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dc.contributor.authorKambo, Dasvinderen
dc.description.abstractDespite the expectation that treeline will advance as climate continues to warm, it has only done so in approximately half of all sites studied. One of the explanations for the nonresponse of treelines is based on reproductive limitations including seed production, germination, establishment and growth of young seedlings. To that end, I studied the white spruce (Picea glauca) alpine treeline in the Kluane region of southwest Yukon to explore two important questions related to treeline ecology: (1) Is there sufficient viable seed dispersed at and beyond treeline for successful advance? (2) What are the most important variables influencing germinant presence, seedling growth and seedling survival in the alpine treeline ecotone? Four specific investigations were used to answer these questions, each one addressing a key aspect of seed production, germination, and seedling growth: (1) Seed production, dispersal, and predation were quantified across the treeline ecotone. Results demonstrated that over 88% of seeds were damaged or not viable prior to dispersal. Less than 2% of all seeds were dispersed into alpine tundra. Additionally, germinant losses were also one third higher when seedlings were not protected from predators. (2) Germination success was highest in partially scarified quadrats relative to unscarified and completely scarified quadrats. This was likely due to higher soil moisture and decreased temperature range. In non-experimental areas, naturalized seedlings were found at a higher frequency in areas with evidence of fine-scale soil disturbance. (3) The most important variable that explained the presence of seedlings was the presence of shrubs: the higher the shrub cover, the greater the likelihood of finding tree seedlings up to a certain threshold, after which the probability declined. (4) Tree seedlings grew at a slower pace in the presence of shrubs, but had significantly less tissue damage and higher survivorship than in plots where shrubs had been removed. Collectively, my results suggest that seedling success is contingent on many factors, most notably the amount of erect shrubs in the immediate vicinity. Understanding the variables that influence seedling dynamics is critical, as treeline advance will only occur with the successful emergence, survival and growth of new individuals.en
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCanadian thesesen
dc.rightsAttribution 3.0 United Statesen
dc.rightsQueen's University's Thesis/Dissertation Non-Exclusive License for Deposit to QSpace and Library and Archives Canadaen
dc.rightsProQuest PhD and Master's Theses International Dissemination Agreementen
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dc.rightsThis publication is made available by the authority of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private study and research and may not be copied or reproduced except as permitted by the copyright laws without written authority from the copyright owner.en
dc.subjectaltitudinal gradientsen
dc.subjecttreeline dynamicsen
dc.subjectseed predationen
dc.subjectshrub-seedling interactionen
dc.subjectPicea glaucaen
dc.subjectseedling dynamicsen
dc.subjectreproductive ecologyen
dc.titleFine-Scale Mechanisms Influencing Germination Success, Seedling Growth and Survival in an Alpine Forest-Tundra Ecotoneen
dc.contributor.supervisorDanby, Ryan K.en
dc.contributor.departmentGeography and Planningen's University at Kingstonen

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Attribution 3.0 United States
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 3.0 United States