Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Harmony Dalgleish

Committee Member

Matthias Leu

Committee Member

Guilia Pacini

Abstract

Restoration efforts are increasingly important due to the alarming global rate of biodiversity loss. The successful re-introduction of extirpated populations is an important tool of restoration. Determining demographic parameters for a population has the potential to strengthen re-introduction attempts, as these parameters impact the ability and speed at which populations are established. American chestnut (Castanea dentata) used to be prominent in forests of the eastern United States, however, was decimated by an exotic fungus that spread through the entire range of the species in the early 20th century (chestnut blight). This study uses new data collected between 2011 and 2013 on growth, survival, and reproduction from a regenerating chestnut population in Maine to develop a matrix model. The matrix model projects the forward in time and provides valuable information to better understand how different management actions may affect the population growth rate and re-introduction attempts of American chestnut. The Atkinson population has a population growth rate above one (λ=1.0319), indicating positive long term growth of the population. The current observed population has not yet reached stable dynamics; there are currently fewer seedlings (

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