Sponsor: Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration
Speaker: Mark Paschke is Professor and Shell Endowed Chair of Restoration Ecology at Colorado State University. He also serves as Research Associate Dean for the Warner College of Natural Resources (WCNR) at CSU. Mark received his PhD in Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Forestry from the University of Illinois. Mark has been a faculty member in WCNR since 2005. Prior to 2005 he was a Research Scientist at CSU. His research focuses on the mechanisms controlling community assembly in terrestrial plant communities. For much of his research career he has worked across multiple scales, from the molecular to the ecosystem level, and across multiple disciplines. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in Ecological Restoration at CSU. Mark has served many roles in professional organizations including terms as President of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration.
Actinorhizal plants are a diverse group of shrubs and trees that form a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing Frankia bacteria. Actinorhizal plants in the Rocky Mountains are among the most important browse species for wildlife in the region owing to their high protein content resulting from an abundant supply of nitrogen supplied by Frankia in root nodules. Like nitrogen-fixing legumes, actinorhizal plants play critical roles in soil development and succession following fires. However, unlike legumes, which are important agricultural crops, wildland actinorhizal plants and their Frankia symbionts are not as well-studied or understood. Important taxa of actinorhizal plants in the Rocky Mountains include bitterbrush (Purshia spp.), mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus spp.), alder (Alnus spp.), ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.), buffaloberry (Shepherdia spp.) and avens (Dryas spp.). This webinar will focus on the ecology of Rocky Mountain actinorhizal plants in post-fire environments and their potential for expanded use in ecological restoration of burned areas.