Eric S. Menges

Eric S. Menges
Archbold Biological Station · Plant Ecology Program

PhD, Botany, Univ. Wisconsin

About

222
Publications
33,549
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10,594
Citations
Citations since 2017
32 Research Items
3444 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600

Publications

Publications (222)
Article
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Premise: Life span varies greatly across plants with some species capable of extreme longevity. Yet, even long-lived individuals are susceptible to climatic events, fire, and other challenges. Here, we examined rare mortality events and their causes over four decades for two long-lived palmettos. Methods: We monitored the survival of the clonal...
Article
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The frequency of ecological disturbances, such as fires, is changing due to changing land use and climatic conditions. Disturbance‐adapted species may thus require the manipulation of disturbance regimes to persist. However, the effects of changes in other abiotic factors, such as climatic conditions, are frequently disregarded in studies of such s...
Article
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Abstract Translocated populations often show vigorous initial dynamics but eventually collapse. Modeling tools that incorporate basic ecological knowledge and allow for propagation of uncertainty can help identify potential risks. Here, we use Bayesian Integral Projection Models to estimate population growth rates (λs), associated elasticities, and...
Article
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Abstract Species translocations are increasingly common in rare plant conservation. Wild populations can provide basic ecological knowledge to improve their chance of success. In the heavily fragmented Florida scrub, USA, many listed species require translocations to persist, including Dicerandra christmanii. In 1994, we began monitoring the only p...
Article
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Background Fire is a dominant ecological disturbance in many ecosystems. Post-fire resprouting is a widespread response to fire, but resprouting vigor varies with many components of the fire regime, including fire intensity. We measured responses in 46 species of resprouting plants of Florida, USA, scrub and related habitats, marking and measuring...
Article
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Amphicarpic plants produce both above-ground and below-ground seeds. Because below-ground seeds are protected in the soil and may maintain viability when above-ground conditions are stressful, they were proposed as an adaptation to recolonize a site after disturbance. However, whether below-ground seeds are the main colonizers after a disturbance r...
Article
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Evaluation of the success of rare plant introductions requires analysis of demographic success. We analyze the success of ten wild and eight introduced populations of Florida goldenaster (Chrysopsis floridana), a federally endangered forb endemic to west-central Florida, using demographic and stage class data collected from 2017–2019. We also colle...
Chapter
There is an urgent need to understand how populations and metapopulations respond to shifts in the environment to mitigate the consequences of human actions and global change. Identifying environmental variables/factors affecting population dynamics and the nature of their impacts is fundamental to improve projections and predictions. This chapter...
Article
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Fire plays a major role in structuring plant communities across the globe. Interactions with soil microbes impact plant fitness, scaling up to influence plant populations and distributions. Here we present the first factorial manipulation of both fire and soil microbiome presence to investigate their interactive effects on plant performance across...
Article
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Abstract Advances in remote sensing technologies offer new means to monitor habitats of importance on large scales. Florida rosemary scrub is one such threatened habitat, found in patches across the landscape in relatively elevated areas, and is often characterized by shrub‐less areas (gaps) among the dominant shrubs, which provide favorable microh...
Article
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The spatial scale at which demographic performance (e.g. net reproductive output) varies can profoundly influence landscape‐level population growth and persistence, and many demographically pertinent processes such as species interactions and resource acquisition vary at fine‐scales. We compared the magnitude of demographic variation associated wit...
Article
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Environmental stress is increasing worldwide, yet we lack a clear picture of how stress disrupts the stability of microbial communities and the ecosystem services they provide. Here, we present the first evidence that naturally-occurring microbiomes display network properties characteristic of unstable communities when under persistent stress. By a...
Article
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Background Resprouting is an effective strategy for persistence of perennial plants after disturbances such as fire. However, can disturbances be so frequent that they limit resprouting? We examined the effects of fire and mowing frequency on eight species of resprouting shrubs in Florida scrub, USA, using a factorial field experiment. We burned or...
Preprint
Full-text available
Amphicarphic species produce both aboveground and belowground seeds; the belowground seeds have been proposed to be an adaptation to disturbed sites because they are protected belowground, enabling them to persist and recolonize a site after disturbance. However, it is unknown whether such seeds indeed serve as the main colonizers after a disturban...
Preprint
Drivers of demography: past challenges and a promise for a changed future. There is an urgent need to understand how populations and metapopulations respond to shifts in the environment to mitigate the consequences of human actions and global change. Identifying the drivers of population dynamics and the nature of their effects is fundamental to i...
