The largest, most varied, and most intensively studied remnant of rolling prairie in northwestern Iowa is the Gayler tract in Dickinson County. This unplowed, ungrazed prairie acreage, located just west of a branch of the Little Sioux River, is undisturbed except for the annual late August cutting for wild hay and the activities of biologists in the summer and hunters in the fall. The proximity of this beautiful prairie to the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, about 4Yz miles away by good roads, has made it the subject of numerous investigations by plant taxonomists, ecologists, entomologists, mammalogists, and other specialists. Several of the field courses at the Laboratory use the prairie regularly as an outdoor classroom to acquaint the students with prairie plants and animals in their natural environment. Often several trips are made by a class during the summer sessions to study the seasonal aspects of the prairie and its varied flora and fauna. This was done in 1955 by classes in ecology and taxonomy. Interest centered in the tract at this time as a possible purchase unit for a third prairie reserve by the Iowa State Conservation Commission (1, 2, 10). Added to the interest of conducting an investigation of a virgin prairie community" in the study of the general nature, floristics, structure and behavior of plant communities, was that of attempting to -determine whether or not the tract was suitable for selection as a representative prairie reserve for northwest Iowa. To preserve and make available for other biologists a public record of the taxonomy and ecology of the vascular plants of the Gayler tract, the authors have brought together hen·- the data from these and other studies of the area.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1956 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Aikman, J. M. and Thorne, Robert F.
"The Cayler Prairie: An Ecologic and Taxonomic Study of a Northwest Iowa Prairie,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 63(1), 177-200.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol63/iss1/13