Date of Award

8-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology

Program

Biology

First Advisor/Chairperson

Alan Rebertus

Abstract

Regional variation in geomorphology, vegetation, fen landforms, and water chemistry create a variety of unique peatlands across the Northern Hemisphere. In the Great Lakes region, patterned fens have been extensively studied in northern Minnesota, but largely ignored in Michigan. The purpose of this study was to describe vegetation, landforms, and water chemistry in a patterned fen at Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Percent cover of plant species and environmental variables were measured at 298 relevé style plots across 6 landform types: triangular swamp forests, featureless water tracks, peripheral water tracks, strings, flarks, and ponded sedge lawns. Additionally, several morphometric parameters were calculated using GIS and communities were analyzed using multivariate techniques. Ordinations reveal variation within and between landform types related to moisture and chemical gradients. Dune islands contribute to the unique nature of Seney’s hydrology and are directly associated with (1) ponded sedge lawns, (2) patterned water tracks, and (3) triangular swamp forests. Many features at the Seney fen resemble those described in Minnesota’s patterned peatlands, yet there are considerable differences in vegetation and landform development.

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