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Abstract Detail

Bryological and Lichenological Section/ABLS

Prather, Hannah M. [1], Rosenstiel, Todd N. [1].

A canopy in the urban cloud: urbanization impacts on canopy communities across the Portland urban airshed.

Canopy-dwelling cryptogamic plants (i.e. lichens and mosses) serve important roles in forest ecosystems worldwide and are of particular importance in temperate coniferous forests. Epiphytic lichens and mosses respond sensitively to both direct and indirect effects of global change, as evidenced by distinct changes in epiphyte community structure. Canopy epiphytes contribute to forest biodiversity, regulation of regional climate gradients, and forest nutrient cycles. Yet, few studies have explored how shifting epiphytic communities, resulting from changing climate and increasing air pollutant exposure, may greatly impact the forests they inhabit.
Here we present results from a study investigating how urbanization in the Pacific Northwest dramatically alters and impacts epiphytic community structure and functional biodiversity within mature canopies of Pseudotsuga menziesii. We discuss the results of paired ground and arboreal epiphyte surveys across an urban to rural gradient in Portland, Oregon (USA). Three research sites, along an urban air pollution gradient, with varying distance (0km, 74km, and 109km) from urban center were surveyed and epiphytic biodiversity and community structure was examined. Pronounced shifts in epiphyte community structure were observed downwind of the Portland metro region, with the greatest shift in epiphyte functional biodiversity occurring above 30m. These results suggest that on-going urbanization within the Pacific Northwest may have significant, and surprisingly far-reaching, effects on ecosystem properties of regional exurban forested ecosystems. The impacts of an altered ground and arboreal epiphytic community on Pacific Northwest forest processes, and the associated impacts to biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem services, and forest resilience to global change will be discussed.

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1 - Portland State University, Biology Department, 1719 SW 10th Ave. SRTC rm 246, Biology Department, Portland, OR, 97201, United States

forest biodiversity.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 38
Location: Salon 8/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 38001
Abstract ID:1322
Candidate for Awards:A. J. Sharp Award

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