PlantPopNet takes off (financially)!
Blog post by
Rob Salguero-Gómez, Will Petry and John Dwyer
PlantPopNet is a new research network of plant population ecologists dedicated to overcoming the lack of spatial replication in our field, so that we can examine general demographic patterns from regional to global spatial scales. Through the replication of a consistent protocol, we aim to collect demographic and functional trait data on the cosmopolitan Plantago lanceolata (Plantaginaceae) around the world.
Although permanent plots have already been erected at several locations, including Ireland and Sweden, this young network has been operating thus far with a “zero cost” (out of pocket, if you will!) approach. No longer! In the last week the research proposals to establish two new nodes at sites across California (led by Will Petry, UC Irvine) and Queensland, Australia (led by John Dwyer and myself), have been funded. In addition to securing the establishment of permanent plots on at least five populations of P. lanceolata in each region, both proposals include an innovative add-on. Through the addition of fungicide to a set of permanent plots, we will examine how mycorrhizae affect the population processes underlying local extinction and invasion in Plantago. Species interactions and belowground processes may dramatically alter population structure and dynamics, and climate may mediate these effects. This initial, quasi-antipodal comparison between California up above and Queensland down under will provide a first look at these relationships, leveraging the spatially-replicated network with the power of experimental treatments to reveal mechanism. We hope and encourage current and future nodes of PlantPopNet to replicate not only the base protocol (click HERE), but also our fungicide add-on.