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Plants at Alberta's Springs: Who's there and why?

  • Helen Schuler Nature Centre Indian Battle Road South Lethbridge, AB Canada (map)

Join Kayleigh Nielson as we explore non-native plant occurrence and human disturbance at freshwater springs in Alberta! 

Abstract (description): Freshwater springs in southern Alberta form resource-rich ecosystems that support highly biodiverse plant communities. The plant communities found at these springs often include both native and non-native species. Because of the risks associated with the invasion of non-native plants, understanding the factors that affect the occurrence of these species is important in order to protect biodiversity at these springs. In this talk, we will explore which plant species are commonly found at springs in southern Alberta, as well as some of the environmental factors that may promote the growth and establishment both native and non-native plants within these ecosystems.

Bio: Kayleigh Nielson, M.Sc. (’18) is a research associate at the University of Lethbridge in the Alberta Water and Environmental Science Building’s riparian ecology lab. She completed her B.Sc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge in 2014, having worked on several independent research projects, including an Honours Thesis on plant physiology and oil spills. Kayleigh successfully defended her Masters research in December 2017, which investigated the effects of human disturbance and the physical environment on non-native plant occurrence at springs in southern Alberta. In addition to her research interests, Kayleigh is an avid naturalist and outdoorsperson who enjoys sharing her knowledge about Lethbridge’s local ecology through her work and volunteerism, especially through the Helen Schuler Nature Centre.