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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. The Occurrence of Pitcher’s Thistle on Piping Plover Protected Beaches

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AUTHORS: Michael Oertel Lake Superior State University ; Dr. Jason Garvon Lake Superior State University


ABSTRACT: Pitcher’s Thistle, a federally threatened dune plant found along the shores of the Great Lakes, often coincides with federally endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover nesting sites allowing for by-proxy conservation. Germination and establishment requires low disturbance of fragile dune habitats and avoidance of invasive plant establishment. Protection of piping plover nest sites, and resulting low disturbance should lead to higher establishment of the native plant.  Therefore, presence of Pitcher’s Thistle may be considered to represent a more native plant community than areas without it. We examined the density of Pitcher’s Thistle occurrence and density, and overall plant community, all active Piping Plover nesting sites in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Vermilion, Grand Marais, Gulliver, Port Inland) as well as two non-active but historical nesting sites (Point Aux Chene, and Brevort River Mouth).  The interaction of fledging success and Pitcher’s Thistle density was also compared among active sites. The highest fledge rate of plovers was associated with the highest density of Pitcher’s Thistle with a P-Value of .07; and the plant communities on the beaches ranged from cobble and sand to dense grasses with forbs and shrubs.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (1)