Conservation of Pitcher Plant Bogs


Pitcher plant bogs of the southeastern United States Coastal Plain support some of the largest carnivorous plant assemblages in the world; comprised by 29 or more species in five genera.  These habitats were once common throughout the region, but now occupy less than 3% of their former range due to fire suppression, urbanization, forestry and agriculture (See pictures below). Many bog species are currently listed as federally endangered and/or are state-protected, therefore information regarding genetic variation, life history aspects, population densities, etc. are vital to conservation of these habitats.  My interests lie in various approaches and techniques, ranging from the ecological to the molecular level, to address current and future management practices for this unique system.

The above pictures depict a pitcher plant bog in 1979 and the current state of that same bog in 2010.  No management plans exist for this bog and is slowly being overtaken by woody vegetation.

Endless Bog, MS 1979

Endless Bog, MS 2010

Urban Ecology

It is projected that the world population will reach 9.3 billion by the middle of this century, an increase of approximately 2.3 billion people, with urban areas absorbing all of the burgeoning population (United Nations, 2008).  The emerging field of urban ecology seeks to understand and examine ecosystem functioning within these human built environments.  This has important implications for preservation and conservation of urban green spaces and their communities.  I have been working in collaboration with Drs. Travis J. Ryan and Rebecca W. Dolan at Butler University Center of Urban Ecology (CUE) on freshwater turtles and flora communities  in   Marion County, Indiana, home to Indianapolis (the 13th largest city in the US).

The northwest corner of Indianapolis, Indiana showing land cover percentage with patches of green space and open water.