Table of Contents
ISRN Botany
Volume 2012, Article ID 456051, 6 pages
Research Article

Moss and Soil Substrates Interact with Moisture Level to Influence Germination by Three Wetland Tree Species

Department of Biology, Jewett Hall, SUNY-Fredonia, Fredonia, NY 14063, USA

Received 24 April 2012; Accepted 15 May 2012

Academic Editors: M. Jullien and S. Satoh

Copyright © 2012 Alexander Staunch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To assess germination success in different microsites of a forested wetland environment, seeds of three common western New York wetland tree species, Acer x freemanii, Fraxinus pennsylvanica, and Ulmus americana, were sown into flats in the greenhouse with three substrates (mosses Hypnum imponens or Thuidium delicatulum or bare soil) and three hydrological conditions (wet, moist, or dry) in a factorial design. For the three species both treatment regimes and the interaction were highly significant, except for Acer, in which the substrate regime was not significant. Fraxinus germination had the highest tolerance for wet conditions and lowest for dry conditions followed by Acer and then Ulmus. Significant interactions showed that the effect of hydrological regime on germination is influenced by substrate type. Moss decreased germination under drier conditions and increased germination under wet conditions by lifting the seeds away from the soil and creating drier conditions than on bare soil. It is also possible that interspecific competition for moisture played a role in decreasing germination under dry conditions. By influencing the regeneration niche for three major tree species of swamps in the northeastern United States, the bryophyte layer plays an important role in determining community composition.