18 August 2010

Rare Plant Discovered at Jacquet River Bioblitz

PinedropsResearchers working at the New Brunswick Museum’s Jacquet River Bioblitz have discovered one of northeastern North America’s highly endangered plants growing within the Jacquet River Gorge Protected Natural Area.

The plant, Pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea), is a herbaceous perennial wildflower. A member of the Indian-pipe family (Monotropaceae), Pinedrops is a root parasite, depending on its association with a mycorrhizal fungus that is also associated with a pine tree. Pinedrops produces very little chlorophyll and are therefore not green in color and do not conduct photosynthesis. They are found in conifer forests or mixed conifer-hardwood forests. Since the plants only grow in old growth forest, they have been impacted by habitat loss, and have been listed as endangered in several regions. This is the only discovery of this plant in a Protected Natural Area in New Brunswick.

PinedropsThe plant was discovered by researchers John Klymko and Sarah Robinson of the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, one of the partner agencies in the Jacquet River Bioblitz.

The Jacquet River Bioblitz is a two week project of intensive field work and research to discover and document the biodiversity of the Jacquet River Gorge Protected Natural Area. The project is led by the New Brunswick Museum, through the New Brunswick Museum Centre for Biodiversity Research. In addition to New Brunswick Museum staff and Research Associates, experts from a number of other institutions and agencies will be on hand, including the University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources, Bishops Mills Natural History Centre (Ontario), the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, Texas Technical University,  and the University of Maine. This is the second year for this Bioblitz.

The Bioblitz Project has been made possible with financial support from:

New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund
Salamander Foundation
New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund
New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources
Belledune Regional Environmental Association
Port of Belledune
NB Power
Xstrata
Mike Lushington

New Brunswick Museum, Tel: 1-888-268-9595

For further information:

Vita Kipping
Community Relations
New Brunswick Museum
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Toll-free: 1-888-268-9595
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Caitlin Griffiths
Communications and Marketing
New Brunswick Museum
Tel: (506) 643-7666
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