The disjunct bryophyte element of the Gulf of St. Lawrence region: glacial and postglacial dispersal and migrational histories

Belland, Rene J. (1984) The disjunct bryophyte element of the Gulf of St. Lawrence region: glacial and postglacial dispersal and migrational histories. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The Gulf St. Lawrence region has a bryophyte flora of 698 species. Of these 267 (38%) are disjunct to this region from western North America, eastern Asia, or Europe. The Gulf of St. Lawrence and eastern North American distributions of the disjuncts were analysed and their possible migrational and dispersal histories during and after the Last Glaciation (Wisconsin) examined. Based on eastern North American distribution patterns, the disjuncts fell into 22 sub-elements supporting five migrational/ dispersal histories or combinations of these: (1) migration from the south, (2) migration from the north, (3) migration from the west, (4) survival in refugia, and (5) introduction by man. -- The largest groups of disjuncts had eastern North American distributions supporting either survival of bryophytes in Wisconsin ice-free areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence or postglacial migration to the Gulf from the south. About 26% of the disjuncts have complex histories and their distributions support two histories. These may have migrated to the Gulf from the west and/or north, or from the west and/or survived glaciation in Gulf ice-free areas. The eastern North American distributions of some species in these groups suggests that survival in ice-free areas best explains their presence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Anthropogenic introduction to the Gulf and migration from the north are relatively unimportant migrational/ dispersal histories for disjuncts in the region. No bryophyte sub-elements supported the hypothesis of long distance dispersal to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. -- Within the Gulf of St. Lawrence, species having migrated from the south generally show widespread distributions or occur primarily in the southern portions of the study area. Bryophytes introduced to the Gulf by man occur in eastern Newfoundland and in central Nova Scotia. The bryophytes in the remaining groups show generally similar patterns; they are restricted to the northern half of the study area, or show small disjunctions between western Newfoundland, Gaspe and, occasionally, Cape Breton. -- Important habitats for disjunct bryophytes are late snowbeds and limestone barrens. The disjunct bryophytes in late snowbeds are primarily montane species, whereas the disjunct bryophytes in the limestone barren habitat are predominantly of arctic affinity. The disjunct bryophytes in the snowbed habitat provide some of the strongest evidence for survival of bryophytes in Gulf ice-free areas. -- The importance of disjunctions to the phytogeography of the Gulf of St. Lawrence varies with geographic scale. Continental disjunctions are best explained as resulting from climatic and geological changes occurring since the Tertiary whereas disjunctions at the eastern North American scale provide the best evidence for solving problems relating to Wisconsin bryophyte dispersal and migrational histories in the Gulf. Bryophyte disjunctions within the Gulf are explained adequately by climatic and ecological factors operating during the Holocene.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10152
Item ID: 10152
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves 191-223.
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: 1984
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Bryophytes; Phytogeography--Saint Lawrence, Gulf of.

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