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Tallgrass prairies harbor unique biodiversity, but agricultural conversion left only ~4% of prairies remaining. Restoration efforts often fail to reconstruct communities as diverse as remnant prairies. Land conversion changes soil properties, including plant associated soil biota, which may be a key reason for this shortfall. Additions of native soil microbes can benefit many conservative prairie plant species, but little research has explored if island additions of remnant prairies may serve a similar role. This research asks whether proximity and island size of remnant prairies impact fitness-related measures (growth and flowering) of plants from contrasting successional stages (early vs. late succession). We contrasted these effects across recipient sites that differ in land use history. Our field experiment transplanted intact prairie monoliths into restored, post-agriculture, and disked recipient sites, while varying the local concentration of monoliths moved (isolated, clustered, and aggregated). We then planted Rudbeckia hirta and Liatris pycnostachya within and at increasing distances from the prairie monoliths. We found L. pycnostachyasurvived better in the restored site compared to Redbeckia hirta. However, both species’s survival depended on the location in the site. For R. Hirta, treatment was very important. This research increases our understanding of the role remnant ecosystems can play in prairie restoration, including the importance of target plant species, land use history of restoration sites, and the size and distance of remnant prairies. These aspects link fundamental ecological theory (e.g. Island Biogeography Theory) and provide direct information to assist restoration practice.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
44.9 MB



  • Event location
    • Cleveland Ballroom

  • Event date
    • 2 November 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022