Abstract

Trifolium stoloniferum is a federally endangered plant species that was once abundant from parts of the eastern United States like West Virginia and Kentucky and into parts of the west, such as Kansas, but was considered extinct for many years before the species was rediscovered. Although the species is recovering overall and is pending to be downlisted to threatened, this species, and many others, can benefit from more detailed population viability analyses such as the one conducted for the project. The objective of this research was to conduct a stage-based population viability analysis of restoration populations five and seven, located at the Taylor Fork Ecological Area in Madison County, Kentucky and to relate how this type of analyses can and ought to be used in the conservation of this species. In order to conduct the stage-based analyses, we first analyzed and found that the proposed life history stage classifications used are valid. Furthermore, the stage-based analyses conducted in this project has been compared to previous research done with the restoration populations at Taylor Fork Ecological Area with count-based population viability analyses to compare the value of stage-based modeling over the simpler count-based methods. Thus, even when data are limited, and even though stage-based modeling is more difficult and resource consuming to do, it is recommended to use it when assessing endangered plant species because of the critical demographic information such as the dominant eigenvalue, the stable stage distribution, reproductive values, and the elasticity matrix that stage-based analyses provide.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2019

Mentor

Jennifer Koslow

Department/Professional Affiliation

Department of Biological Sciences

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level

Honors Scholars

Department

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