PLANT ECOLOGY AND FLORISTICS  (BIO4112)
Spring 2017
Syllabus:

This course is for anybody who wants to be seriously engaged in field botany and plant ecology  It has three main threads: 1) gaining some familiarity with research questions and approaches in plant ecology, 2)  doing some field-based group projects that will increase familiarity with local ecological patterns, and 3) learning more of the local flora.  To be really comfortable with these agendas you'll need to have some experience with reading the scientific primary literature, be able to follow quantitative methods of data analysis and adopt some of them, be comfortable in the field, and have at least an introductory acquaintance with the ecology and flora of the northeast.  You can certainly make up considerable ground on any of these with focused work, but be aware that you may need to do that if any of these are problematic!

We will begin the term in a 'journal-club' format with reading and intensive discussion of a series of current and recent research papers.  Each of you will take primary responsibility for facilitating at least one such discussion.  We'll also introduce some of the tools used in plant ecology research.  Once the weather permits, we will be spending most Thursday afternoons in the field (using the full 2-6 period and starting early when possible), visiting regional natural areas, doing vegetation sampling, developing floral lists, and contributing to a data-base of information about natural features.

During the first weeks of term, we will meet 2:10-4:00 on both Monday and Thursday for paper discussions and such.  Later in the term, Monday meetings may be more geared toward work on individual and group projects.

Expectations and evaluation:

Evaluation will be very heavily based on participation in and contribution to all aspects of the class, including design, development, and implementation of projects.  There will be writing assignments; these will be developed as the work proceeds and, in part, will depend on the nature of projects developed.

Schedule and assignments:

FOR FIRST MEETING: a couple of papers to give historical perspective.  Read these and bring questions, thoughts, ideas, complaints...
1.  Thompson, J. R., D. N. Carpenter, C. V. Cogbill, and D. R. Foster. 2013. Four Centuries of Change in Northeastern United States Forests. PLOS ONE 8:e72540.
2.  D’Amato, A. W., D. A. Orwig, D. R. Foster, A. Barker Plotkin, P. K. Schoonmaker, and M. R. Wagner. 2017. Long-term structural and biomass dynamics of virgin Tsuga canadensis–Pinus strobus forests after hurricane disturbance. Ecology:n/a–n/a.

FOR 27 Feb (Lauren)
1. Flinn, K. M., M. Vellend, and P. l. Marks. 2005. Environmental causes and consequences of forest clearance and agricultural abandonment in central New York, USA. Journal of Biogeography 32:439–452.
2. Vellend, M., K. Verheyen, K. M. Flinn, H. Jacquemyn, A. Kolb, H. Van Calster, G. Peterken, B. J. Graae, J. Bellemare, O. Honnay, J. Brunet, M. Wulf, F. Gerhardt, and M. Hermy. 2007. Homogenization of forest plant communities and weakening of species-environment relationships via agricultural land use. Journal of Ecology 95:565–573.

FOR 2 Mar (Samm)
1. Clifford, M. J., and R. K. Booth. 2015. Late-Holocene drought and fire drove a widespread change in forest community composition in eastern North America. The Holocene 25:1102–1110.
2. Foster, D. R., W. W. Oswald, E. K. Faison, E. D. Doughty, and B. C. S. Hansen. 2006. A Climatic Driver for Abrupt Mid-Holocene Vegetation Dynamics and the Hemlock Decline in New England. Ecology 87:2959–2966.
3. (extra bonus) Oswald, W. W., E. D. Doughty, D. R. Foster, B. N. Shuman, and D. L. Wagner. 2016. Evaluating the role of insects in the middle-Holocene Tsuga decline. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 144:35–39.

FOR 6 Mar (Nora):
1. Raymer, P. C. L., D. A. Orwig, and A. C. Finzi. 2013. Hemlock loss due to the hemlock woolly adelgid does not affect ecosystem C storage but alters its distribution. Ecosphere 4:1–16.
2. Orwig, D. A., J. R. Thompson, N. A. Povak, M. Manner, D. Niebyl, and D. R. Foster. 2012. A foundation tree at the precipice: Tsuga canadensis health after the arrival of Adelges tsugae in central New England. Ecosphere 3:1–16.
3. (A NICE CONTEXT/BACKGROUND REVIEW) Ellison, A. M., M. S. Bank, B. D. Clinton, E. A. Colburn, K. Elliott, C. R. Ford, D. R. Foster, B. D. Kloeppel, J. D. Knoepp, G. M. Lovett, J. Mohan, D. A. Orwig, N. L. Rodenhouse, W. V. Sobczak, K. A. Stinson, J. K. Stone, C. M. Swan, J. Thompson, B. Von Holle, and J. R. Webster. 2005. Loss of foundation species: consequences for the structure and dynamics of forested ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3:479–486.

FOR 9 Mar (An):
1. Broennimann, Olivier, et al. 2007. Evidence of climatic niche shift during biological invasion. Ecology letters 10.8: 701-709.
2. Petitpierre, Blaise, et al. 2012. Climatic niche shifts are rare among terrestrial plant invaders. Science 335.6074: 1344-1348
    NOTE that there is online supplementary material on this second paper AND a critical/technical comment AND a response by the authors.  Read these; ESPECIALLY the exchange between Webber and the authors.  It's all here.

