For several years my lab has been focused on the population biology of the rare and endangered wildflower Senna hebecarpa (wild senna). Very little is known about the biology of this species, which is going extinct throughout much of the Northeast. To better assess the species current conservation status my lab has begun documenting the plant's basic reproductive biology, life-history parameters (rates of birth, growth, and death), and population viability. See Directed Research below for recent research findings.
Amherst Country Club Cooperative Audubon Sanctuary
The conservation organization Audubon International manages a cooperative sanctuary program that is designed to help golf courses protect their environment through educational opportunities and a certification program. As part of the certification process, course managers must assess environmental resources and develop an overall environmental plan for the property. My lab has been working to assess plant species composition and abundance along a riparian corridor within the Amherst Country Club in (Amherst, NH). The golf course is a certified cooperative Audubon sanctuary and the riparian vegetation along a river that bisects the course represents the largest natural area on the property. See Directed Research below for recent research findings.
Directed Research Projects
Research in my lab is primarily focused on plant ecology and conservation. Students interested in conducting an independent research project are welcome to work with me on the Northern wild senna or the Amherst Country Club Audubon Sanctuary projects described above. Students are also welcome to work on other local plant species that are rare, invasive, or otherwise ecologically important. Examples of recent student research projects from my lab are listed below. For more information on enrolling in directed studies visit the biology department's directed research website.
- Smith, E. and E.J. Berry. 2011. Comparing diversity indices using field data from a riparian New Hampshire forest community.
- Duffy, S. and E.J. Berry. 2011. Using Digital Photography to Quantify Herb Cover in a Temperate Riparian Forest Community.
- Ronan, H. and E.J. Berry. 2011. Tree Composition Along a Riparian Corridor in an Audubon Cooperative Golf Course Sanctuary.
- Nesman, R. and E.J. Berry. 2010. A Brine Shrimp Bioassay Comparing Anti-herbivory Compounds in the Endangered Wildflower Senna hebecarpa and Four Other Temperate Wildflowers.
- Daggett, C. and E.J. Berry. 2010. Measuring the Effect of Decreasing Water Potential on Seed Germination, Seedling Development, and Population Growth in Endangered Wildflower Northern Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa).
- Garrette, R. & E. J. Berry. 2009. Impact of light environment on seed germination and seedling growth of endangered Northern Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa).
- Wheeler, J., C. Darnowski & E. J. Berry. 2008. Reproductive biology of the endangered wildflower Senna hebecarpa I: pollination and fecundity.
- Darnowski, C., J. Wheeler & E. J. Berry. 2008. Reproductive biology of the endangered wildflower Senna hebecarpa II: germination and seedling emergence.
- Berry, E. J. Darnowski, C, & Wheeler, J. (2013) Reproductive biology of northern wild senna (Senna hebecarpa): flowering phenology, fruit set, and a test for inbreeding depression. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. 140(1): 9-19.
- Berry, E. J., Gorchov, D. L., & Endress, B. A. (2011). Source-sink population dynamics and sustainable leaf harvest of the understory palm Chamaedorea radicalis. In Liu, J., V. Hull, A. Morzillo, and J. Wiens (editors). Sources, sinks, and sustainability across landscapes. Cambridge University Press.
- Berry E.J., Gorchov D.L., Endress B.A., and Stevens M.H.H. 2008. Source-sink dynamics within a plant population: the impact of substrate and herbivory on palm demography. Population Ecology. 50:63-77 Population Ecology (PDF/650KB).
- Berry E. J. & Gorchov D. L. 2006. Female fecundity is dependent on substrate, rather than male abundance, in the wind-pollinated, dioecious understory palm Chamaedorea radicalis. Biotropica. 39:186-194. Biotropical (PDF/200KB).
- Endress B. A., Gorchov D. L., & Berry E. J. 2006. Sustainability of a non-timber forest product: Effects of alternative leaf harvest practices over six years on yield and demography of the palm Chamaedorea radicalis. Forest Ecology and Management 234:181-191. Forest Ecology and Management (PDF/350KB).
- Berry E. J. & Gorchov D. L. 2004. Reproductive biology of the dioecious understory palm Chamaedorea radicalis in a Mexican cloud forest: pollination vector, flowering phenology, and female fecundity. Journal of Tropical Ecology 20:1-8. Journal of Tropical Ecology (PDF/900KB).