Keen and Evans at St. Catherines Island Pignut Hickory
Eric Keen '08 and Biology Professor Jon Evans recently published the results from an 11 year study of pignut hickory regeneration failure on St. Catherines Island, GA. Evans and Keen report that hickory on the island is undergoing a "latent extinction" in that for the past 65 years, due to an overabundance of deer and feral hogs, no new trees have made it past the seedling stage. Using a computer model they project that, if these animal impacts continue, the adult hickory population will disappear from the island within 200 years. The authors make a number of recommendations to guide future management decisions so as to prevent the loss of biodiversity on barrier islands such as St. Catherines. This study was derived from Eric's Honors thesis as a 2008 Ecology and Biodiversity major and from the collective research of the many undergraduates that have worked with Professor Evans over the years as part of Sewanee's Island Ecology Program. The paper was published in the April 2013 issue of Natural Areas Journal (33:171-176).