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Tuesday, January 29 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
(P63) Water Uptake Capabilities of Sphagnum Moss

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AUTHORS. Mattie Osborn, Nikki Shaw, Dr. R. Koch – Bemidji State University

ABSTRACT. Sphagnum moss is well known for its water holding capabilities, in some cases absorbing more than 16 times its dry weight.  Sphagnum is often considered a keystone species, in part because of its ability to absorb and store large amounts of water, prolonging wetland hydroperiods and raising soil saturation levels.  Currently, 33 species of Sphagnum have been identified in Minnesota wetlands.  The purpose of the research was to determine whether water uptake capabilities vary between different species of Sphagnum commonly found in northern Minnesota.  Moss samples were collected from peatlands in Beltrami County, MN.  Samples were identified, then dried at room temperature and divided into approximately 1 g subsamples.  Distilled water was slowly added to the dried samples until saturation was reached.  Due to the similarities in size, habitat, and location of collection, no differences in water uptake capabilities were expected between the two Sphagnum species studied.  Our results, however, indicated distinct variations in the amounts of water absorbed by different moss species.  We found that Sphagnum capillifolium held 34% more water than Sphagnum fallax.  Sphagnum capillifolium had an average uptake of 14.808 mL/g, and that Sphagnum fallax had an average uptake of 11.017 mL/g.  Peatlands dominated by species that store more water are likely to have increased resistance to drying and prolonged hydroperiods.  These results may have implications for selecting Sphagnum moss species in wetland restoration, or, if used in conjunction with climate change models and species distribution maps, to predict peatland loss.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm EST
  Poster, Habitat

Attendees (3)