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Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

Antoninka, Anita [1], Peter, Chuckran [2], Kristina, Young [3], Heather, Root [4], Kyle, Doherty [5], Bowker, Matthew [6].

Biocrust assemblages and restoration potential in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Organ Pipe National Monument (ORPI), on the southwestern border of Arizona, has unique ecological sites, and associated plant and biocrust communities. Because of border activity, ORPI also experiences frequent ecological disturbance. Biocrusts, communities of lichens, bryophytes and microorganisms that live in and bind the soil surface together in drylands, are common in the region and have great potential in ecological restoration because of the myriad ecosystem services they provide (eg. resistance to erosion, soil fertility and contributions to the hydrological cycle). However, no work to identify the biocrust taxa or assemblages had been conducted. ORPI has seven ecological sites that support biocrust. They encompass a variety of parent materials, soil types, as well as climatic zones. The goals of our research at ORPI were to: 1) inventory and characterize the biocrust communities across the variation within and among ecosites, and 2) using this data, determine candidate soils and species for cultivation for use in future restoration projects. For the first objective, we randomly selected a set of 10 points within each ecosite based on elevation and insolation to cover the full range of ecosite variability. We sampled a minimum of five points within each ecosite, using two crossed 20 m transect oriented in cardinal directions. On these transects we collected biocrust cover by functional group at five m intervals, and then conducted a timed search to collect all lichen and bryophyte species present within the survey area, with care to search all microsites. Identification was done by morphotype in the field, and to species in the lab. In total, 17 lichen and 13 bryophytes were identified. Biocrust cover averaged 18% across all sites, with an average species richness of six. Diversity, composition and cover varied by ecosite, with the highest cover and abundance in loamy swales, but highest richness in granitic uplands. From this data, we selected two lichens (Collema or Placidium) and two liverworts (Riccia spp.) grown on local soil with one or three days of water in all species combinations from 1-4 species. Treatments including Collema and three days water performed best. This result is supported by other work suggesting Collema is a facilitator of other biocrust species. Our results demonstrate that biocrusts are an important component across ecosites at ORPI, and some common taxa have potential for cultivation and later use in restoration.

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1 - Northern Arizona University, NAU School of Forestry, 200 E Pine Knoll Dr, room 116, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, United States
2 - Northern Arizona University, Biological Sciences, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, United States
3 - Univeristy of Texas, El Paso, El Paso, TX
4 - Weber State University, 1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2504, 1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2504, Ogden, UT, 84408, United States
5 - NAU, School of Forestry, 200 E Pine Knoll Rd, room 116, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, United States
6 - Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, 200 E. Pine Knoll, Box 15018, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, United States

Organ Pipe National Monument
species assemblage
biocrust restoration.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BL, Bryology/Lichenology combined session
Location: Tucson G/Starr Pass
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: BL003
Abstract ID:762
Candidate for Awards:None

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