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Title: “Metacommunity dynamics and community assembly of restored tallgrass prairie.”

Researcher: Dr. Andrew MacDougall, Eric Harvey and Stefan Schneider, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph


Tallgrass prairie remnants are usually isolated and small in size and therefore prone to invasive species. The successful restoration of tallgrass prairies will ultimately depend on constructing remnant areas that are self-sustaining and capable of resisting invasion and support reproductively viable populations of native grasses, forbs and trees with minimal management.

Dr. Andrew MacDougall and his research team are interested in examining the factors that determine whether assembled prairie communities persist or instead revert to a community of agronomic species. They will be reconstructing a patchwork of tallgrass ‘islands’ of various sizes and shapes to try to determine the factors that lead to tallgrass prairie stability.  Over 10 years, they will monitor attributes including plant establishment success, invasion resistance, reproductive performance, small mammal residency, insect diversity, biomass production and the accumulation of soil organic matter.