|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 387 January 17, firstname.lastname@example.org||Victoria, B.C.|
Based on analyses of terpenoids, nrDNA and trnC-D SNPs as well as morphology and ecology, a new cryptic species, Juniperus maritima, from the Puget Sound - Georgia Straits region has been recognized (Adams, 2007). The species, previously included in J. scopulorum, is characterized by having seed cones that mature in one year (14-16 months), seeds usually exserted from the cone, obtuse scale leaf tips, usually reniform seed cones, scale leaves overlap less than 1/5 the length, and branchlets smooth and reddish-brown. Called the seaside juniper, it grows on rocky areas (rarely sand dunes) near the sea, in Puget Sound - Georgia Straits.
A striking aspect of the Puget Sound, seaside junipers is their habitat. They all grow at the seaside (or lakeside) on granite or sand. This is a very different kind of habitat than that found in Juniperus scopulorum and J. virginiana. Juniperus scopulorum grows on dry, rocky mountainous soils. Juniperus virginiana is more cosmopolitan, growing in limestone areas as well as deep soils. Both Juniperus scopulorum and J. virginiana are weedy junipers that invade old fields and disturbed roadsides (Adams, 2004). In contrast, the seaside juniper is not weedy and usually appears as if it is relictual (i.e., older trees, with few or no seedlings). The Puget Sound juniper's habitat seems to be very restricted and has only been collected in a few locations. The Puget Sound climate is very different than the Rocky Mountain or the eastern US climates, having a mild, wet regime. In short, the Puget Sound juniper has evolved physiological genes to facilitate its growth in such an environment.
Of immediate concern upon examining the Puget Sound juniper, was that it might be an escaped cultivar of Juniperus virginiana. Juniperus virginiana was (and continues to be) commonly cultivated by settlers moving westward in the United States. A large tree on Lesqueti Island had 210 rings in 11 cm counted (est. age 400-500 yr old) and the Washington State record big juniper tree on Skagit Island had 140 rings in 20 cm (of a 118 cm trunk radius, est. 400+ years old). So Juniperus maritima clearly pre-dates settlement of the region.
Juniperus maritima is similar to J. scopulorum but differs in that the seed cones mature in 1 year (14-16 months), seeds are usually exserted from the cone, and the scale leaf tips are obtuse (Table 1). It differs from J. virginiana in having larger seed cones (6-8 mm) that are often reniform, seeds usually exserted from the cone, scale leaves overlap less than 1/5 the length, and branchlets are smooth and reddish-brown.
Table 1. Morphological comparison of J. maritima, J. scopulorum and J. virginiana
|J. maritima||J. scopulorum||J. virginiana|
|seed cones mature||14-16 mos.||2 years||1 year|
|seed cone diam.||6-8 mm||6-9 mm||3-6(7) mm|
|seed cone shape||globose to reniform||globose to reniform||ovoid|
|seeds per cone||(1) 2||(1) 2 (3)||1-2 (3)|
|scale leaf overlap||< 1/5 length||< 1/5 length||> 1/4 length|
|scale leaf tips||obtuse||acute to obtuse||acute|
|branchlets (6-15mm, diam.)||smooth, reddish-brown||smooth, bright reddish-brown||persistent brown with old leaves|
Junipers maritima is known only from the Georgia Strait - Puget Sound. It is usually found in rocky areas, often within meters of the water. However, a population exists on coastal sand dunes near Cranberry Lake, Whidbey Island, WA. No other population has been found on sand, so that site is likely atypical.
Population Status - The Lesqueti Island population is in a nature reserve and consists of hundreds of trees. It appears to be a robust population and not threatened. The Yellow Point population at Yellow Point Resort, private land, has tens of trees that appear to be reproducing, but development and human impact at the resort threatens it. The Cowichan Bay population is on private land. Approximately 10 trees were seen. No seedlings or saplings were observed. The Brentwood Bay population consists of 6 mature trees on seaside granite. It is at the north end of the Tsartlit Reserve and is protected from development. The Friday Harbor plants are found chiefly on rocks at the Univ. of Washington Marine Station and at the NPS, English Camp (6 old, mature trees) on the opposite side of San Juan Island. These sites are protected from development. The Fidalgo Island, Washington State Park, Anacortes, WA was the most robust population examined with hundreds of trees of various ages. It is in a protected park and its future looks secure. On Whidbey Island, a natural population was found on coastal sand dunes in Deception Pass Park (near Cranberry Lake). There are 10-20 trees, all very stunted from constant ocean winds and salt spray. Some age differences were observed. The site is in a park and protected from cutting. However, beach use and a large storm could threaten this population. Several other seaside junipers appear to have been planted at houses in the interior of Whidbey Island and are growing well in deep soil. About 10 individuals were seen on Skagit Island, ranging from very old to young saplings. Skagit Island is a protected area so, aside from fires, this little population appears stable.
In January 2007, Toby Spribille, Curtis Bjork, Trevor Goward and Tor Tonsberg announced the project "Connecting the Dots: the British Columbia epiphytic crustose lichen flora project." The announcement was carried on various ListServs, in the Northwest Lichen annual newsletter, and of course it also appeared here in BEN # 369, and it generated a lot of positive feedback. Much has transpired since then, so we thought it might be appropriate, one year later, to post an update.
