Matching Items (8)

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Flora of the upper Verde River, Arizona

Description

The Upper Verde River of central Arizona flows through a landscape of complex geology at the meeting of seven biotic communities and three physiographic provinces. This has resulted in notably

The Upper Verde River of central Arizona flows through a landscape of complex geology at the meeting of seven biotic communities and three physiographic provinces. This has resulted in notably diverse flora and fauna and a hub of rare and endemic plant species. The river has sustained cultures since pre-history, however current regional water use is predicted to diminish streamflow over the next century. Prior to this project, no floristic inventory had been conducted along any section of the Verde. The purpose of this study was to develop a Flora of the Upper Verde River, with the goals of documenting rare and endemic species, the composition and abundance of wetland plants, and the factors shaping plant diversity in the region.

I made a total of 1856 collections and reviewed past collections to produce a checklist of 729 vascular plant taxa in 403 genera and 98 families. The most species-rich family is the Poaceae, followed by Asteraceae and Fabaceae. The flora includes 159 wetland taxa, 47 endemics, and 26 taxa of conservation concern, eight of which are Federally listed. Several new populations were found in these categories and of rarely-collected taxa including one state record, three county records and several range extensions. I report on the local status of several endemics, wetland taxa with limited distributions, and relict populations of a tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius) that were likely transported to the region and cultivated by pre-Columbian cultures. I categorize thirteen distinct plant communities, the most abundant being Pinyon/Juniper Woodland, Chihuahuan/Apacherian Scrub, and Riparian Deciduous Forest.

Four primary factors influence floristic diversity of the Upper Verde region: 1) a location at the junction of three physiographic and floristic provinces—represented by co-occurrence of species with affinities to the Sonoran, Intermountain and Madrean regions, 2) geologic diversity—as distinct groups of species are associated with particular geologic types, 3) topographic and habitat complexity—allowing species adapted to disparate environments to co-occur, and 4) human introductions—since over 15% of the flora is composed of introduced species from Eurasia and several taxa were introduced to the region and cultivated by pre-Columbian cultures.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Spatial and temporal patterns in insectivorous bat activity in river-riparian landscapes

Description

River and riparian areas are important foraging habitat for insectivorous bats. Numerous studies have shown that aquatic insects provide an important trophic resource to terrestrial consumers, including bats, and

River and riparian areas are important foraging habitat for insectivorous bats. Numerous studies have shown that aquatic insects provide an important trophic resource to terrestrial consumers, including bats, and are key in regulating population size and species interactions in terrestrial food webs. Yet these studies have generally ignored how structural characteristics of the riverine landscape influence trophic resource availability or how terrestrial consumers respond to ensuing spatial and temporal patterns of trophic resources. Moreover, few studies have examined linkages between a stream's hydrologic regime and the timing and magnitude of aquatic insect availability. The main objective of my dissertation is to understand the causes of bat distributions in space and time. Specifically, I examine how trophic resource availability, structural components of riverine landscapes (channel confinement and riparian vegetation structure), and hydrologic regimes (flow permanence and timing of floods) mediate spatial and temporal patterns in bat activity. First, I show that river channel confinement determines bat activity along a river's longitudinal axis (directly above the river), while trophic resources appear to have stronger effects across a river's lateral (with distance from the river) axis. Second, I show that flow intermittency affects bat foraging activity indirectly via its effects on trophic resource availability. Seasonal river drying appears to have complex effects on bat foraging activity, initially causing imperfect tracking by consumers of localized concentrations of resources but later resulting in disappearance of both insects and bats after complete river drying. Third, I show that resource tracking by bats varies among streams with contrasting patterns of trophic resource availability and this variation appears to be in response to differences in the timing of aquatic insect emergence, duration and magnitude of emergence, and adult body size of emergent aquatic insects. Finally, I show that aquatic insects directly influence bat activity along a desert stream and that riparian vegetation composition affects bat activity, but only indirectly, via effects on aquatic insect availability. Overall, my results show river channel confinement, riparian vegetation structure, flow permanence, and the timing of floods influence spatial and temporal patterns in bat distributions; but these effects are indirect by influencing the ability of bats to track trophic resources in space and time.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2010

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A Seed Bank Study of Southwestern Riparian Areas: Temperature Effects and Diversity

Description

Throughout the Southwest, complex geology and physiography concomitant with climatic variability contribute to diverse stream hydrogeomorphologies. Many riparian plant species store their seeds in soil seed banks, and germinate

Throughout the Southwest, complex geology and physiography concomitant with climatic variability contribute to diverse stream hydrogeomorphologies. Many riparian plant species store their seeds in soil seed banks, and germinate in response to moisture pulses, but the climatic controls of this response are poorly understood. To better understand the ecological implications of a changing climate on riparian plant communities, I investigated seed bank responses to seasonal temperature patterns and to stream hydrogeomorphic type. I asked the following questions: Are there distinct suites of warm and cool temperature germinating species associated with Southwestern streams; how do they differ between riparian and terrestrial zones, and between ephemeral and perennial streams? How does alpha diversity of the soil seed bank differ between streams with ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial flow, and between montane and basin streams? Do streams with greater elevational change have higher riparian zone seed bank beta-diversity? Does nestedness or turnover contribute more to within stream beta-diversity?

