What On Earth: Geology and Wildflowers, Sudbury Ontario Area

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Presentation Description

Based on a simple and brief description of the geological history of the Earth, several geological habitats and their wildflower communities are described in this talk: a) rock desert; b) alvar; c) bog and fen; and d) deciduous forest. The relationship between the geological history and the floral communities is described. The presentation was given by Dr. Andy Fyon to the Sudbury Horticultural Society, Sunday, February 23, 2014. Andy Fyon is the Director of the Ontario Geological Survey, Ontario Ministry of Norther Development and Mines and is based at the Willet Green Miller Centre, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. For more on wildflowers: a) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Andy.wildflowers ; and b) http://www.ontariowildflower.com . For more on geology: https://www.facebook.com/OGSgeology .

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Presentation Transcript

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Dr. Andy Fyon, Director, Ontario Geological Survey , Ontario Ministry of Northern Development & Mines Geolog ical History, Habitat and Flowering Plants Sudbury and Area Sudbury Horticultural Society, February 23 , 201 4

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Journey Today Great moments in Earth history – abridged version! Relationship between g eolog ical habitat and plants Geology creates habitats for plant communities! Wake Robin ( Trillium erectum )

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Not a biologist , botanist, or horticulturist Not an expert ; w ildflowers hobby Am a geologist by training Prefer not to discuss medicinal or culinary uses of plants Lots of questions, don't have all the answers, let’s try together

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Sponsor’s Message - Ontario Geological Survey Ministry of Northern Development + Mines Energy: Geothermal Non-renewable rock Energy Process Landforms Glacial deposits Rocks Vibrant and Strong Communities A Plan for Jobs A Fair Society Minerals, Aggregate, Groundwater Natural Hazards Inorganic Geochemical Baseline 4

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5 Economy Hazards, safety Protection Climate Change Infrastructure Environment, habitat Why document G eolog y? Health " Ontario beneath our feet" It matters to all of us!

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6 Geologic Time Scale (Ga) - Billions of Years Earth History Key Events Earth History – In The Beginning!

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In the Beginning – Earth Born 4.54 Billion years Ago Proto-Sun: 4.56 Billion years ago Proto-Earth (Hadean (Hell like) Eon ) - molten metal and magma http://piq.codeus.net/picture/65726/the_hadean_eon http://astrobioloblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/how-the-earth-was-born/ Not a happy place for life as we know it!

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Poisonous Atmosphere 4.5 – 3.5 Billion years Ago Shallow ocean. Small islands. Land was forming. Poisonous atmosphere: methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide, “no” oxygen. Not a happy place for life as we know it! http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/history_of_the_earth/Archean

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9 First Record of Life 3.5 Billion years Ago

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First Record of Life – Blue-green Algae (cyanobacteria) - 3.5 Billion years Ago Shallow ocean. “Eat” sunlight to produce oxygen (photosynthesis). http://whyfiles.org/2011/breaking-the-cambrian-barrier/ Gunflint, Thunder Bay, 2 billion years old http://www.palaeocast.com/episode-16-multicellularity-in-cyanobacteria/#.UwijOIVvcYt

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Early Life – Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria) - Oldest Stromatolites - 3.5 Billion Years Old Stromatolites. Oxygen produced by photosynthesis. http://www.arcadiastreet.com/cgvistas/earth/01_precambrian/earth_01_precambrian_2200b.htm Stromatolite cross-section, Thunder Bay

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Continental Shield – 2.5 Billion Years Ago Volcanic islands. Granite “crust”. Continents. I see land in a soupy ocean! “A place to stand, a place to grow, Ontari-ari-ari-o" http://www.docstoc.com/docs/126548145/The-Precambrian-Era_-_The-most-important-era-ever_

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13 Continent Erodes – 2.5 – 1.8 Billion Years Ago

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Continent Erodes – 2.5 – 2.2 Billion Years Ago - Southern Province Sediments (Quartzite) Precambrian Shield Southern Province (Lorraine Quartzite) Shield erodes. Sand on a beach 1.1 billion years ago. Quartzite (eg La Cloche Mountains)

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Continent Erodes – 2.5 – 2.2 Billion Years Ago - Southern Province Sediments – Lorrain Quartzite

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16 Great Oxidation Event - 2.4 Billion Years Ago http://theconversation.com/life-on-earth-was-nothing-but-slime-for-a-boring-billion-years-23358

