Sphagnum annual growth

Measurements of annual growth of Sphagnum spp. were started in Mukhrino field station (West Siberia) in 2018 as part of the complex program on C dynamics in raised bog ecosystems research. The main goal of this project is to estimate general characteristics of growth/productivity of different species of Sphagnum in Mukhrino bog.

Totally 57 plots were located along the wooden boardwalks of the field research polygon. Measurements were carried out using modified crancked wires approach (brush-wire) (S. fuscum, S.magellanicum, S.angustifolium, S.papillosum, S.capillifolium) or individual wire ringes (S. majus, S.jensenii, S.balticum). Part of the plots were under warming experiment conditions (Open Top Chambers).

Totally 365 measurements were made during 2019 and 467 during 2020.

The project is launched in collaboration with the Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry, Novosibirsk.

The database of this project includes description of plots as well as the data collected during the past period of observations. It could be downloaded and used upon contact and agreement:

Filippova N, Koosykh N (2021). Sphagnum annual growth in Mukhrino field station, West Siberia. Version 1.5. Yugra State University Biological Collection (YSU BC). Sampling event dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/fcz7at accessed via GBIF.org on 2021-05-06.



Study extent

57 plots were located alonside the wooden boardwalk of the station research polygon. Each plot contained minimum 10 replicate measurements of a single species. Each species was measured in several plots (2-6) to cover spacial heterogenity. Totally 8 species of Sphagnum were studied for annual growth/production. The plots were located in natural as well as in altered conditions (30 plots with S. balticum were under climate manipulation experiment, Open Top Chambers). The installation was carried out in November, and the measurements were made a year after (no seasonal dynamics was measured between these dates). The database presents results of two years of observations.


Crancked wire (its modified wire-brush) method was used to measure annual growth of up-growing species (S. fuscum, S.magellanicum, S.angustifolium, S.capillifolium, S.papillosum). Individual wire ringes approach was used the measure side-growing species (S.balticum, S.majus, S.jensenii). The markings were installed in November to start measuremets early from the spring in the next year. The measurements were made a year after (in November).

Quality control

Each species of Sphagnum was measured in several plots to cover spacial heterogenity. Each plot contained min 10 replicate markings to cover variability as well as occasional lost of the markings. The measurements were made using a ruler, with approximate accurasy of the method being 0.5 cm.

Method steps

  1. Measurements of up-growing species were made using modified crancked wire method (brush-wire). The wire covered by plastic sheath was used to prevent corrosion, as well as other inert and stabile materials were used to make the brush and the markings. The wire-brush was inserted between Sphagnum capitulas using a cocktail tube so that exactly 10 cm of wire was exposed above the capitulas. The detailes of brush-wires preparation showed in pictures and videos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mukhrinostation/albums/72157667768367903 The measurements of annual growth were made by a ruler of the exposed part of the wire, with subsequent re-calculation as follows: Sphagnum annual growth = 10 cm – measurement of wire above the capitulas, cm.
  2. Measurements of side-growing species were made using individual wire rings. The inert wire* was used to prevent corrosion and Sphagnum dying off. By 10 individual rings were attached to a wooden pole with a flag to trace the markings after the vegetation season will pass. Each ring was attached exactly under the capitula of each Sphagnum plant. The details of rings prepartaion showed in pictures and videos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mukhrinostation/albums/72157667768367903 The measurements of annual growth were made by a ruler of the incremental growth between a ring and a Sphagnum capitula.

* the wire for individual markings was from a special inert metal – manganin or constantin, provided by the Soil Science Institute (манганиновая или константановая).

See some pictures from this project on flickr:

Sphagnum fallax dense carpet on the bogged birch forest floor

Published papers:

Kosykh N.P., Koronatova N.G., Lapshina E.D., Filippova N.V., Vishnyakova E.K., Stepanova V.A. 2017. Linear growth and production of Sphagnum mosses in the middle taiga zone of West Siberia // Environmental dynamics and global climate change. V. 8 (1). P. 3-13. (Pdf)

Last update: 05.05.2021