Bryophyte Dispersal Inferred from Colonization of an Introduced Substratum on Whiteface Mountain, New York
|Title||Bryophyte Dispersal Inferred from Colonization of an Introduced Substratum on Whiteface Mountain, New York|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2004|
|Authors||Miller, NG, McDaniel, SF|
|Journal||American Journal of Botany|
|Keywords||Adirondack Mountains, bryophyte, calcicole, calcium carbonate substrata, Long-distance dispersal, ruderal|
A long-standing debate in bryophyte biogeography concerns the frequency of long-distance spore dispersal. The diversity of bryophytes on mortared rock walls along the Veterans Memorial Highway on Whiteface Mountain, New York, USA, was studied to document the recruitment of species over the 65 years since the highway was constructed. The highway is situated in the Adirondack Mountains, a relatively unpopulated region with a largely acidic flora. The introduction of mortar has increased the bryophyte diversity by 50% above that of native lithic substrata on the mountain. The composition of the native and mortar floras differed greatly, suggesting that the walls were not colonized by locally abundant ruderal species. Many of the species sampled on the walls are typically found only in lower elevation forested sites, distant (∼5 km or more) from the highway, and not on anthropogenic calcium carbonate. These results suggest that a bryophyte community consisting of common and uncommon species assembled from distant sites at the rate of at least one species per year in the last 65 years. These data provide the ecological context for experimental and phylogeographic studies and suggest that some bryophytes may be capable of routine dispersal over distances of at least 5 km.