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
field trips in second half of term, we'll build a combined field
journal in wiki format with a page for each field-trip. You will
ALL be responsible for building that page as a joint effort; the mode
of collaboration will be up to you.
Here is the wiki page: http://wiki.bennington.edu/Plant_Ecology_and_Floristics:_Local_Naturalist%27s_Guide
We'll talk about wiki-editing in class.
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,
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
. 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.
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.
(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.
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-yFOR 16 Mar (Jakub):
1. Goodale, Christine, et al. 2002. Forest carbon sinks in the northern hemisphere
. Ecological Applications
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
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.
(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.)FOR 10 April:
Amatangelo, K. L., S. E. Johnson, D. A. Rogers, and D. M. Waller. 2014. Trait–environment relationships remain strong despite 50 years of trait compositional change in temperate forests.
And here's an interesting follow-up on this paper as an optional read...
Ash, J. D., T. J. Givnish, and D. M. Waller. 2017. Tracking lags in historical plant species’ shifts in relation to regional climate change.
Global Change Biology 23:1305–1315.
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
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
* 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
* 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.
J., and M. Vellend. 2015. Elevational shifts, biotic homogenization and
time lags in vegetation change during 40 years of climate warming.
* 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
* 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.
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
* 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.