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Rainfall Changes Alter Plant Communities In Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Timothy Ohlert 2018 University of New Mexico

Rainfall Changes Alter Plant Communities In Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands, Timothy Ohlert

Shared Knowledge Conference

Variations in New Mexico’s climate have been detected over the past century and are expected to continue into the future. Some of these climatic changes result in more frequent instances of extreme drought events and alterations of monsoon seasonality, with monsoons being pushed later into the fall. Such changes could make our Chihuahuan Desert plant communities less productive, shift the abundance of the plant species, or have other destabilizing impacts. Our experiment manipulated precipitation in two desert grassland communities at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, NM. Some plots were subjected to an extreme drought event, receiving only ...


The Future Of Biodiversity Assessment: Using Environmental Dna And Next-Generation Sequencing To Characterize Biological Communities In The Central Highlands Of Arizona, Courtney Turner-Rathbone 2018 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Future Of Biodiversity Assessment: Using Environmental Dna And Next-Generation Sequencing To Characterize Biological Communities In The Central Highlands Of Arizona, Courtney Turner-Rathbone

Undergraduate Research Symposium - Prescott

Historically ecological surveys require significant man hours in the field, utilizing methods which can stress species being observed. In using environmental DNA (eDNA) gathered from air, soil, and water, traditional methods may be supplemented or reduced in order to more efficiently utilize funding and reduce or eliminate stress on surveyed species. Water was collected in replicates using aseptic technique from two different sites, 60 miles apart, along the Verde River. Samples were vacuum filtered within 24 hours through 0.45 μm cellulose nitrate (CN) filters to collect eDNA. DNA extraction from the filters was performed. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR ...


The Ecology Of A Tallgrass Treasure: Audubon’S Spring Creek Prairie, Paul A. Johnsgard 2018 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

The Ecology Of A Tallgrass Treasure: Audubon’S Spring Creek Prairie, Paul A. Johnsgard

Zea E-Books

This book describes the major plant and animal components of Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, an 850-acre National Audubon Society tallgrass prairie in Lancaster County, southeastern Nebraska. In addition to providing a species list of the area’s plants (368 species), there are comprehensive annotated lists of its birds (240), mammals (43), reptiles (23), and amphibians (10). There are also variably complete annotated lists of the area’s butterflies (76), sphinx moths (30), silk moths (7), dragonflies (24), damselflies (11), grasshoppers (9), katydids (11), mantids (2), and walkingsticks (2). Brief profiles of life histories and ecologies of 55 animal and ...


Cougar Dispersal And Natal Homing In A Desert Environment, David M. Choate, Kathleen M. Longshore, Daniel B. Thompson 2018 University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Cougar Dispersal And Natal Homing In A Desert Environment, David M. Choate, Kathleen M. Longshore, Daniel B. Thompson

Life Sciences Faculty Publications

We present a review of cougar dispersal literature and the first evidence of natural (i.e., unmanipulated) homing behavior by a dispersing male cougar (Puma concolor) that sustained severe injuries crossing the northern Mojave Desert. Based on Global Positioning System and ground tracking data, the male traveled a total distance of 981.1 km at 5.03 km/d, including 170.31 km from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge to the northwestern Grand Canyon, where he sustained severe injuries. The interkill interval increased from 7.1 ± 2.7 d while he was in his natal range to 17.5 ± 4 ...


Radical Social Ecology As Deep Pragmatism: A Call To The Abolition Of Systemic Dissonance And The Minimization Of Entropic Chaos, Arielle Brender 2018 Fordham University

Radical Social Ecology As Deep Pragmatism: A Call To The Abolition Of Systemic Dissonance And The Minimization Of Entropic Chaos, Arielle Brender

Student Theses 2015-Present

This paper aims to shed light on the dissonance caused by the superimposition of Dominant Human Systems on Natural Systems. I highlight the synthetic nature of Dominant Human Systems as egoic and linguistic phenomenon manufactured by a mere portion of the human population, which renders them inherently oppressive unto peoples and landscapes whose wisdom were barred from the design process. In pursuing a radical pragmatic approach to mending the simultaneous oppression and destruction of the human being and the earth, I highlight the necessity of minimizing entropic chaos caused by excess energy expenditure, an essential feature of systems that aim ...


