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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Floral and Soil Stoichiometric (C:N) Response to Prescribed Fire in Tallgrass Prairie

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AUTHORS: Jeff Heise; Dr. Holly Jones

ABSTRACT: Prescribed annual burns have long been used in remnant and restored prairies to boost nutrient cycling and control unwanted species. Moreover, prairie grazers tend to prefer recently-burned sites, which is often termed pyric herbivory. Plant and soil stoichiometry, specifically C:N, can be used to quantify the quality of the resource for grazers (plants) and microbes (soils). While the impacts of fires on soil and plant stoichiometry are known in old field prairies, little research has been done in more recently-restored ecosystems, especially those with newly-reintroduced grazers. This study examined how prescribed burns have affected plant community composition and plant and soil stoichiometry (C:N).  We used matched pairs of burned and unburned sites with similar restoration ages. The first pair were restored in 2007 and 2008, and the second pair were restored in 2001 and 2002. Three soil samples and 55 plant samples were taken from each planting. Soil samples were sieved and analyzed for total carbon and nitrogen using a mass spectrometer. Three individuals of each plant species were collected, dried, homogenized, and also analyzed for total carbon and nitrogen. Data were analyzed using general linear mixed models. The data show a significant decrease in the C:N ratio for C4 grasses after prescribed fire, which is due to their capacity for late season growth and bloom. The C:N ratio for C3 forbs increased, indicating a lower quality resource. C3 grasses, legumes, and soil showed no significant change.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer

Attendees (3)