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Great Oxidation Event - 2.5 to 2.4 Billion Years Ago Oxygen + iron in ocean reacted. Formed red iron oxide. Sedimentary banded iron formations. Ocean iron consumed. Atmospheric oxygen build up. World's great iron deposits. “What a (person) needs in gardening is a cast iron back, with a hinge in it” - Charles Dudley Warner -

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18 Warm Ocean Covers Parts of Ontario – 0.48 – 0.35 Billion Years Ago

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Warm Ocean Limestone 495-450 million-years ago Shallow warm seas. Limestone Hudson Bay, James Bay, Temiskaming ( from Coniglio et al. 2006) Coral Limestone and dolomite rocks: special habitat for plants! Brachiopod Young rocks formed in warm ocean

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20 Ice Sheet Covers Canada – 3 Million Years Ago

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Ice Sheet Covers Canada – 3,000,000 to 10,000 Years Ago Coniglio et al. 2006 Ice covered Ontario. Shaped the land. Ended 10,000 yrs ago. Ice melts to north. Present landscape exposed.

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22 Fossil Plants – 0.45 Billion Years Ago

First Fossil Land Plant 450-420 Million Years Ago:

First Fossil Land Plant 450-420 Million Years Ago Cooksonia: Oldest known vascular plant: stem that moves water. Few cm tall. Transitional between primitive non-vascular bryophytes and vascular plants. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooksonia_%28plant%29 http://palaeos.com/plants/tracheophyta/cooksonia.html

First Fossil Club Moss 325 million years ago:

First Fossil Club Moss 325 million years ago Lepidodendron ( Lycopsid / Lycopod ): First club moss Vascular plants Up to 27 meters (90 feet) tall Swampy places Lycopsid : make up 70% of coal Joggins fossils, Nova Scotia http://unlobogris.deviantart.com/art/Lepidodendron-36414294

Fossil Club Moss and Modern Plant 325 million years ago:

Fossil Club Moss and Modern Plant 325 million years ago Joggins fossils, Nova Scotia Club moss Lepidodendron : Lycopsid related to club moss Branches at crown of mature plant Spore reproduction

First Fossil Calamites Horsetail 325 million years ago:

First Fossil Calamites Horsetail 325 million years ago Calamites: First horsetails (tree-like). Up to 30 meters (100 feet) tall. Coal swamp understory. Joggins fossils, Nova Scotia, Ann Weiszmann

Fossil Calamites Horsetail and Modern Plant 325 million years ago:

Fossil Calamites Horsetail and Modern Plant 325 million years ago Calamites: Ancestor of Horsetail ( Equisetum ) Spore reproduction John Calder, Joggins fossils, Nova Scotia Woodland horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum)

First Fossil Angiosperm Archaefructus sinensis - 125 million years old:

First Fossil Angiosperm Archaefructus sinensis - 12 5 million years old First angiosperm: Oldest flowering plant. Now extinct. Shallow water habitat. Evolutionary to flowering plants . http://www.mnh.si.edu/museum/news/firstflower/ Gymnosperm: seed not enclosed in an ovule (like a pine cone; naked seed; conifer, cedars) Angiosperm: seed surrounded by ovule; deciduous oak, maple)

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Geology Influence s Location and Type of Wildflower Communities Geological Habitats Landscape Plant Communities Geological Processes

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Geology and Plants – Rock Desert Precambrian Quartzite - 2.5 to 2.2 Billion Years - La Cloche Mountains Glacia l erosion shapes land: special habitat for plants.

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Rock Desert : Bristly Sarsaparilla ( Aralia hispida ) Deep roots Narrow leaves

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Rock Desert : Pearly Everlasting ( Anapahlis margaritace ) D rought tolerant Narrow, silver leaves

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“ Rock Desert” : Geology - Plant Summary Rock Desert Geology Little soil Few nutrients High solar Plant Response Leaf design (narrow, silver) Deep tap roots

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Geology and Speciality Plants Limey vs Acid Soil Limestone: Limey Canadian Shield quartzite: Acidic

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Geology and Speciality Plants Limey vs Acidic Soil Yellow Lady's-slipper ( Cypripedium calceolus ): Limey soil Pink Lady's-slipper ( Cypripedium acaule ): Acidic soil

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Limestone Alvar : 450 Million Year Old Dolomite / Limestone - Harsh Geological Habitat Limestone, dolomite rock Little or no soil Low nutrient Limey groundwater + soil Open hot, sunlight Spring flooding, summer drought

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Alvar Plant: Lakeside daisy / Manitoulin Gold ( Tetraneuris herbacea ) - Dry

Alvar Plant: Cylindric Blazing Star (Liatris cylindracea) - Dry:

38 Alvar Plant: Cylindric Blazing Star ( Liatris cylindracea ) - Dry Feathery flower heads = common name gayfeather. The word “ cylindracea” refers to cylinder-shaped flower heads. Prairies, limestone outcrops, bluffs, barrens, marl.

