In Pennsylvania Baptisia australis var. australis is found along only four waterways: the Allegheny River, Youghiogheny River, Clarion River, and Red Bank Creek. Because of its limited distribution and small number of extant populations, the species is considered state-threatened in Pennsylvania. In addition, the riparian prairie habitat that Pennsylvania Baptisia australis var. australis is restricted to is also in decline and considered vulnerable. Because of these conservation concerns, insights into the natural history of the taxon in the state is valuable and will inform conservation efforts. Field surveys and fruit collections along the Allegheny River and herbarium collections were used to investigate and document granivory in Pennsylvania Baptisia australis var. australis, a phenomenon recorded in other parts of the species' range, but not previously reported on in Pennsylvania. Using a model of best fit, the number of seeds found in fruit was found to be significantly impacted by the presence of granivores. We also report that visual surveys of fruits in the field are found to be accurate assessments of the presence and potential impact of granivores. In turn, our results will inform the conservation and management of Baptisia australis var. australis populations in Pennsylvania and highlight the importance of field surveys in protecting threatened taxa.
Natural Areas Journal
Cheyenne L. Moore, Angela J. McDonnell, Scott Schuette, and Christopher T. Martine "Lepidopteran Granivory Reduces Seed Counts in a Rare Species of Riparian Scour Prairies," Natural Areas Journal 41(1), 47-54, (29 January 2021). https://doi.org/10.3375/043.041.0107
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