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Olympia Native Plant Society: Pollinators and Invasive Plants

Restoring Pollinators to South Sound Prairies and The Effect of Invasive Plants
By Dr. Susan Waters
Location: Washington State Capitol Museum Coach House
211 21st Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98501

Dr. Susan Waters, is a Rare Species Biologist with the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) working to restore butterflies and pollinators to the South Sound Prairies. Waters’ interests in ecology and restoration are centered on the importance of species interactions – the interactions between organisms, which affect the structure of ecological communities.

Her research looks at the relationship of pollinators, invasive plants and native plants. In her research, Susan has explored how two important agents of change, invasion of exotic plants and climate change, are influencing our South Sound Prairies. First, she investigated how exotic plant species influence the way pollinators respond to native plants. She found that having high densities of exotic flowers surrounding a native plant can increase or decrease how often pollinators visit native flowers (depending on the native plant species and conditions of the site) affecting how much seed a native plant can produce. Second, she explored how exotic plants blooming earlier, due to climate change, altered the interactions between pollinators and native plants (which are not expected to shift their blooming dates earlier to the same degree as exotic species).

She found that when exotic plants bloom earlier, the amount of seed produced by native plants increases or decreases dramatically depending on the native plant species.

Susan Waters also founded the Urban Pollination Project, a citizen science project to look at pollinators and food production. She will share her work with us.

For more information go to: Washington Native Plant Society