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Wednesday, April 26 • 10:55am - 11:15am
Habitat Of Conocephalum Conicum (Snakeskin Liverwort) In Two Western North Carolina Streams

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Aquatic liverworts are important primary producers in environments that do not contain many autochthonous sources of organic matter. They also retain nutrients that would otherwise be lost to the current and contribute to the structural integrity of the mats of vascular plants and bryophytes on the boulders they inhabit. Disturbance plays a crucial role in the life cycle of aquatic liverworts, with the frequency and type of disturbance critical to their survival success. Conocephalum conicum (Snakeskin liverwort) is a thallose liverwort that grows throughout North America and is most commonly found in streams and rivers in mountainous environments. There is virtually no published literature on this species, despite its widespread occurrence. My objectives were to determine the habitat attributes of Conocephalum conicum in two western North Carolina streams (Flat Creek and Corner Rock Creek). I sampled a 3/4 mile stretch of each stream by randomly selecting patches of liverwort growing on boulders. For each patch, habitat variables were collected, including height of patch above the streambed, distance of closest understory and canopy trees, and aspect and vertical slope of the boulder. The horizontal spread of each patch was traced with tracing paper, and a leaf area meter was used to quantify the area of the tracing. For each patch of liverwort, a nearby random boulder was selected, and the same habitat characteristics were measured. Data were statistically analyzed to determine the habitat requirements of Snakeskin liverwort. This study will provide a better understanding of this species and the niche it occupies in mountain streams.

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Wednesday April 26, 2017 10:55am - 11:15am
103 Rhoades-Robinson Hall

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