Understanding Seed Germination and Survivorship of Prairie Violets to Inform Restoration 2019
Chicago Botanic Garden or Field

Ecology, Reproductive Biology

Seed germination is a critical aspect of restoring, conserving, and managing many native plant species. Many plant species produce seeds with barriers to germination (also known as dormancy) ensuring seeds germinate at a time of year when growing conditions are favorable. However, restoration and conservation efforts can be inhibited by this dormancy, requiring research to develop methods to bypass seed dormancy and induce germination. Viola is a genus of plants that is notoriously difficult to germinate from seed, with often very low germination in restoration settings, as well as at native plant nurseries trying to grow them. Even when violet seed is able to germinate, seedlings are often unable to persist for more than a few years. The REU student working on this project will have the opportunity to develop their own research question investigating an aspect of Viola survivorship, ranging from germination trials in a lab or greenhouse to survivorship studies in the field. The results of this project will inform the restoration and conservation of rare or underrepresented violet species often missing from prairie or woodland restorations. 


Fieldwork Conditions

Insects, Water/Mud