Abstract Detail

Stress-tolerant mosses: adaptations to life on the edge, from genes to ecosystems

Antoninka, Anita [1], Bowker, Matthew [1], Doherty, Kyle [2], Anenberg, Jasmine [3], Tucker, Colin [4], Durham, Rebecca [2], Ramsey, Philip [2].

Lessons in restoring dryland mosses to damaged landscapes.

Drylands are among the most degraded terrestrial ecosystems and among the most challenging to restore because of water limitation and other extreme environmental filters. While vascular plants have been a focal group for drylands restoration, bryophytes and associated biocrust communities can further enhance ecosystem function and offer resilience to physical and climate disturbances. Dryland bryophytes harbor a host of remarkable traits suited for restoration in arid environments, including extreme UV, temperature and water stress tolerance. They also contribute critical functions, including water capture, as well as soil fertilization and stabilization. Here I will review best practices for cultivation, application and field establishment of dryland soil communities learned from field testing and ex situ experimentation. We have cultivated bryophytes in a variety of settings, including greenhouse, field and fog chambers, with and without soil substrates. Application of cultivated materials in the field has included crumbling, hydroseeding, application on fabric, and with a variety hardening techniques and habitat amendments. Re-establishing enduring soil communities in the field is the most challenging aspect of our work, though we identified key practices that can improve outcomes. For bryophytes, fog culture and application on fabric has been the most successful to date. We also discuss our long-term objectives of maximizing climate resilience and methods to treat larger areas. Developing restoration technologies including dryland mosses and other biocrust organisms is critical to restore ecosystem functions in degraded drylands.   

1 - Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, Flagstaff, AZ, United States
2 - MPG Ranch
3 - Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, Po Box 15018, Flagstaff, AZ, 86011, United States
4 - U.S. Forest Service


Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Number: C5013
Abstract ID:188
Candidate for Awards:None

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