Vernal Pools & Plants


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Vernal Pools & Plants by Brian Gara. 2011.

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Vernal Pools & Plants

  1. 1. Brian GaraOhio EPA Wetland Ecology Group March 19, 2011
  2. 2. Talk OverviewPlants as indicators of ecological condition(“environmental health”).(“environmental health”).Species indicative of high quality vernal pools: Woody Species (Trees and Shrubs) Non-woody species Non-woody Sedges Grasses & Other Herbaceous Monocots and Dicots Ferns Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts)Brief summary of GIS project to identify potential vernalpool restoration sites in Ohio.
  3. 3. Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum )
  4. 4. Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) (Lithobates sylvaticus)
  5. 5. What About Plants???
  6. 6. Brome-like Sedge(Carex bromoides)
  7. 7. Crested Fern (Dryopteris cristata) (Dryopteris cristata)
  8. 8. Sharpwing Monkeyflower (Mimulus alatus) alatus)
  9. 9. The answer is “YES”!!! Many plant species show a strong affinity to veryspecific habitats. Slight disturbances in the environment lead to aloss of more sensitive species, and an increase in themore “weedy” tolerant ones. “weedy” Knowing the plants will help you determine ifthere is a vernal pool present (even when dry!) andalso give solid evidence of its overall ecologicalcondition.
  10. 10. Floristic Quality Assessment Index (FQAI)Numeric score from 0 to 10 assigned toeach Ohio vascular plant species.Called “Coefficient of Conservatism” (C ofC). Refers to the affinity of each species toa particular habitat type.“Tolerant” species that occur in a widevariety of habitats have a low score.“Sensitive” species have a higher number.
  11. 11. Common Reed (Phragmites australis)C of C = 0Plants with a wide range of ecological tolerances, includingall non-native taxa
  12. 12. Rice Cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides)C of C = 1 to 2Widespread taxa that are generally not typical of a particularcommunity.
  13. 13. C of C = 3 to 5 Plants having an intermediate range of ecological tolerances. May be found in a stable phase of some native community, but also can persist under some disturbance. Swamp Milkweed(Asclepias incarnata)
  14. 14. Skunk Cabbage(Symphoricarpus foetidus) C of C = 6 to 8 Plants that typify stable or near “climax” conditions.
  15. 15. Pitcher Plant(Sarracenia purpurea) C of C = 9 to 10 Reserved for those plant species that have an extremely narrow range of ecological tolerances. Typically found in very specialized habitat types (bogs, fens, limestone outcrops, etc.)
  16. 16. Procedure for scoring and categorizing wetlands based on the plantplantcommunity structure.Calculates a score between 0 and 100 based on a series of “metrics” “ metrics”derived from field data (e.g., plant identification, cover class, and class,stem diameter size classes) collected within a standard 20 meter x meter50 meter vegetation plot.Using the VIBI you can compare the relative ecological condit ion conditionof wetlands within a particular class.Strong statistical correlation between ecological condition ofofwetlands when results compared from the amphibian communityassessment techniques and the VIBI.Because the plant community is such an excellent indicator ofecosystem health, the VIBI is used by Ohio EPA to assess ecological ecologicalcondition in all wetland types and across all ecoregions in the state.
  17. 17. Vernal Pool PlantsMost vernal pools are classified as isolated depressions(hydrogeomorphic class) Hydrology is predominantly driven by precipitation Some vernal pools also have an input of groundwater, which allows them to stay wet longer into the summer.The predominant plant community types associatedwith vernal pools are forested and scrub-shrub.The plant community plays a critical role in the overallhydrologic regime of these vernal pools!
