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Adaptive Radiation & Functional Morphology
The Salmon Forest Project
Molecular Studies
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Bryophytes of the Salmon Forest – Chadwick Wilkinson

  Mosses and liverworts, collectively known as bryophytes, constitute the dominant ground cover in West Coast temperate rainforests. Bryophytes differ from vascular plants in that they lack roots and assimilate dissolved nutrients directly through their leafy tissues. Little is known about the nitrogen pools that these plants exploit, but it generally accepted that atmospheric sources comprise a major source. My study focuses in the degree to which these salmon-derived nutrients act as a source for mosses and liverworts. I am examining the bryophyte community structure and assessing its degree of nitrogen uptake in habitat blocks above and below waterfalls that are insurmountable to salmon. This will help to determine the contribution of these marine-derived nutrients relative to other nitrogen sources in the riparian forest and how the bryophyte community responds. My data from mosses and liverworts collected just above and below these waterfalls show an average 4.36 o/oo enrichment among the species between the habitat. This indicates a substantive uptake of marine-derived nutrients by the
dominant ground cover.

Coastal forest
Bryophyte N15 data