The locations where Sphagnum moss occurs on Macquarie Island including new occurrences and changes in the extent of Sphagnum moss at specific sites.
TYPE OF INDICATOR
There are three types of indicators used in this report:
1.Describes the CONDITION of important elements of a system;
2.Show the extent of the major PRESSURES exerted on a system;
3.Determine RESPONSES to either ... condition or changes in the condition of a system.
This indicator is one of: CONDITION
RATIONALE FOR INDICATOR SELECTION
Non-vascular plant species are likely to be among the first plant taxa to respond to changes in climate. Sphagnum moss is present throughout montane, sub-alpine and alpine areas in eastern Australia, but is currently in decline and may become locally extinct with forecast changes in climate (Whinam and Chilcott, submitted). While small Sphagnum moss beds have been recorded on Macquarie Island for some time (Seppelt, 1984), there has been a marked expansion in both the number and size of these Sphagnum moss beds, which corresponds to an increase in temperatures recorded on the island (Whinam, unpubl. Data). Continuous Meteorology Bureau data are available for Macquarie Island since 1948.
This indicator monitors both the occurrence of Sphagnum moss beds, including new records, as well as changes in extent of established Sphagnum moss beds on Macquarie Island over time. The increase in, and expansion of, these moss beds is a measure of how the non-vascular vegetation is responding to changed climatic conditions.
DESIGN AND STRATEGY FOR INDICATOR MONITORING PROGRAM
Spatial scale: Macquarie Island; Island wide distribution and 23 specified sites for extent, shown below with their TASPAWS grid reference.
Site No - Name - Grid Ref
12 - Scoble Lake - 092 597
26 - Douglas Point - 065 568
31 - Square Lake - 084 537
32 - Above Square Lake - 091 535
33 - Above Square Lake - 091 537
34 - Tarn above Tulloch Lake - 085 532
36 - Handspike - 087 616
36 - Handspike - 087 616
38 - Green Gorge - 086 466
52 - Green Gorge - 086 466
53 - Green Gorge - 085 468
62 - Green Gorge - 085 465
63 - Green Gorge - 086 466
64 - Brothers Track - 088 496
65 - West of Brothers Lake - 091 509
66 - Above Tulloch Lake - 086 529
67 - Mawson Point - 065 547
68 - Mawson Point - 065 547
69 - Douglas Point - 065 568
70 - Eagle Point - 070 589
77 - Green Gorge - 086 467
81 - Handspike - 086 617
Frequency: Ground surveys of the island will be conducted every five years to record changes in distribution (subject to funding and shipping schedules), and would take approximately 10 days.
Time to survey changes in areal extent of the established monitoring sites is approximately 7-10 days, weather permitting, for two people. This will take place every 2-3 years, subject to funding and shipping schedules.
Measurement technique: The measurements are undertaken with GPS and tape measures. Every 5-10 years more accurate surveying by theodolite would be justified. Time series analysis will be used to explore the data.
The importance of continuous meteorology data to all projects involving climate change needs to be stressed. The availability of a topographic map with vegetation communities has greatly assisted this (and other) projects. The availability of a surveyor every 5-10 years to undertake more precise measurements than is possible with site maps and tape measures would add to the accuracy of data collected.
LINKS TO OTHER INDICATORS
Monthly averages of daily maximum and minimum temperatures
Monthly extremes of daily maximum and minimum temperatures