Hang in there!

Sara Souther, with Clare Aslan and Martha Sample, establishing a germination trial to examine factors influencing germination of Kearney’s bluestar seeds. Photo courtesy of Clare Aslan.

Why don’t we see many Kearney’s Bluestar seedlings? With funding from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Sara Souther, Clare Aslan, and Martha Sample scaled the steep hillsides of the Baboquivari Mountains to look at seedling recruitment in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species, Kearney’s Bluestar (Amsonia kearneyana). Factors such as seed predation or inhospitable microsite characteristics may prevent the establishment of the next generation of plants within a population. In this experiment, researchers tested whether soil moisture, predation by small and mid-sized mammals, and genetically-based differences in site preferences influenced the ability of Kearney’s Bluestar seeds to germinate, survive and grow. This research will provide parameters for future conservation efforts to aid recovery of this endangered species!

Welcome to the Lab of Conservation Ecology!

The Lab of Conservation Ecology is a multi-faculty lab, united around the theme of conservation of Southwestern landscapes in an era of global change. To enhance diversity and resilience of these unique dryland ecosystems, we work across a variety of disciplines and ecological scales, ranging from population-level demographic and genetic analyses of rare plants to landscape-level investigations of fire resilience and adaptation. Below, we showcase several representative projects that illustrate our multidisciplinary approach to conservation science.