Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Biology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The effects of fire on vernal herbs are little known. David Kem attempted to assess the influences of spring and winter prescribed fires on vernal herbs by collecting abundance data on three sets of research plots located at the WKU Green River Preserve in Hart County, KY, on April 9-10, 2010. On April 10 he conducted spring burns, and on February 22, 2011, he conducted winter burns. He then collected post-fire data on the abundance of the herbs on the 12-19 of March, 2011. He found little influence of fire on overall species richness and the density of common species. In spring of 2015, these plots were re-sampled. Results indicated that there was a change between years in overall stem density and the density of several common vernal herbs, including Dentaria laciniata and Claytonia virginica. There was also a slight change in species richness between years. Fire treatment was found to have little or no effect on herb stem density and species richness. We suspect that changes between years could be caused by differing precipitation amounts for each respective year.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Albert J. Meier

Disciplines

Forest Biology | Forest Management | Forest Sciences | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Other Forestry and Forest Sciences