Colorado mountains

Assessing Phenological Overlap of Native and Introduced Plant Species in Interior Alaska

Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Stephen Decina
Dr. Christa P.H. Mulder
Katie Villano Spellman

Boreal ecosystems in Alaska have historically been buffered from the impacts of non-native plant invasions due to a cold climate, permafrost soils and a limited human disturbance footprint. In the past six decades, however, the number of non-native plant species in Alaska has nearly doubled and populations have begun moving off the human footprint into natural areas (Carlson and Shepherd 2007). Depending on the relative phenology of introduced and native plant species, the movement of introduced plants into new locations could disrupt native plant-pollinator networks or present novel late-season foraging resources for herbivores. This study in-progress investigates the flowering and senescence phenology of insect-pollinated native and introduced understory plants at the Bonanza Creek LTER site. We documented the phenophases of native and introduced plant species at 18 sites in diverse plant community assemblages throughout the 2012 growing season. We report phenological overlap in the flowering and senescence of the introduced and native plants and identify native plant species which may be particularly vulnerable to pollinator network disruption.

We will also be reporting on the development of methods to apply this research to outreach in K-12 schools. We will train teachers in the methods of plant identification and phenology stage recognition and engage students in investigating local phenology.

Student Poster: 

Background Photo by: Nicole Hansen - Jornada (JRN) LTER