Article
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The Stress Gradient Hypothesis (SGH), which predicts increasing ratios of facilitative:competitive interactions with increasing stress, has long been a guiding framework for conceptualizing plant–plant interactions. Recently, there has been a growing recognition of the roles of microbes in mitigating or exacerbating environmental stress for their p...
Article
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Microbiomes can dramatically alter individual plant performance, yet how these effects influence higher-order processes is not well resolved. In particular, little is known about how microbiome effects on individual plants alter plant population dynamics, a question critical to imperiled species conservation. Here we integrate bioassays, multidecad...
Article
Seed bank, seed dispersal and historical disturbance are critical factors affecting plant population persistence. However, because of difficulties collecting data on these factors they are often ignored. We evaluated the roles of seed bank, seed dispersal and historical disturbance on metapopulation persistence of Hypericum cumulicola , a Florida e...
Article
Although prescribed fires and pre-treatments (e.g., roller chopping and mowing) are used by public and private landowners to manage natural habitats in Florida, they can influence the invasion and spread of non-native plants in natural areas. Firelanes and roads used to access habitat for management practices create corridors for invasive grasses....
Article
There is an unsettled debate on the benefits of mechanical disturbance for native species in fire-prone habitats. We compared the demographic effects of fire and mechanical treatments (Gyro-tracing) on Polygonella myriophylla, a prostrate clonal shrub listed as endangered and narrowly endemic to pyrogenic scrub ecosystems in south-central Florida....
Article
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Temporal variability in the environment drives variation in vital rates, with consequences for population dynamics and life‐history evolution. Integral projection models ( IPM s) are data‐driven structured population models widely used to study population dynamics and life‐history evolution in temporally variable environments. However, many dataset...
Article
The netted pawpaw (Annonaceae, Asimina reticulata) is a widespread Florida endemic plant that produces relatively few fruits. To understand its distribution and reproductive success, we posed three questions: (a) how do time-since-fire (TSF) and pollinator visitation influence reproductive success, (b) is it pollinator dependent, and (c) does outcr...
Article
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Vegetative dormancy, that is the temporary absence of aboveground growth for ≥ 1 year, is paradoxical, because plants cannot photosynthesise or flower during dormant periods. We test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses for its widespread persistence. We show that dormancy has evolved numerous times. Most species displaying dormancy exhibit life‐...
Article
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Demography varies in response to multiple interactive drivers at varying scales. However, these relationships are often assessed piecemeal, particularly without consideration of drivers at the landscape level. We developed a model to predict population dynamics of an endangered, perennial herb Hypericum cumulicola across a range of landscape driver...
Article
Premise of the study: Areas lacking dominant plants, or gaps, can support high diversity and specialist species. Previous chronosequence research in Florida rosemary scrub showed indistinct gap area patterns with fire and the dependence of certain species on gaps. We hypothesized that fire and gap size would affect extinction, colonization, divers...
Article
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Cleistogamy (CL) in angiosperms historically has been understudied; however, its co-occurrence with chasmogamy (CH) across many plant species suggests a fitness advantage to maintaining this mixed-mating strategy. Maintenance of mixed-mating has been attributed to reproductive assurance, resource allocation or genetic trade-offs. Our goals were to...
Article
Fire management plans (FMP) are complex documents that receive little evaluation of whether their objectives are met. We evaluate the Archbold Biological Station (ABS) FMP for goals related to the fire regime (area burned, seasonality, severity, and fire return intervals). The goals include increasing the area burned with prescribed fires, burning...
Article
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Ecological disturbances in ecosystems are often essential for the continued success of many species, acting to increase resource availability and allowing recruitment of new individuals. Fire, a common disturbance, has been shown to influence seed germination in many ecosystems worldwide. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of fire,...
Article
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Polygala lewtonii is a federally endangered, amphicarpic plant with a mixed mating system and three types of flowers: (1) aboveground, chasmogamous flowers (i.e., open-pollinated; CH), (2) aboveground, cleistogamous flowers (i.e., closed, selfing; CL) and (3) CL flowers on belowground stems (amphicarpy). Aboveground seeds are ant-dispersed, whereas...
Article
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Recovery of an imperiled plant species may require augmentation of existing populations or creation of new ones. Hundreds of such projects have been conducted over the last few decades, but there is a bias in the literature favoring successes over failures. In this paper, we evaluate a series of introductions that experimentally manipulated microha...
