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Bryological and Lichenological Section/ABLS

Leary, Beth [1], Glime, Janice [1].

The role of Sphagnum russowii Warnst. in the nutrient cycling of a northern temperate forested wetland.

Traditionally, the forested wetland ecosystems of the upper Great Lakes region have been recognized primarily for their importance as wildlife habitat and for their forest product value. More recently, however, the scientific community is beginning to recognize the importance of the role these ecosystems play in determining nutrient inputs into the surrounding watershed. The abundance of Sphagnum in some of these forested wetlands causes one to question whether it may play a critical role in the nutrient cycling of these ecosystems. Here we will quantify the amount of nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and magnesium absorbed and/or released by Sphagnum russowii; compare the nutrient absorption of Sphagnum russowii as it occurs in an open-canopy Jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) forest with those that occur in a closed-canopy Jack pine forest; and determine the seasonality of nutrient absorption and release in Sphagnum russowii and how they relate to the seasonality of Sphagnum and tree growth. Full results are pending, however, during the 11 August, 2003 field trip I observed that after a long period of dormancy, the Sphagnum in the closed-canopy forest had turned bright green while the Sphagnum in the open-canopy forest appeared to be wet but still brown. Upon analyzing the flow-through water samples it was found that a large amount of magnesium was being absorbed by the Sphagnum russowii mat in the closed-canopy forest. In contrast, the Sphagnum russowii in the open-canopy forest was sequestering a large amount of the total nitrogen that was entering the mat through precipitation. These data together suggest that Sphagnum may be sequestering nutrients at a time when other vegetation is preparing for winter.

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1 - Michigan Technological University, Biological Sciences Department, 1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, Michigan, 49931-1295, USA

Nutrient cycling

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 15-8
Location: Salon A - Gov Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 3:45 PM
Abstract ID:298

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