Matching Items (12)

A taxonomic treatment of Nicotiana in Arizona

Description

This project is a revised taxonomic treatment of the tobacco genus, Nicotiana, for the Arizona Flora. The treatment required morphological descriptions of all six species found in Arizona based on

This project is a revised taxonomic treatment of the tobacco genus, Nicotiana, for the Arizona Flora. The treatment required morphological descriptions of all six species found in Arizona based on measurements and observations from mounted herbarium specimen as well as field collections. Loans from regional herbaria including: Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Rancho Santa Anna Herbarium, and the Desert Botanical Garden were examined and annotated according to standard herbaria protocols. A dichotomous key was then created based on morphological descriptions for use in identifying species both in the field and from herbarium mounts. Distribution maps were generated using online databases of herbarium vouchers, mapping soft wares, and field excursions. During the course of my field work, I was able to locate all six species and four of them were collected, vouchered, and deposited in the ASU Vascular Plant Herbarium. One species, Nicotiana quadrivalvis was not relocated based on historical records. This treatment will contribute to ongoing revisions of the Arizona Flora via a publication in the regional taxonomic journal Canotia.

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  • 2016-12

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The Diversity and History of the Plants in the Alleyways of Tempe

Description

Urbanization has global impacts on ecosystems and transforms landscapes into man-made constructs. As urbanization continues to encroach on landscapes it is important to understand its effects on biodiversity and the

Urbanization has global impacts on ecosystems and transforms landscapes into man-made constructs. As urbanization continues to encroach on landscapes it is important to understand its effects on biodiversity and the long term health of our planet. In terms of species numbers, urban floras can actually be more diverse than their native surroundings and I am specifically interested in the species that have been introduced into these settings, their provenance, and the historical circumstances of how they were established. I collected plants in the alleys of Tempe, Arizona over a 5 month period to get a baseline understanding of the local diversity; then collected data from herbarium records using SEINet http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/ to trace the origin of the introduced species and the first record of their appearance. I also used on-line information from the City of Tempe to investigate the relationship of land use change, development, and population growth to the introductions of some non-native plants. Finally, I used SIENet records to investigate the relationship of collection intensity throughout the decades to the introductions of some non-native plants. A total of 130 specimen were collected representing 83 different species from 32 different families. Most of the introduced species were from climates similar to Arizona. New occurrence records were spread out over the decades that Tempe has been around, and I was only able to weakly link them to the historical and collection intensity data. Knowing the biodiversity of an area can give clues into the ecosystem services that biodiversity provides, as well as management implications. Additionally, knowing the history of what is out there may give insights into what the biodiversity of the future may look like.

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  • 2019-05

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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.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Developing a virtual flora portal for vascular plants of Saudi Arabia

Description

A floristic analysis is essential to understanding the current diversity and structure

of community associations of plants in a region. Also, a region’s floristic analysis is key not only to investigating

A floristic analysis is essential to understanding the current diversity and structure

of community associations of plants in a region. Also, a region’s floristic analysis is key not only to investigating their geographical origin(s) but is necessary to their management and protection as a reservoir of greater biodiversity. With an area of 2,250,000 square kilometers, the country of Saudi Arabia covers almost four-fifths of the Arabian Peninsula. Efforts to document information on the flora of Saudi Arabia began in the 1700s and have resulted in several comprehensive publications over the last 25 years. There is no doubt that these studies have helped both the community of scientific researchers as well as the public to gain knowledge about the number of species, types of plants, and their distribution in Saudi Arabia. However, there has been no effort to use digital technology to make the data contained in various Saudi herbarium collections easily accessible online for research and teaching purposes. This research project aims to develop a “virtual flora” portal for the vascular plants of Saudi Arabia. Based on SEINet and the Symbiota software used to power it, a preliminary website portal was established to begin an effort to make information of Saudi Arabia’s flora available on the world- wide web. Data comprising a total of 12,834 specimens representing 175 families were acquired from different organizations and used to create a database for the designed website. After analyzing the data, the Fabaceae family (“legumes”) was identified as a largest family and chosen for further analysis. This study contributes to help scientific researchers, government workers and the general public to have easy, unlimited access to the plant information for a variety of purposes.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Analysis of Genetic Diversity and Clarification of Species Boundaries in Echinomastus erectocentrus var. acunensis and Close Relatives

Description

Echinomastus erectocentrus (J.M. Coulter) Britton & Rose var. acunensis (W.T. Marshall) Bravo, the Acuña cactus, is a small, single-stemmed spherical cactus with a restricted distribution across the Sonoran Desert in

