The Corridor Project

Melissa taking data off a Sorghastrum secundum transplant in front of an experimental corridor

How do habitat fragmentation and connectivity by corridors impact plant populations and communities?

Habitat fragmentation is a leading cause of biodiversity loss and corridors are a central reserve design strategy in fragmented landscapes.  In spite of their popularity, corridor efficacy is not well understood due in part to a lack of controlled experiments.  Further, most corridor studies have focused on animals – information on how corridors impact plant populations and communities remains especially sparse.

Lars transplanting longleaf pine woodland understory plants for founder population experiments

We work within one of the world’s largest habitat fragmentation experiments – and the largest and best replicated experimental test of corridors – to understand how fragmentation and connectivity by corridors impact plant populations and communities.  Using a combination of transplanted founder populations, monitoring of natural plant communities, and plant-animal interaction experiments, we seek a mechanistic understanding of the long-term impacts fragmentation and corridors have on plant communities and populations.

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Lars and corridor techs in front of seed predation depots (recently retrieved from field); Dec. 2009

Current collaborators include Lars Brudvig (MSU), Ellen Damschen and John Orrock (U. Wisconsin-Madison), Nick Haddad (NC State), Doug Levey (U. Florida), and Josh Tewksbury (U. Washington).