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Conservation of a Florida Carnivorous Plant: Godfrey's Butterwort, Pinguicula ionanthaEPA Grant Number: MA916304
Title: Conservation of a Florida Carnivorous Plant: Godfrey's Butterwort, Pinguicula ionantha
Investigators: Kesler, Herbert
Institution: Auburn University Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $74,172
RFA: GRO Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Natural and Life Sciences , Biology/Life Sciences
The objective of this research project is to study Pinguicula ionantha R.K. Godfrey (Lentibulariaceae), a recently described species endemic to a 25-mile radius area in the panhandle of Florida with the goal of its conservation. P. ionantha primarily occupies the transition zone between flatwood and cypress stringer habitats. Although there have been limited studies on some aspects of P. ionantha biology, no demographic information is available. Because of its shrinking population size, P. ionantha was listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 12, 1993, and is currently listed as Florida State endangered. Without population demographic information and knowledge of the effects of prescribed fire on P. ionantha, the long-term viability of this threatened plant cannot be ensured.
In this study, I propose to conduct field and laboratory experiments to gain information needed to conserve threatened P. ionantha populations. The results of this research will be integrated to: (1) understand how the survival and fecundity of wild P. ionantha populations are directly impacted by prescribed fire; (2) better define and characterize the role of fire on vegetation height and density within the ecotonal habitat of P. ionantha; (3) describe population dynamics in relation to postfire succession using site-specific population matrices; and (4) simulate population extinction probability under different fire regimes with both stochastic population models and with a megamatrix model, which incorporates habitat succession rate with associated population dynamics.