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VEGETATIVE REPRODUCTION BY LAYERING VERSUS SEXUAL REPRODUCTION IN A SPRUCE-FIR FOREST AT ALPINE TREELINE, MEDICINE BOW MOUNTAINS, USA

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abstract
Alpine ecosystems offer a unique opportunity to study tree species at the edges of their distributions and physiological limits. Clonal growth has shown to be an advantageous trait for woody species in alpine zones because it provides protection from high winds, freezing temperatures, and ice abrasion. The two dominant tree species in the Medicine Bow National Forest, Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), possess the ability to reproduce asexually through the vegetative process of layering. The current study investigated the frequency of vertical stems produced by layering versus seed germination within the krummholz and tree islands found across the alpine treeline ecotone. Observational data on vertical stem origin, size, and cone production were collected for fifty krummholz mats and forty tree islands within the Libby Flats area. Vertical woody stems originated mainly from layering in both the krummholz mats and tree islands with only small percentages originating from seed. The results provide preliminary data and insight into the extent of layering and vegetative reproduction throughout the treeline ecotone. In the face of changing climates it is important to understand the reproductive potential of these species.
subject
Alpine
Engelmann Spruce
Krummholz
Subalpine Fir
Treeline
Vegetative Reproduction
contributor
Walters, Cristin (author)
Smith, William K (committee chair)
Kron, Kathleen A (committee member)
Anderson, T. Michael (committee member)
date
2013-01-09T09:35:13Z (accessioned)
2013-01-09T09:35:13Z (available)
2012 (issued)
degree
Biology (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/37657 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
VEGETATIVE REPRODUCTION BY LAYERING VERSUS SEXUAL REPRODUCTION IN A SPRUCE-FIR FOREST AT ALPINE TREELINE, MEDICINE BOW MOUNTAINS, USA
type
Thesis

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