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Pati Vitt

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Susan and Roger Stone Curator, Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank Conservation Scientist
Chicago Botanic Garden

pvitt at chicagobotanic dot org

Projects
How Does Seed Head Position and Climate Affect Seedling Establishment in Cirsium pitcheri? (2017)

Cirsium pitcheri (Pitcher’s thistle) is a federally listed-threatened monocarpic perennial plant that is endemic to the Great Lakes region. The species’ survival is dependent on successful seed production, seed dispersal in its wind-swept dune environment, seed germination and seedling establishment. However, despite C. pitcheri’s suitability to its environment, this species...


Responses to climate change across species ranges: a reciprocal sowing experiment with two closely related legumes (2017)

Understanding how population dynamics function to define species geographic ranges is crucial to our understanding of species range limits and how populations can be expected to respond to large scale climate change. This project will investigate the population dynamics of a rare plant, Lespedeza leptostachya and a closely related species, Lespedeza capitata. Through a...


Sex in an evening primrose: can hand pollination select for traits that make plants less attractive to hawkmoths? (2017)

Oenothera organensis is a rare evening primrose, found only in the Organ Mountains of New Mexico. The Chicago Botanic Garden obtained plants from a greenhouse collection at Indiana University of Oe. organensis descended from individuals collected in the wild in 1938, as well as plants collected last year from the wild. Oe. organensis is self-incompatible, and...


Integrated Conservation of an Orchid Rich Habitat in Door County Wisconsin (2016)

Door County Wisconsin lies along the Niagara Escarpment, resulting in a diverse flora, which is particularly rich in orchid species. 26 of the 49 orchid species native to Wisconsin are found at the Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey Harbor. The populations of many species found with the Ridges are slowly dwindling, and this project will focus upon the active restoration of two of these iconic species...


Seed dormancy, germination, and seedling establishment of Lespedeza capitata and L. virginica in response to climate change (2016)

Critical components of plant replacement (regeneration) include seed dormancy loss, germination, and seedling establishment. These components, in particular, show potentially greater sensitivity to climate change then do subsequent development stages. While temperature and moisture are critical factors for these early developmental stages, other factors such a soil texture, nutrient level, pH...


Demographic consequences of seed germination patterns in Lespedeza leptostachya (2015)

Temperature and precipitation patterns are predicted to affect the early growth rates of temperate grassland species such as Prairie Bush Clover, particularly germination responses that are critical to maintaining viable populations. Preliminary population projection models of PBC suggest that both of these factors have strong effects on the population growth rate of this species. The student...


Estimating Impacts of Bison Grazing on Rare Plants at the Nachusa Grasslands (2014)

The bison are coming to a prairie near you! The Nachusa Grasslands, the largest privately held reserve in northern Illinois, is bringing bison back to the prairie. The objective of this project is to collect baseline vegetation data in the year prior to bison release as part of a long-term demographic study. We will focus upon the habitat of Lespedeza leptostachya, prairie bush clover, a...


Interactions between a Suite of Biocontrol Weevils and the Ecosystem of Cirsium pitcheri (2014)

This project focuses on interactions between a suite of biocontrol weevils and the threatened plant, Cirsium pitcheri, and carries implications for management and biocontrol usage in the United States. Work will be split between a lab at the Chicago Botanic Garden and field sites in Door County, Wisconsin. The weevils have been used to control Cirsium, Carduus, and Centaurea species in North...


Nutrient assimilation and management practice in communities of Cypripedium candidum in the Chicago Region (2013)

Orchids belong to one of the most abundant families on earth and tend to be very specific in their habitats. Many exotic species are commercially grown in greenhouses, but our local terrestrial species are not so easily domesticated. As a result, their preservation is challenging, and conventional reintroduction and restoration techniques are intractable for many species. We do know that...