Winter Dispersal of Bryophyte Fragments in the Adirondack Mountains, New York

TitleWinter Dispersal of Bryophyte Fragments in the Adirondack Mountains, New York
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsMcDaniel, SF, Miller, NG
JournalThe Bryologist
KeywordsAdirondack Mountains, bryophytes, Dispersal, New York, winter

Bryophyte and vascular plant fragments were obtained from late-spring snowbeds at three localities in the Adirondack Mountains, New York. Fragment diversity in samples at alpine and krummholz sites far exceeded that at a forested site, and the diversity of bryophyte species represented by the fragments surpassed that of vascular plants. Approximately 82% of all bryophyte fragments found were in sufficiently good condition to permit identification to species or genus. Statistically significant differences in fragment species diversity occurred between the alpine sites and the forested site, but not between the two alpine sites. The consistent presence of liverworts in the alpine samples indicates that their absence from late-glacial sediments may be due more to taphonomy than either an absence of hepatics from the late-glacial flora or an inability of hepatics to disperse by gametophyte fragments. We detected only a few allochthonous fragments in our samples, and these were of bryophyte species characteristic of lower elevation balsam fir and red spruce-balsam fir forests. In alpine tundra, winter-dispersed fragments of bryophytes may serve as vegetative diaspores, providing a mechanism for rapid establishment of new populations every year following snow melt.