Effects of introduced moose (Alces alces) on vegetation composition, nutrient dynamics, and decomposition rates in boreal forest ecosystems in Newfoundland, Canada

Ellis, Nichola (2016) Effects of introduced moose (Alces alces) on vegetation composition, nutrient dynamics, and decomposition rates in boreal forest ecosystems in Newfoundland, Canada. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Globally, consumers affect ecosystem processes including nutrient dynamics. Herbivores have been known to slow nutrient flow in boreal forest ecosystems. I examined the effects of introduced moose on disturbed forests of Newfoundland, Canada by conducting a field experiment during August - November 2014 in 20 paired moose exclosure-control plots. I tested whether moose browsing directly and indirectly affected forests by measuring plant species composition, litter quality and quantity, soil quality, and decomposition rates in areas moose exclosure-control plots. I analyzed moose effects using linear mixed effects models and found evidence indicating that moose reduce plant height and litter biomass affecting the availability of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. However, plant diversity, soil quality, and litter decomposition did not differ between moose exclosures and controls. Moose in Newfoundland directly influence plant regeneration and litter biomass while indirect effects on soil ecosystems may be limited by time, disturbance, and climate.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11935
Item ID: 11935
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: boreal forest, consumer-mediated recycling, ecological stoichiometry, nutrient cycling, trophic cascades
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: January 2016
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Moose--Food--Newfoundland and Labrador; Herbivores--Food--Newfoundland and Labrador; Taiga ecology--Newfoundland and Labrador; Forest dynamics--Newfoundland and Labrador

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