West Siberia is a land of endless Sphagnum mires that cover vast areas in between rivers. Bogs cover over 50% of the West Siberian Plain reaching 80-90% in certain areas. However, only few Sphagnum species are dominating on the most part of the area. To see as many species as possible, field trips of the VI International Meeting on the Biology of Sphagnum have been planned in a way to visit diverse minerotrophic mires with the sphagnum mosses.
Excursion A. 1-day field trip around Khanty-Mansiysk area
During the first half of the day participants will visit “Moroshkovy Island” (Cloudberry Island) in the floodplain of the Irtysh River, which is a fragment of the terrace occupied nowadays by a sphagnum raised bog. Walking a 200 meter stretch from the road to the center of the bog one can cross:
– flooded birch-woodreed (Calamagrostis purpurea)- tussock sedge (Carex juncella, C. cespitosa) swamp where Sphagnum squarrosum, S. fimbriatum, S. fallax grow;
– mesotrophic birch-pine swamp dominated by dwarf shrubs, Menyanthes trifoliata, Sphagnum warnstorfii, Sphagnum centrale and S. magellanicum with S. angustifolium.
– raised pine bog dominated by dwarf shrubs, Carex globularis and peat mosses Sphagnum angustifolium, S. fuscum and spots of Sphagnum russowii, S. capillifolium and S. magellanicum.
During the second half of the day another stop is planned to visit two types of plant communities at the edge of a mire located on the left-bank terrace of the Ob River. Within the first site which is a waterloged wooded periphery swamp one can find Sphagnum fimbriatum, S. russowii, S. squarrosum, S. wulfianum, S. angustifolium. In some places Sphagnum fallax is dominating.
The second site is a vast oligo-mesotrophic mire dominated by sedges (Carex limosa), Scheuchzeria palustris, Sphagnum jensenii, S. balticum, S. majus in the lawn, and Sphagnum fuscum, S. magellanicum, S. angustifolium on scattered hummocks.
Excursion В. Mire system “Potanay”
The first stop will be at the poor minerotriphic aapa mire with Betula nana, Carex lasiocarpa, Sphagnum magellanicum, S. angustifolium, S. russowii on strings, and Scheuchzeria– Rhynchospora alba waterlogged hollows with Utricularia ochroleuca and Menyanthes trifoliata. In the hollows and their edges Sphagnum papillosum, S. subsecundum, S. jensenii are common.
In order to reach the aapa mire we will cross 150 meters of birch-pine woodland covered with Chamaedaphne calyculata, Sphagnum fallax, S. fuscum, S. magellanicum, S. angustifolium. Sphagnum aongstroemii has been found at the margin of the aapa mire.
During the second stop we will observe a groundwater-fed rich fen with brown mosses, Sphagnum teres and S. warnstorfii on the carpet layer. Besides, there are Sphagnum centrale, S. squarrosum, S. fimbriatum, S. fuscum, S. angustifolium, S. magellanicum on ridges.
If time allows, we’ll be able to stop to visit a mesotrophic fen dominated by sedges (Carex chardorrihza, C. canescens), cotton grass (Eriophorum gracile), Sphagnum obtusum and S. centrale.
Excursion С. Nature park “Kondinskiye Lakes”
The Nature Park “Kondinskie Lakes” is located in the east of the upper part of the Konda River catchment, which is a left tributary of the Ob River (Sovetskiy sub-district, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District – 60°54’ N; 63°30’ E). The area of the park is 43900 ha. The vegetation of the Nature Park is represented by forests (40.2%), mires (51.98%) and shrub meadows (0.1%). Most of the area is covered with Scots pine forests, raised bogs, and with poor fens to a smaller extent.
Visit to an oligo-mesotrophic floating mire adjoining to the eastern bank of Lake Rangetur.
At the lakeside Sphagnum riparium and S. obtusum dominate, and S. jensenii occurs as well. Farther from the shore sphagnum mosses vary according to micro relief elements. Sphagnum papillosum and S. magellanicum with S. angustifolium dominate on tall and low hummocks. Sphagnum flexuosum, S. fallax, S. angustifolium and S. papillosum are typical in lawns. Flat sphagnum hollows consist of Sphagnum jensenii and S. obtusum. Besides, Sphagnum majus and Sphagnum subsecundum are found in waterlogged hollows.
