Belowground distribution and abundance of Botrychium gametophytes and juvenile sporophytes

Cindy Johnson-Groh*, Chandra Riedel, Laura Schoessler, Krissa Skogen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A significant portion of the stages of the life history of Botrychium, the gametophyte and juvenile sporophytes, are spent belowground. Surveys were conducted to determine the distribution and abundance of belowground gametophytes, juvenile sporophytes and gemmae of eight species of Botrychium. For each species, soil samples were collected in a 200 m2 area, sifted through a series of soil sieves, and centrifuged to separate the lighter plant material. Only 40% of the soil samples contained belowground structures revealing a patchy distribution. The gametophytes of B. montanum are most dense, followed by B. mormo with 738 and 728 gametophytes m-2 respectively. Botrychium hesperium also has a relatively high density of 478 gametophytes m-2. Botrychium gallicomontanum is the least dense with 10 gametophytes m-2. Botrychium campestre and B. gallicomontanum both have abundant gemmae and few gametophytes. The density of individuals in the belowground structure bank greatly exceeds the aboveground population. The size and health of the belowground structure bank is critical in sustaining the long-term aboveground population and in buffering it from extinction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Fern Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Belowground distribution and abundance of Botrychium gametophytes and juvenile sporophytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this