Article
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In pyrogenic ecosystems, fire often plays an integral part in plant population dynamics. For a subset of plant species in such ecosystems, fire is connected to seed set and/or germination, resulting in postfire recruitment episodes. We investigated the relationship between fire and seed set in the perennial forb Liatris ohlingerae (Asteraceae), one...
Article
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We collected data from 1998 to 2014 to describe the ecology of the highly endangered Florida scrub plant Crotalaria avonensis (Avon Park Harebells), and herein address several hypotheses based on what was known of its biology and the biology of co-occurring species. This perennial herbaceous legume occurs at 3 sites and prefers microsites with more...
Article
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Roads have the potential to serve as dispersal corridors for invasion into pristine habitats for invasive exotic species. However, undisturbed habitats may also resist such invasion. Torpedograss (Panicum repens L.) is an aggressive invasive grass in many parts of the world and, although most problematic in lakes and ponds, frequently occurs in roa...
Article
Plants existing in small and isolated populations often depend on microclimatic refugia that create local environments buffered from macroclimatic conditions. Currently much effort is devoted toward identifying features that create refugial conditions in the expectation that they will continue to serve as refugia into the future. However, the abili...
Article
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Euphorbia rosescens is a recently described plant that is narrowly endemic to the Lake Wales Ridge. Little is known of the ecology or life history of this diminutive, deeply rooted polygamodioecious perennial. We studied 13 subpopulations of this species from 2004–2012 from five habitats, sampling monthly during its growing season. Subpopulations w...
Article
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Natural and anthropogenic disturbances co‐occur in most systems, but how they interact to shape demographic outcomes remains poorly understood. Such interactions may alter dynamics of populations in non‐additive ways, making demographic predictions challenging when focusing on only one disturbance. Thus, understanding the interactive effects of suc...
Article
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Fire is a major factor in the ecosystem dynamics of upland Florida habitats. Fire impacts have been well studied in terms of plant community responses, but the effects of fire on soil characteristics and post-fire plant-microbial interactions in these systems remain poorly documented. We investigated the effect of fire intensity and pre-fire vegeta...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Eryngium cuneifolium is a gap specialist herb endemic to south central Florida rosemary scrub. Demographic patterns of E. cuneifolium at Archbold Biological Station are strongly driven by time-since-fire and life history stage and population models predict local extinction after 15 years without fire. Long term demogra...
Article
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QuestionsThe ecology of landscape gaps is important for the maintenance of species diversity in a variety of plant ecosystems. In the scrubby flatwoods community type of the pyrogenic Florida scrub, we aimed to identify the relationship between time-since-fire, gap area, quality (microhabitat) and aggregation (structural connectivity) with neighbou...
Article
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Evolution drives, and is driven by, demography. A genotype moulds its phenotype's age patterns of mortality and fertility in an environment; these two patterns in turn determine the genotype's fitness in that environment. Hence, to understand the evolution of ageing, age patterns of mortality and reproduction need to be compared for species across...
Article
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Wetlands maintain biodiversity and provide numerous ecosystem services, so the pressure to perform successful restoration consequently is high. However, restoration projects rarely include an in-depth assessment of wetland potential for recovery, and restoration techniques may not be tailored to site-specific concerns. This study examined the seed...
Article
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Balancing land management and restoration goals for ecosystems and for individual species can create challenges. Here we describe the responses of two federally endangered plants to experimental restoration of fire-suppressed xeric longleaf pine/wiregrass (sandhill) habitat on the Lake Wales Ridge in south-central Florida. We compared responses to...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods In order to optimize management strategies for the conservation of threatened species, it is critical to understand the interplay between the demography of a species and its environment. However, this is often difficult for species with complex demography. Liatris ohlingerae is a rare endemic herb native to the Lake Wa...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Although plant introductions are often performed and evaluated in an idiosyncratic manner, experimental introductions can be coupled with careful evaluation to provide tests of specific hypotheses related to introduction methods or ecological concepts. Here, we adopt a comparative method to evaluate the success of intr...
Article
Full-text available
Uncertainty associated with ecological forecasts has long been recognized, but forecast accuracy is rarely quantified. We evaluated how well data on 82 populations of 20 species of plants spanning 3 continents explained and predicted plant population dynamics. We parameterized stage-based matrix models with demographic data from individually marked...
Article
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Seasonally flooded wetlands are periodically drained due to dry-season precipitation patterns. In the dry season, soil moisture can decrease to a level where wetland vegetation communities are subjected to drought stress. To understand the effects of drought conditions on the structure of seasonal wetland communities, we conducted a post-flooding r...
