a

Stuart Wagenius

swagenius's picture
Conservation Scientist
Chicago Botanic Garden

swagenius at chicagobotanic dot org

Projects
Does diversity of its floral neighborhood affect pollination of a model prairie plant? (2018)

Tallgrass prairie has been reduced to just a fragment of its original size. Does an Echinacea plant produce more seeds if it’s in a highly diverse remnant compared to a less diverse remnant of the same size?


In west central Minnesota, the model prairie perennial, Echinacea angustifolia (purple coneflower), grows in a variety of remnant habitats. We know the nearness of...


Bees on roadsides: does habitat quality impact diversity? (2018)
Less than 1% of the tallgrass prairie remains, making questions regarding its conservation critically important. Much of the tallgrass prairie exists in small remnant patches along roadsides and surrounded by agricultural fields. Roadsides provide bees with floral resources and may provide nesting habitat, but may negatively impact bee health. We plan to assess the diversity and abundance of...

Can plants have sex with themselves? Investigating self-fertilization in California annuals (2018)

In Southern California, diverse annual plant communities germinate in the winter and bloom in early spring. With so many different species of flowers open simultaneously, competition for pollination may be fierce. But, some species may be able to self-fertilize, reducing their reliance on pollinators for reproduction. However, scientists don’t know which species are capable of self-...


The invasive potential of Echinacea pallida in western Minnesota (2015)

In Minnesota, tallgrass prairie has been reduced to less than 1 percent of its original extent. Although prairie restorations have been planted to increase the extent of prairie habitat, these restorations sometimes use non-native species. For example, a prairie restoration in our study area in western Minnesota was planted with the non-native Echinacea pallida. We don't know whether...


Plant-herbivore interactions with hybrid Echinacea plants in native prairie (2014)

In western Minnesota, prairie restorations with the non-native Echinacea pallida have been planted near prairie remnants with the native Echinacea angustifolia. These two species are able to hybridize. Hybrid plants could threaten the native Echinacea by genetic swamping and they may not support as diverse an assemblage of insect herbivores. For instance, the native plant hosts a specialist...


Invasion by hybridization between native and non-native purple coneflowers (2013)

In western Minnesota prairie restorations have been planted near native prairie remnants. Two non-native Echinacea species (E. pallida and E. purpurea) have been planted in restorations. We want to know the extent to which the non-natives affect reproduction in the native species. Non-native pollen is hypothesized to interfere with pollination in the native and hybridization between the...


Plant-insect interactions in Echinacea angustifolia (2013)

Reproduction in the purple coneflower, Echinacea angustifolia, occurs each July in western Minnesota. Peak flowering varies from year to year by several weeks. In a large experimental planting of Echinacea in a prairie restoration, we have observed that seed set starts high and declines during the flowering season. We want to know why. Do different bees species visit early and late in the...


Plant-herbivore interactions in tallgrass prairie (2012)

Habitat change influences dynamics between plants and their insect herbivores. We are investigating interactions between the purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) and insect herbivores in fragmented prairies. We have previously found interesting "bottom-up" effects of plant genotype on insect communities, including greater herbivore damage on inbred and outcrossed plants compared to...


Reproductive susceptibility of prairie plants to habitat fragmentation (2012)

Many plants in fragmented prairie habitat experience reproductive failure. Self-incompatibility (SI) is the trait that is most consistently associated with reproductive susceptibility to habitat fragmentation. Worldwide, it is estimated that about 60% of plant species have some kind of SI system. The tallgrass prairie is one of the most fragmented habitats in the world, but the proportion of...