Kelsey Glennon (George Washington University) is studying the genetic variation and potential hybridization of Roan Mountain bluet (2008).
A narrow endemic of a few very high peaks in northwestern North Carolina and adjacent Tennessee. Fewer than ten small populations are known. A very limited amount of potential habitat exists and most is subject to intensive recreational uses such as ski resort development, trampling by hikers, and climbing/rock scrambling. Populations could also be lost to woody plant succession.
Trampling by hiker and climbers.
Succession and other vegetation changes.
Possibly air pollution and exotic insects change the surrounding spruce-fir forests.
Roan Mountain bluet is known from twelve populations with all but one subpopulation located in NC (Euliss et al. 2007).
Dalenia S. Medford, a graduate student at East Tennessee State University, completed a Masters Thesis on this species in August 2001. (Medford 2001) This study investigated population level variation in this and another rare species across a time span of 150 years. Euliss et al. studied the growth of Houstonia montana in contrasting habitats (2007). And Kelsey Glennon (George Washington University) is studying the genetic variation and potential hybridization of Roan Mountain bluet (2008).
Survey suitable habitat for additional populations.
Protect populations on private land.
Reducing visitor access to sites to limit trampling.
The red spruce forests controlled by the U.S. Forest Service are regularly sprayed with an insecticide, Lindane. A study is needed to determine if there are short-term and/or long-term effects of this practice on this species (Morgan 1980). There is also a continued need to limit visitor access to reduce trampling and protect the species habitat as well as a need to continue searching for additional populations. Detailed research on demographics, biotic and abiotic requirements, pollination biology, seed bank dynamics, metapopulation dynamics and the role of changing natural conditions in population viability should also be done.
Maintain and expand ex situ (whole plant and seed) holdings of Roan Mountain bluet, as well as understanding germination and propagation protocol for future research. There is also a need for public education to raise awareness of the species and reduce the negative recreational effects.
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