VMNH Publications

Scientific Publications from the Virginia Museum of Natural History

Jeffersoniana 27

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The Effects of Fire on Lycopodium digitatum strobili

by Stephanie I. Vogel, Bryan T. Piatkowski, Alton C. Dooley, Jr., and DorothyBelle Poli
published 31 October 2011

Lycopodium is a commonly ignored plant in the forest understory and in fire ecological studies in spite of the well-documented explosive nature of their spores. Therefore, in order to understand how fire may affect Lycopodium, burn studies were carried out on varying sporophyte life cycle stages. Strobili exhibited varying degrees of sporophyll opening and closing in response to the burning and age was directly correlated to the length of the burn. Spores that were burned and plated on axenic media showed a decrease in germination time, from 9 months to 3 weeks, after being subjected to fire. Beyond providing baseline understanding of the effects of fire on Lycopodium and its reproduction, these studies also provide clues about the possible role of fire in Paleozoic forests.

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