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Floristic modification of low arctic tundra by the arctic ground squirrel spermophilus parryii



Floristic modification of low arctic tundra by the arctic ground squirrel spermophilus parryii



Canadian Field-Naturalist 101(3): 388-391



An analysis of Arctic Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus parryii) activity and spatial distribution at Eskimo Point, Northwest Territories [Canada], indicates that this species significantly alters the composition of the floristic community Low Arctic tundra. Core areas (areas of greatest activity associated with burrows) were found to be 70% different in floral composition than the surrounding areas where activity was reduced. Lichens were especially reduced by squirrel activity, whereas monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous species increased. Eight species were limited in their distribution to one or the other of the plant communities. Squirrels were found to be associated with elevated habitats especially eskers, which were well drained and composed of sand and/or gravel. The results are discussed in relation to plant-animal interaction and its effect on species diversity and distribution in the ecosystem.

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Accession: 005468807

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