Regal fritillary at MPF’s Schwartz Prairie. Photo: Allen Woodliffe
While prairie is very rare in Missouri today, there is still much to learn about this complex ecosystem. A key aspect of MPF’s mission is prairie education, including support of prairie research.
To this end, MPF raises funds to pay for annual species’ surveys on its prairies, and also provides numerous small grants to researchers studying prairies, glades, and other native grasslands. In 2008, for example, MPF provided a small grant to Nicole Miller, then a Ph.D. candidate at Washington University, to assist with her work studying plant-pollinator interactions on Missouri prairies and glades.
MPF also allows researchers—with permission—to use MPF properties to gather data and carry out other scientific work. In 2010, for example, Lauren Hart, a graduate student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, compared insect communities in original tallgrass prairies, restored prairies, and fescue-dominated agricultural fields, as well as insect-feeding interactions. Results of these and other researchers’ work is often published in the Missouri Prairie Journal and posted below.
MPF’s prairie events open to the public also result in data collection and biological discoveries. For example, at MPF’s Penn-Sylvania Prairie BioBliz in 2010, 242 species of plants and animals were documented in fewer than 24 hours, including 133 plant species confirmed from a 1999 list plus 30 newly documented plants. At MPF’s Golden Prairie BioBlitz in 2011, Arkansas darters—an uncommon headwater fish—were discovered in a small spring-fed prairie stream.
RESEARCH ON MPF PRAIRIES:
2019 Floristic Integrity Report: Gayfeather, Stilwell, and unnamed (Thomas) Prairies by the Institute of Botanical Training, LLC.
2018 Floristic Integrity Report: Coyne (continued), Penn-Sylvania, Schwartz and Snowball Hill Prairies by the Institute of Botanical Training, LLC.
Linden’s Prairie Bryophytes (2016)
Schwartz Prairie Bryophytes (2012)
2019 Breeding Bird Surveys on 10 MPF Prairies in 2019 by the Missouri River Bird Observatory
2018 Breeding Bird Surveys on Missouri Prairie Foundation Properties by the Missouri River Bird Observatory
Reptiles and Amphibians:
MPF Vice President of Science & Management Bruce Schuette’s paper, The Conservation Significance of Prairie Remnants in Missouri, which he delivered at the 2016 North American Prairie Conference in Illinois.