I collected soil samples from the riparian and terrestrial zones of 21 sites, placing them in growth chambers at one of two temperature regimes, and monitoring emergence of seedlings for 12 weeks. Results showed an approximately equal number of warm and cool specialists in both riparian and terrestrials zones; generalists also were abundant, particularly in the riparian zone. The number of temperature specialists and generalists in the riparian zones did not differ significantly between perennial headwater and ephemeral stream types. In montane streams, alpha diversity of the soil seed bank was highest for ephemeral reaches; in basin streams the intermittent and perennial reaches had higher diversity. Spatial turnover was primarily responsible for within stream beta-diversity—reaches had different species assemblages. The large portion of temperature specialists found in riparian seed banks indicates that even with available moisture riparian zone plant community composition will likely be impacted by changing temperatures. However, the presence of so many temperature generalists in the riparian zones suggests that some component of the seed bank is adapted to variable conditions and might offer resilience in a changing climate. Study results confirm the importance of conserving multiple hydrogeomorphic reach types because they support unique species assemblages.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Free water fuels intraguild predation in a riparian food web

Description

In desert riparian ecosystems, rivers provide free water but access to that water diminishes with distance producing a steep gradient in the relative importance of water for growth and reproduction

In desert riparian ecosystems, rivers provide free water but access to that water diminishes with distance producing a steep gradient in the relative importance of water for growth and reproduction of riparian animals and hence, their biodiversity. Previous work suggests that water limited riparian predators eat more prey to meet their water demand where free water is not available. Here I explore the effect of water limitation on prey selection and per capita interaction strengths between a predatory spider ( Hogna antelucana) and two prey species occupying different trophic levels using a controlled field experiment conducted in the riparian forest of the San Pedro River, Cochise County, AZ. Lab measurements of water and energy content revealed that intermediate predators (smaller spiders in the genus Pardosa) had 100-fold higher energy: water ratios than an alternate prey species more basal in the food web (crickets in the genus Gryllus). Given this observation, I hypothesized that water-stressed predatory wolf spiders would select more water-laden crickets but switch to more energy rich Pardosa when water stress was experimentally eliminated. Additionally, I hypothesized that switching by quenched Hogna to Pardosa would reduce predation by Pardosa on Gryllus leading to increased abundance of the basal resource. Finally, I hypothesized that water mediated switching and release of basal prey would be stronger when male Hogna was the apex predator, because female Hogna have higher energetic costs of reproduction and hence, stronger energy limitation. Experimental water additions caused both sexes of Hogna to consume significantly higher numbers of Pardosa but this difference (between water and no-water treatments) did not vary significantly between male and female Hogna treatments. Similarly, strong negative interaction strengths between Hogna and Pardosa led to release of the basal prey species and positive interaction strengths of Hogna on Gryllus. Again strong positive, indirect effects of Hogna on Gryllus did not depend on the sex of the Hogna predator. However, water mediated indirect effects of Hogna (either sex) on Gryllus were the strongest for male Gryllus. These results suggest that water and energy co-dominate foraging decisions by predators and that in managing water-energy balance; predators can modify interaction pathways, sex-ratios of prey populations and trophic dynamics.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Responses of mammals to native and non-native riparian forest types in Southeastern Arizona

Description

Riparian areas are an important resource, especially in the arid southwest, for many wildlife species. Understanding species occurrence in areas dominated by non-native vegetation is important to determine if management

Riparian areas are an important resource, especially in the arid southwest, for many wildlife species. Understanding species occurrence in areas dominated by non-native vegetation is important to determine if management should be implemented. Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) is one of the most prevalent non-native trees in riparian areas in the southwest United States and can alter vegetation structure, but little is known about how medium and large carnivores use stands of saltcedar. Three riparian forest types make up the San Pedro riparian corridor: non-native saltcedar, native mesquite (Prosopis spp.) bosque, and a mixture of native cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and willow (Salix goodingii) woodlands. My goals were to determine relative use, diversity, and occupancy of medium and large mammals across forest types to evaluate use of the non-native stands. I sampled mammals along approximately 25.7 river kilometers between July 2017 and October 2018, using 18 trail cameras (six per forest type) spaced 1km apart. I summarized environmental variables around the camera sites to relate them to species occupancy and reduced them to 4 components using a Principal Component Analysis (PCA). I observed 14 carnivore species, including bobcat (Lynx rufus), coyote (Canis latrans), and coati (Nasua narica) over 7,692 trap nights. Occupancy of some species may have been influenced by the different components, but models showed high standard errors, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions. Most mammal species used all three forest types at some level and no surveyed forest type was completely avoided or unused. Coyote tended to have greater use in the mesquite forest while canids trended toward greater use in saltcedar forest. Based on two-species occupancy models as well as activity overlap patterns, subordinate species did not appear to avoid dominant species. No species seems significantly affected by non-native saltcedar at this time.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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The Phoenix Four Rivers Flora, Maricopa County, Arizona

