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SELAWIK: Bog or Fen?
Alaska Region, August 1, 2005
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Two botanists crisscrossed the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge for more than a month this summer describing and recording the Refuge's plant communities. Stephen Talbot (US Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage) and Ayzik Solomeshch (University of California, Davis) completed initial investigations on 159 plots ranging in size from 25 to 100 square meters. The botanists identified several plant communities in each of the Refuge's three major landscapes?floodplain, tundra, and mountain slope. They collected soil samples and depth to soil frost measurements. Among the initial findings were seven new plant species not previously recorded on the Refuge, including two new species of orchids. At a post-fieldwork briefing, Refuge staff learned among other things the difference between a bog (nutrient-poor wetland) and a fen (nutrient-rich wetland). Further analysis of the plant community data will take place in the coming year. The team set up several permanent plots to monitor vegetation change in coming decades.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov



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