This week we are pleased to welcome Jenny McCune from Carleton University.

Rare plants and where to find them: the habitat, the landscape, and the landowners


Many of Canada’s species-at-risk are plants that grow in our most highly populated southern regions. Undiscovered populations of rare plants are undoubtedly growing unnoticed on private land, but surveying for new populations is time consuming and expensive – so how should we target the right places to search? In this talk, Jenny McCune will discuss her work using species distribution models to predict places with the right habitat for some of Canada’s rarest woodland plants. Her team has tested these models by searching over 200 woodland sites across southern Ontario. Their results show how the state of the landscape surrounding a local site, and sometimes the history of that landscape, can affect the accuracy of these models. They also tested whether land ownership has any effect on native plant richness, or the likelihood of finding rare plant species – with some surprising results. Finally, interviews and a national survey helped understand what landowners and other citizens know and feel about endangered species conservation.

J.L. McCune is an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biology Department at Carleton University. Her research is focused on understanding how plant communities change over the long term in response to human modifications of the landscape. She got her BSc from the University of Guelph, MSc in Ethnobotany from the University of Kent (U.K.), and PhD from the University of British Columbia. In between degrees, she worked as a plant ecologist in the Florida Keys, Oregon, Catalina Island, and Maryland.

The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm. This week’s talk will be followed by a pizza lunch outside the seminar room.

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