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Foundation Species Topic of AMK Ranch Talk

July 25, 2011 — Environmental consequences caused by the loss of oak trees is the topic for the summer seminar series Thursday, July 28, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

Bill Schuster, executive director of the Black Rock Forest Consortium in Cornwall, N.Y., will discuss "Experimental Study of the Role of Foundation Species in Ecosystems" at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue will be held at 5:30 p.m. with a $5 per person fee; reservations are not required. For more information, call the UW-NPS Center at (307) 543-2463.

Oak trees are considered foundation species, defined as locally abundant and creating habitat for many associated species. Schuster says the future status of oak trees is in doubt due to changes in pests, pathogens and regeneration failure.

He will discuss experiments designed to understand the role that oaks play by determining how their loss would impact the biogeochemistry and microbial ecology along with insect and both large and small mammal populations. Schuster will make comparisons with other foundation species in different ecosystems.

The UW-NPS Research Center provides a base for university faculty members and governmental scientists from throughout North America to conduct research in the diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments of Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Area.

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