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Ecological Section

Devall, Margaret S. [1], Schiff, Nathan M. [1], Hawkins, Tracy [1], Connor, Kristina [2], Echt, Craig [3], Gardiner, Emile [1], Hamel, Paul [1], Leininger, Ted [1], Wilson, Dan [1].

An ecological study of the endangered pondberry (Lindera melissifolia [Walt] Blume).

Pondberry (Lindera melissifolia ) is an endangered woody plant that occurs in seasonally flooded wetlands, and on the edges of sinks and ponds. Approximately thirty six populations are known in several southern states. Information is lacking about environmental factors required to sustain the viability of populations. The species has been affected by habitat destruction and alteration, and stem dieback is widespread. Flood control measures proposed for the southern Mississippi Delta have raised concern about the survival and persistence of the species in this region. We are collecting ecological data and measuring environmental variables to thoroughly describe colony dynamics in Mississippi, to document the current status of the species in the state, to have baseline data in order to detect future changes in populations, and to assess the potential impact of altered hydroperiods on native pondberry colonies. We are investigating the influence of abiotic factors on the competitive abilities of pondberry, to differentiate competitive abilities of male and female plants, then to determine whether flooding regime and light availability influence interspecific competitive ability. We are conducting seed experiments in order to learn the best temperatures for pondberry germination and the best drying and storage methods. We are using genetic markers to look at generational and geographic differences in the genetic diversity of pondberry populations. Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) has been identified as a short-range disperser for the plant. We are testing the tentative hypothesis that black bears may be another disperser. We are isolating the putative causal agents of pondberry dieback from infected plants and performing Koch’s postulates to demonstrate disease causality. We are examining the interactions of inundation and light availability on physiology and growth of pondberry by varying soil moisture (flooding) and light intensity in a large-scale impoundment facility. We will report on initial results of these studies.

1 - U.S. Forest Service, Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research, P.O. Box 227, Stoneville, Mississippi, 38776, US
2 - U.S. Forest Service, Seed Biology Laboratory, 310 Thompson Hall, Mississippi State Univ., Mississippi, 39762, US
3 - U.S. Forest Service, Southern Institute of Forest Genetics, Harrison Experimental Forest, 23332 Highway 67, Saucier, Mississippi, 39574

endangered species
Lindera melissifolia

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: 32-41
Location: Special Event Center (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
Time: 12:30 PM
Abstract ID:588

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