From Outside To Online: Unanticipated Directions For Utah Master Naturalist, Mark Larese-Casanova, Jennifer Perkins 2018 Utah State University

From Outside To Online: Unanticipated Directions For Utah Master Naturalist, Mark Larese-Casanova, Jennifer Perkins

Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence

Utah Master Naturalist is an award-winning Utah State University Extension program that promotes stewardship of Utah’s natural world through place-based, experiential field courses across the state. Although successful in eliciting positive short- and long-term impacts, Utah Master Naturalist’s traditional five-day field courses were unavailable to many students and instructors due to constraints of time and location. This case study examines Utah Master Naturalist’s first hybrid course, Desert Explorations, and describes the positive results from our pilot study, how a hybrid course solves availability issues, and how field-based learning theories can be adapted to online education through careful ...


Seasonal Shifts In C3 And C4 Resource Use By A Small Mammal Community Under Changing Precipitation Regimes, Alaina D. Pershall 2018 University of New Mexico

Seasonal Shifts In C3 And C4 Resource Use By A Small Mammal Community Under Changing Precipitation Regimes, Alaina D. Pershall

Biology ETDs

In light of climate change and projections of increasing temperatures and aridity in the North American southwest, it is essential to understand how consumer populations will respond to changes in the resource landscape. Rainfall varies in timing and intensity and therefore the timing, proportion, phenology, and abundance of C3 and C4 plant resources vary seasonally and annually. Here we examine rodent resource use in the Chihuahuan desert and focus on two distinct precipitation pulses in this system, where spring C3 plants increase production in response to winter rains and C4 plants respond to summer monsoons. We ...


Can Omnivores Mediate The Effects Of Degradation?, Hannah Moore 2018 Murray State University

Can Omnivores Mediate The Effects Of Degradation?, Hannah Moore

Scholars Week

Omnivores feed at multiple trophic levels and have large effects on community structuring and stability. The magnitude and direction of such effects, whether omnivores stabilize or destabilize communities, remains unresolved. Shifts in omnivore diet and trophic position may be of particular importance to community stability in degraded habitats, where resources are sparse. For example, omnivores may reduce the severity and duration of community responses to degradationby dampening the effects of any disturbance-mediated trophic cascade. The relatively simple food webs of freshwater systems are ideal for studying trophic ecology, and in the western U.S., streams are heavily degraded by overgrazing ...


Examining The Relationship Between Climate And Seasonal Stream Thermal Regimes In A High Desert Ecosystem, Hannah Moore, Melody Feden 2018 Murray State University

Examining The Relationship Between Climate And Seasonal Stream Thermal Regimes In A High Desert Ecosystem, Hannah Moore, Melody Feden

Scholars Week

Climate change is negatively affecting ecosystems around the world, and in the coming years, scientists predict that these changes will only intensify and accelerate. In the western mountains of North America, climate change projections predict elevated temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier snowmelt. Elevated air temperatures have the propensity to affect water temperatures in sensitive freshwater ecosystems. Temperature increases may cause streams to reach the upper thermal limit for many aquatic organisms, such as aquatic invertebrates and fish, and result in death or dispersal for these organisms. This makes the availability of cold-water refugia in streams that much more important for ...


Can Omnivores Mediate The Effects Of Degradation?, Hannah Moore 2018 Murray State University

Can Omnivores Mediate The Effects Of Degradation?, Hannah Moore

Scholars Week

Omnivores feed at multiple trophic levels and have large effects on community structuring and stability. The magnitude and direction of such effects, whether omnivores stabilize or destabilize communities, remains unresolved. Shifts in omnivore diet and trophic position may be of particular importance to community stability in degraded habitats, where resources are sparse. For example, omnivores may reduce the severity and duration of community responses to degradationby dampening the effects of any disturbance-mediated trophic cascade. The relatively simple food webs of freshwater systems are ideal for studying trophic ecology, and in the western U.S., streams are heavily degraded by overgrazing ...


