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Plant and Vegetation Dynamics on Disko Island, West Greenland: Snapshots Separated by Over 40 Years
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology. (Hydrology)
Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Sheffield Centre for Arctic Ecology, University of Sheffield.
Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Lund University.
2011 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, E-ISSN 1654-7209, Vol. 40, no 6, 624-637 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We report on a revisit in 2009 to sites where vegetation was recorded in 1967 and 1970 on Disko Island, West Greenland. Re-sampling of the same clones of the grass Phleum alpinum after 39 years showed complete stability in biometrics but dramatic earlier onset of various phenological stages that were not related to changes in population density. In a fell-field community, there was a net species loss, but in a herb-slope community, species losses balanced those that were gained. The type of species establishing and increasing in frequency and/or cover abundance at the fell-field site, particularly prostrate dwarf shrubs, indicates a possible start of a shift towards a heath, rather than a fell-field community. At the herb-slope site, those species that established or increased markedly in frequency and/or cover abundance indicate a change to drier conditions. This is confirmed both by the decrease in abundance of Alchemilla glomerulans and Epilobium hornemanii, and the drying of a nearby pond. The causes of these changes are unknown, although mean annual temperature has risen since 1984.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences , 2011. Vol. 40, no 6, 624-637 p.
Keyword [en]
Vegetation change, Arctic, West Greenland, Phenology, Biometrics
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Plant Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68982DOI: 10.1007/s13280-011-0169-xISI: 000298500000008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-68982DiVA: diva2:474464
Projects
International Polar Year - Back to the Future
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 327-2007-833
Note
We report on a revisit in 2009 to sites where vegetation was recorded in 1967 and 1970 on Disko Island, West Greenland. Re-sampling of the same clones of the grass Phleum alpinum after 39 years showed complete stability in biometrics but dramatic earlier onset of various phenological stages that were not related to changes in population density. In a fell-field community, there was a net species loss, but in a herb-slope community, species losses balanced those that were gained. The type of species establishing and increasing in frequency and/or cover abundance at the fell-field site, particularly prostrate dwarf shrubs, indicates a possible start of a shift towards a heath, rather than a fell-field community. At the herb-slope site, those species that established or increased markedly in frequency and/or cover abundance indicate a change to drier conditions. This is confirmed both by the decrease in abundance of Alchemilla glomerulans and Epilobium hornemanii, and the drying of a nearby pond. The causes of these changes are unknown, although mean annual temperature has risen since 1984.Available from: 2012-01-10 Created: 2012-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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