Earth, Fire and Water - Geology and Wildflowers

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Have you ever wondered if and how geology affects wildflower plant communities? This talk describes several geological habitats and the specific plant communities sustained in those habitats.

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Earth, Fire and Water – Geology and Wildflowers:

Earth, Fire and Water – Geology and Wildflowers Dr. Andy Fyon, Director, Ontario Geological Survey, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Sudbury, Ontario “Ontario at, and beneath, Your Feet ” North Bay Heritage Gardeners October 12, 2011

What Did Andy Fyon Say?:

What Did Andy Fyon Say? Manitoulin Island Alvar Kalm`s St. John`s-wort ( Hypericum kalmianum ) Geological forces and features: shape the Earth, create habitats, and influence types and distribution of plant communities. BUT Geology is not the only factor.

Slide 3:

3 Won’t discuss medicinal or culinary uses Not horticulturist or botanist. Not expert on flora. Flowering plants: hobby. Am a geologist. Disclaimer

Slide 4:

4 Sponsor: Ontario Geological Survey Ministry Northern Development, Mines & Forestry Aggregate Groundwater Landform, Habitat Mineral Resource Glacial deposits Rocks Geothermal Resource Environment, climate change, health + safety economic development, planning

Ontario Geology Maps:

Ontario Geology Maps Different colours = different rocks and surficial deposits Together they create a variety of geological habitats. Rocks Glacial Deposits

A Little Geology:

A Little Geology Geological forces shape Earth

Geology and Habitat:

Geology and Habitat Geological forces shape Earth Geological forces and features influence habitats Habitats: old Beaches, Hudson Bay: - dry sandy beach; - moist silty inter-beach.

Habitat and Plant Communities:

Habitat and Plant Communities Geological forces shape Earth Geological forces and features influence habitats Habitats sustain specific plant communities

Geology, Habitat and Plant Communities:

Geology, Habitat and Plant Communities Geological forces shape Earth Geological forces and features influence habitats Habitats sustain plant communities Geological forces and geological features influence types and distribution of plant communities Manitoulin Island Alvar Manitoulin Gold ( Hymenoxys herbacea )

Geological Process: Fire - Igneous Rocks:

10 Geological Process: Fire - Igneous Rocks US Geological Survey Green rock

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Geological Process: Water - Sedimentary rock formed from ancient life remains, in an ancient warm ocean, 500 million years ago Coniglio et al. 2006

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12 Geological Process: Water - Sedimentary Rock, Warm Ocean, From Ancient Life Brachiopod Crinoid stem Bryozoan Blue rock

Geological Process: Glaciation Ontario Chills out!:

Geological Process: Glaciation Ontario Chills out! Alpine Glacier – British Columbia Earth glaciation 2 billion years ago 600 million years ago 250 million years ago 1 million years ago 20,000 years ago Covered almost all of Canada Ron Blakey, NAU Geology - Jan.ucc.nau.edu

Slide 14:

organic layer beach deposit glacial till Geological Process: Earth - Glacial and Post-Glacial Deposits

Habitat = Process + Time + Geological Feature:

Habitat = Process + Time + Geological Feature Process (The Earth Moved) Time (A Very Long Time) Geological Feature Plant Community Lupin, Mountain aven, Moss Campion

Geological Time – Ancient Plants:

Geological Time – Ancient Plants Earth formed: 4,600 Ma Trees, ferns, horsetails: 420 Ma Joggins Trees / ferns: 350 Ma

Geological Time: Fossil Plants: Joggins, Nova Scotia, 350 Million years (“Coal age”):

Geological Time: Fossil Plants: Joggins, Nova Scotia, 350 Million years (“Coal age”) Calamites (350 million years old) Ancestor of Horsetail ( Equisetum )

Geological Time: Fossil Plants: Joggins, Nova Scotia, 350 Million years:

Geological Time: Fossil Plants: Joggins, Nova Scotia, 350 Million years Lycopod (350 million years old) Ancestor of club moss ( Lycopodium )

Geological Time – Ancient Plants:

Geological Time – Ancient Plants Earth formed: 4,600 Ma Trees, ferns, horsetails: 420 Ma Flowering Plants: 125 Ma (Archaefructus sinensis) Joggins Trees / ferns: 350 Ma

Geological Time: Fossil “Flowering” Plant (Archaefructus sinensis) - 125 Million years:

Geological Time: Fossil “Flowering” Plant ( Archaefructus sinensis) - 12 5 Million years Evolutionary step to flowering plants. No petals. Seeds protected by closed fruits.

Geological Time – Ancient Plants:

Geological Time – Ancient Plants Earth formed: 4,600 Ma Trees, ferns, horsetails: 420 Ma Flowering Plants: 125 Ma (Archaefructus sinensis) Joggins Trees / ferns: 350 Ma Humans: 0.1 Ma

Geological Process, Features and Plants:

Geological Process, Features and Plants (Terry Jones, 1983) Our unifying question for the rest of this talk: How are geological processes, features, and flora linked?

