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Secondary succession of Sphagnum mosses was studied for 7 years along a belt transect in a bog that had been impacted by sodium chloride highway deicing salts. Laboratory studies on Sphagnumfimbriatum Wils., the dominant recolonizing species, were conducted to determine its salt tolerance level and ability to reproduce from spores and fragments across a salt gradient. Vegetative reproduction was also compared with that of four other recolonizing species. Sphagnumfimbriatum represented a high percentage of all recolonizing Sphagnum and generally began growing on low hummocks in quadrats where the salt content of the interstitial peat pore waters had dropped to about 300 mg/L as chloride. This salt concentration was also found to be the basic tolerance limit for mature plants and reproducing spores and fragments. The success of Sphagnum fimbriatum as a pioneer species seems to be associated with its prolific production and probable dispersal of spores, its superior vegetative reproduction, its tolerance of mineralized waters, and its ability to grow on hummocks out of direct contact with mineralized waters.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Wilcox, D.A. and R.E. Andrus. 1987. The role of Sphagnum fimbriatum in secondary succession in a road-salt impacted bog. Canadian Journal of Botany 65:2270-2275.

Publisher Statement

Papers prepared by American or Canadian government employees as part of their official duties need not have the assignment of copyright transferred since this material is automatically considered as part of the public domain.

Dr. DOUGLAS A. WILCOX was a federal employee of the National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.