FOR 13 Mar (Madeline):
1. Stinson, Kristina, et al. 2006. Invasive Plant Suppresses the Growth of Native Tree Seedlings by Disrupting Belowground Mutualisms. PLOS  http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0040140
2. Jo, Insu, et al. 2014. Linking above- and belowground resource use strategies for native and invasive species of temperate deciduous forests Biol. Invasions. DOI 10.1007/s10530-014-0814-y

FOR 16 Mar (Jakub):
1. Goodale, Christine, et al. 2002. Forest carbon sinks in the northern hemisphere. Ecological Applications 13:891-899
2. Savage, Kathleen et al. 2013. Long-term changes in forest carbon under temperature and nitrogen amendments in a temperate northern hardwood forest. Global Change Biology 19:2389-2400.

FOR 27 Mar: A couple of citation-classic studies of forest understory communities and land-use history
1, Matlack, G. R. 1994. Plant species migration in a mixed-history forest landscape in eastern North America. Ecology 75:1491–1502.
(1a. if you like this one, here's a follow-up; read what you want of it. Bellemare, J., G. Motzkin, and D. R. Foster. 2002. Legacies of the agricultural past in the forested present: an assessment of historical land-use effects on rich mesic forests. Journal of Biogeography 29:1401–1420.)
2. Dambrine, E., J. L. Dupouey, L. La\üt, L. Humbert, M. Thinon, T. Beaufils, and H. Richard. 2007. Present forest biodiversity patterns in France related to former Roman agriculture. Ecology 88:1430–1439.
(2b. here's a related prior study for follow-up if you want...: Dupouey, J. L., E. Dambrine, J. D. Laffite, and C. Moares. 2002. Irreversible impact of past land use on forest soils and biodiversity. Ecology 83:2978–2984.)




EACH OF YOU WILL BE CHOOSING PAPERS FOR DISCUSSION OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS.  I'd like to focus, initially, on getting a general sense of understanding and current research on vegetation structuring and dynamics for northeastern forests.  Here are some papers from last 10 years or so that would be appropriate, but you might find others (these are all mesic forest oriented; if you're interested in something else -- dry forests, bogs, alpine... -- let's talk about possibilities).  BUT START LOOKING AT POSSIBILITIES -- if possible, come to first class with an idea or two for possible readings...

* Flinn, K. M., and M. Vellend. 2005. Recovery of forest plant communities in post-agricultural landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3:243–250.
* DeGasperis, B. G., and G. Motzkin. 2007. Windows of opportunity: historical and ecological controls on Berberis thunbergii invasions. Ecology 88:3115–3125.
* Tang, G., and B. Beckage. 2010. Projecting the Distribution of Forests in New England in Response to Climate Change. Diversity and Distributions 16:144–158.
* Busby, P. E., C. D. Canham, G. Motzkin, and D. R. Foster. 2009. Forest response to chronic hurricane disturbance in coastal New England. Journal of Vegetation  Science 20:487–497.
* URIARTE, M., and M. PAPAIK. 2007. Hurricane impacts on dynamics, structure and carbon sequestration potential of forest ecosystems in Southern New England, USA. Tellus A 59:519–528.
* Canham, C. D., M. J. Papaik, M. Uriarte, W. H. McWilliams, J. C. Jenkins, and M. J. Twery. 2006. Neighborhood Analyses Of Canopy Tree Competition Along Environmental Gradients In New England Forests. Ecological Applications 16:540–554.
* Vellend, M., K. Verheyen, H. Jacquemyn, A. Kolb, H. Van Calster, G. Peterken, and M. Hermy. 2006. Extinction debt of forest plants persists for more than a century following habitat fragmentation. Ecology 87:542–548.
* Vellend, M. 2004. Parallel Effects of Land-Use History on Species Diversity and Genetic Diversity of Forest Herbs. Ecology 85:3043–3055.
* Savage, J., and M. Vellend. 2015. Elevational shifts, biotic homogenization and time lags in vegetation change during 40 years of climate warming. Ecography 38:546–555.
* Beauséjour, R., I. T. Handa, M. J. Lechowicz, B. Gilbert, and M. Vellend. 2015. Historical anthropogenic disturbances influence patterns of non-native earthworm and plant invasions in a temperate primary forest. Biological Invasions 17:1267–1281.
* Sabatini, F. M., J. I. Burton, R. M. Scheller, K. L. Amatangelo, and D. J. Mladenoff. 2014. Functional diversity of ground-layer plant communities in old-growth and managed northern hardwood forests. Applied Vegetation Science 17:398–407.
* Cleavitt, N. L., J. J. Battles, T. J. Fahey, and J. D. Blum. 2014. Determinants of survival over 7 years for a natural cohort of sugar maple seedlings in a northern hardwood forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44:1112–1121.
* Beier, C. M., A. M. Woods, K. P. Hotopp, J. P. Gibbs, M. J. Mitchell, M. Dovčiak, D. J. Leopold, G. B. Lawrence, and B. D. Page. 2012. Changes in faunal and vegetation communities along a soil calcium gradient in northern hardwood forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42:1141–1152.
* Hopfensperger, K. N., G. M. Leighton, and T. J. Fahey. 2011. Influence of Invasive Earthworms on Above and Belowground Vegetation in a Northern Hardwood Forest. The American Midland Naturalist 166:53–62.