Examining the coexistence of Splachnaceae mosses in Newfoundland peatlands

Hammill, Christopher (2016) Examining the coexistence of Splachnaceae mosses in Newfoundland peatlands. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Coexistence amongst highly similar species has captured the imagination of many ecologists. In my work I've endeavoured to answer the question of how Splachnum ampullaceum and Splachnum pensylvanicum coexist in peatlands in Newfoundland. I've employed individual based simulation modelling in conjunction with machine learning to answer if coexistence is facilitated most by dispersal differences or by competitive similarity. Experimental work examined dispersal differences and competitive ability directly. I found that coexistence is facilitated primarily by temporal niche separation via differing phenology, and substrate availability. My experimental work shows spore dispersal is dependent on distance to nearest moss population with no evidence of species-specific differences. The competitive ability of the two species was shown to vary according to moisture with potential facilitation effects at high population densities. Together the results show that the two Splachnaceae are more dissimilar than they appear, with niche separation along temporal and hydrological axes.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12485
Item ID: 12485
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: Moss, Coexistence, Simulation, Modelling, Ecology
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: April 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Mosses -- Newfoundland and Labrador; Plant competition -- Newfoundland and Labrador

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