Karen Truong

Document Type

Honors Thesis


With urbanization rapidly occurring across the nation, human activities are changing the environment in and around urban areas. Higher temperatures and elevated carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere can potentially impact plant growth and reproduction. To investigate whether native plants are adapting to the altered urban environment, a common garden experiment was conducted by growing individuals of Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem; a native prairie grass) from two urban and two rural sites in North Texas at one location to keep the environment the same for all individuals. Measurements of plant growth and sexual reproduction were taken by monitoring the number and length of vegetative tillers (leaves) and reproductive tillers (flowering stalks) during one growing season before obtaining biomass at the conclusion of the experiment. Timing of flowering was also monitored. Differences in biomass among the plants from the urban sites and differences in numbers of vegetative and reproductive tillers among the plants from the rural sites suggest that some characteristics of the plants may have genetically adapted to the new environment in which they were placed. These findings can serve as an important factor in environmental conservation and restoration efforts because we will be able to observe whether native plant species are able to adapt to and survive in new environments.

Publication Date






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