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|Florida Scrub - south-central Florida|
particularly interested in root structure and function and
strategies and their implications to whole plant survival. Roots are
the most understudied
and poorly understood aspect of plant ecology.
Only recently has root ecology research begun
to receive more
present many unique challenges in research because they are situated in
the soil and have numerous interactions
chemical and physical processes, mycorrhizas, soil microbes and
and other roots. I
am interested in the interactions
between aboveground and belowground processes.
Here are some photos of the research areas.
scrub left and
pine flatwood right
plant communities are pyric with fire frequencies ranging from one to
(Abrahamson and Hartnett 1990, Myers 1990). The
scrub contains mostly evergreen tree species (Quercus
myrtifolia, Q. chapmanii, Q. geminata, Lyonia fruginea, L.
densa, and P.
clausa) with a few but very common deciduous tree species (Carya floridana and
with a herbaceaous and shrub understory. Also both deciduous (Vitis rotundifolia)
and evergreen (Smilax
The height and density of the vegetation depend on fire frequency. Scrub communties close to developed land is often taller and denser because of fire suppression. Florida scrub-jays sadly cannot survive in dense vegetation due to increased predation. They use sentinels to warn against potential predators, but the increase density and especially vegetation height increases cover for predators and effectiveness of the scrub-jay sentinels (Breininger 1999, Breininger et al. 1995, Hailman et al. 1994, McGowan and Woolfenden 1989).
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