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Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

Rengifo Faiffer, Maria [1], Antoninka, Anita [2], Hensen, Casey [3], Bowker, Matthew [1].

Dryland mosses under climate disturbances: Morphological changes in Syntrichia caninervis and Syntrichia ruralis.

The rise in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns due to climate change in drylands are expected to drive species to adaptative changes. Desiccation tolerant mosses species Syntrichia caninervis and Syntrichia ruralis are common and frequently dominant in biological soil crust (biocrust) communities in southwestern USA regions. These mayor biocrust components contribute to ecosystem functions, playing a role in water capture, water retention, soil surface temperature regulation, carbon fixation, preventing soil erosion and promoting soil stability. Each of these roles is linked to measurable structures of Syntrichia morphology, which could change to adapt to more extreme environments. We investigated the effects of two climate disturbances on the morphology of Syntrichia species in the southeast Utah. (1) An eight-years experimental rainfall reduction using passive rainfall interception shelters. (2) A one-year reciprocal transplantation to warmer and cooler environments (± 1°C and 2°C). Multivariate analysis revealed that in a natural aridity gradient ranging from semi-arid to arid environments, populations have a combination of characteristics that made them distinct of their own site. The eight-year rainfall reduction created populations of Syntrichia caninervis with thinner stems, shorter rhizoids and smaller leaf hairs (awns), these characteristics correspond with populations of the most arid climates in the sample. From the reciprocal transplant experiment, we observed that both S. caninervis and S. ruralis have distinct characteristics according to their site, suggesting local species adaptation. The changes of Syntrichia caninervis to warmer or colder environments did not show a clear pattern after one year of transplantation. However, Syntrichia ruralis changed into populations with wider stems, bigger awns and greater aboveground biomass. Our findings suggests that morphological changes due to climate disturbances have distinct patterns in Syntrichia species and that populations are adapting to warmer and dryer environment at a fast pace, with the potential of losing the extend of their ecological services in the process.

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1 - Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, 200 E. Pine Knoll, Box 15018, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, United States
2 - Northern Arizona University, NAU School of Forestry, 200 E Pine Knoll Dr, room 116, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, United States
3 - Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, 200 E Pine Knoll Dr, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, Flagstaff, Arizona, 86001, United States

climate change

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BRY1, Bryology
Location: Tucson G/Starr Pass
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
Time: 11:15 AM
Number: BRY1011
Abstract ID:1057
Candidate for Awards:A. J. Sharp Award

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