Abstract Detail


Brookover, Zoe [1], Christman, Brian [2], Laport, Robert [3].

Modeling Population Dynamics of the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) Near the Historical Range Limit in west Tennessee.

One of the most historically important forest trees of eastern North America, the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), has suffered significant population decline over the past century. This is due to the introduction of two invasive fungal pathogens, Cryphonectria parasitica and Phytophthora cinnamomi, in the early 20th century. These fungal pathogens were particularly detrimental in west Tennessee, which represents the westernmost portion of the American Chestnut’s historic range. As a result, the population in this area is sparse and at risk of extirpation. This could potentially result in a loss of critical genetic diversity within the American chestnut population because this region is hypothesized to have avoided glaciation during the Last Glacial Maximum, unlike northern areas currently occupied by the species. To prevent further population decline and loss of genetic diversity, as well as inform conservation priorities, it is essential to better understand the current population size and dynamics of the American chestnut in west Tennessee. We constructed a demographic model for a population of American chestnut in Fayette, McNairy, and Chester counties using a stage-structured matrix model to investigate the potential for the population to persist, remain stable, or grow. Our results suggest American chestnut in west Tennessee remains rare and sensitive to ecological disturbance, and additional efforts to improve recruitment of new seedlings and the persistence of reproductive (or nearly reproductive) trees should be implemented to preserve this regionally unique and important species.

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Lab affiliation

1 - Rhodes college, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN, 38112, United States
2 - Rhodes college, Biology, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN, 38112, USA
3 - Rhodes College, Department Of Biology, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN, 38112, United States

American chestnut
matrix model
population dynamics
fungal pathogens.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Ecology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM Time and date to be determined
Number: PEC002
Abstract ID:141
Candidate for Awards:None

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