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Population demography and plant-pollinator interactions of a federally threatened thistle, Cirsium pitcheri
Pitcher’s thistle, Cirsium pitcheri (Asteraceae), is an herbaceous perennial plant endemic to the lacustrine dunes of Michigan and Wisconsin. Flowering begins in late June and continues throughout the summer until seed set in middle to late August. It has been shown that Pitcher’s thistle can set seed through self-fertilization. However, seed set is greatly improved by cross-fertilization provided by pollinators. I will study the population dynamics and pollinator interactions of C. pitcheri. I seek to understand (1) how population dynamics vary through time and (2) how the shifts in the pollinator community in response to climate change may impact populations of C. pitcheri. Both of these objectives will help us to better manage C. pitcheri populations in the face of climate change.
Erin Elizabeth Fegley