Home » The making of the Midwestern prairie: Plant migration and climate change

The making of the Midwestern prairie: Plant migration and climate change

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101
Thomas Rosburg
Professor of Ecology and Botany, Drake University

 

Central North American grasslands have probably existed in various forms since the end of the rise of the Rocky Mountains and formation of a great rain shadow about 40 million years ago.  However, the expansion of warm-season grasses, the dominant grasses of today's tallgrass prairies, is thought to have occurred much later in the late Miocene, about 7 to 10 million years ago.  More recently, during the Pleistocene's repeated glacial advances in the Midwest, plant populations were forced to migrate to and from warmer climates.  This presentation will review the last 40 million years of climate and vegetation patterns with the goal of understanding how these legacies have impacted the prairie landscape of today.