Geological Process: Fire: Igneous Rocks and Plants:

Geological Process: Fire: Igneous Rocks and Plants US Geological Survey Different rocks feed plants differently. Plants LIKE Volcanic rock. Plants DO NOT LIKE quartz-rich rock.

Geological Process: Earth: Hostile Igneous Rocks and Plants Gros Morne UNESCO World Heritage Site:

Geological Process: Earth: Hostile Igneous Rocks and Plants Gros Morne UNESCO World Heritage Site Ultramafic rock: Not plant friendly!! No: K, N, P High: nickel, copper, magnesium Vegetation No vegetation Volcanic and related rock: plant friendly! Lots: K, N, P Low: nickel, copper, magnesium

Geological Process: Erosion – sedimentary rock:

Geological Process: Erosion – sedimentary rock Result: Adapted plants with tap roots in this habitat. Roseroot / King's Crown ( Rhodiola rosea / Sedum rosea)

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Geological Process: Carbonate-rich Sedimentary Rock, Limestone + Calciphiles Result: Calciphile plant habitat Calciphile Large yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripediun pubescens)

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Karst dissolved rock Geological Process: Weathering - Karst Columbine ( Aquilegia canadensis ) Manitoulin Gold ( Hymenoxys herbacea ) Result: Plant habitat in cracks in hostile area.

Geological Process: Geological Glaciation and Plant Habitats:

Geological Process: Geological Glaciation and Plant Habitats Result: Landscape Different landforms, habitats, plant communities Peter Barnett, OGS

Slide 29:

Geological Process: Frost Action Result: Plant habitat in hostile area.

Now for Something Completely Different… Let’s Look at Flora in Four Extreme Geological Habitats:

Now for Something Completely Different… Let’s Look at Flora in Four Extreme Geological Habitats Extreme natural habitats Wild Sweet Pea ( Hedysarum mackenzii ) Domestic garden habitats

Fort Severn Area, Hudson Bay Coast:

31 Fort Severn Area, Hudson Bay Coast

Glaciation, Rising Land, Hudson Bay Coast, Tundra, and Plant Communities:

32 Glaciation, Rising Land, Hudson Bay Coast, Tundra, and Plant Communities Glaciation ended about 5,000 years ago. Ron Blakey, NAU Geology - Jan.ucc.nau.edu

Process: Glaciation: Sinking and Rising Land:

Process: Glaciation: Sinking and Rising Land Natural Resources Canada, Geological Survey of Canada Glacier melts: land bounces back (Isostatic rebound) Heavy glacier depresses the Earth (Subsidence)

Ancient “Raised” Storm Beaches, Hudson Bay Coast, Plant Communities:

Ancient “Raised” Storm Beaches, Hudson Bay Coast, Plant Communities Rising land Hudson Bay Raised storm beaches <7000 years old

Hudson Bay Coast, New Beach, Plants:

Hudson Bay Coast, New Beach, Plants Storm beaches / bars Early plant stabilizers Sea-beach Sandwort ( Honchenya peploides ) + Sea Lime Grass ( Elymus arenarius ) Halophyte: tolerate salt water Sea Lime Grass ( Elymus arenarius )

Hudson Bay Coast: Behind the Beach, “Salt Marsh”:

Hudson Bay Coast: Behind the Beach, “Salt Marsh” Egede’s Cinquefoil ( Potentilla egedii ) + Arctic Chrysanthemum ( Chrysanthemum arcticum ) Seaside Buttercup ( Ranunculus cymbalaria ) Seaside Plantain ( Plantago juncoides ) Marsh Ragwort (Senecio congestus)

Hudson Bay Coast: Stabilized Beach to Spruce Community:

Hudson Bay Coast: Stabilized Beach to Spruce Community Alpine Bistort ( Polygonum viviparum ) Mountain Aven ( Dryas integrifolia ) Broad-leaved Fireweed ( Epilobium latifolium) Greenland Primrose ( Primual egalikensis)

Hudson Bay Coast: Stabilized Beach to Spruce Community:

Hudson Bay Coast: Stabilized Beach to Spruce Community Franklin`s Lady`s Slipper or Northern Lady`s Slipper or Sparrow-egg Lady`s Slipper ( Cypripedium passerinum ) Purple Paintbrush ( Castilleja raupii ) Sweet Vetch ( Hedysarium mackenzii )

Hudson Bay Coast: Geological Factor: Glaciation, Isostatic Rebound, Storm Beaches:

Hudson Bay Coast: Geological Factor: Glaciation, Isostatic Rebound, Storm Beaches Rising land Hudson Bay Raised storm beaches <7000 years old

Geology, Bog-Fen Plants:

Geology, Bog-Fen Plants

Geological Factors: Water: Glaciation, Landforms, Drainage, Bog-Fen Plants:

