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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Plant Functional Groups And Success In A Changing Environment: Modeling Physiological Niches Of Colorado Plateau Plants, Anne Thomas May 2018

Plant Functional Groups And Success In A Changing Environment: Modeling Physiological Niches Of Colorado Plateau Plants, Anne Thomas

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Quantifying the environmental and physiological niches of plant species is crucial to predicting their sensitivity to global change, and aggregating plant species by functional type is fundamental both to ecological theory and to the practicality of large-scale efforts to predict the consequences of global change. However, traditional functional types are not always predictive of individual species’ responses to change. Here, an inverse species distribution modeling approach is used to identify functionally similar species based on physiological niche in order to better anticipate the consequences of climate change on the Colorado Plateau, USA. The Colorado Plateau is a semiarid region particularly ...


Factors Driving Flowering Phenology And Reproductive Success In Silene Acaulis And Implications For Response To Climate Change, Ellen Waddle Jan 2017

Factors Driving Flowering Phenology And Reproductive Success In Silene Acaulis And Implications For Response To Climate Change, Ellen Waddle

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Along with survival, successful reproduction is one of the key features of individual performance that is necessary for a species to survive, including in the face of environmental alterations. This study examined possible drivers of reproductive success in alpine cushion plant Silene acaulis, and the implications of reproductive patterns for long-term stability of populations in the face of climate change. First, I asked whether the timing of flowering in a long-lived alpine plant species influenced whether flowers successfully produced fruit, and whether that timing was correlated with the plant’s long-term seed production. I found that the timing of flowering ...


Vegetative Response To Long-Term Resource Manipulations In The Alpine Tundra, Evelyn Beaury Jan 2017

Vegetative Response To Long-Term Resource Manipulations In The Alpine Tundra, Evelyn Beaury

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Considering their sensitivity to change, alpine plant communities are useful systems in studying the indirect effects of anthropogenic activities on the environment. Climate change is increasing variability of temperature and precipitation, shifting wind patterns, and altering nutrient composition and cycling (especially deposition of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)). Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how climate change impacts vegetation. This study continues efforts of a Long Term Ecological Research program in the Colorado Rocky Mountains by surveying plant community composition in response to nutrient additions (N and P) and changing moisture regimes mimicking potential climate shifts. In addition ...


Re-Evaluating Climate As The Best Predictor Of Pika (Ochotona Princeps) Surface Activity, Maxwell C. Plichta Jan 2016

Re-Evaluating Climate As The Best Predictor Of Pika (Ochotona Princeps) Surface Activity, Maxwell C. Plichta

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Alpine and subalpine ecosystems are expected to experience a disproportionate amount of warming in the coming decades. Rising temperatures in these ecosystems threatens biodiversity and water resources globally. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is a small mammal restricted to talus and rocky slopes often found above treeline. O. princeps has an acute sensitivity to high temperatures and utilizes microhabitats present in the talus to regulate body temperature. These attributes make pikas a bioindicator candidate for warming in the alpine. Monitoring and predicting pika persistence represents a potentially powerful tool to asses the current and future health of alpine ecosystems. Here ...


Behavioral Baselines And Modeling In A Changing Climate: Relating Temperature To The Summertime Behavior Of The American Pika (Ochotona Princeps) In The Southern Rocky Mountains Of Colorado, Meghan Wiebe Jan 2015

Behavioral Baselines And Modeling In A Changing Climate: Relating Temperature To The Summertime Behavior Of The American Pika (Ochotona Princeps) In The Southern Rocky Mountains Of Colorado, Meghan Wiebe

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Small mammals that make use of sub-surface microclimates may be able to adapt quickly to a warming climate by altering the level and timing of certain surface activities. For example, energy-intensive territorial defense or foraging activities might be shifted to cooler times of day. This hypothesis was explored using data on the American pika (Ochotona princeps), a small, diurnal lagomorph closely related to rabbits that uses rocky microhabitats for shedding heat between bouts of surface activity. Over three consecutive summers (mid-June to mid-August, 2012-2014), 94 observations (45 minutes each) were conducted involving N = 61 unique pikas, using a standardized protocol ...


Changes In Tree Swallow Phenology Due To Climate Change In Alaska, Rachel Irons Jan 2015

Changes In Tree Swallow Phenology Due To Climate Change In Alaska, Rachel Irons

Undergraduate Honors Theses

Ecological effects of climate change are beginning to be seen across the globe. In avian species, these effects often manifest in earlier breeding dates. Tree swallows in the temperate zones of North America advanced their laying date by nine days between 1959 and 1991. However tree swallows in more arctic regions, where climate change is occurring more rapidly, have not yet been studied. Additionally, two important climate variables, wind and precipitation, have been largely ignored in climate change studies to date. I used tree swallow nest records from Fairbanks, Alaska to examine how climate change is affecting these birds in ...