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The spatial growth pattern and directional properties of Dryas octopetala on Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Rudbäck, Sophie LU (2016) In Student thesis series INES NGEM01 20161
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
Exposed, well-drained and nutrient poor areas on Spitsbergen are mainly covered by a plant alliance typical for Svalbard, the Caricion nardinae. Caricion nardinae is a circum-polar alliance, which is dominated by the creeping, ever-green dwarf-shrub Dryas octopetala. On the beach flats of western Spitsbergen, Jonas Åkerman (1983) observed in 1979 the plant Dryas octopetala growing in an unusual pattern in the form of half-moons. In the summer of 2015, Veiko Lehsten visited the same area as Åkerman documented in the late 1970s, with the purpose to further investigate this vegetation pattern and the factors causing it. Åkerman suggested in 1983 that the wind was the main contributing factor to the unusual growth of [i]Dryas... (More)
Exposed, well-drained and nutrient poor areas on Spitsbergen are mainly covered by a plant alliance typical for Svalbard, the Caricion nardinae. Caricion nardinae is a circum-polar alliance, which is dominated by the creeping, ever-green dwarf-shrub Dryas octopetala. On the beach flats of western Spitsbergen, Jonas Åkerman (1983) observed in 1979 the plant Dryas octopetala growing in an unusual pattern in the form of half-moons. In the summer of 2015, Veiko Lehsten visited the same area as Åkerman documented in the late 1970s, with the purpose to further investigate this vegetation pattern and the factors causing it. Åkerman suggested in 1983 that the wind was the main contributing factor to the unusual growth of Dryas octopetala.

This thesis will attempt to verify this suggestion and also evaluate the likelihood of other factors playing a role in this phenomenon. This will be done by developing a method for assembling images taken by a standard camera, and thereafter describe and investigate the vegetation patterns of Dryas octopetala as well as its potential changes over time.

The results show that Dryas octopetala was, at the study sites, directed towards north-northeast, with Åkerman’s data from 1979 being directed a little bit more towards northeast than the vegetation in 2015. The vegetation in both study areas grew close to each other and had a dispersed distribution. This thesis was not able to prove that the prominent wind direction is causing the unusual growing forms and pattern of Dryas octopetala but it is still the most likely cause after reviewing other potential factors. The method for assembling pictures was time consuming and did not give a perfect final image but it resulted in an acceptable approximation of the study area. (Less)
Popular Abstract (Swedish)
Fjällsippan växer på Svalbard, precis som på många andra platser på norra halvklotet som har ett kallt klimat, som mer eller mindre runda kuddar. På strandbankarna i de västra delarna av Spetsbergen observerade Jonas Åkerman år 1979 att fjällsipporna hade ett annorlunda växtsätt då plantorna växte i ett halvmåneformat mönster. Åkerman föreslog att det är vinden som har skapat det ovanliga växtsättet, men att ytterligare undersökningar behövs för att bevisa detta. Sommaren 2015 fotograferades studieområdet av Veiko Lehsten för att vidare kunna undersöka fjällsipporna och de faktorer som kan ha skapat fjällsippornas ovanliga utseende.

I detta arbete utvecklades först en metod för hur man bäst sätter ihop bilder tagna med en vanlig kamera... (More)
Fjällsippan växer på Svalbard, precis som på många andra platser på norra halvklotet som har ett kallt klimat, som mer eller mindre runda kuddar. På strandbankarna i de västra delarna av Spetsbergen observerade Jonas Åkerman år 1979 att fjällsipporna hade ett annorlunda växtsätt då plantorna växte i ett halvmåneformat mönster. Åkerman föreslog att det är vinden som har skapat det ovanliga växtsättet, men att ytterligare undersökningar behövs för att bevisa detta. Sommaren 2015 fotograferades studieområdet av Veiko Lehsten för att vidare kunna undersöka fjällsipporna och de faktorer som kan ha skapat fjällsippornas ovanliga utseende.

I detta arbete utvecklades först en metod för hur man bäst sätter ihop bilder tagna med en vanlig kamera i ett geografiskt informationssystem och därefter sattes bilderna tagna av Lehsten samman till en bild över hela studieområdet. Genom att analysera denna bild med avseende på fjällsippans växtsätt och riktning, samt jämföra dem med bilder tagna av Åkerman 1979 och vinddata från den närbelägna metrologiska stationen Isfjord Radio försöker denna uppsats bekräfta Åkermans teori att vinden har skapat växtmönstret och undersöker även om andra faktorer också påverkar fjällsippan.

Resultaten visade att fjällsipporna i studieområdet var riktade mot nord-nordöst. Plantorna växte nära varandra och var jämt utspridda i studieområdet. Denna uppsats kunde inte statistiskt bevisa att det är vinden som orsakar detta ovanliga växtmönster men trots detta är det den mest troliga förklaringen efter att ha undersökt andra möjliga påverkande faktorer. Metoden som användes för att sätta ihop bilderna var tidskrävande och resultatet blev inte perfekt men slutprodukten gav en acceptabel bild av hur studieområdet såg ut. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Rudbäck, Sophie LU
supervisor
organization
course
NGEM01 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
wind direction, Physical Geography and Ecosystem analysis, vegetation pattern, Spitsbergen, ArcGIS, Dryas octopetala
publication/series
Student thesis series INES
report number
407
language
English
id
8900630
date added to LUP
2017-01-23 09:03:07
date last changed
2017-01-23 09:17:37
@misc{8900630,
  abstract     = {Exposed, well-drained and nutrient poor areas on Spitsbergen are mainly covered by a plant alliance typical for Svalbard, the Caricion nardinae. Caricion nardinae is a circum-polar alliance, which is dominated by the creeping, ever-green dwarf-shrub [i]Dryas octopetala[/i]. On the beach flats of western Spitsbergen, Jonas Åkerman (1983) observed in 1979 the plant [i]Dryas octopetala[/i] growing in an unusual pattern in the form of half-moons. In the summer of 2015, Veiko Lehsten visited the same area as Åkerman documented in the late 1970s, with the purpose to further investigate this vegetation pattern and the factors causing it. Åkerman suggested in 1983 that the wind was the main contributing factor to the unusual growth of [i]Dryas octopetala[/i].

This thesis will attempt to verify this suggestion and also evaluate the likelihood of other factors playing a role in this phenomenon. This will be done by developing a method for assembling images taken by a standard camera, and thereafter describe and investigate the vegetation patterns of [i]Dryas octopetala[/i] as well as its potential changes over time.

The results show that [i]Dryas octopetala[/i] was, at the study sites, directed towards north-northeast, with Åkerman’s data from 1979 being directed a little bit more towards northeast than the vegetation in 2015. The vegetation in both study areas grew close to each other and had a dispersed distribution. This thesis was not able to prove that the prominent wind direction is causing the unusual growing forms and pattern of [i]Dryas octopetala[/i] but it is still the most likely cause after reviewing other potential factors. The method for assembling pictures was time consuming and did not give a perfect final image but it resulted in an acceptable approximation of the study area.},
  author       = {Rudbäck, Sophie},
  keyword      = {wind direction,Physical Geography and Ecosystem analysis,vegetation pattern,Spitsbergen,ArcGIS,Dryas octopetala},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Student thesis series INES},
  title        = {The spatial growth pattern and directional properties of Dryas octopetala on Spitsbergen, Svalbard},
  year         = {2016},
}