Systematics Section / ASPT
Poindexter, Derick B. , Murrell, Zack E. .
Vascular flora of Mount Jefferson State Natural Area and environs.
MOUNT Jefferson State Natural Area is a 246 ha (608 acres) site located in central Ashe County, NC within the Southern Section of the Blue Ridge Province. Geologically, Mount Jefferson is dominated by the metamorphic parent material amphibolite. This substrate releases magnesium, calcium, aluminum, and iron cations into the above soil layers upon weathering, thus helping to ameliorate or neutralize soil pH. In theory, this increase in soil pH creates a more hospitable environment for vegetative growth and species establishment. Such high pH is unusual in the Southern Appalachians with amphibolite outcrops primarily restricted to northwestern North Carolina. Only a select few of these mountains in North Carolina have received floristic attention. Those that have been comprehensively inventoried include Bluff Mountain and Phoenix Mountain. Both of these peaks lie adjacent to Mount Jefferson and have demonstrated substantial floristic diversity. This study will provide comparative floristic data to better our understanding of the biogeography of the Southern Appalachians by helping to tease apart one constituent of an ecoregion that has been traditionally viewed as a uniform entity. Mount Jefferson provides habitat for multiple state listed rare species, many of which are on the periphery of their distribution. Our survey documented approximately 678 taxa in 108 families. This immense species richness is partly a reflection of current taxonomic divisions as described by Weakley (2006). Furthermore, species boundaries are very fluid in our region. This taxonomic ambiguity is likely a consequence of several factors, including high levels of endemism and the close environmental proximity of northern disjuncts and other southern elements, which ultimately leads to a unique possibility of hybridization between typically unassociated taxa. Our understanding of floristic complexity in this region is by no means complete and finer scale resolution can only be achieved with further exploration of this highly diverse area.
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1 - Appalachian State University, Biology, 572 Rivers Street, Boone, North Carolina, 28608, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Auditorium/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 12:30 PM