. Populations are generally restricted to north-facing slopes at mid-slope position beneath hardwood canopy on steep slopes with significant blocks of limestone. Read more about this research…


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Cycads

Cycads are among the most vulnerable and threatened plant groups worldwide. They evolved ~280 million years ago and became widespread during the Jurassic, but their abundance dramatically declined during the mass extinction that led to the demise of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous. Project Title: Mechanisms of persistence and coexistence of a rare ancient cycad Summary: We are specifically interested in the possible mechanisms that explain the persistence and coexistence of the rare cycad Dioon sonorense within an angiosperm-dominated world. In this context, we are studying: a) the effects of the environment and demography on the persistence Read more about this research…


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Trollius

Fens are wetlands of conservation concern across temperate regions of the world. Understanding how abiotic factors such as light intensity and hydrology affect typical fen plants will help to direct management of these wetlands. The goal of this research was to investigate how light intensity, hydrology, and forest canopy gaps impact the globally rare and declining fen plant Trollius laxus (Ranunculaceae). Studies in the field and greenhouse suggested that T. laxus may be excluded from drier, more optimal areas of wetlands by plants that are better competitors for light. Project Title: Population Ecology of the Rare Wetland Plant Trollius laxus Read more about this research…


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American Chestnut

The mission of the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Center is to conduct basic and applied research that will lead to the development of a blight-resistant American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata). The American chestnut was once a keystone tree species in the eastern deciduous forests. It also produced an important nut crop for agriculture and rot resistant wood for the forest industry. In addition, this tree was important to our history and is often referred to as a heritage tree. Over one hundred years ago, the American chestnut was decimated by an exotic fungal pathogen, Cryphonectria parasitica, which was introduced Read more about this research…