Student Author Information

Christy LemayFollow

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

April 2019

Department

Biology

Abstract

Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage) is an obligate wetland plant that occurs sporadically in wetlands throughout Virginia. Its life cycle is well studied with flowers budding in late January to early February through a process known as thermogenesis that heats the soil surrounding the plant. Pollination of fruits by flies and distribution of fruits/seeds through wildlife. Leaves appear in March with full growth above ground by early May. The leaves die back by July. Reproduction and distribution is sensitive to disturbance and environmental factors such as soil moisture, hydrology, and seed distribution. We collected environmental data in eight designated wetland plots across varied environmental conditions at Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ten individual plants (leaf width and height) per plot were measured in a transect and randomly. The soil texture, moisture, and vegetation indicators were recorded for each plot. Comparisons between leaf height, width and environmental conditions were tested statistically to determine if environmental factors accounted for differences in plant growth. We found wetland indicators suggested that environmental characteristics account for differences in plant growth but not distribution. We believed disturbance limits distribution of this species in Virginia.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Thomas Shahady

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Apr 10th, 10:00 AM

Effect of environmental conditions on biomass of Symplocarpus foetidus

Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage) is an obligate wetland plant that occurs sporadically in wetlands throughout Virginia. Its life cycle is well studied with flowers budding in late January to early February through a process known as thermogenesis that heats the soil surrounding the plant. Pollination of fruits by flies and distribution of fruits/seeds through wildlife. Leaves appear in March with full growth above ground by early May. The leaves die back by July. Reproduction and distribution is sensitive to disturbance and environmental factors such as soil moisture, hydrology, and seed distribution. We collected environmental data in eight designated wetland plots across varied environmental conditions at Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ten individual plants (leaf width and height) per plot were measured in a transect and randomly. The soil texture, moisture, and vegetation indicators were recorded for each plot. Comparisons between leaf height, width and environmental conditions were tested statistically to determine if environmental factors accounted for differences in plant growth. We found wetland indicators suggested that environmental characteristics account for differences in plant growth but not distribution. We believed disturbance limits distribution of this species in Virginia.