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Lehrstuhl für Biogeografie

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Audorff, V*; Beierkuhnlein, C: Acidification of springs: detecting spatial patterns and temporal dynamics at the landscape scale
Vortrag, 35. Jahrestagung der GFÖ: Landscapes, ecosystems and populations - dynamics, functions and conservation: 19.09.2005 - 23.09.2005

Plants and their diversity in spring habitats are strongly influenced by hydrochemical conditions. Using multivariate statistical methods, higher plants, mosses and liverworts have been tested in a former project to identify 1) the driving forces of species composition and 2) indicator species, which react sensibly to changes in water chemistry. In a recent project we repeated the investigation of springwater chemistry and vegetation on different spatial and temporal scales, 3) to test if there is a recovery from acidification (as a consequence of the reduced deposition of acidifying pollutants) and 4) to quantify the delay of plant species’ response. Springs and their vegetation prove to be a good indicator system to characterize the biogeochemistry of forest ecosystems, which is modified by atmospheric deposition. Spatial patterns of load situations can be shown clearly on different spatial scales (within and between landscapes), both with water analyses and vegetation records. Low pH-values accompanied by high concentrations of Al, Cd, Zn and Mn are the main factor that is altering species composition. Whereas we found a slight trend of recovery from acidification in springwater from 1989/90 to 2003/2004, the indicator species did not reflect this. The reason for this could be either a delayed response of the community due to persistent dominance patterns (inertia) or an integrative reaction, compensating short-term fluctuations in water chemistry.
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