Date of Award

1-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Martin F. Quigley

Keywords

Anthropogenic disturbance, Elevational gradient analysis, Plant community ecology, Temporal change

Abstract

We surveyed four plant communities along an elevational gradient in the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains for long-term overstory and understory changes. Our results were compared to those found in 1981 and 1996. We evaluated changes in succession, elevational species migration and range expansion, community diversity, and composition. We related temporal floristic shifts to prior literature on disturbance history at each site. Over time, all communities changed significantly, though in different manners. This analysis shows that plant communities are changing in dynamic and idiosyncratic ways that correspond to individualistic distribution shifts. Moreover, we exhibit the necessity of comprehensively investigating long-term community change using multiple approaches, incorporating plant guild relationships, and concentrating efforts to further understand the interplay between climate effects and disturbance.

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Gregory Sproull

File size

103 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Ecology, Plant biology

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