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March 26, 2021 at 4:33 pm

Sylvi Oh Wins Garden Club Award for Summer Work on Migratory Birds, Herbs and Forests

Sylvi Oh, portrait outdoors

Sylvi Oh

Ohio University graduate student Sylvi Oh will be spending the summer studying how effective migratory birds are in spreading herb seeds that can help forests recover after human disturbance.

Oh was awarded The Joan K. Hunt and Rachel M. Hunt Summer Scholarship in Field Botany from the Garden Club of America. The scholarship provides $3,500 to work on her summer project, “Bird-mediated Seed Dispersal of Forest Herbs in a Temperate Deciduous Forest.”

She is pursuing an M.S. in Plant Biology and working with Dr. Glenn Matlack, Associate Professor of Environmental & Plant Biology.

“The purpose of our study is to increase our knowledge of the late-stage recovery of temperate, deciduous forests after human disturbance,” says Oh. “Forest herbaceous plants are some of the last plants to recolonize forests that have been affected by human land-use. This recovery process is dispersal-limited, and the seed dispersal of forest herbs appears to depend on animals, especially migratory birds.

“Unfortunately, bird-mediated dispersal of forest herbs in temperate forests is understudied, so we do not know what impacts human land-use have on these vulnerable dispersal systems. We propose to study the selection and treatment of forest herb fruits by migratory birds in southeast Ohio’s post-agricultural, temperate, deciduous forests. Understanding the foraging behavior of these birds in our forests will be useful in the creation of new guidelines to manage fragmented forests and their late-stage recovery.”

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