Title

How social media led to the discovery of a “new” species on the Shikellamy Bluffs

Item Type

Presentation

Location

Elaine Langone Center, Room 241

Session

Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecology 1

Start Date

11-11-2017 1:45 PM

End Date

11-11-2017 2:30 PM

Keywords

West Branch Susquehanna River, botany, endangered species, biodiversity, science communications

Description

In the summer of 2017, a group of scientists and students conducted a survey of the cliffside flora above the bank of the West Branch Susquehanna River at Shikellamy State Park. The primary goal of the survey was to locate individuals of the golden corydalis (Corydalis aurea), a state-endangered species only known in Pennsylvania from this single site. During the course of the survey, numerous specimens identified as Heuchera americana (American alumroot) were also collected. A photo of one specimen was posted to Twitter, kicking off an electronic discussion that, in turn, led to a series of new collecting trips and establishment of the first state records for the globallyimperiled Heuchera alba (white alumroot). Before the Tweet, this species was previously recorded from just a few localities in Virginia and West Virginia. Through a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and Bucknell University, we are now evaluating the biology and status of the species in the state and what its discovery here means for the conservation of the species across its now-expanded known range. Likewise, the presence of rare plants on some local cliffs suggests the need for additional surveys of bluff habitats throughout the Susquehanna Valley.

Language

eng

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Nov 11th, 1:45 PM Nov 11th, 2:30 PM

How social media led to the discovery of a “new” species on the Shikellamy Bluffs

Elaine Langone Center, Room 241

In the summer of 2017, a group of scientists and students conducted a survey of the cliffside flora above the bank of the West Branch Susquehanna River at Shikellamy State Park. The primary goal of the survey was to locate individuals of the golden corydalis (Corydalis aurea), a state-endangered species only known in Pennsylvania from this single site. During the course of the survey, numerous specimens identified as Heuchera americana (American alumroot) were also collected. A photo of one specimen was posted to Twitter, kicking off an electronic discussion that, in turn, led to a series of new collecting trips and establishment of the first state records for the globallyimperiled Heuchera alba (white alumroot). Before the Tweet, this species was previously recorded from just a few localities in Virginia and West Virginia. Through a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program and Bucknell University, we are now evaluating the biology and status of the species in the state and what its discovery here means for the conservation of the species across its now-expanded known range. Likewise, the presence of rare plants on some local cliffs suggests the need for additional surveys of bluff habitats throughout the Susquehanna Valley.