Using Habitat Suitability Modeling to Determine the Vulnerability of Rare Illinois Plant Species to Climate Change
Major Goals and Objectives
Through this graduate student scholars project, I will expand the impact of my research using habitat suitability modeling (HSM) to map the distribution of Illinois wetland rare plant species and assess their vulnerability to climate change. Using HSM, I will determine the required niche conditions for two species, Epilobium strictum and Rhynchospora alba and identify locations of suitable habitat in Illinois. To evaluate the accuracy of my models, I will conduct field monitoring of all known populations, as well as sites designated as suitable by the models to potentially discover new populations. The monitoring data collected will be added to the HSM, which I will use to test the possible response of these species to predicted climate scenarios. Rare plant conservation efforts require informed climate strategies to implement urgently-needed species protections and prevent unnecessary climate extinctions.