Evaluating Current And Future Range Limits Of An Endangered, Keystone Rodent (Dipodomys Ingens), Ivy V. Widick 2018 Humboldt State University

Evaluating Current And Future Range Limits Of An Endangered, Keystone Rodent (Dipodomys Ingens), Ivy V. Widick

Theses and projects

Climate is often considered the single most important factor limiting species’ ranges. Other factors, such as biotic interactions, are often assumed to be included via abiotic proxies. However, differential responses to climate change may decouple these relationships or lead to adaptation to novel environments. Accounting for competition and local adaptation should more accurately describe environmental factors influencing current distributions and increase the predictive accuracy of future distributions. Modeling the endangered giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens) is an excellent application of these model improvements, as the species range consists of geographically and genetically isolated populations experiencing disparate climatic change. From eight ...


The North American Quails, Partridges, And Pheasants, Paul A. Johnsgard 2017 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The North American Quails, Partridges, And Pheasants, Paul A. Johnsgard

Zea E-Books

This book documents the biology of six species of New World quails that are native to North America north of Mexico (mountain, scaled, Gambel’s, California, and Montezuma quails, and the northern bobwhite), three introduced Old World partridges (chukar, Himalayan snowcock, and gray partridge), and the introduced common (ring-necked) pheasant. Collectively, quails, partridges, and pheasants range throughout all of the continental United States and the Canadian provinces. Two of the species, the northern bobwhite and ring-necked pheasant, are the most economically important of all North American upland game birds. All of the species are hunted extensively for sport and are ...


Desert Pool {If Every Desert Was Once A Sea}, Karen Miranda Abel 2017 York University

Desert Pool {If Every Desert Was Once A Sea}, Karen Miranda Abel

The Goose

Desert Pool {If every desert was once a sea} is a site-specific art project by Canadian artist Karen Miranda Abel completed in 2016 while artist-in-residence at Joya: arte + ecología, an arts-led research centre situated in an alpine desert within a national park in southern Spain. The elemental installation represents an envisioning of the ancient sea that occupied the Sierra de María-Los Vélez Natural Park millions of years before the current desert ecology, a time when its highest mountain peaks may have been islands.


Long-Term Changes In A Spatially Subsidized Insular Ecosystem In The Archipelago Of Bahía De Los Ángeles, Baja California, Mexico, Thais Fournier 2017 University of San Diego

Long-Term Changes In A Spatially Subsidized Insular Ecosystem In The Archipelago Of Bahía De Los Ángeles, Baja California, Mexico, Thais Fournier

Theses

Interactions between climate change and the processes that structure coastal communities are poorly understood.Long – term weather patterns that include extreme events (e.g., El Niño Southern Oscillation, or “ENSO”) allow us to test hypotheses of how changes in weather (e.g., precipitation) will influence communities over long time frames. One system that is particularly vulnerable to climate changes is the coastal ecotone, which occupies 8% of the earth’s surface. A large exchange of resources (spatial subsidies) link habitats across this ocean – land interface, often with dramatic consequences for the recipient systems. Spatial subsidies such as marine input influence ...


The Impact Of Climate And Elevation On The Growth And Mortality Of Piñon Pine, Alice M. Fretz 2017 University of New Mexico

The Impact Of Climate And Elevation On The Growth And Mortality Of Piñon Pine, Alice M. Fretz

Biology ETDs

The Southwestern United States is currently experiencing severe drought, resulting in the mortality of many tree species. Piñon-juniper woodlands are an extensive biome in the Southwest, and are highly vulnerable to extended periods of drought that lead to tree mortality. Specifically, Pinus edulis populations are decreasing due to increasingly arid conditions. I used dendrochronology to investigate how tree growth rings of Pinus edulis reflect severe drought in living and dead trees. I also investigated how severe drought affects Pinus edulis along an altitudinal gradient. Tree core samples were taken from currently living and dead trees, as well as from trees ...


Divergence In Life History Traits Between Two Populations Of A Seed-Dimorphic Halophyte In Response To Soil Salinity, Fan Yang, Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin, Xuejun Yang, Dechang Cao, Zhenying Huang 2017 Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Divergence In Life History Traits Between Two Populations Of A Seed-Dimorphic Halophyte In Response To Soil Salinity, Fan Yang, Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin, Xuejun Yang, Dechang Cao, Zhenying Huang

Biology Faculty Publications

Production of heteromorphic seeds is common in halophytes growing in arid environments with strong spatial and temporal heterogeneity. However, evidence for geographic variation (reflecting local adaptation) is almost nonexistent. Our primary aims were to compare the life history traits of two desert populations of this halophytic summer annual Suaeda corniculata subsp. mongolica and to investigate the phenotypic response of its plant and heteromorphic seeds to different levels of salt stress. Dimorphic seeds (F1) of the halophyte S. corniculata collected from two distant populations (F0) that differ in soil salinity were grown in a common environment under different levels ...


