Home
Field Notes
 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
KODIAK: Survey Expands Knowledge of Refuge Flora
Alaska Region, August 29, 2008
Print Friendly Version
Survey team included botanists (left to right) Carolyn Parker, Karen Dillman, and Stacy Studebaker. Stacy Studebaker/USFWS
Survey team included botanists (left to right) Carolyn Parker, Karen Dillman, and Stacy Studebaker. Stacy Studebaker/USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Prior to the survey Douglas's gentian (Gentiana douglasiana) was not known to occur in the Kodiak Archipelago. Stacy Studebaker/USFWS
Prior to the survey Douglas's gentian (Gentiana douglasiana) was not known to occur in the Kodiak Archipelago. Stacy Studebaker/USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Surveys of unexplored areas can yield big surprises such as this solitary sandpiper found defending a nest or young, another first of its kind for the archipelago. Stacy Studebaker/USFWS
Surveys of unexplored areas can yield big surprises such as this solitary sandpiper found defending a nest or young, another first of its kind for the archipelago. Stacy Studebaker/USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

In July 2008 volunteer botanists Carolyn Parker and Stacy Studebaker surveyed the Refuge's Afognak Island unit, a 58,000-acre area comprised of untrammeled ocean coast, pristine lakes, and lofty mountains. The botanists targeted Afognak because it was one of the largest biologically unexplored regions of the Refuge. Preliminary results from the survey met and even surpassed expectations: the botanists encountered many species that were not known to inhabit the Refuge and, in some cases, the Kodiak Archipelago.

Parker and Studebaker, vascular plant specialists, identified more than 330 species and acquired 570 specimens. At least 35 species were first documented records for Kodiak Refuge and a smaller subset, perhaps eight species, comprised first records for the Kodiak Archipelago. Among the confirmed new finds were: copperbush (Cladothamus pyroliflorus), a shrub; northern holly-fern (Polystichum lonchitis); and sticky false asphodel (Tofieldia glutinosa), a brightly colored forb that inhabits saturated bogs soils. Initial analysis indicates that species newly catalogued to occur in the archipelago are documented from sites 50-200 miles away on mainland Alaska (e.g., Alaska Peninsula, Kenai Peninsula). In general, many of the newly catalogued species consisted of forbs characteristically associated with mature Sitka spruce forest, a land cover type which is abundantly represented on Afognak Island but sparsely represented where the bulk of Refuge land occurs on Kodiak Island.

The Refuge also capitalized on an opportunity to learn about lichens--a prominent but seldom-studied component of the Refuge's biodiversity. Joining the survey for a week, Karen Dillman, lichen specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, traversed a wide range of environments and collected more than 300 lichen specimens comprised of at least 150 species, many of which are believed to be new records for the Refuge and archipelago. She also established and sampled three permanent plots for purposes of comparing forest lichen communities and assessing the influence of airborne contaminants. Prepared plant and lichen specimens will be archived in herbariums at the University of Alaska Museum and Kodiak Refuge. Prepared plant specimens will be archived in herbariums at the University of Alaska Museum and Kodiak Refuge.


Contact Info: Bill Pyle, 907-487-2600-228, Bill_Pyle@fws.gov



Send to:
From:

Notes:
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State




Search by Region


US Fish and Wildlife Service footer