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The Maryland Native Plant Society

The Maryland Native Plant Society


Research Grant Recipients

The research grant program began in 2013.

2018

Are leaf gas exchange rates in salt marsh plants altered by experimental field warming and elevated CO2?
Lyntana Brougham, graduate student at Southern Georgia University.
Abstract: We aim to quantify the effects of experimental warming and elevated CO2 concentrations on the physiology of two communities of native, salt marsh plants in Edgewater, MD. We expect our results to illuminate how the function and growth of these important species will change in the future.

Do diverse vs. monoculture tree neighborhoods change caterpillar host use of native trees?
Karin Burghardt, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 
Abstract: Maryland's forests are increasingly fragmented and altered by human development. Here, I aim to determine if changes in the way that managers plant native host trees (single species vs diverse assemblages) could be used to maximize the support of butterfly and moth diversity within such landscapes.

Leaf Microbes and Chemistry: Assessing how changes in native tree diversity affect trophic interactions and plant productivity.
Eric Griffin, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Abstract: I propose to use an experimental manipulation of native tree diversity in Maryland to determine how leaf bacteria and chemistry mediate the relationship between tree diversity and plant productivity. Results from this ongoing project will provide a general framework for understanding how decreases in plant diversity will influence forest health.

Understanding the Link Between Herbivores and Native Plant Communities
Kathryn M. Jones and Andrew P. Landsman
Abstract: Herbivores are closely tied to the native plants they depend on for food and habitat. Exotic plants are documented throughout Maryland’s forests and have been shown to negatively affect insect herbivore communities. This project will fund a student to examine the importance of native plants to local herbivorous insect taxa.

Effects of fungal endophyte inoculation on salinity tolerance of native and invasive Phragmites australis.
Martina G. Mateu, graduate student University of MD College Park
Abstract: We propose to study the effects of fungal endophytes on salinity tolerance of native and invasive Phragmites australis. Our goal is to identify possible mutualists that could improve the tolerance of the native lineage to higher salinities, and assess the role of these endophytes in the spread of invasive Phragmites.

Ecological impacts of a potentially invasive plant: Miscanthus sinensis
Margaret Park, graduate student, Towson University
Abstract: Japanese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis) has started to escape from ornamental gardens into natural areas in the mid-Atlantic region. Part one of my research concerns the impacts this species is having on surrounding native plant populations. Part two is concerned with whether this species is increasing soil nitrogen concentrations, due to associations with novel nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Tracking changes in coastal plain plant communities
Kathy Thornton and Sylvan Kaufman, Adkins Arboretum
Abstract: Adkins Arboretum contains a wide diversity of Coastal Plain plant communities. Understanding how communities change over time by comparing surveys of plant species informs land management decisions. The survey data will be available and useful to other researchers and to the public.

2017

How Plant Identity, Diversity & Traits Structure Microbial Endophyte Communities
Eric Griffin PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Abstract: I propose to simultaneously evaluate how tree diversity and herbivore damage are related to leaf microbial endophyte communities among native trees in a Maryland forest. This project will provide new evidence and insight into the importance of native biodiversity and the roles of microbes in critical ecosystem processes.


Native and Invasive Forest Plants Influence Forest Nutritional Dynamics
Andrew P Landsman, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Delaware.
Abstract: Japanese stiltgrass and other invasive plants often outcompete and smother native herbaceous species. Despite invasive plant prevalence in Marylands forest patches, research on native herbaceous species response and impacts to invertebrates is scarce. This project aims to continue my objective of highlighting the importance of native plants to ecological health.

Understanding the Ecological Impacts of T daniellii Invasions
David Grow, MS Student, Towson University
Abstract:
Land owners in Maryland have documented Beebee tree (Tetradium daniellii) as a recently emerging invasive non-native tree. I will research how Beebee tree is impacting the native plant diversity of Maryland. My investigation will answer questions which may prioritize management of the species before its invasion intensifies.

