Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The lack of biodiversity in prairie restorations compared to native prairies is alarming, and restoring this diversity has been a key focus of research and restoration projects for years. This study aims to assess two variables: planting season and plant residue, for achieving success in forb establishment. This research was conducted in a greenhouse using mesocosms that were seeded in spring, summer, and fall with nine forb species. Half of each seasonal treatment received ground cover, while the other half did not. Two hypotheses were formed. The first was that the fall planting will be the most successful seasonal treatment having the best germination rates, reproductive successes, and above-ground biomass. The second was that the ground cover treatments will perform significantly better than those without in germination, reproductive success, and biomass. The spring treatment performed the best having the greatest germination, reproductive success, and biomass, followed by the summer treatment, with the fall planting period performing the worst, which did not support my first hypothesis. The treatments receiving ground cover performed better than those without it, supporting my second hypothesis. The interaction showed ground cover's impact on the plant performance each season. The analysis also showed a statistically significant interaction between planting season and litter for the number of plants that emerged. This was not detected for the number of plants that reached their reproductive life stage or biomass. With the dwindling prairie distribution, this research allowed our team to make recommendations to increase diversity and expand pollinator habitat in shortgrass prairies in a changing climate.


Matthew Galliart, Dr. Mitchell Greer

Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type



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