Inland populations of Dwarf Lake Iris

Huron Pines AmeriCorps member Zack Pitman and I visited several inland populations of Dwarf Lake Iris in Menominee and Delta Counties. Genetic research in the early 1990's found these populations to be genetically distinct from the near shore populations. The hypothesis is that these are relic populations from a post-glacial lake level or lake drainage site, which occurred 10,000 to 15,000 years ago (Orick 1992). I'm excited to find out what Dr. Jim Cohen, Kettering University, will discover in the genetics of the leaf samples we have been collecting given the advancements of the field in the last 27 years.

Although the dwarf lake iris was blooming the day before in the Lower Peninsula, we struggled to find flowers in the Menominee populations. We did find several fruits.


Left: Zack Pitman taking habitat measurement of dwarf lake iris population in Menominee County
Right: The density of the dwarf lake iris in that area.

One record of Dwarf Lake Iris population we had in Delta County hadn't been visited by our staff since 1992. Kenneth Carruthers from Upper Peninsula Power Company was good enough to take Zack and I to the site. The Upper Peninsula Power Company had a private survey for listed species on their property several years ago, and the surveyors had failed to find any Dwarf Lake Iris. We hoped to have better luck, but after a few hours, we came up empty. The habitat looked suitable, but no dwarf lake iris.

Thanks for all of your help this week Zack!

Orick, M.W. 1992. Enzyme polymorphism and genetic diversity in the Great Lakes endemic Iris lacustris Nutt. (dwarf lake iris). Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.

Posted by rachelh3 rachelh3, July 08, 2019 12:38

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