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Wednesday, April 11 • 10:00am - 10:15am
FOREST LANDSCAPE PROCESSES: Synchrony and Variability in Mast Seeding of White Spruce Across the Boreal Forest

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AUTHORS: Jalene M. LaMontagne*, DePaul University; Ian S Pearse, U.S. Geological Survey; David F. Greene, Humboldt State University; Walter D. Koenig, Cornell University

ABSTRACT: Mast seeding, the intermittent and synchronized production of large seed crops by a population of perennial plants, both has implications for forest regeneration and acts as a food source for a variety of species. Temporal variability and widespread spatial synchrony are two predominant characteristics of mast seeding. Mast seeding studies typically cover local areas and short time periods, which has limited our ability to examine widespread patterns of mast seeding across the landscape. Furthermore, cues for mast seeding in many species include temperature and precipitation, therefore climate change could impact mast seeding patterns. We focus on white spruce, a widespread, dominant species in the North American boreal forest, and asked the questions: 1. What are the spatial patterns of synchrony in both white spruce reproduction? 2. Is mast seeding becoming more variable over time? 3. Is the frequency of high reproduction (mast years) changing over time, and how synchronized are mast years across the boreal forest landscape? We compiled 95 white spruce mast seeding datasets at locations across the boreal forest, spanning 1985-2014. Reproductive synchrony was significantly positive across locations <1,000 km apart. The strength of mast seeding varied temporally and spatially, and while mast years have become more common over time, their prevalence varied among regions. Synchrony in mast years varied spatially in an East-West pattern with mast years in Eastern Canada not coinciding with mast years at sites in the northwestern boreal forest. Variation in the synchrony of mast seeding may impact mobile species of seed predators, for instance, boreal seed eating birds. Furthermore, the spatial extent of weather patterns, and regional intensity of climate change likely influence spatial and temporal mast seeding patterns.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 10:00am - 10:15am CDT
Spire Parlor