Moss diversity in plant communities associated with a penguin rookery on Deception Island, Maritime Antarctica
Keywords:polar tundra, terrestrial ecosystem, Antarctic Peninsula, penguin
In order to determine the influence of a penguin rookery on the diversity of the vegetation on Deception Island, Maritime Antarctica, the composition of bryophytes along a transect of approximately 2 km between Lake Irízar and the penguin rookery (Pygoscelis antarcticus) of La Descubierta Point was studied. A total of 39 vegetation carpets formed mainly by bryophytes were detected, distributed between three main sectors, next to Lake Irízar, in Vapour Coil and at La Descubierta Point. The bryophytes correspond to 15 moss species and only 2 liverworts, with 11 moss families represented. Two mosses, Sanionia uncinata (31 records) and Polytrichastrum alpinum (9 records), were found to dominate the moss carpets, being also the most frequent species. In addition, a new site on the island was found with presence of the moss Bryum orbiculatifolium, which grows directly associated with the penguin rookery. Our results also show that there are 5 species of mosses common to the three sectors, another 5 species grow only in the penguin area, differentiating this community from the other two sectors. Vascular plants were not detected, indicating that the studied sites are in state of early colonization where their biota is marked by the presence of pioneer mosses associated to the penguin colony, which probably benefit from the nutrient input derived from the deposited guano.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Cristobal Araneda, José María Fernández, Marc Oliva, Götz Palfner, Angélica Casanova-Katny
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