Geological Factors: Water: Glaciation, Landforms, Drainage, Bog-Fen Plants Floodplain Bogs / Kettles Kame Glacial retreat Drainage / stagnant water Physical / chemical conditions Nutrients Plants

“Carnivorous” Bog-Fen Plant: Pitcher Plant:

42 “Carnivorous” Bog-Fen Plant: Pitcher Plant

“Carnivorous” Bog-Fen Plant: Pitcher Plant:

“Carnivorous” Bog-Fen Plant: Pitcher Plant Leaf “soup” Hairs Insects Nutrients

“Carnivorous” Bog-Fen Plant: Sundew:

“Carnivorous” Bog-Fen Plant: Sundew Secretions Insects Nutrients

Geological Factors: Water: Glaciation, Landforms, Drainage, Bog-Fen Plants:

Geological Factors: Water: Glaciation, Landforms, Drainage, Bog-Fen Plants Floodplain Bogs / Kettles Kame Glacial retreat Drainage / stagnant water Physical / chemical conditions Nutrients Plants

Hostile Geology + Plants Manitoulin Alvar:

Hostile Geology + Plants Manitoulin Alvar Limestone / dolomite Open Little or no soil Alkaline Low nutrient Sunlight Temperature moderated by proximity to lake Spring flooding Summer drought

Near North and Southern Ontario Alvars:

Precambrian Shield: >2 Billion years old Limestone alvar: <0.4 Billion year old Near North and Southern Ontario Alvars

Alvar Calciphile Plant Species:

Alvar Calciphile Plant Species Sticky False-Asphodel ( Tofieldia glutinosa ) Fringed Gentian ( Gentiana procera ) Bird`s-eye Primrose ( Primula mistassinica ) Kalm`s St. John`s-wort ( Hypericum kalmianum ) Kalm`s Lobelia ( Lobelia kalmii ) Manitoulin Gold ( Hymenoxys acaulis )

Geological Factors: Alvar Calciphiles - :

Geological Factors: Alvar Calciphiles - Rock geology (400 million years ago) Rock chemistry Alvar habitat  Calciphile plant community False Pennyroyal Manitoulin Gold + Columbine Alvar – Ordovician Fossil

Jocko Point, North Bay Area Ancient Lake Bottom:

Jocko Point, North Bay Area Ancient Lake Bottom North Bay Jocko Point

North Bay Area – Geology 1 – Graben Fault 175 Million Years Ago:

North Bay Area – Geology 1 – Graben Fault 175 Million Years Ago North Bay Joco Point Fault

Jocko Point: Geology 2: Glaciation 15,000 Years Ago:

52 Jocko Point: Geology 2: Glaciation 15,000 Years Ago Ron Blakey, NAU Geology - Jan.ucc.nau.edu

Jocko Point – Geology 2 – Glacier and Ancient lakes – 13,000 Years Ago:

53 Jocko Point – Geology 2 – Glacier and Ancient lakes – 13,000 Years Ago Harsh cold climate around melting glacier. Tundra & flora. Glacier North Bay Outlet

Jocko Point – Geology 2 – Glaciation and Ancient lake: 10,000 to 4,700 Years Ago:

54 Jocko Point – Geology 2 – Glaciation and Ancient lake: 10,000 to 4,700 Years Ago Flowed into Ottawa River Geoheritage Nipissing

Jocko Point – Geology 3 – Ancient shorelines:

55 Jocko Point – Geology 3 – Ancient shorelines Younger than 4700 years. Ancient shoreline formed as Lake Nipissing level dropped.

Jocko Point – Geology 2 – Fertile, Silty, Lake Bottom Deposits – Plant Friendly:

56 Jocko Point – Geology 2 – Fertile, Silty, Lake Bottom Deposits – Plant Friendly

Jocko Point – Result Deciduous Forest Habitat:

57 Jocko Point – Result Deciduous Forest Habitat Rich, fertile deposits, periodic flooding.

Jocko Point: Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat:

58 Jocko Point: Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat Rich, fertile deposits, periodic flooding. Wake Robin ( Trillium erectum ) Dutchman's Breeches ( Dicentra cucullaria ) Spring Beauty ( Claytonia Virginica )

Jocko Point: Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat:

59 Jocko Point: Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat Rich, fertile deposits, periodic flooding. Broad-leaved Toothwort ( Cardamine diphylla ) Trout Lily ( Erythronium americanum )

Jocko Point: Deciduous Forest Geological Factors:

Jocko Point: Deciduous Forest Geological Factors Big faults Glacial history Melt water river flow Changes in lake level Fertile soil

Geology and Plants:

Geology and Plants Habitats Landforms Plant Communities Geological Processes Face of Earth Creates habitats Influences plant communities

Dr. Andy Fyon Director, Ontario Geological Survey www.ontariogeologicalsurvey.ca andy.fyon@ontario.ca (www.ontariowildflower.com):

Dr. Andy Fyon Director, Ontario Geological Survey www.ontariogeologicalsurvey.ca andy.fyon@ontario.ca (www.ontariowildflower.com)

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