Assessing Soil Seed Banks in North Central Missouri Remnant Prairies and a Chronosequence of Restored Prairies

Principle Investigators: Katherine Wynne and Dr. Lauren Sullivan (MU),

Institution and/or Affiliation: University of Missouri

Project Description:

Our project aims to 1) assess and compare soil seed banks found in Missouri tallgrass prairie restorations of various ages to mature remnant prairie and 2) connect soil seed bank dynamics to seed rain dynamics observed in 2019. Seed rain and soil seed banks are significant sources of plant recruitment and are related to species establishment and long-term persistence. Despite their importance, paired tallgrass prairie seed rain and seed bank studies are rare (Rabinowitz & Rapp 1980, Schott & Hamburg 1997, Kettenring & Galatowitsch 2011). Studying these processes along a chronosequence of restorations will allow us to understand how new species recruit in prairies and their fate post-reconstruction. Our study will also help inform our previous work by quantifying the post-dispersal survival rate of species present in the prior year’s seed rain. Overall, this study will provide further information about whether we are successfully replicating ecological processes related to the assembly and long-term persistence of diverse plant communities in our restorations.