We sought a simple and effective transplant method that could be used to measure biomass accumulation rates of epiphytic bryophytes. Trials were carried out in the Pseudotsuga menziesii-dominated forests of western Oregon. We tested multiple transplant methods over a 13-month period while comparing accumulation rates of Antitrichia curtipendula (Hedw.) Brid. and Isothecium myosuroides Brid. among an old-growth stand, a young stand, and a recent clearcut. In our study area, Antitrichia is considered to be an old-growth associate while Isothecium is a more ubiquitous species. Methods tested included containment in net bags, containment in hairnets, and directly tying mats to substrates. Three sizes of transplants were tested with both natural and inert artificial substrates. Transplants of approximately five g enclosed in plastic net bags and tied to either natural or artificial substrates worked well for our purposes. Only minor differences were found in mean accumulation rates between the old growth and young stand, though variation in accumulation rates was higher in the old growth. Neither species appeared capable of surviving in the clearcut. Antitrichia accumulated biomass 60% faster in the canopy than in the understory on average. Antitrichia also accumulated at a faster rate than Isothecium, with mean 13-month biomass increases of 11.8 and 3.7% respectively for 5 g transplants in the understory. Our results suggest that Antitrichia's association with old growth may be due more to dispersal or establishment limitations than to a decreased ability to grow in young stands.
Additional publication details
Using transplants to measure accumulation rates of epiphytic bryophytes in forests of western Oregon