Join us Nov 14, 7 pm at the MK Nature Center or via zoom
Soil seed banks (“seed banks”) are a critical and understudied component of ecological communities. They contribute to local population persistence, and provide a signature of past, present, and future characteristics of a plant community. In western North America, the Bureau of Land Management spends over $50 million annually on purchasing and implementing seeding-based restoration in degraded drylands, yet less than 10% of these seeding efforts are successful. What if locally adapted native seeds are already present on site, hiding beneath the soil surface in the seed bank? In this talk, I will present some of my previous and current seed bank research in sagebrush steppe drylands in Oregon and Idaho. Although the current aboveground vegetation may be degraded, the seed bank is often still relatively intact and may be a useful (and low-cost!) tool for restoration once invasive species are reduced.
Kerry Byrne is an Associate Professor of Applied Terrestrial Ecology at Cal Poly Humboldt (formerly Humboldt State University) in northern California. She is currently on sabbatical, working with her best friend Dr. Kelly Hopping (Human-Environment Systems, Boise State University) on a seed bank emergence study nested within a targeted sheep grazing project in the Wood River Valley, Idaho. Despite usually living within the redwood forest, she thinks trees are boring and much prefers the excitement and grand views of grass-and shrub-dominated ecosystems, such as the sagebrush steppe.