Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

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Faculty Sponsor Name

Paula Jackson

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. For thousands of years, this ecosystem was maintained by fires, and its historic land cover spread from the Carolinas all the way to eastern Texas and down through Florida. Today, only 3% of the ecosystem remains, and only 0.01% of that is untouched land. This is largely due to fire suppression and heavy harvesting of these trees. Restoration of the longleaf ecosystem has been of interest because of its economic importance and high ecological diversity. In this study, we propose to investigate the effect of the removal of two grass species on the soil bacterial microbiome of the longleaf pine in a restoration site located in the Piedmont region of Georgia. These two grasses are thought to have major effects on the overall maintenance of the ecosystem because they contribute to the spread of forest fires. This helps to clear the understory and makes it possible for longleaf pines to dominate the savannah. We have surveyed the vegetation and set up six randomized blocks. Within each block, we will have four subplots with the following treatments: 1) control; 2) dominant grass removal; 3) second most dominant grass removal; 4) soil disturbance with no grass species removal. We will present our methodology to study the effect of the removal of the two grass species on the bacterial community of the area under restoration. We expect that results from this project will provide baseline data to help inform and improve restoration practices for the longleaf pine.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

How will this be presented?

Yes, asynchronously via recorded video upload

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Setting Up a Study to Investigate the Impact of Removal of Understory Species on the Soil Bacterial Microbiome of a Longleaf Pine Restoration Site

The longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. For thousands of years, this ecosystem was maintained by fires, and its historic land cover spread from the Carolinas all the way to eastern Texas and down through Florida. Today, only 3% of the ecosystem remains, and only 0.01% of that is untouched land. This is largely due to fire suppression and heavy harvesting of these trees. Restoration of the longleaf ecosystem has been of interest because of its economic importance and high ecological diversity. In this study, we propose to investigate the effect of the removal of two grass species on the soil bacterial microbiome of the longleaf pine in a restoration site located in the Piedmont region of Georgia. These two grasses are thought to have major effects on the overall maintenance of the ecosystem because they contribute to the spread of forest fires. This helps to clear the understory and makes it possible for longleaf pines to dominate the savannah. We have surveyed the vegetation and set up six randomized blocks. Within each block, we will have four subplots with the following treatments: 1) control; 2) dominant grass removal; 3) second most dominant grass removal; 4) soil disturbance with no grass species removal. We will present our methodology to study the effect of the removal of the two grass species on the bacterial community of the area under restoration. We expect that results from this project will provide baseline data to help inform and improve restoration practices for the longleaf pine.

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