Influence of microhabitat on bryophyte diversity in Ontario mixedwood boreal forest

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Cole, Heather Ashley
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the little-known influence of bryophyte microhabitats on forest bryophyte diversity. Conservation of diversity in Ontario forests is a growing concern and a better understanding of forest bryophyte diversity will improve management efforts. The influence of microhabitats on bryophyte diversity was investigated by comparing eight different boreal mixedwood microhabitats (ground, early decay stage log, mid decay stage log, late decay stage log, rock, stump, snag and tree). Species accumulation, species richness, structural and compositional diversity and microhabitat specificity were quantified and compared among microhabitats. Ordinations and analyses of community structure indicate that microhabitats have considerable influence on bryophyte diversity and abundance. Frequency and indicator analyses show that some bryophytes are restricted to or prefer particular microhabitats. Decayed log microhabitats are shown to the largest contributors to bryophyte diversity. Forest management should plan to preserve microhabitats within silvicultural treatments in order to conserve and restore bryophyte diversity.

bryophyte, microhabitats, forest bryophyte diversity, boreal mixedwood, species accumulation, species richness, structural diversity, compositional diversity, microhabitat specificity