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Wednesday, April 11 • 11:15am - 11:30am
RARITY, BIODIVERSITY AND SPECIES DISTRIBUTION: Macrolichen Community Structures of Newfoundland’s Forested Wetlands

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AUTHORS: Tegan Padgett*, Memorial Univerisity of Newfoundland

ABSTRACT: Forested wetlands are among the most understudied ecosystems in the world despite being common on many landscapes. Wetlands provide ecosystem services, such as nutrient cycling, flood mitigation, and forested wetlands provide unique habitats for lichens. Macrolichens, the larger fruticose and foliose lichens, are an important ecological feature of forested wetlands and certain macrolichen species within these systems can be used as indicators of ecosystem integrity and function. However, we lack important baseline information on macrolichen community structure in forest wetland systems. Many studies have focused on macrolichens or forested wetlands separately, but few have used macrolichen diversity as a tool to study forested wetland ecosystems. This knowledge gap presents an opportunity to research ecosystem patterns across spatial scales at various extents. By asking questions of how macrolichen diversity varies within and between forested wetland types and across ecoregions, we can start to disentangle the drivers of spatial variation in macrolichen diversity. To address these questions, I selected study sites for three forested wetland types (fen, bog, swamp) across three ecoregions on the island of Newfoundland, Canada (111,390 km2). Within each study site, I identified three sample plots for each forested wetland type for a total of 36 sample plots. At each sample plot, I surveyed black spruce (Picea mariana) trees between 0.9-1.9 meters on the trunk and documented the number of individuals present for each macrolichen species encountered. I also collected habitat information such as soil pH, canopy closure, ground and shrub cover. I found a significant difference in macrolichen diversity between ecoregions. However, there was no statistically significant difference between forested wetland types, indicating that geographic location is a more dominant driver of macrolichen community. This research will strengthen our understanding of macrolichen communities and forested wetland ecology which can be used to inform land management, forestry, and conservation.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 11:15am - 11:30am CDT
LaSalle 2 (7th Floor)