Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Gonzalez, Elizabeth Ann [1], Feria, Teresa [2].

Understanding the history and distribution of Asclepias prostrata in South Texas.

Asclepias prostata is an endemic rare species of milkweed distributed within the transboundary region of South Texas and northern Mexico. Within Texas, A. prostrata has occurrences in Starr and Zapata County which are part of the South Texas Plains ecoregion. This rare plant species has recently been proposed to be a federally listed endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). To contribute to conservation efforts, our objectives are to (1) document A. prostrata current distribution in Texas, (2) identify the soil types present in the area, (3) identify potential pollinators, and (4) create a map for potential suitable habitat on FWS property. Some of our field observations include pressures that A. prostrata faces such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall, as well as competition with the invasive buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare). In the presence of buffelgrass, this specific competition has caused stresses such as shade avoidance syndrome by A. prostrata. Preliminary results include identifying the soil types found at different A. prostrata populations. We have also documented potential pollinators to help understand the role of this plant species within the ecosystem. Lastly, we have also created a map containing our GPS occurrences with designated potential suitable habitat in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge within Starr County that is known as Chihuahuan Thorn Forest habitat. Our findings from this continued effort will document the distribution of Asclepias prostrata in South Texas to potentially aid in species distribution modeling, provide insight on why the species may be showing population isolation, and to identify potential suitable habitat for conservation plans.

1 - The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, Biology, 1201 W. University Drive, Edinburg, TX, 78539, USA
2 - The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, Biology, 1201 W. University Drive, Edinburg, TX, 78539, United States

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: CB3006
Abstract ID:1060
Candidate for Awards:None

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