Floristic Community Assessment on the Domain
This summer we are hoping to contribute to the Flora of the Domain project by supplementing it with habitat level studies which will be ecologically relevant. We hope to produce a comprehensive list of all of the unique plant communities on the domain and the species within each which will categorize the list of the entire flora. This data will serve as a catalyst for student research, providing detailed community information and providing raw data which can be used later for many different floristic or overall community studies. This information will also be used in the publication of The Flora of the Domain, providing ecological informative data by species. We will be visiting dozens of different sites that are representative of the great diversity of habitats found on the domain and will be composing comprehensive species lists for each site which will be augmented by location, abundance, land use, and data pertaining to a variety of abiotic factors. By accounting for many different variables, this research has the potential to guide the creation of a number of various hypotheses to be taken up by subsequent student research.
Our findings will have a practical application as well being a source for future research. This detailed community information will be used in the creation of a new Domain Management Plan for Biodiversity. Created in part by students, this plan will help to guide the university in its management of the Domain’s 13,000 acres. While this project will be immediately relevant in terms of the publication of the Flora of the Domain, it will also have a lasting impact as it guides the management plan, provides data to be used in classes in the future, and serves as a set of raw data to be used by future student research focused on the great richness of plant life on the Domain.