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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Hill, Jamie [1], Stephan, Kirsten [2], Underwood, Malissa [3], Horner, Emily [4].

Spring and Summer Climate Effects on the Vigor of Endangered Mead's Milkweed.

 Mead’s Milkweed (Asclepias meadii) once flourished throughout the tall grass prairies in the Midwest United States.  It is now an endangered species in Missouri. In this study we explored possible linkages between Mead’s milkweed vigor and annual spring and summer climate. We hypothesized that milkweed vigor correlates with spring precipitation and temperature of the growing season and with precipitation and temperature of the previous spring and summer. The Missouri Department of Conservation has been collecting data on Mead’s plant vigor (stem height, number of leaf pairs, maximum leaf width) and other characteristics since the 1980s in tall grass prairies in southwest and eastern MO and the Ozark region of southeast Missouri. In this study we present a data from four sites from 2007-2014. Climate data, specifically total precipitation and average maximum temperature, was obtained from University of Missouri Extension weather stations nearest to the study sites. Only one statistically significant correlation was found between vigor and climate; stem height was positively correlated to the temperature of the preceding year (P<0.05).  While no relationship with precipitation in either the current or preceding year was found, hot years are typically dryer. If taller stems appear after hotter years this would corroborate anecdotal evidence for improved growth due to drought stress avoidance in the drought year and higher availability of resources in the following year due to reduced interspecific competition. Thus, it appears that in the short term, more frequent droughts due to climate change might benefit Mead’s milkweed.

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1 - Lincoln University of Missouri, Department of Life and Physical Sciences, 353 Ascension Pt, Holts Summit, MO, 65043, United States
2 - Lincoln University of Missouri, Life and Physical Sciences, 816 Chestnut St. , Jefferson City, MO, 65101, USA
3 - Missouri Department of Conservation, Resource Science, 2901 W. Truman Blvd, Jefferson City, MO, 65102, USA
4 - 7380 SW Lead Rd. , Polo, MO, 64671, USA

Ascepias meadii
Climate change

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PCB006
Abstract ID:183
Candidate for Awards:None

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