Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)
Paper No. 41-2
Presentation Time: 1:55 PM-2:10 PM


ZMIJEWSKI, Kirk A., CRAIL, Todd D., and BECKER, Richard H., Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo, 2081 Bancroft Ave, Toledo, OH 43606,

Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus) is a shrub of Eurasian origin first introduced to the United States in the mid 1800’s. Recently, the shrub has become an aggressive invasive pest of wetlands such as fens and bogs to the exclusion of nearly all other plant species. It has emerged as one of the greatest threats to lake plain wet prairies, such as the historic Irwin Prairie of the Oak Openings Region. The plant is known to thrive in nitrogen-rich soils and may create positive feedbacks in nitrogen cycling, thus favoring its dominance (Heneghan et al. 2006). In a GIS investigation of Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve, the greatest extent of thicket corresponded with the lowest elevations of the site. Although the preserve’s eastern grassland (which has neither been invaded by glossy buckthorn nor received any intensive management) displays greater seasonal saturation, it sits at a higher elevation than the western portions of the preserve.

We hypothesize that 1) the eastern grassland at Irwin Parie is hydrologically isolated, 2) water nitrogen levels in the eastern and western portions are significantly different and that 3) water arriving through ditched channels adjacent to the western grasslands is promoting buckthorn thicket by nitrifying the soil.

A temporal analysis of land cover in Irwin Prarie covering 2000-2010 was conducted using LIDAR, Landsat ETM+ and air photo data to map buckthorn thicket location and extent. Differences in the phenological cycles and canopy structure of buckthorn thicket, pin oak savanna, and twig rush prairie were used to distinguish land cover.

Surface drainage was modeled from LIDAR data using the TOPAZ method in a GIS environment. A locally closed surface drainage is noted due to a natural levee separating the upland surface drainage through Irwin Prarie from ten mile creek. This causes accumulation of nutrient rich runoff as surface ponding resulting in local recharge in the western grasslands area. This surface ponding is seen to coincide with the mapped buckthorn thickets in the study area. Future work will involve water sampling, spectral measurements, and ground verification of remote sensing measurements.

Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 41
Into the Woods: Ecohydrology and Groundwater–Surface Water Interaction in Forested Eastern North America
Omni William Penn Hotel: Bob Hope
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, 21 March 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 1, p. 121

© Copyright 2011 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.