Abstract Detail

Biodiversity at the brink: leveraging herbaria for conservation!

Shamblin, Zachary [1], Puppo, Pamela [1].

Assessing the conservation status of West Virginia forests using herbaria data and phylogenetic diversity of the Rosids clade.

The Rosids are a broad clade of plants containing most of the hardwood tree families that are important in the structure and function of forests in West Virginia (oaks, maples, and hickories). Understanding the diversity of these species is essential for understanding the status of the forests in our state. In this study, we use herbaria data to calculate the phylogenetic diversity (PD) of the Rosids in WV. PD is a biodiversity measure that considers the breadth of evolutionary history for a study site. Higher PD would indicate a greater diversity in functional traits that are integral to the stability of ecosystems. Preliminary results using ca. 10,000 occurrences indicate highest PD in the Forested Hills and Mountains ecoregion of the eastern part of West Virginia which suggests this area should be considered of high conservation priority. Our results also show the Dissected Appalachian Plateau in the southern part of the state as one of the areas with lowest PD, which may be a consequence of the high mining activity from the last few decades. Overall, this study contributes to the understanding of forest plant biodiversity and its implications for conservation.

1 - Marshall University, Biological Sciences, 350 Science Building, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV, 25755, United States

phylogenetic diversity

Presentation Type: Special Sessions
Number: SS005
Abstract ID:543
Candidate for Awards:None

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