Alpine Vascular Plant Biodiversity at Spray Park, Mount Rainier National Park, WA, U.S.A.

Record, S. 2003

A total of 51 specimens from this study are cataloged PSM 10618 - 10669.

Abstract

While alpine plants are adapted to withstand harsh, high elevation environments, they are still susceptible to human impact.  At Mount Rainier National Park more quantitative studies on the flora are needed for park ecologists to make informed decisions on conservation efforts.  A study on Burroughs Mountain in the summer of 2001, which created a thorough list of vascular plant and macrolichen species served as a model for this study.  In this study a comprehensive catalogue of the flora of Spray Park was made.  Fifty-one species of vascular plants were identified.  In addition to creating a list of all the species of vascular plants in Spray Park, this study investigated the association between environmental factors, plants and lichens.  Along sixteen 50 m parallel pairs of transects, the following were measured: plant and macrolichen species' percent cover, slope, soil pH, aspect, substrate type, substrate stability, and soil moisture.  Data from these transects were analyzed statistically with ordinations using the computer programs CANOCO and PC-ORD.  Ordinations graphically illustrate quadrat relationships between species and environmental variables. Among these transects there were three major habitat types: lichen dominated areas, plant dominated areas, and lichen/plant-dominated areas.  Plant dominated areas consisted of mesic alpine meadows; whereas lichen dominated and lichen/plant dominated areas consisted of xeric, exposed ridgelines and talus slopes.  There was a negative correlation between percent cover of lichen and plants, however, positive relationships between specific lichen species and plant species of particular structural forms existed.

Download a Copy (2.67 MB)

Suggested Reference:
Record, S. 2003. Alpine Vascular Plant Biodiversity at Spray Park, Mount Rainier National Park, WA, U.S.A.. Misc. Publications of the Slater Museum.