  18. 18. Characteristic woody species of vernal poolsTrees Silver Maple ( Acer saccharinum), Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Green (Acer saccharinum), (Acer rubrum), Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), (Quercus palustris) common in all types and in disturbed and undisturbed swamps Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor), Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus (Quercus bicolor), (Fraxinus profunda), Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra), and Shellbark Hickory (Carya profunda), (Fraxinus nigra), (Carya laciniosa) laciniosa) often better quality and/or more matureShrubs Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) (Cephalanthus occidentalis) probably the most characteristic shrub species of vernal pools Other species include: Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Spicebush (Ilex verticillata), (Lindera benzoin), Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum), Swamp Rose benzoin), (Cornus amomum), (Rosa palustris). palustris).
  19. 19. Ohio Vernal Pool Trees - Maples Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) C of C = 3 Red Maple (Acer rubrum) C of C = 2
  20. 20. Pin Oak(Quercus palustris) C of C = 5
  21. 21. Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) C of C = 7
  22. 22. Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) C of C = 3
  23. 23. Photo by Dr. Bob KlipsBlack Ash (Fraxinus nigra) C of C = 7
  24. 24. Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus profunda) C of C = 7
  25. 25. Shellbark Hickory (Carya laciniosa) laciniosa) C of C = 7
  26. 26. Buttonbush(Cephalanthus occidentalis) C of C = 6
  27. 27. Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) C of C = 5
  28. 28. Winterberry(Ilex verticillata) C of C = 6
  29. 29. Spicebush(Lindera benzoin) C of C = 5
  30. 30. Sedges
  31. 31. Carexcharacteristics
  32. 32. Hop Sedge (Carex lupulina) (Carex lupulina) C of C = 3
  33. 33. Gray’s Sedge (Carex grayii)Gray’ (Carex grayii) C of C = 5
  34. 34. Fringed Sedge (Carex crinita) (Carex crinita) C of C = 3
  35. 35. Graceful Sedge (Carex gracillima) (Carex gracillima) C of C = 4
  36. 36. Photo by Tom Arbour Brome-like Sedge(Carex bromoides) C of C = 7
  37. 37. Drooping Sedge(Carex prasina) C of C = 8
  38. 38. Grasses & other WetlandHerbaceous Plants
  39. 39. Fowl Manna Grass (Glyceria striata) striata) C of C = 2Photo by Patricia Bresnahan
  40. 40. Floating Manna Grass Yellow Water-Buttercup Water-(Glyceria septentrionalis ) & (Ranunculus flabellaris) flabellaris) C of C = 6 C of C = 8
  41. 41. Skunk Cabbage(Symplocarpus foetidus ) C of C = 7
  42. 42. Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus ) C of C = 7Photo by Cheryl Harner
  43. 43. Green Dragon(Arisaema dracontium) C of C = 5
  44. 44. Cardinal Flower(Lobelia cardinalis) cardinalis) C of C = 5
  45. 45. Sharpwing Monkeyflower (Mimulus alatus) alatus) C of C = 6
  46. 46. Water Parsnip(Sium suave) C of C = 6
  47. 47. Ferns
  48. 48. Circular Growth Pattern
  49. 49. “Fiddleheads”
  50. 50. Sori Goldie’s Fern (Dryopteris goldiana) C of C = 7 Goldie’ (Dryopteris goldiana)
  51. 51. Spinulose Wood Fern (Dryopteris carthusiana) C of C = 5
  52. 52. Crested Fern(Dryopteris cristata) C of C = 8
  53. 53. Royal Fern(Osmunda regalis) C of C = 7
  54. 54. Photo by Dr. Bob KlipsCinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) (Osmunda cinnamomea) C of C = 6
  55. 55. Bryophytes
  56. 56. Photo by Mike GrazianoFour-toed Salamander(Hemidactylium scutatum ) and eggs
  57. 57. Tree Moss(Climacium americanum)
  58. 58. Purple-fringed Riccia(Ricciocarpus natans)
  59. 59. Development of Level I analysis tool to estimatewetland condition. Identification of “high quality” vernal pools. “high quality” Field testing using Level II (ORAM) and LevelIII (VIBI and AmphIBI) procedures to validate AmphIBI)GIS model. Creation of a statewide potential vernal poolrestoration GIS layer.
  60. 60. Predicted “High Quality” Vernal Pool Locations Quality”
  61. 61. 2009 Wetland Monitoring Locations
  62. 62. • VIBI: 70% (7/10) scored as Category 3• AmphIBI: 100% (11/11) scored as Category 3 Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum ) egg masses
  63. 63. Morris Woods State Nature Preserve (Licking County)
  64. 64. Potential Vernal Pool Restoration Sites
  65. 65. Thank You!