Moss and vascular plant indices in Ohio wetlands have similar environmental predictors

Ecological Indicators
By: , and 

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Abstract

Mosses and vascular plants have been shown to be reliable indicators of wetland habitat delineation and environmental quality. Knowledge of the best ecological predictors of the quality of wetland moss and vascular plant communities may determine if similar management practices would simultaneously enhance both populations. We used Akaike's Information Criterion to identify models predicting a moss quality assessment index (MQAI) and a vascular plant index of biological integrity based on floristic quality (VIBI-FQ) from 27 emergent and 13 forested wetlands in Ohio, USA. The set of predictors included the six metrics from a wetlands disturbance index (ORAM) and two landscape development intensity indices (LDIs). The best single predictor of MQAI and one of the predictors of VIBI-FQ was an ORAM metric that assesses habitat alteration and disturbance within the wetland, such as mowing, grazing, and agricultural practices. However, the best single predictor of VIBI-FQ was an ORAM metric that assessed wetland vascular plant communities, interspersion, and microtopography. LDIs better predicted MQAI than VIBI-FQ, suggesting that mosses may either respond more rapidly to, or recover more slowly from, anthropogenic disturbance in the surrounding landscape than vascular plants. These results supported previous predictive studies on amphibian indices and metrics and a separate vegetation index, indicating that similar wetland management practices may result in qualitatively the same ecological response for three vastly different wetland biological communities (amphibians, vascular plants, and mosses).

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Moss and vascular plant indices in Ohio wetlands have similar environmental predictors
Series title Ecological Indicators
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.036
Volume 62
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Amsterdam
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 138
Last page 146
Country United States
State Ohio
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N