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Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

Schuette, Scott [1], Zimmerman, Ephraim [2], Podniesinski, Greg [3], Furedi, Mary Ann [4].

The Role of Bryophytes in Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability of Peatlands in Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, peatlands are most common in the northern half of the state and include bogs, fens and some forested wetlands. These ecosystems are generally located at higher elevations with cooler climate conditions, some serve as the origin of headwater aquatic systems, and provide habitats for northern plants and associated communities, many of which are state conservation concern due to being at the southernmost limit of their range. Projected effects of climate change in Pennsylvania include higher temperatures and changes in patterns of precipitation that may alter wetland hydrology and subsequent downstream flow. Increasing temperatures may also directly impact species at or near their thermal tolerance resulting in the possible decline or loss of the current unique species and communities found in peatlands. Given the important ecosystem services provided by peatlands there is a need to provide increased protection, document changes, and mitigate human impacts to these wetlands. In 2010-2011, a monitoring network of 30 peatlands was established and baseline data collected from permanent plots and transects to better understand the effects of climate change and other disturbances on these ecosystems. The monitoring effort was focused more on climate change vulnerable plant species and communities, with a lesser emphasis on bryophyte composition. Seventeen species of Sphagnum, 35 other moss species, and 14 liverwort species were collected from the monitoring sites. Preliminary results indicated the most common Sphagnum species are S. magellanicum and S. fallax and most of the peatlands were characteristic of poor fens. However abundance and cover values, which are necessary values for determining climate change vulnerability indices, are unknown for the bryophytes species at these sites. What is the bryophyte community composition and is the composition indicative of peatland type? Are there suitable long-term bryophyte monitoring targets sensitive to changes in climate? What is the underlying suite environmental factors driving bryophyte species assemblages? To address these questions, monitoring sites were revisited this year with more intensive and systematic collection of bryophyte data with the purpose of identifying those species most vulnerable to ongoing climate change and highest probability of being conservation targets in peatlands of Pennsylvania.

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1 - Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage , 800 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222, United States
2 - Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Pennsylvania Natural Heritage , 800 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222, USA
3 - PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Section, Bureau of Forestry, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA, 17105, USA
4 - Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry, PO Box 8552, Harrisburg, PA, 17105, USA

climate change

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 8, Bryology and Lichenology (ABLS) I
Location: 205/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 9:30 AM
Number: 8003
Abstract ID:933
Candidate for Awards:None

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