Precipitation Patterns And Fungal Community Succession In A Seasonally Dry Secondary Tropical Savanna, Sara R. Lopez 2017 University of New Mexico - Main Campus

Precipitation Patterns And Fungal Community Succession In A Seasonally Dry Secondary Tropical Savanna, Sara R. Lopez

Biology ETDs

Life in seasonally dry areas strongly depends on pulses of precipitation during certain portions of the year. This is particularly relevant for Tropical savannas on the Caribbean coast of Colombia that have been converted from Tropical Dry Forests and subjected to permanent agricultural and grazing practices that in turn induce changes in nutrient status in these systems. Several studies have presented evidence for a shift in C and N dynamics following forest conversion, including a decrease in total soil organic carbon and changes in nitrogen status, but the consequences of forest conversion on soil microbial processes are poorly understood. No ...


Direct And Indirect Effects Of Climate Change On Plant Populations And Communities In Sagebrush Steppe, Andrew R. Kleinhesselink 2017 Utah State University

Direct And Indirect Effects Of Climate Change On Plant Populations And Communities In Sagebrush Steppe, Andrew R. Kleinhesselink

All Graduate Theses and Dissertations

Forecasting the effects of climate change on plant and animal populations is a high priority in ecology. We studied the effects of climate on plant populations through the use of observational and experimental data, as well as analytical models. Our research questions were: (1) Do the effects of interannual climate variation on the population growth rates of widespread species show a coherent pattern across gradients of mean annual climate? (2) How well can population models fit to observational data predict the response of populations to field experiments that manipulate climate? And (3) does niche overlap between competitors predict the magnitude ...


Plant-Microbial Interactions Are Strong Determinants Of Plant Population And Community Dynamics, Y. Anny Chung 9485698 2017 University of New Mexico

Plant-Microbial Interactions Are Strong Determinants Of Plant Population And Community Dynamics, Y. Anny Chung 9485698

Biology ETDs

Plant-microbial interactions are ubiquitous and yet the consequences of these interactions on plant population and community dynamics are relatively unknown. Here, we used two different classes of plant-microbial interactions to examine their effects on key plant population and community characteristics such as commonness and rarity, competition and coexistence, as well as community stability.

Vertically-transmitted endophytes had stage-dependent effects on the population growth of two grass species Poa sylvestris and Poa alsodes, and generally increased host population growth rates. However, it was the intrinsic demographic advantage of P. sylvestris that allowed its population to grow at a much faster rate compared ...


Bat Urea-Derived Minerals In Arid Environment. First Identification Of Allantoin, C4H6N4O3, In Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave, United Arab Emirates, Philippe Audra, Pavel Bosák, Fernando Gázquez, Didier Cailhol, Roman Skála, Lenka Lisá, Šárka Jonášová, Amos Frumkin, Martin Knez, Tadej Slabe, Nadja Zupan Hajna, Asma Al-Farraj 2017 University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis

Bat Urea-Derived Minerals In Arid Environment. First Identification Of Allantoin, C4H6N4O3, In Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave, United Arab Emirates, Philippe Audra, Pavel Bosák, Fernando Gázquez, Didier Cailhol, Roman Skála, Lenka Lisá, Šárka Jonášová, Amos Frumkin, Martin Knez, Tadej Slabe, Nadja Zupan Hajna, Asma Al-Farraj

International Journal of Speleology

Kahf Kharrat Najem Cave is a small cave in United Arab Emirates (UAE) that hosts a bat colony which is the source of guano deposits and peculiar centimeter-long yellowish stalactites. The mineralogy and geochemistry of these deposits were analyzed using powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopic microanalysis (EDX), scanning electron microscope (SEM), and stable isotope composition (δ13C and δ15N). Urea CO(NH2)2 was found to be the main compound of these stalactites, while allantoin C4H6N4O3 was found to be an accessory urea byproduct. This paper ...


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