2016 (Only applications from K-12 teachers accepted)

Retention Pond Diversity Study
Rachel Coffey, Cecil County Public Schools
Abstract: This project investigates to what extent is biodiversity affected by non-native invasive plant species in a storm water retention pond ecosystem. This project assesses biodiversity in our storm water retention pond before and after removal of non-native invasive species and planting of native species.

2015

Predicting the Impact of Non-native Plants on Native Plant Diversity and Insect Food Webs
Adam B Mitchell, PhD student, University of Delaware
Abstract:
Non-native plant species reduce biodiversity at a global scale, and predicting how non-native plants change the availability of habitat for organisms may provide insight into restoring biodiversity in native landscapes. I seek to investigate how non-native plants alter food webs based on their relationships with native plants and insect communities.

Soil Preferences in the Adiantum pedatum Complex
Christopher Hoess, Delaware Technical Community College
Abstract:
The Adiantum pedatum complex (northern maidenhair ferns) are difficult to distinguish, and have been misidentified in Maryland. By sampling these ferns from a variety of habitats and analyzing the soil they grow in, we can be certain which species grow in Maryland and better understand which habitats can support them.

Wavyleaf Basket Grass Removal and Site Restoration at Cromwell Valley Park, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell
Abstract:
Wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius), a perennial invasive grass, is now a serious threat to woodlands in Maryland. This project will determine if hand-pulling by volunteers is an effective way to control a new (sparse cover) invasion and if simultaneously controlling other invasive species (Japanese stiltgrass and multiflora rose) decreases wavyleaf reinvasion and increases the success of planted native species.

The Impact of Native Companions on the Growth of Hybridized American Chestnuts
Eric VanSlyke, Allegany County Public Schools
Abstract: We will interplant one grove of Hybridized American Chestnut trees with native trees and grasses. At the same time, we will interplant another grove of Hybridized American Chestnut trees with nonnative trees and grasses. We will measure the height of each tree before interplanting, and after a 2-year growth period to compare the impact of the native companions against the nonnative companion plants.

2014

Mountain Bugbane Preservation through Population Analysis and Outreach Materials
Lauren Hull, Graduate Student in Applied Ecology & Conservation Biology Sunshine L. Brosi, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology
Abstract: State imperiled mountain bugbane (Actaea podocarpa DC, Ranunculaceae) is threatened by ecological and anthropogenic pressures. We propose a dual approach to aid in A. podocarpa preservation through population analysis and development of outreach materials. Population analysis will establish the current status of A. podocarpa and document impacts of dying hemlocks. Outreach materials aim to reduce unintentional harvest.

Deer Herbivory and Invasive Plants Alter Web- Building Spider Ecology by Modifying Native Plant Communities
Andrew P. Landsman
Abstract: White-tailed deer and invasive plants significantly alter the species composition, structure and nativity of Maryland’s forests. I am examining the cascading impacts to community structure, diversity, and available prey for spiders resulting from these comprehensive impacts to native forest vegetation. This work will highlight the importance of Maryland’s native vegetation and forest habitats to invertebrate conservation.

The Impact of Insects on the Invasive Plant, Wavyleaf Basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius)
Tamara Heiselmeyer
Abstract: Wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius) is an invasive grass in Maryland and Virginia. Here, a percent leaf-damage assessment and a comparison of insect community structure between invaded and non-invaded sites will be conducted to determine the effect insects have on wavyleaf basketgrass and how wavyleaf basketgrass affects the insect community.

2013

Enhancing Urban Biodiversity with Native Plantings
Anna Johnson, PhD candidate University of Maryland Baltimore County
Abstract:This research will experimentally manipulate plant community composition in the fall of 2013, in 30 city-owned vacant lots in Baltimore, MD. Seeds of native plant species will be added and resulting shifts in plant biodiversity and ecosystem function will be monitored, to inform future urban restoration and landscape management plans. The MNPS grant covered reseeding in the fall of 2014, greenhouse supplies, and signage for the lots.

 

 

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PO Box 4877, Silver Spring, MD 20914

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