There is some very exciting things going on at Splinter Hill Bog Reserve right now. After a few prescribed burns done in late Winter and supervised by our good friend and Conservational partner Keith Tassin at TNC, the bog is springing to life with some of the finest and diverse Sarracenia colonies that one might ever see in their lifetime...all of this made possible by the generous contributions of our beloved ICPS Members. I really can't say "thank you" enough!
Also, the research project is officially underway pertaining to Sarracenia genetics, being conducted by Ashley Morris, Professor of Genetics at University of South Alabama. Below is a quote on the exact steps and observations to date;
(quote) "We've seen some interesting things in the field, so we have been slow to establish our plots to be sure we will capture the whole range of variation. For example, last time out we found a yellow-flowered leucophylla, which was pretty exciting for us. We also found a lot of weird intermediates, although between what we're not entirely sure. I'm curious about your thoughts on rosea; we've decided at this point to call all short fat pitchers 'purpurea type' because they vary so much in color / shape / and other morphological features. We're not sure at this point how much of that variation is developmental, so we plan to wait until much later in the season to do morphometrics.
Tomorrow's plan is to:
1) set up four plots (two in open savanna and two in forest)
2) install five lysimeters at each site to monitor soil nutrient content
3) GPS and photodocument each plot
I don't know if I told you, but I did get a little funding from an internal undergrad research program for a student to survey bacterial diversity within and among pitchers using a genetic technique. We will be sure to do this within one of our plots so that we have an additional layer of data. I'm also planning to set out a malaise trap to collect insects at the site (hopefully one in each habitat). My colleagues working on alata have been DNA barcoding the liquid in the pitchers to determine prey present, and they are building a comparative barcode database from onsite collections. We hopefully will be able to do something similar eventually." (end quote)
I myself plan on traveling and producing a detailed video documentary on Splinter Hill and the research presently going on there, then it's off to areas in the Fl. Panhandle currently in danger of being bulldozed. All video shall be shot in HD format as well!
I have a few "troops" in place and will be setting up a local group of CP enthusiasts to monitor the area and to be my "eyes" while I'm not present. There has even been a very generous offer by a gentleman there to use his private 35+ acres of prime bogland as a new home for any plants rescued. I plan on surveying this area and reporting on this gracious offer also.
But first, I must get up that way to organize the above mentioned efforts.
A detailed up-to-date article on The Splinter Hill Project and the Green Swamp initiative will be in the June issue of CPN, along with a host of wonderful photos.
Again, I'd like to say a heart-felt thank you to all of you that helped make this fantastic scientific research possible! I'll keep everyone updated as this all moves forward...
ICPS Director of Conservation.