Merry Conlin

M. S. Candidate, North Carolina State University

2022 Field Travel Grant Type 1

The Inconspicuous Ludwigia: Quantitative Habitat Characterization of
Critically Imperiled, Wetland Obligate Ludwigia ravenii (Onagraceae)

Ludwigia ravenii Peng (Onagraceae; G1G2) is an herbaceous perennial endemic to the southeastern Coastal Plain of the United States. Extant populations are presently known from a single county in each state of occurrence, in Virginia and the Carolinas. The species is a wetland obligate. It is historically known from habitats variously described as depressions, swales, margins of water bodies, wet savannas, and ditches, but currently appears to be restricted to shallow roadside ditches or vehicle ruts in low-lying powerline rights-of-way. Due to low population numbers and a limited distribution, this species is under review by the USFWS for federal listing as of 2011. While the taxonomy of the species and its relatives has been well-addressed, its microhabitat and life history largely remain unknown. This knowledge gap precludes the development of meaningful recovery and restoration efforts. Consequently, the primary objectives of the present research are to quantitatively assess habitat characteristics of extant populations of L. ravenii and to utilize the resulting data to describe critical habitat for conservation surveys and habitat suitability models.