Article
Conservation of a threatened species requires knowledge of the factors that affect its recruitment, survival, and reproduction. We conducted a long-term study on the demography of Paronychia chartacea ssp. chartacea, a short-lived, gynodioecious Florida rosemary scrub endemic. Specifically, we assessed the effects of habitat (rosemary scrub vs. roa...
Article
Fire suppression in sandhill ecosystems leads to biotic impoverishment and reduces fine fuels needed for frequent fires. We investigated the restoration dynamics of a long-unburned endemic-rich sandhill on Florida's Lake Wales Ridge using prescribed fire with and without prior chainsaw felling of the hardwood subcanopy. Our goals were to promote su...
Article
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Logging has recently been used as a restoration tool in Florida scrub, a pyrogenic shrubland ecosystem that often develops a pine canopy in the absence of fire. We studied the effects of logging and fire, alone and in combination, on fire-suppressed Florida scrub on the Lake Wales Ridge in south-central Florida. Restoration goals were both structur...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Understanding factors affecting demographic dynamics is a vital component of conservation. By discerning how vital rates change in response to population and environmental factors and their effect on population growth and structure, management strategies can be tailored to optimize conservation efforts. The perennial h...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Archbold Biological Station (ABS) is a non-profit facility dedicated to long-term ecological research, education, and conservation based in rural Highlands County, Florida. In a county where science subject-matter standardized test scores are regularly below average, supplemental education programs may be critical to f...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Gaps are open patches within the dominant vegetation and are an important structural component in many systems. Gaps within Florida scrub, a pyrogenic shrubland, serve as the preferred microhabitat for many endemic scrub species, including several federally endangered plants. Scrub gaps are characterized as areas devoi...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides) is a foundation species, affecting the structure and function of Florida scrub by creating open gaps through strong competition and allelopathy. Existing research on the ecology and demography of Florida rosemary has primarily focused on its interactions with other species, compar...
Article
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Demographic transition matrices are among the most commonly applied population models for both basic and applied ecological research. The relatively simple framework of these models and simple, easily interpretable summary statistics they produce have prompted the wide use of these models across an exceptionally broad range of taxa. Here, we provid...
Article
Metacommunity theory allows predictions about the dynamics of potentially interacting species' assemblages that are linked by dispersal, but strong empirical tests of the theory are rare. We analyzed the metacommunity dynamics of Florida rosemary scrub, a patchily distributed pyrogenic community, to test predictions about turnover rates, community...
Article
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Fire drives the population dynamics of many plants. By following successive cohorts of Polygala lewtonii Small (Polygalaceae), a short-lived herb endemic to fire-maintained Florida sandhills, in both burned and unburned microsites, we investigated how fire affected vital rates throughout cohort lifetimes. We followed cohorts from before to 6 years...
Article
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Although resprouting is recognized as a key post-disturbance response for plants, few studies have closely examined post-fire growth responses of resprouting species. Following a prescribed burn in Florida scrub, we compared intraspecific and interspecific growth patterns of 16 resprouting shrub species. We then examined how resprouting growth is r...
Article
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Exclusion of fire from pyrogenic ecosystems often results in changes in vegetation structure and the loss of biodiversity. Where landscape context constrains the application of fire, managers are applying mechanical treatments in conjunction with or as a surrogate for fire. We compared the effects of prescribed fire, mowing, mowing followed by fire...
Article
Full-text available
Preventing the establishment of a non-native species is critical for ensuring the species does not become invasive, yet most non-native species will have little impact on their environment. Despite this, little is known about what influences whether a species will remain relatively benign, or whether it will cause economic or ecological harm. Under...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Frequent fire may constrain fire regimes supporting resprouting plants because carbohydrate stores may be exhausted after multiple resprouting episodes. We explored whether frequent fires or mowing (often used as a fire surrogate) would affect vigor and carbohydrate levels in eight species of resprouting shrubs dominan...
Article
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The soil seed bank plays a central role in the regeneration of obligate seeding species in fire-prone habitats. We evaluated how seed density and species composition changed with time-since-fire in the Florida, USA, rosemary scrub community. Because fire affects habitat availability and plant demographic variation, we predicted that soil seed densi...
Article
Hurricanes have dramatic effects on forest vegetation, but their effects on shrublands have rarely been studied. We analyzed the effects of three 2004 hurricanes—among the strongest on record in Florida—on vital rates of 12 rare plant species of pyrogenic interior Florida scrub and sandhill. Tree damage varied by vegetation type (being highest in a...