Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Andrew Kaul, Ph.D.

posted on
Andrew Kaul, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development

Research Interests
• Restoration Ecology
• Restoration of herbaceous plant diversity in Ozark glades and woodlands.
• Prairie restoration

Matthew Albrecht, Ph.D.
Associate Scientist in Conservation Biology
Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development

Research Interests
• Conservation Biology
• Endangered Species Recovery
• Restoration and Reintroduction Ecology

Evaluating prairie management strategies to promote wildflowers and pollinators. Kaul is a Postdoctoral Fellow in MBG’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development specializing in restoration ecology, his research interests include prairie restoration. Albrecht is an Associate Scientist specializing in conservation biology in MBG’s Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development; his research interests include ex situ and in situ conservation, conservation genetics, and seed germination ecology. Prairie restorations are now very common in the former tallgrass prairie region, however many of these sites have remarkably less diverse plant communities than remnant prairies, fail to recruit many species from their initial seed mixes, and tend to lose wildflower diversity over time when grasses become too dominant. A management strategy for lower-quality grasslands has yet to be developed, which reliably reduces dominant grass abundance, prevents invasion by non-native species, and increases native wildflower abundance and diversity. We initiated an experiment at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve to test how novel combinations of management practices could be used to achieve these goals and alter the functional composition and diversity of an existing grass-dominated tallgrass prairie restoration. Our treatments included application of different herbicides, the addition of seeds from desirable native wildflowers, and the use of mowing to facilitate the establishment of added species. The plant community in 60 experimental plots was sampled before treatments (2021), and in the first growing season after experimental treatments (2022). During the summer of 2023, the student will help a team of botanists in sampling plant community composition and measuring features of the plant community such as canopy height and light capture. The student will also work more independently in developing and implementing protocols to measure three ecosystem functions in these plots, including, 1) the degree of invasion by the non-native legume Lespedeza cuneata, 2) the total abundance of flowers and 3) resource provisioning for pollinators based on floral phenology and pollinator visitation data. Experience with bee, butterfly, or plant identification is preferred.

| Categories: | Tags: Restoration, Conservation Biology, Endangered Species | Return