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Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

Slate, Mandy [1], Callaway, Ragan [2], Pearson, Dean [3].

Soil crusts, vascular plants and disturbance in Northern Rocky Mountain grasslands.

Biological soil crusts are well recognized for their ecological importance in arid and semi-arid regions worldwide. Soil crusts are associations of lichen, cyanobacteria, fungi, green algae, moss, and soil particles that differ greatly in species composition and dominance between locations. Soil crusts physically stabilize soils, regulate water and chemical cycling, and buffer soil temperatures. These physical attributes can then positively influence vascular plant nutrient uptake and survival. Soil crusts generally only facilitate native plants, however, while providing a protective barrier against invasive species. Once crusts are disturbed, resistance to invasion appears to be lost. This is important because depending on environmental conditions, it can take from two to two hundred years for soil crusts to fully recover from disturbance providing a lengthy opportunity for invasion.
In intermountain grasslands, interspaces between native bunchgrasses and forbs are often covered by diverse soil crusts communities of moss and lichen. Previous work has found that this type of crust community generally facilitates native plant recruitment while inhibiting exotic species. We combined field and greenhouse experiments to investigate the influence of soil crust disturbance (minimal disturbance or removed crust) and watering conditions (daily or every three days) on native and exotic plant recruitment. Our greenhouse results suggest that intact soil crusts promote earlier germination but decrease germination overall for native and exotic species. We will present these findings in conjunction with data from a two year field trial to improve our understanding of how these same treatments influence overall survival of native and exotic species in intermountain grasslands.

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1 - University of Montana, Missoula, MT, 59812, USA
2 - University Of Montana, Division Of Biological Sciences, Missoula, MT, 59812, USA
3 - Rocky Mountain Research Station , USDA Forest Service, Missoula, MT, 59812, USA

soil crust
native species
exotic species
plant recruitment

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 5, Bryology and Lichenology (ABLS) I
Location: Sundance 2/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: 5008
Abstract ID:117
Candidate for Awards:A. J. Sharp Award

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