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Alvar Plants: C alcicole, C alciphyte or C alciphile M oist Lime-rich Conditions Fringed Gentian ( Gentiana procera ) Kalm's Lobelia ( Lobelia kalmii )

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Alvar Plants: C alcicole, C alciphyte or C alciphile Moist lime-rich Conditions False-Asphodel ( Tofieldia glutinosa ) Bird`s-eye Primrose ( Primula mistassinica )

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Alvar Plant: Wild Chives ( Allium schoenoprasum ) Wet Lime-rich Conditions

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Alvar Plant: Creeping Juniper ( Juniperus horizontalis ) - Dry

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Alvar Plant Summary Narrow-leaved Vervain ( Verbena simplex ) Geology Limestone / dolomite Lime c onditions Plant adaptation Calcium- and magnesium-tolerant plants Heat + drought tolerant plants

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Glaciation – Last Ice Age 2,500,000 to 20,000 years ago Coniglio et al. 2006 Ice covered Ontario. Melted about 10,000 yrs ago.

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Glacial Lake Bottom: 10,000 - 4,000 years ago http://home.cogeco.ca/~geoheritagenipissing/ Light blue = glacial lake discharge Dark blue - present water Lake bottom - special habitat for plants (Fertile soil)

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Glacial Lake Bottom Deposits Fertile Soil: Farm Land Flat, fertile land = lake bottom = farm; “Valley” and Noelville

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Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat Former lake bottom - rich, fertile soil

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Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat Rich fertile soil Wake Robin ( Trillium erectum ) White trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )

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Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat Rich, fertile soil Carolina spring beauty ( Claytonia caroliniana or Claytonia Virginica )

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Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat Rich, fertile soil. Dutchman's Breeches ( Dicentra cucullaria )

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Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat Rich, fertile soil Broad-leaved Toothwort ( Cardamine diphylla ) Trout Lily ( Erythronium americanum )

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Geology Glaciation Ancient glacial lake Fertile lake sediments Moist rich soil Plant adaptation Rapid blooming Ephemeral Summary Spring (Ephemeral) Flora Deciduous Forest Habitat White trillium ( Trillium grandiflorum )

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G lacier: Deranged Drainage Fen and Bog Plants Isolated, acidic, poor nutrients . Fen: Sedges, heaths Bog: sphagnum moss .

Bog – Plant Survival Tactics:

Bog – Plant Survival Tactics Carnivorous Non-carnivorous Mycorrhizal fungal and plant roots Grass-pink Orchid

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Australian National Botanic Gardens Fungi Web Site Acidic bog: metal poisons, like zinc, copper, aluminum. Symbotic association with soil fungi Fungi: transfer organic nitrogen to plant-friendly amino acids Block poisonous metal uptake by plant. G lacier: Deranged Drainage Fen and Bog Plants

Glacier: Deranged Drainage Fen Plants:

G lacier: Deranged Drainage Fen Plants Sheep Laurel Flowers old wood Bog Laurel Flowers new wood

Glacier: Deranged Drainage Bog Plants:

G lacier: Deranged Drainage Bog Plants Cloudberry ( Rubus chamaemorus) Bake-apple, Headberry, salmonberry Bogs Delicious fruit – excellent jelly!

Glacier: Deranged Drainage Fen and Bog Plants:

58 G lacier: Deranged Drainage Fen and Bog Plants Large Cranberry ( Vaccinium macrocarpon) Edible – commercial cranberry cultivated from this species

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G lacier: Deranged Drainage I nsectivore Bog Plants Leaves - “soup” + hairs Drowned insects Digestive enzymes Pitcher Plant ( Sarracenia purpurea )

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G lacier: Deranged Drainage I nsectivore Bog Plant Secretions Trap insects Nutrients Sundew ( Drosera rotundifolia )

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Geology Glaciation Poor drainage S phagnum moss A cidic conditions Plant adaptation I nsectivore Bog: Geology - Plant Summary

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4.54 Billion years of Earth History

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Geology Influence s Location and Type of Wildflower Communities Geological Habitats Landscape Plant Communities Geological Processes

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Dr. Andy Fyon (Geology Hat) Director, Ontario Geological Survey www.facebook.com/OGSgeology or (Wildflower Hat) www.ontariowildflower.com www.facebook.com/Andy.wildflowers E-mail: Andy.fyon@ontario.ca

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