Responses of bryophytes to simulated environmental change at Latnjajaure, northern Sweden

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Annika K Jägerbrand
Ulf Molau
Juha M Alatalo

We simulated a predicted environmental change in a subarctic-alpine plant community to study short-term growth in Hylocomium splendens, and three-year effects in abundance changes of the five most common bryophytes at Latnjajaure, northern Sweden. The experiment had a factorial design with increased temperature and nutrients, alone and in combination. Moss growth was measured during the 1995 growing season, and we measured species abundance before and after three years of environmental perturbation. The combined treatments of fertilizer and temperature enhancement caused a decreased growth in length and dry weight in H. splendens. There was a significant decrease in abundance of Rhytidium rugosum in the combined temperature and fertilizer treatment. The other four common bryophyte species (Aulacomnium turgidum, Dicranum groenlandicum, Hylocomium splendens, and Ptilidium ciliare) showed weaker, but not significant trends in the same direction. As the bryophytes are an important component of arctic and subarctic vegetation, we expect that they will play a key role in the impact of anticipated Global Change on the ecosystems.

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