Mar 17, 2015

Karena Schmidt Laboratory Supervisor  Bio

Natural History and (un)natural future of plants in Keweenaw and Isle Royale

Location:  Carnegie Museum Community Room,  Downtown Houghton

Times:   6:30 pm: Refreshments and introductions   7-8 pm:  Seminar and Discussion

Geologically, Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula reflect each other quite nicely.  Bedrock twins one could say.  Botanically, too, the spare acidic soils maneuvered by glaciers are the substrate to a host of plants that manage to survive dynamic influences of Lake Superior.  Historically humans, in their quest for cash, mined for copper and harvested magnificent old-growth forests; their actions radically altered the vegetative landscape, even more than a beaver or moose could ever dream.  Isle Royale and the Keweenaw have recovered quite differently from these ventures for a variety of reasons we will explore. 

There is no end to the botanical delights that await discovery and understanding.  Many plants here are western disjuncts, primarily having home base in the Pacific Northwest.  Many arctic species reach their southern-most limit.  Plants readily identified with more southerly climes reach their northern-most limit, putting down roots yet declaring thus far and no farther.  Unique too are large and diverse populations of orchids, heathers and lichens all of which have evolved unique and admirable adaptations to abide in the spectacular Keweenaw terrain.