Rafael Otfinowski

Rafael Otfinowski
The University of Winnipeg · Department of Biology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

26
Publications
3,123
Reads
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340
Citations
Introduction
My research focuses on links between plants and soils to conserve, manage, and restore prairie ecosystems. Work in our lab focuses on root and soil ecology to understand the function of restored grasslands and find better ways to define restoration success.
Additional affiliations
August 2014 - August 2021
The University of Winnipeg
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (26)
Article
Predicting the impacts of exotic species on native ecosystems requires an understanding of the ecological processes that regulate biological invasions. Despite accumulating evidence that belowground interactions play a significant role in determining the outcome of plant invasions, few studies have examined the role of soilborne pathogens in invasi...
Article
Full-text available
Aims We examined how legacies of afforestation affect soil food webs using the composition, structure, and diversity of soil nematode communities along a prairie restoration chronosequence. Methods Vegetation and soil nematode surveys were conducted across a restoration chronosequence of tree removal (2, 5, and 20 years) in a former plantation in...
Article
Full-text available
AimsWe examined how restoration affects the structure and function of grasslands belowground by relating changes in the morphology and architecture of root systems of dominant plants to the structure of soil food webs.Methods We measured changes in root traits of dominant plants (Bouteloua gracilis and Pascopyrum smithii) and related them to the di...
Article
Despite the detrimental impacts of invasive plants on native biodiversity, ecosystem function, and management cost, few studies have focused on the long-term persistence of invaders. Here, we use a unique, long-term dataset to examine the recovery of northern rough fescue prairie communities, 41 years after the removal of livestock from Riding Moun...
Article
Wet grasslands are an important element of rangeland communities around the world and are key in the provision of many ecosystem services, including interception of runoff, filtration of pollutants, storage of carbon, and maintenance of wildlife habitat. In the northern Great Plains, wet grasslands are often more productive than upland grasslands a...
Article
Full-text available
Afforestation resulting from fire suppression, modified grazing, plantation establishment and climate change poses a threat to northern prairie ecosystems. Trees alter the composition and function of plant and soil faunal communities and can compromise the restoration of afforested prairies. To evaluate the hypothesis that legacies of afforestation...
Article
Full-text available
Restoration of grassland ecosystems is critical to the provision of ecosystem services, however, legacies of historic disturbances pose a challenge to grassland restoration. In the northern Great Plains of North America, continued fragmentation and disturbance of northern fescue prairies has prompted more stringent criteria to regulate the revegeta...
Article
Rough fescue prairies were once common across the northern prairies but have now been almost entirely lost to a combination of agricultural expansion, energy development, fire suppression, and invasion by exotic species. Despite these pressures, remnant grasslands remain important in conserving biodiversity and as habitats for threatened species. I...
Poster
Rough fescue prairies are one of the most degraded ecosystems in western Canada and continue to face challenges from development, fire suppression, and invasive exotic species. Despite these pressures, remnant grasslands remain important for biodiversity conservation and as habitats for threatened species. Since 1973, Riding Mountain National Park,...
Poster
Northern fescue prairies, once common in the Aspen Parkland Ecoregion, have become increasingly fragmented, lost to agriculture, resource extraction, and exotic invaders. Despite these pressures, fescue prairies remain important habitats for wildlife and species at risk. Among exotic invaders, Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis subsp. pratensis) oft...
Poster
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis subsp. pratensis), is an aggressive exotic grass found throughout the mixed-grass prairies of North America. Although Kentucky bluegrass usually grows on highly degraded lands, it also competes with native plants in undisturbed areas where it reduces the diversity of native flora. Degradation of native prairies thr...
Article
Analytical writing enhances retention of science learning and is integral to student-centered classrooms. Despite this, scientific writing in undergraduate programs is often presented as a series of sentence-level conventions of grammar, syntax, and citation formats, reinforcing students' perceptions of its highly prescriptive nature. We designed o...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Northern fescue prairies, once common in the Aspen Parkland Ecoregion of western Canada, have become increasingly lost to agricultural expansion and the proliferation of exotic species. Despite these pressures, northern fescue prairies remain important to the management of wildlife, conservation of species at risk, and t...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Full report (in French):https://www.ouranos.ca/publication-scientifique/RapportdeBlois2013_FR.pdf
Article
The presence of landscape disturbances increases the establishment of exotic plants inside natural areas. Here, we examine the effect of human disturbances to prairie landscapes on the distribution and abundance of Kentucky bluegrass and smooth brome, exotic grasses that threaten the integrity of prairie ecosystems throughout the northern Great Pla...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Biological invasions describe the establishment and proliferation of exotic species to the detriment of indigenous organisms. Despite the negative impacts of exotic invaders on native biodiversity, few studies have focused on their long-term persistence. Here, we examine the recovery of rough fescue prairie communities...
Article
We evaluate the predictive power and generality of Shipley's maximum entropy (maxent) model of community assembly in the context of 96 quadrats over a 120-km2 area having a large (79) species pool and strong gradients. Quadrats were sampled in the herbaceous understory of ponderosa pine forests in the Coconino National Forest, Arizona, U.S.A. The m...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Biological invasions describe the proliferation and persistence of exotic species to the detriment of indigenous organisms. Consequences of invasions are manifested at all levels of biological organization. Invaders may directly compete with native species, duplicating their functional role and resulting in their margin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background/Question/Methods Support for conservation increases with increased awareness and understanding of the natural environment and a heightened sense of stewardship. As the Canadian population becomes increasingly urban and culturally heterogeneous, we explore the use of ecological models to teach about the importance of protecting the biodi...
Article
Full-text available
Increasing environmental impacts of exotic organisms have refocused attention on the ability of diverse communities to resist biological invaders. Although resource availability, often related to natural and anthropogenic disturbances, appears central to the invasibility of biological communities, understanding the links between resources, diversit...
Article
Full-text available
The importance of dispersal in the establishment and proliferation of exotic populations make this life history stage critical in the prediction and management of biological invasions. We observed the dispersal of seeds by patches of smooth brome invading northern fescue prairies and applied an inverse power function model to explore its potential...
Article
Full-text available
Predicting exotic invaders and reducing their impacts on the biodiversity and function of native ecosystems require understanding of the mechanisms that facilitate their success during key stages of invasion. We determined whether clonal growth, characteristic of the majority of successful invaders of natural areas, facilitates the proliferation of...
Article
Full-text available
Invasive exotic species threaten the biodiversity and function of native ecosystems. Existing models, attempting to predict successful invaders, often emphasize isolated stages of biological invasions and fail to formalize interactions between exotic species and recipient environments. By integrating the native climatic range and biological traits...
Article
Smooth brome (Bromus inermis Leyss.), a native of central Eurasia, was introduced to Canada as a forage and hay crop around 1888. Early reports of plants escaped from cultivation appear in 1903, and based on the number of collections prior to 1920, smooth brome spread most rapidly in western Canada. It is common along roadsides, forest margins, cle...

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