BAR HARBOR — Conservation scientist Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie will share her work at the college of the Atlantic Human Ecology Forum on Wednesday, April 24, at 4:10 p.m. in the McCormick Lecture Hall.
The event is free and cosponsored by Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. Through fieldwork, experimental gardens, and “historical ecological detective work,” McDonough MacKenzie is updating records that began in the late 1800s to see which plants are most vulnerable to climatic changes, and which are managing to adapt and thrive.
McDonough MacKenzie found that plants in Acadia, even while protected by National Park designation, are vulnerable to global and local changes: 15.8 percent of the flora has disappeared since 1894 and over 33 percent of species declined in abundance. She also found that at the species and population level, many plants in Acadia are able to adapt to changes in spring temperature.
“The Acadia example, integrating field work, experimental gardens, and historical records to inform management, can be replicated in other conservation areas to bring local data to local management,” she said.
McDonough MacKenzie is a research fellow at the University of Maine. She has a B.A. in environmental science and public policy from Harvard, an M.S. from the Field Naturalist and Ecological Planning Program at University of Vermont and a biology Ph.D. from Boston University. Her background is in conservation biology and plant ecology.