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Environmental characteristics and population ecology of shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora floribunda) in Maine. (Collaborator: Judith Rhymer, UMaine)

Right: shrubbby cinquefoil in bloom in Maine wetland.<br />

Duration

September 2008 - May 2013

Narrative

Clayton’s copper butterfly (Lycaena dorcas claytoni) is a Maine state endangered species that relies exclusively on shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa) as its host plant. This shrub typically is found on the edges of wetlands rich in calcium carbonate or limestone. Calcareous wetland habitats that support large, persistent stands of D. fruticosa are rare in Maine. Currently only 21 sites in Maine are known to support large stands of D. fruticosa, and L. d. claytoni populations have been observed at only nine of these.
Conservation and recovery of L. d. claytoni depends in part on the ecological integrity of its habitat. It is unknown if there are other factors in addition to the presence of the host plant that contribute to the suitability of a site for Clayton’s copper. To make effective conservation recommendations, we need more information about environmental site characteristics of Clayton’s copper habitat. By comparing the quality of the habitat and plants selected by L. d. claytoni for nectaring and egg-laying to randomly selected plants, this research aims to address the following questions: Is there an association between butterfly occurrence and the hydrological environment, pore water chemistry, peat chemistry and morphology, and plant assemblages of a wetland site? Is there an association between butterfly occurrences and the age structure, phenology, and size of the shrubby cinquefoil stands within a wetland site? Is there an association between butterfly occurrence and cinquefoil morphology or “robustness,” quality and quantity of flowers, quality and quantity of leaves, and location of individual shrubby cinquefoil plants in the wetland?
Project objectives are:
1) Compare hydroperiod, pore water chemistry, peat chemistry/ morphology, and plant species associated with shrubby cinquefoil among wetlands sites and between wetland sites inhabited and uninhabited by Clayton’s copper butterfly.
2) Compare age structure, phenology, and size of stand among shrubby cinquefoil populations and between populations inhabited and uninhabited by Clayton’s copper.
3) Compare morphology /”robustness”, quality of flowers and leaves, and location of shrubby cinquefoil plants within wetlands inhabited and uninhabited by Clayton’s copper and between used and randomly selected plants in wetlands inhabited by Clayton’s copper.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Drahovzal, S.A., C.S. Loftin, and J. Rhymer. 2015. Environmental predictors of shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa) habitat and quality as host for Maine’s endangered Clayton’s copper butterfly (Lycaena dorcas claytoni). Wetlands Ecology and Management, DOI:10.1007/s11273-015-9427-1 Download  | 

Thesis

  • Drahovzal, S. 2013. Environmental assessment of circumneutral wetlands with shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa), host plant of the endangered Clayton's copper butterfly (Lycaena dorcas claytoni). M.S. thesis, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, 145 pp.Download  | 

Presentations

  • Drahovzal, S., C.S. Loftin, and J. Rhymer. 2010. Analysis of the hydrological and chemical environment of Maine’s circumneutral fens supporting Shrubby Cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa), host plant of the state-endangered Clayton’s Copper butterfly (Lycaena dorcas claytoni). 2010 Maine Water Conference, 17 March, Augusta, ME. (poster).
  • Drahovzal, S., C.S. Loftin, and J.Rhymer. 2010. Analysis of the hydrological and chemical environment of Maine’s circumneutral fens supporting Shrubby Cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa), host plant of the state-endangered Clayton’s Copper butterfly (Lycaena dorcas claytoni). 2010 University of Maine Graduate Research Expo, 15-16 April, Orono, ME. (poster).
  • Drahovzal, S., C.S. Loftin, and J.Rhymer. 2011. Environmental assessment of circumneutral fens with shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa): host plant of the endangered Clayton’s Copper butterfly (Lycaena dorcas claytoni). 7 April, Northeast Natural History Conference, Albany, NY. (poster).
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 3

Phd Students: 5

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 22

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 28

Scientific Publications: 54

Presentations: 266

 

Personnel

  • Cynthia LoftinCo-Principal Investigator
  • Judith RhymerCo-Principal Investigator
  • Sarah DrahovzalStudent

Funding Agencies

  • Cooperative Research Units
  • Maine DIFW
  • TNC
  • University of Maine

Links

Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Maine
  5. Wildlife Management Institute