Abstract Detail


Benson, Lacey [1], Lambrecht, Susan [1].

A morphometric analysis of western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) pinnae and pinnae scales across the coast redwood forest ecological gradient.

Ferns are an integral component of biodiversity and productivity in the coast redwood understory and canopy. Given that summer fog is expected to decrease and winter precipitation patterns are predicted to change it is vital to understand the role of microclimates and adaptation strategies utilized by ferns in the coast redwood ecosystem in order to gauge how the distribution, community dynamics, and reproductive success of ferns will be affected in the coming decades. Researchers have found ferns display signs of shifting climate patterns through leaf traits such as number of fronds, size of fronds, foliar uptake capacity and leaf water retention. By studying morphological and physiological changes to ferns scientists can get a more rapid understanding of how community dynamics and slower growing species such as the coast redwood will be affected by future changes to climate. The aims of this study are (1) to compare western sword fern (Polystichum munitum or POMU) pinnae size traits (length, width, and length:width ratio) to environmental variables such as precipitation, fog frequency, and temperature; (2) to quantify pinnae scale density to compare with in situ climate data; and lastly (3) to collect, mount, and enter POMU specimens and redwood associate species into the Carl W. Sharsmith Herbarium at SJSU.  To achieve these objectives, we will utilize digitized herbarium accessions as well as personal collections to measure pinnae in ImageJ and count scales on both pinna surfaces. Data will then be compared to latitude and in situ environmental variables. The results of this study will greatly inform our understanding of the landscape scale variety of morphological and physiological traits within POMU and add to previous research on POMU foliar water uptake capacity and leaf water retention abilities.

1 - San José State University, Department of Biological Sciences, 1 Washington Square, San José, CA, 95112, USA

coast redwood
climate change
summer fog
foliar water uptake

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PPT002
Abstract ID:566
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2022, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved