Can one specimen of a native plant be more "native" than another? Plant populations that have adapted to local environmental conditions are called "local ecotypes". They can be genetically different from populations of the same plant growing under different conditions, and for those ecologists who are working to restore damaged ecosystems, whether or not they should use local ecotypes is an important question to consider.
In this month's episode, Steve and Bill hit the road to visit the greenhouses at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, NY and meet Brigitte Wierzbicki, Plant Materials Program Coordinator for the Environmental Field Team of the New York State Parks Finger Lakes Region. Brigitte coordinates the Seed Collection and Propagation Program, providing plants for restoration projects conducted within New York State Parks (including the Grassland Restoration Program we covered in episode 21). We find out what Brigitte's job is all about, get the scoop on Sonnenberg Gardens, and delve into the research covering the fascinating and complex corner of ecology that is local ecotypes.
We also meet her boss, Whitney Carleton – New York Natural Resource Stewardship Specialist for the Finger Lakes Region, who gives us even more info on the great work that her Environmental Field Team is doing.
This episode was recorded at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, NY on February 24, 2018, a day that will haunt Bill for some time because of the speeding ticket he got on the way there.
0:00 – Intro – defining our terms: ecological restoration and local ecotypes
12:00 – The Plant Materials Program and the history of Sonnenberg Gardens
17:00 – Let’s go see the greenhouse!
20:00 – Local ecotypes and genetic diversity
22:45 – Genetic diversity and seed collection
29:40 – “How local is local?”
38:17 – Nativars
42:22 – Is local always best? What is meant by “ecologically appropriate”?
49:36 – Local ecotypes vs nativars
54:49 – How the NYS Parks Plant Materials Program differs from similar programs
56:15 – How you can help / get involved with the Plant Materials Program
As always, check out Always Wandering Art - a big thanks to them for this episode's artwork!
To share your support of their work, contact Fred Bonn - Regional Director, Finger Lakes Region - Fred.Bonn@parks.ny.gov
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Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - https://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=11206
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