Presenter Information

Janelle Paulson

Location

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Start Date

18-3-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

18-3-2016 6:00 PM

Abstract

Due to the increasing threat of global climate change, extreme weather events, such as drought, are predicted to rise in frequency and magnitude. When faced with drought, plants rely on stored reserves for longer periods of time, which may increase plant susceptibility to mortality. Another aspect of continuous climate change is reduced snow cover, which may impose an additional stress on plants, because snow can provide insulation against cold air, preventing frost stress. A phenomenon called ecological stress memory may influence how stress events interact, and affect a plant’s response to future stress. The goal of my research is to test the effect of snow removal and drought on grassland communities in Lac du Bois Provincial Park, and determine if frost exposure will positively or negatively impact drought tolerance. Six plots were established: 3 control and 3 rain-out shelters. Snow was removed from half of the plots from January-February of 2015. The six 3x3m rain-out shelters were constructed in August 2015, and were designed to reduce rainfall by 50%. Starting in November 2014, soil moisture and temperature were recorded every 15 minutes by field data loggers. Plant biomass and plant species composition were measured in November 2015. The results of this experiment will test the ecological stress memory theory, and improve our understanding of how plants respond to multiple stress events.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Lauchlan Fraser

Included in

Biology Commons

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Mar 18th, 12:00 PM Mar 18th, 6:00 PM

The effect of reduced snow cover and summer drought on temperate grasslands in the Southern Interior of British Columbia

House of Learning Library, 3rd floor

Due to the increasing threat of global climate change, extreme weather events, such as drought, are predicted to rise in frequency and magnitude. When faced with drought, plants rely on stored reserves for longer periods of time, which may increase plant susceptibility to mortality. Another aspect of continuous climate change is reduced snow cover, which may impose an additional stress on plants, because snow can provide insulation against cold air, preventing frost stress. A phenomenon called ecological stress memory may influence how stress events interact, and affect a plant’s response to future stress. The goal of my research is to test the effect of snow removal and drought on grassland communities in Lac du Bois Provincial Park, and determine if frost exposure will positively or negatively impact drought tolerance. Six plots were established: 3 control and 3 rain-out shelters. Snow was removed from half of the plots from January-February of 2015. The six 3x3m rain-out shelters were constructed in August 2015, and were designed to reduce rainfall by 50%. Starting in November 2014, soil moisture and temperature were recorded every 15 minutes by field data loggers. Plant biomass and plant species composition were measured in November 2015. The results of this experiment will test the ecological stress memory theory, and improve our understanding of how plants respond to multiple stress events.

 

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