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Allison M. Lambert
Southern Illinois University- Carbondale
My research and professional background is diverse and shows my dedication and enthusiasm for conservation and restoration. I graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and went on to pursue various conservation and restoration projects. I worked for the Nature Conservancy on the Glacial Ridge Project, a 24,000 acre tallgrass prairie restoration in northern Minnesota. I mapped the entire property for invasive species and assisted land managers in conserving and restoring native prairie. I also worked on the prairie management crew for Prairie Restorations, Inc. and restored native prairies for private landowners, corporations, and local governments. I have also done work with the National Park Service, mapping invasive species at Richmond National Battlefield Park and conserving the endangered piping plover at Assateague Island National Seashore.
It is important that the scientific community addresses current ecological needs. Due to the severe loss of native communities and ecosystems, it is of primary importance conserve and restore native systems. Ecosystems provide valuable functions and services and it is important that scientists study the mechanisms of community and ecosystem reassembly to determine successful means to restore native lands.
It is not only important that scientists elucidate the mechanisms of ecosystem reassembly, but communicate with land managers and participate in restorations. Conducting scientific projects on restoration sites can improve restoration success and maintain communication between land managers and scientists. Encouraging land managers to attend and speak at conferences and in classrooms helps us address ecological problems and create solutions. Scientists should be active in the community they study, participating in organizations that engage in conservation and restoration.
My current research focuses on the physiology of dominant grasses used in prairie restoration and seeks to quantify intraspecific variation between cultivar and non-cultivar population sources. I will investigate whether intraspecific variation has consequences for community structure (diversity) and ecosystem function (nutrient cycling) in restored tallgrass prairies. I will share my results at the 2007 Joint Annual ESA/SER Meeting, and at future meetings. If planting cultivars has consequences for restoration, I will encourage land managers to use native seed. My long term career goals include furthering my education and becoming a professor. As a professor I can educate others about the importance of conservation and restoration in maintaining diversity and lead research and restoration projects. College campuses are great places to initiate restorations and bring the community together to restore native communities.