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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R38G8FX4M

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Yukon Ice Patches: Role of Ice-entombed Bryophytes in Alpine Environments Open Access

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Other title
Subject/Keyword
Succession
Bryophytes
Alpine environments
Regeneration Biology
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Miller, Brittney L.
Supervisor and department
Hik, David (Biological Science)
La Farge, Catherine (Biological Science)
Examining committee member and department
La Farge, Catherine (Biological Science)
Reyes, Alberto (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Lanoil, Brian (Biological Science)
Hik, David (Biological Science)
Department
Department of Biological Sciences
Specialization
Plant Biology
Date accepted
2017-09-08T15:50:54Z
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Degree
Master of Science
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
In Southwestern Yukon, alpine ice patches are rapidly retreating with climate warming. Ice patch forelands form unique alpine wetlands, creating critical habitats for diverse flora and fauna over millennia. A major component of the ice patch flora are bryophytes, which are critical to alpine ecosystems. This study will focus on the biological relevance of the Yukon ice patches as reservoirs of cryopreserved bryophyte diversity and for contribution of emergent vegetation on deglaciated ice patch forelands. The relation of emergent subfossil assemblages to the extant vegetation and the successional pattern following ice retreat of the Mount Granger ice patch were determined in Chapter II. Plants were sampled within 40m of the ice margin to document the extant diversity, and the plant succession with ice margin retreat. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) showed a three stage succession pattern that has similar diversity to the subfossil species composition. Bryophytes have the capacity regenerate from any viable cell (totipotency), allowing them to persist through extreme conditions. Chapter III assayed regrowth of emergent ice margin samples from the Mount Granger, Gladstone, and Little Gladstone ice patches. Subfossil samples showed remarkable regrowth of bryophyte diaspores up to 4815 years old (BP cal) with 73% indicating potential regenerationl, emphasizing the viability of ancient ice patch vegetation. The results of each study reveal a cyclical role of bryophytes from exhumed assemblages that contribute to the establishment, revegetation, and maintenance of diversity in alpine ice patch ecosystems.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R38G8FX4M
Rights
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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