|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 263 January 16, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
Antoni (Ton) W. H. Damman, 68, of Manhattan, Kansas, formally of Tolland, Connecticut, died suddenly at Middlesex Hospital, in Middletown, Connecticut on Dec. 27, 2000. Ton was born April 21, 1932 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, son of the late Antoni and Wilhemina (Adriana) Damman. He studied Plant Ecology at the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands and received his undergraduate and MS degrees.
In 1956, Ton immigrated to Newfoundland, Canada where he was a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, in St. Johns, Newfoundland. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1964. Ton immigrated to the United States in 1967 to accept a faculty position in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. While a professor of Ecology, he provided instruction in Botany, Plant Geography, Plant Ecology, and Field Ecology. Ton retired from the University of Connecticut in 1996 and moved to Manhattan, Kansas where he joined the faculty in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University.
Ton established a long and distinguished career in wetland ecology and published widely on the ecology, biogeochemistry and vegetation of peatlands, vegetation-habitat relationships, vegetation classification and mapping, ecological approaches to land classification and plant geography of eastern North America. He conducted the majority of his work in Newfoundland and Eastern Canada, throughout the Eastern US, and in Northern Europe.
He willingly volunteered his time to many professional societies and conservation organizations. Ton was a member of the Vegetation Classification Panel of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and helped significantly in the ongoing Initiative for a Standardized Classification of Vegetation in the United States.
Ton had a passion for the outdoors and remote, beautiful places. He spent much of his life studying botany and plant ecology all over the world and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others. Dr. Bill Meades, who was Ton's Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut in the 1970's, wrote to us: "I have never met a man before or since with so much enthusiasm for his science, his students and life in general. The expression on his face to see a new plant or an "old friend " in a new habitat was unforgetable. The world has lost a good person and great plant ecologist." Ton's love of life, sense of humor and passion for teaching will be missed by all who knew him.
Ton is survived by his wife, Loretta Johnson Damman, of Manhattan, Kansas and formerly of Tolland, Connecticut, his son Hans Damman of Sardis, British Columbia, his daughter Margreet Else Damman Canam of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, two sisters, Alida Wevers and Johanna Wilhelm of the Netherlands, four grandchildren Gilbert and Sally Damman, Rebecca and Michael Canam, and very dear friend and sister-in-law Else Visscher. Ton was pre-deceased by his first wife Blandina Catherina Visscher.
A fund was created in the memory of Ton Damman and donations may be made to the "University of Connecticut Foundation" care of the Ton Damman Fund, Box U-3206, Storrs, CT 06269-3206.
[Ton Damman's bibliography will appear in the next BEN. - AC]
Mires (peatlands) can be surveyed at different scales. In Norway, Moen & Singsaas (1994) have outlined a four-level series of concepts where 'mire feature' refers to microtopographical units (such as flarks, hollows, hummocks) and 'mire complex' to the largest unit: the entire extent of a peatland bounded by dry terrain. Mire complex types have a characteristic macro- and microtopography, peat stratigraphy, hydrology and arrangement of plant communities (Sjors 1948, Ruuhijarvi 1960, Damman 1995, Dierssen 1996).
Aapa mire is a specific northern peatland complex type originally described by Cajander (1913) from northern Finland. According to Cajander, aapa mires (Aapamoore in German) have the following key characteristics: they are large and often branching wetlands, predominantly treeless and in central parts covered by wet fens showing a distinct pattern of flarks (=rimpis) and strings. Unlike raised mires (Hochmoore), ombrotrophic vegetation types are to a large extent missing from central parts of aapa mires. According to Ruuhijarvi (1960) the vegetation and surface patterns of Finnish aapa mires show regional regularity. High reticulate patterns are characteristic of aapa mires in the north-boreal/subarctic whereas low parallel strings are common in the south-middle boreal zones.
The Swedish and Norwegian authors emphasize the mixed nature of northern flark mires - the alternation of minerotrophic wet flarks and locally ombrotrophic hummocky strings - and consequently prefer the term 'mixed mire' (Sjors et al., 1965; Moen & Singsaas, 1995: Rydin et al., 1999). In international usage and as an ecological term, however, mixed mire remains somewhat vague. On the other hand, in the study of the development of a central Swedish peatland complex, Foster and Fritz (1987) apply the concept 'patterned fen' synonymously with aapa mire (sensu Cajander, 1913).
In North America, patterned minerotrophic mires (patterned fens) have been observed and studied in many areas with cold winter climate and minerogenous flooding caused by snowmelt or by groundwater: northern Ontario (Sjors, 1963), Red Lake Peatland in northern Minnesota (Heinselman, 1963; Glaser et al., 1981; Glaser, 1992), northern Alberta (Vitt et al., 1975) Great Slave Lake area in Northwest Territories (Pakarinen & Talbot, 1976), northern part of the island of Newfoundland (Damman, 1979) and east-central Labrador, among raised bogs (Foster & King; 1984; and the author's field observations, 1982) as well as in some regions of Alaska (string wetlands in Kenai National Wildilfe Refuge: Talbot et al., 1985). The national wetland classification of Canada lists several Fen Wetland Forms of which especially Net Fen and Northern Ribbed have typical features of aapa mires (Zoltai et al., 1988a, 1988b; Warner & Rubec, 1997). An excellent color photo of a representative Canadian aapa mire (ribbed fen) is printed in the back cover of the Wetlands of Canada book (Rubec, 1988).
