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The Maryland Native Plant Society

The Maryland Native Plant Society

Research Grant Recipients

The research grant program began in 2013.


How Plant Identity, Diversity & Traits Structure Microbial Endophyte Communities
Eric Griffin PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Abstract: I propose to simultaneously evaluate how tree diversity and herbivore damage are related to leaf microbial endophyte communities among native trees in a Maryland forest. This project will provide new evidence and insight into the importance of native biodiversity and the roles of microbes in critical ecosystem processes.

Native and Invasive Forest Plants Influence Forest Nutritional Dynamics
Andrew P Landsman, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Delaware.
Abstract: Japanese stiltgrass and other invasive plants often outcompete and smother native herbaceous species. Despite invasive plant prevalence in Marylands forest patches, research on native herbaceous species response and impacts to invertebrates is scarce. This project aims to continue my objective of highlighting the importance of native plants to ecological health.

Understanding the Ecological Impacts of T daniellii Invasions
David Grow, MS Student, Towson University
Land owners in Maryland have documented Beebee tree (Tetradium daniellii) as a recently emerging invasive non-native tree. I will research how Beebee tree is impacting the native plant diversity of Maryland. My investigation will answer questions which may prioritize management of the species before its invasion intensifies.

2016 (Only applications from K-12 teachers accepted)

Retention Pond Diversity Study
Rachel Coffey, Cecil County Public Schools
Abstract: This project investigates to what extent is biodiversity affected by non-native invasive plant species in a storm water retention pond ecosystem. This project assesses biodiversity in our storm water retention pond before and after removal of non-native invasive species and planting of native species.


Predicting the Impact of Non-native Plants on Native Plant Diversity and Insect Food Webs
Adam B Mitchell, PhD student, University of Delaware
Non-native plant species reduce biodiversity at a global scale, and predicting how non-native plants change the availability of habitat for organisms may provide insight into restoring biodiversity in native landscapes. I seek to investigate how non-native plants alter food webs based on their relationships with native plants and insect communities.

Soil Preferences in the Adiantum pedatum Complex
Christopher Hoess, Delaware Technical Community College
The Adiantum pedatum complex (northern maidenhair ferns) are difficult to distinguish, and have been misidentified in Maryland. By sampling these ferns from a variety of habitats and analyzing the soil they grow in, we can be certain which species grow in Maryland and better understand which habitats can support them.

Wavyleaf Basket Grass Removal and Site Restoration at Cromwell Valley Park, Laurie Taylor-Mitchell
Wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius), a perennial invasive grass, is now a serious threat to woodlands in Maryland. This project will determine if hand-pulling by volunteers is an effective way to control a new (sparse cover) invasion and if simultaneously controlling other invasive species (Japanese stiltgrass and multiflora rose) decreases wavyleaf reinvasion and increases the success of planted native species.

The Impact of Native Companions on the Growth of Hybridized American Chestnuts
Eric VanSlyke, Allegany County Public Schools
Abstract: We will interplant one grove of Hybridized American Chestnut trees with native trees and grasses. At the same time, we will interplant another grove of Hybridized American Chestnut trees with nonnative trees and grasses. We will measure the height of each tree before interplanting, and after a 2-year growth period to compare the impact of the native companions against the nonnative companion plants.


Mountain Bugbane Preservation through Population Analysis and Outreach Materials
Lauren Hull, Graduate Student in Applied Ecology & Conservation Biology Sunshine L. Brosi, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology
Abstract: State imperiled mountain bugbane (Actaea podocarpa DC, Ranunculaceae) is threatened by ecological and anthropogenic pressures. We propose a dual approach to aid in A. podocarpa preservation through population analysis and development of outreach materials. Population analysis will establish the current status of A. podocarpa and document impacts of dying hemlocks. Outreach materials aim to reduce unintentional harvest.

Deer Herbivory and Invasive Plants Alter Web- Building Spider Ecology by Modifying Native Plant Communities
Andrew P. Landsman
Abstract: White-tailed deer and invasive plants significantly alter the species composition, structure and nativity of Maryland’s forests. I am examining the cascading impacts to community structure, diversity, and available prey for spiders resulting from these comprehensive impacts to native forest vegetation. This work will highlight the importance of Maryland’s native vegetation and forest habitats to invertebrate conservation.

The Impact of Insects on the Invasive Plant, Wavyleaf Basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius)
Tamara Heiselmeyer
Abstract: Wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius) is an invasive grass in Maryland and Virginia. Here, a percent leaf-damage assessment and a comparison of insect community structure between invaded and non-invaded sites will be conducted to determine the effect insects have on wavyleaf basketgrass and how wavyleaf basketgrass affects the insect community.


Enhancing Urban Biodiversity with Native Plantings
Anna Johnson, PhD candidate University of Maryland Baltimore County
Abstract:This research will experimentally manipulate plant community composition in the fall of 2013, in 30 city-owned vacant lots in Baltimore, MD. Seeds of native plant species will be added and resulting shifts in plant biodiversity and ecosystem function will be monitored, to inform future urban restoration and landscape management plans. The MNPS grant covered reseeding in the fall of 2014, greenhouse supplies, and signage for the lots.



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PO Box 4877, Silver Spring, MD 20914

MNPS is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization incorporated in Maryland.
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