Tarnia Hodges

Doctor of Philosophy, (Plant Ecology)
Study Completed: 2014
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
The role of Empodisma minus as the ecosystem engineer of the fen-bog transition (FBT) in New Zealand mires

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ecosystem engineers are species whose activities modify their surroundings, and thus modulate the flow of resources to other species. Ms Hodges has shown that Empodisma minus (wire rush) fits the model of ecosystem engineer during the development of raised mires (a type of peat bog) in southern New Zealand. Her results suggest that Empodisma minus employs both nutrient capture and retention traits to dominate the vegetation community of acid, low nutrient mires. Field studies confirmed that the employment of these strategies leads to the production of slowly decomposing, low nutrient root and shoot litters, which accumulate as peat. Ms Hodges’ study provides valuable insights into the biotic processes underlying raised mire development in New Zealand. In addition, her research provides a solid foundation for further studies into the crucial role of Empodisma species as peat formers and for efforts to conserve our remaining mires.

Associate Professor Alan Palmer
Dr Beverley Clarkson
Professor Louis Schipper
Dr Ian Henderson

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