Mosses in Ohio wetlands respond to indices of disturbance and vascular plant integrity

Ecological Indicators
By: , and 

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Abstract

We examined the relationships between an index of wetland habitat quality and disturbance (ORAM score) and an index of vascular plant integrity (VIBI-FQ score) with moss species richness and a moss quality assessment index (MQAI) in 45 wetlands in three vegetation types in Ohio, USA. Species richness of mosses and MQAI were positively associated with ORAM and VIBI-FQ scores. VIBI-FQ score was a better predictor of both moss species richness and MQAI than was either ORAM score or vegetation type. This result was consistent with the strict microhabitat requirements for many moss species, which may be better assessed by VIBI-FQ than ORAM. Probability curves as a function of VIBI-FQ score were then generated for presence of groups of moss species having the same degree of fidelity to substrate and plant communities relative to other species in the moss flora (coefficients of conservatism, CCs). Species having an intermediate- or high degree of fidelity to substrate and plant communities (i.e., species with CC ≥ 5) had a 50% probability of presence (P50) and 90% probability of presence (P90) in wetlands with intermediate- and high VIBI-FQ scores, respectively. Although moss species richness, probability of presence of species based on CC, and MQAI may reflect wetland habitat quality, the 95% confidence intervals around P50 and P90 values may be too wide for regulatory use. Moss species richness, MQAI, and presence of groups of mosses may be more useful for evaluating moss habitat quality in wetlands than a set of “indicator species.”

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mosses in Ohio wetlands respond to indices of disturbance and vascular plant integrity
Series title Ecological Indicators
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.11.047
Volume 63
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Amsterdam
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 110
Last page 120
Country United States
State Ohio
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N