Entombed Little Ice Age Bryophytes: Ecology and Regeneration

  • Author / Creator
    Williams, Krista H.
  • Subglacial bryophytes, entombed during the Little Ice Age (LIA, 150-580 years BP) beneath the polythermal Teardrop Glacier, Sverdrup Pass, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada, were examined. The diversity, paleoecological significance, and regeneration capacity of these bryophyte assemblages are the focus of this study. A comparison of LIA and extant assemblages from the granitic, southern slope of Sverdrup Pass, form the basis of Chapter II. The results suggest that species richness and diversity are similar in bryophyte assemblages of pre and post LIA glacier expansion and retreat and indicate diverse microhabitats. Chapter III examines the regeneration of bryophytes from a subglacial ecosystem and indicates viable tissue resumed growth after fragmentation in vitro. In contrast to vascular plants, bryophytes are poikilohydric, and desiccation and freezing tolerant and their tissue (stems, leaves, diaspores) consists of totipotent cells, which facilitates dormancy in subglacial ecosystems.

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  • Degree
    Master of Science
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.