A few months into our project, we were delighted to be joined by Irwin (Ernie) Brodo whose many decades of experience with the lichens of western Canada will be a tremendous asset. Welcome Ernie! Also joining our project is lichen photographer extraordinaire, Tim Wheeler, of Arlee, Montana. In the years ahead, Tim has agreed to avail us of his photographic prowess (to say nothing of his keen eye for interesting lichens): an important contribution, as will soon become evident. Welcome aboard, Tim!
2007 was a productive and rewarding year for the crust flora project in many other respects as well. The rich yield of new species for science from moist inland rainforests in British Columbia, Idaho and NW Montana featured as a front page article on the March 29, 2007 edition of the Vancouver Sun ("B.C.’s claim to fame: it’s a lichen hotbed"), and was subsequently carried on local and national media networks in Canada including the CBC. In the course of the year we submitted eleven papers dealing with epiphytic crust lichens in British Columbia and surrounding states and provinces. Seven of these were accepted and appeared in 2007 already or are in press, including descriptions of four new species: Bellemerella ritae (a lichenicolous fungus: BC, MT), Enterographa oregonensis (BC, OR), Lecidea rubrocastanea (BC, ID, MT, OR, WA), and Santessoniella saximontana (BC). And many more are in the works! We are indebted to the fantastic cooperation we have received from friends in Northwest Lichenologists from California to Canada, who have provided specimens and data to help round off our picture of the distribution and variability of these new species, as well as the help and endorsement of the following lichenologists from outside our region during 2007: Teuvo Ahti, Stefan Ekman, Jack Elix, Martin Grube, Per Magnus Jorgensen, Thorsten Lumbsch, Helmut Mayrhofer, Sergio Pérez-Ortega, Christian Printzen, Rikke Reese-Naesborg, Jouko Rikkinen, Matthias Schultz, Laurens Sparrius, and Leif Tibell. Here's to hoping we haven't forgotten anybody!
The past year has also been productive in terms of field work. Collectively we spent about four months in the field, working the dry forests of the southern interior, the rainforests of the central coast, and the boreal forests of northern British Columbia. In total we collected and reviewed more than 10,000 specimens since last year at this time. As ever, we continue to be astonished by the richness of BC's epiphytic crustose lichen flora, having in 2007 encountered scores of additional species for which we can find no names.
The year 2008 is already set to be a busy year for the flora project, with field work planned throughout the flora region and regional taxonomic revisions underway for Cliostomum and Xylographa. Also in the works is an epiphytic crustose flora for the Wells Gray Park area: one of the lichenologically better known portions of inland British Columbia. Farther afield, we're looking forward this year to herbarium visits to Ottawa, Vancouver, Bergen (Norway) and other significant repositories of Pacific Northwest lichens. And of course there's the 6th International Lichenological Symposium (IAL6), in Asilomar, where we're hoping to hold an informal information meeting on our project. Our objective for this meeting is simple: we'd like to invite more collaborative taxonomic research on British Columbia's epiphytic crusts with lichenologists from around the world.
See you there!
Any botanist should be interested in Professor Kruckeberg’s lucid, well-illustrated account of why plants grow and evolve where they do as influenced by topography, geology, hydrology, and soils and their mineral constituents. How geology shapes plant life in the landscape is the focus of this book, using California’s diverse geology and landforms as the example. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States at 14,505 ft. is only 80 miles from Death Valley the lowest point in North America at -282 ft. Then there are the 6,000 or so vascular plant taxa, the book’s other focus, that occupy habitats from coldest cold in alpine areas to hottest hot in deserts from soggy coastal rainforests to dry high desert steppes.
There are chapters on landforms and plant life, plants and their soils, serpentine soils (a Kruckeberg favorite), other strange plant-soil relationships (limestone, salt flats, bogs and fens to guano habitats), plant distribution over space and time (endemics indicator species of soil types), and human influences (mining and exotic species) to add just a few of the examples.
Excellent color photographs of plants and landscapes illustrate each chapter. Brief, easy to read tables summarize details, maps show places of interest, and diagrams illustrate complex concepts.
After the epilog there is "Exploring California’s Geology and Plant Life" with maps and a list of places to go to visit "exceptional sites" that show how geobotany influences the state’ s plant life. The map on page 236, Unique California Soil Types, shows Mount Eddy east of Interstate 5, not west, a minor "oops" in such a wonderful book.
So why should a Pacific Northwest botanist buy Kruckeberg’s book? Many soils and landforms are the same or similar, often with the same or different species and just as perplexing. Kruckeberg’s book will help answer many geobotanical questions posed by our diverse landscape and rich flora.
(Dr. Arthur Kruckeberg was Dr Frank Lang’s Major Professor for his Master of Science Degree in Botany at the University of Washington. The inscription in Lang’s copy of the book reviewed here reads, "To Frank Lang, fellow naturalist and old friend. Art Kruckeberg." Lang is indebted and grateful for Kruckeberg’s mentorship, tutelage, and teaching him the meaning of "ubiquitous".)
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