The second stop is planned at two small bogs located in a shallow rounded depression surrounded by pine forest. Along the drying periphery of the first mire one can meet Sphagnum compactum. In the second bog Sphagnum balticum dominates absolutely, and it is represented by different morphological forms. Flat lawns and hummocks comprise Sphagnum papillosum varying in a wide range in accordance with the moisture regime (high and low hummock, lawns, waterlogged hollows). In the narrow belt of wet forest between two mires, the main dominants of the ground cover are Sphagnum capillifolium, S. russowii, S. balticum and S. angustifolium.
Walking trip to the outskirts of the Park along the bog located at the foot of a high morainic hill covered with an old-growing lichen pine forest.
During the trip the following mosses can be seen: Sphagnum fuscum (two pronounced morphological forms of different color types), S. magellanicum, S. angustifilium, S. capillifolium (different eco-morphological types in the treed periphery and in carpets in the open central part of the raised bog), S. papillosum, S. lindbergii, S. compactum. Also participants will be able to visit all three unique habitats of sub-oceanic species Sphagnum tenellum in the center of the forest zone of West Siberia. See details at Lapshina, Maksimov, 2014.
Two mire areas will be visited. The mire “Polosatoye” (“Striped”) is a typical aapa mire with sedge-Sphagnum (Carex lasiocarpa, Sphagnum fuscum, S. magellanicum, S. papillosum) ridges and sedge-beak rush hollows (Carex limosa, Rhynchospora alba). Along the periphery of the mire Betula nana, Salix myrtilloides, Carex lasiocarpa and peat mosses Sphagnum subsecundum, S. centrale, S. magellanicum, S. angustifolium, S. flexuosum, S. obtusum, S. fallax are common. In the central part of the mire one can see Sphagnum subfulvum, which is very rare for West Siberia (Yurkovskaya, Maximov, 2007). It is listed in the Red Data Book of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District.
At the second mire called “Krylatoye” (“Winged”) participants will visit a vast meso-oligotrophic complex comprising sedge-, and Menyantes-sedge sphagnum lawns and vast hollows with scattered dwarf shrub-sphagnum hummocks. The sphagnum cover is dominated by Sphagnum obtusum, S. majus, S. jensenii with occasional Sphagnum subsecundum. The low hummocks are dominated by S. papillosum, S. balticum, the tall hummocks are dominated by S. fuscum, S. magellanicum with some S. angustifolium.
Excursion K. Surgut Polesye (forest district) on the right bank of the Ob River.
Description of Surgut Polesye area is available in Russian at Lapshina, Filippov, 2013. On the way there will be a stop in the center of a vast typical ridge-hollow-pool complex covering up to 80% of Surgut Polesye. The wide ridges are absolutely dominated by Spahgnum fuscum with minor presence of S. angustifolium and S. magellanicum. Sphagnum balticum, S. jensenii and to a smaller degree S. majus and S. lindbergii are typical for hollows and sphagnum lawns.
During the second half of the day participants will visit a mesotrophic mire in the valley of the Pim river, which is the Ob’s right-hand tributary.
During this day trip participants will see different stages of overgrowing of naturally drained lakes, called “khasyrei” in West Siberia. During the first stages of mire formation mesotrophic sedge (Carex aquatilis) and sedge-moss (C. lasiocarpa, C. chordorrhiza, Equisetum fluviatile, Eriophorum angustifolium, Warnstorfia spp., Straminergon stramineum, Sphagnum squarrosum, S. obtusum) communities developed in the khasyrei. Sometimes they are replaced by sedge and sedge-sphagnum communities with Sphagnum platyphyllum covering up to 5-10%. At later stages sedge-buck bean-sphagnum (C. limosa, Menyanthes trifoliata, Sphagnum obtusum, S. papillosum) communities followed by oligotrophic sphagnum coenoses become widespread.