Description

ABSTRACT The Phoenix Four Rivers Flora is an inventory of all the vascular plants growing along the Salt, Gila, New and Agua Fria Rivers, and their tributaries in the

ABSTRACT The Phoenix Four Rivers Flora is an inventory of all the vascular plants growing along the Salt, Gila, New and Agua Fria Rivers, and their tributaries in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area during the years of the study (2009-2011). This floristic inventory documents the plant species and habitats that exist currently in the project area, which has changed dramatically from previous times. The data gathered by the flora project thus not only documents how the current flora has been altered by urbanization, but also will provide a baseline for future ecological studies. The Phoenix Metropolitan Area is a large urbanized region in the Sonoran Desert of Central Arizona, and its rivers are important for the region for many uses including flood control, waste water management, recreation, and gravel mining. The flora of the rivers and tributaries within the project area is extremely diverse; the heterogeneity of the systems being caused by urbanization, stream modification for flood control, gravel mining, and escaped exotic species. Hydrological changes include increased runoff in some areas because of impermeable surfaces (e.g. paved streets) and decreased runoff in other areas due to flood retention basins. The landscaping trade has introduced exotic plant species that have escaped into urban washes and riparian areas. Many of these have established with native species to form novel plant associations.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Herpetofauna and riparian microhabitat of urban and wildland reaches along the Salt River, Arizona

Description

Worldwide, riverine floodplains are among the most endangered landscapes. In response to anthropogenic impacts, riverine restoration projects are considerably increasing. However, there is a paucity of information on how riparian

Worldwide, riverine floodplains are among the most endangered landscapes. In response to anthropogenic impacts, riverine restoration projects are considerably increasing. However, there is a paucity of information on how riparian rehabilitation activities impact non-avian wildlife communities. I evaluated herpetofauna abundance, species richness, diversity (i.e., Shannon and Simpson indices), species-specific responses, and riparian microhabitat characteristics along three reaches (i.e., wildland, urban rehabilitated, and urban disturbed) of the Salt River, Arizona. The surrounding uplands of the two urbanized reaches were dominated by the built environment (i.e., Phoenix metropolitan area). I predicted that greater diversity of microhabitat and lower urbanization would promote herpetofauna abundance, richness, and diversity. In 2010, at each reach, I performed herpetofauna visual surveys five times along eight transects (n=24) spanning the riparian zone. I quantified twenty one microhabitat characteristics such as ground substrate, vegetative cover, woody debris, tree stem density, and plant species richness along each transect. Herpetofauna species richness was the greatest along the wildland reach, and the lowest along the urban disturbed reach. The wildland reach had the greatest diversity indices, and diversity indices of the two urban reaches were similar. Abundance of herpetofauna was approximately six times lower along the urban disturbed reach compared to the two other reaches, which had similar abundances. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) reduced microhabitat variables to five factors, and significant differences among reaches were detected. Vegetation structure complexity, vegetation species richness, as well as densities of Prosopis (mesquite), Salix (willow), Populus (cottonwood), and animal burrows had a positive correlation with at least one of the three herpetofauna community parameter quantified (i.e., herpetofauna abundance, species richness, and diversity indices), and had a positive correlation with at least one herpetofauna species. Overall, rehabilitation activities positively influenced herpetofauna abundance and species richness, whereas urbanization negatively influenced herpetofauna diversity indices. Based on herpetofauna/microhabitat correlations established, I developed recommendations regarding microhabitat features that should be created in order to promote herpetofauna when rehabilitating degraded riparian systems. Recommendations are to plant vegetation of different growth habit, provide woody debris, plant Populus, Salix, and Prosopis of various ages and sizes, and to promote small mammal abundance.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Effects of saltcedar on population structure and habitat utilization of the common side-blotched lizard

Description

Non-native saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) has invaded many riparian communities and is the third most abundant tree in Southwestern riparian areas. I evaluated lizard populations and microhabitat selection during 2009 and

Non-native saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) has invaded many riparian communities and is the third most abundant tree in Southwestern riparian areas. I evaluated lizard populations and microhabitat selection during 2009 and 2010 along the Virgin River in Nevada and Arizona to determine the impact of saltcedar. Along the riparian corridor, I observed common side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana) within two vegetation types: monotypic non-native saltcedar stands or mixed stands of cottonwood (Populus fremontii), willow (Salix spp.), mesquite (Prosopis spp.) and saltcedar. I predicted that population parameters such as body condition, adult to hatchling ratio, abundance, and persistence would vary among vegetation types. Also, I predicted the presence of saltcedar influences how lizards utilize available habitat. Lizard population parameters were obtained from a mark-recapture study in which I captured 233 individual lizards. I examined habitat selection and habitat availability using visual encounter surveys (VES) for lizards and recorded 11 microhabitat variables where 16 lizards were found. I found no significant difference in population parameters between mixed and non-native saltcedar communities. However, population parameters were negatively correlated with canopy cover. I found that lizards selected habitat with low understory and canopy cover regardless of vegetation type. My results indicate that lizards utilize similar structural characteristics in both mixed and non-native vegetation. Understanding impacts of saltcedar on native fauna is important for managers who are tasked with control and management of this non-native species.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011