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Abstract Detail

Ecological impacts and restoration of industrial sites: roles of bryophytes and graminoid vascular plants

Vitt, Dale H. [1], House, Melissa [2], Ebbs, Stephen [2], Glaeser, Lilyan [2], Hazen, Renee [2].

Reclaiming Peatlands after Oil Sands Mining: Plant Responses after Two Years at Sandhill Fen.

Reclaiming Alberta's oil sands landscape has many challenges, including designing and engineering totally new landscapes, as well as developing unique plant establishment regimes. Fens are a particular concern as no one has attempted to create minerogenous peat-forming wetlands. Keys to the success of these peat-forming wetlands are establishment of a field layer of graminoids and a ground layer of bryophytes. Sandhill Watershed was constructed on Syncrude Canada’s East In-Pit beginning in 2008, with 0.5m of peat spread on the fen in winter of 2010, and wet-up in Fall 2012. After two years, the central, 17 ha Sandhill Fen has an abundance of vegetation. Here we report on four aspects of plant establishment and ecological function: 1) Key foundation graminoid species have very different survival rates across the wet/dry gradient; however, several species establish well in all wetness regimes and represent species that are critical for future reclamation efforts 2) representative graminoid plants are assimilating carbon at rates similar to those at benchmarks, with little functional response to soil moisture; however, the individual species differ markedly in photosynthetic rates; 3) local net ecosystem productivity associated with individual graminoid species also compares well to that of natural sites; and 4) bryophytes have established from indigenous sources -- these include twenty-one species, including 15 species of natural rich fens, along with five ruderal species. Species patterning of the bryophytes was framed along a species richness gradient, suggesting that some plots were better than others for establishment. Spatial patterning of the species-rich bryophyte plots was scattered within the fen with no discernible pattern, suggesting random establishment. By far the most prevalent fen species was Ptychostomum pseudotriquetrum. Seasonally submerged sites had no bryophyte establishment. We suggest that the presence of an organic substrate and preexisting vascular plants allows increased establishment of bryophytes from indigenous sources.

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1 - Southern Illinois University, Plant Biology, Carbondale, IL, 62901, USA
2 - Southern Illinois University, Department of Plant Biology, Carbondale, IL, 62901, USA


Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY07
Location: Hall C/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 8:15 AM
Number: SY07002
Abstract ID:298
Candidate for Awards:None

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