While the European Union (EU) Habitats Directive classifies aapa mires as a priority habitat type, Finland and Sweden have a special responsibility to effectively protect these wetland ecosystems. One example of an on-going conservation project in SW Lapland is described at http://www.vyh.fi/eng/environ/project/lifelap/eng.htm.
North European aapa mires are unique wetlands with high vegetational diversity and rich birdlife compared to more southern raised bogs. It is also significant to note that although the terminologies vary, ecologically corresponding fen (or bog-fen) wetland complexes occur over geographically extensive areas of the boreal and subarctic regions of North America and should be given consideration by international mire and wetland conservation programs (e.g., IMCG, IUCN/Ramsar Bureau).
Ton Damman's contributions to mire ecology ranged from comprehensive studies of floristic, hydrological and chemical characteristics of eastern North American mires to more minor, but important, work such as the identification of Sphagnum cuspidatum Ehrh. ex Hoffm. in Burns Bog, near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in November 1999. Ton was part of an invited panel of scientists that provided advice to the provincial government on the ecological significance of Burns Bog, a large domed bog just south of Vancouver. During a field trip, Ton and Klaus Dierssen identified S. cuspidatum in the field. Ton collected a specimen and confirmed the field identification shortly after his return to Kansas. A voucher specimen is deposited at the University of British Columbia herbarium (G.K. Golinski #2203).
Prior to 1999, existence of the species in British Columbia was unclear. It had been reported from B.C. by some authors (e.g., Crum and Anderson, 1981; Crum, 1984; Schofield, 1992), although others thought it did not occur in western North America (e.g., Hill, 1980; R. Andrus, pers. comm. January 2000). Its uncertain status was likely based on confusion with the aquatic form of Sphagnum pacificum, a species endemic to the west coast of North America, described by Flatberg (1987). Ton's discovery of S. cuspidatum in Burns Bog prompted us to re-examine material in the UBC herbarium, at which time we found an overlooked collection made by W.B. Schofield (W.B. Schofield #77531) in 1982, annotated by Kjell I. Flatberg as Sphagnum cuspidatum s. lat. in 1984. Thus S. cuspidatum appears to have been present in the bog prior to 1982.
In Burns Bog, Sphagnum cuspidatum forms small floating mats in ditches alongside recently cleared cranberry fields. It is also widespread and abundant in parts of the bog where only the upper layer of peat was mined. Both areas are wet throughout the year, and plants are submerged to emergent.
Sphagnum cuspidatum was likely introduced to Burns Bog on machinery used for peat harvesting or agriculture, or in plant material used in commercial cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) operations. Many non-native plant species of eastern North American origin are now widespread in disturbed parts of Burns Bog, including Eriophorum virginicum, Hypericum boreale, Juncus brevicaudatus, Juncus canadensis, J. pelocarpus, Lysimachia terrestris, Rubus allegheniensis, Triadenum fraseri, Vaccinium corymbosum, and Vaccinium macrocarpon (Taylor, 1994; Lomer, 1995, 1996, Madrone Consultants, 1999, Peter Zika, pers. comm. to A. Ceska, November 1999). Most of these species were first reported in British Columbia by Lomer (1995) from the vicinity of Vancouver, in bogs and wetlands that were converted to commercial blueberry or cranberry farms.
Elsewhere in Canada, Sphagnum cuspidatum has been reported from all provinces east of and including Saskatchewan (Crum and Anderson, 1981; Ireland, 1982; Brassard, 1983; Crum, 1984; Sims and Baldwin, 1996). Its range also extends south along the east coast of the continent to Florida and inland to Kansas. Sphagnum cuspidatum is often submerged in shallow water in depressions or drainage tracks in ombrogenous to weakly minerogenous mires (Crum and Anderson, 1981; Ireland, 1982; Crum, 1984; Sims and Baldwin, 1996). It is also a pioneer species along the margins of lakes, and in Atlantic Canada it colonizes low-gradient roadside drainage ditches (Crum and Anderson, 1981; Ireland, 1982).
Another introduced moss at Burns Bog is Campylopus introflexus (Hedw.) Brid. (Taylor, 1994, 1996, 1997); it is native to the Southern Hemisphere (Schofield, 1997; Taylor, 1997). Sphagnum cuspidatum is probably the only introduced species of Sphagnum in British Columbia. Reports of Sphagnum introductions are few. For example, the single population of Sphagnum fimbriatum in South Africa was likely introduced from Europe during trout introduction to streams in the area (Magill 1981).
Although it is always more exciting to discover a previously undetected native species than it is to find an introduced one, Ton Damman's discovery of S. cuspidatum at Burns Bog helped clarify our understanding of Sphagnum in British Columbia.