Echinomastus erectocentrus (J.M. Coulter) Britton & Rose var. acunensis (W.T. Marshall) Bravo, the Acuña cactus, is a small, single-stemmed spherical cactus with a restricted distribution across the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona and into northern Sonora, Mexico. Populations of E. erectocentrus var. acunensis are threatened by loss of habitat, climate change, predation, and border related impacts. Due to the severity of these threats and shrinking population sizes, E. erectocentrus var. acunensis was federally listed as endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013. The varieties of Echinomastus erectocentrus, E. erectocentrus var. acunensis and E. erectocentrus var. erectocentrus (J.M. Coulter) Britton & Rose, share many morphological characteristics that make them difficult to distinguish from one another. Echinomastus johnsonii (Parry ex Engelm.) E.M. Baxter, a presumed closely related species, also has a high level of morphological overlap that further complicates our understanding of species boundaries and detailed morphological data for these three taxa indicate a geographical cline. The goal of this project is to document the genetic diversity within and among populations of E. erectocentrus var. acunensis, and its close relatives E. erectocentrus var. erectocentrus and E. johnsonii. To accomplish this, populations of E. erectocentrus var. acunensis, E. erectocentrus var. erectocentrus, E. johnsonii and the outgroup Echinomastus intertextus (Engelm.) Britton & Rose were sampled. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was extracted, and data were collected for nine microsatellite regions developed specifically for these taxa, and two microsatellite regions developed for Sclerocactus, a closely related genus. Standard population genetic measures were used to determine genetic variation and structure, and this observed genetic differentiation was then compared to the current morphological understanding of the group. These analyses help improve the knowledge of the genetic structure of E. erectocentrus var. acunensis and inform the understanding of species boundaries and evolutionary relationships within the group by revealing genetic distinctiveness between all four taxa and hybrid populations between the two varieties. This information also reveals patterns of gene flow and population locations that have the highest conservation priority, which can be incorporated into efforts to conserve and protect this endangered species.

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  • 2020

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A Preliminary Flora for Las Cienegas National Conservation Area and Studies on the Life History of the Endangered Huachuca Water Umbel

Description

Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (LCNCA), located in southeastern Arizona, is a place of ecological and historical value. It is host to rare native, threatened and endangered fauna and flora.

Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (LCNCA), located in southeastern Arizona, is a place of ecological and historical value. It is host to rare native, threatened and endangered fauna and flora. as well as the site of the oldest operating ranch in the state. The first chapter of this thesis provides a preliminary flora of vascular plants at LCNCA assembled from field collections, photographs and herbarium specimens, and published through the online database SEINet. This preliminary flora of LCNCA identified 403 species in 76 families. Less than 6% of the flora is non-native, perennial forbs and grasses are the most abundant groups, and over a third of species in the checklist are associated with wetlands. LCNCA has been the target of adaptive management and conservation strategies to preserve its biotic diversity, and results from this study will help inform actions to preserve its rare habitats including cottonwood willow forests, mesquite bosques, sacaton grasslands, and cienegas. The second chapter investigates poorly understood aspects of the life history of the endangered Huachuca Water Umbel (Lilaeopsis schaffneriana subsp. recurva. Apiaceae) (hereafter HWU). This wetland species occurs in scattered cienegas and streams in southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. Three studies were conducted in a greenhouse to investigate seed bank establishment, seed longevity, and drought tolerance. A fourth study compared the reproductive phenology of populations transplanted at LCNCA to populations transplanted at urban sites like the Phoenix Zoo Conservation Center and the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG). Results from the greenhouse studies showed that HWU seeds were capable of germinating 15 years in a dormant state and that HWU seeds are present in the seed banks at sites where populations have been transplanted. Also, greenhouse experiments indicated that colonies of HWU can tolerate up to 3 weeks without flowing water, and up to 2 weeks in dry substrate. Transplanted populations at LCNCA monitored in the fourth study produced a higher abundance of flowers and fruit relative to urban sites (i.e. DBG) suggesting that in-situ conservation efforts may be more favorable for the recovery of HWU populations. Findings from these studies aim to inform gaps in knowledge highlighted in USFWS recovery plan for this species.

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  • 2020

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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.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Plant ecology of arid-land wetlands: a watershed moment for ciénega conservation

Description

It’s no secret that wetlands have dramatically declined in the arid and semiarid American West, yet the small number of wetlands that persist provide vital ecosystem services. Ciénega is a

It’s no secret that wetlands have dramatically declined in the arid and semiarid American West, yet the small number of wetlands that persist provide vital ecosystem services. Ciénega is a term that refers to a freshwater arid-land wetland. Today, even in areas where ciénegas are prominent they occupy less than 0.1% of the landscape. This investigation assesses the distribution of vascular plant species within and among ciénegas and address linkages between environmental factors and wetland plant communities. Specifically, I ask: 1) What is the range of variability among ciénegas, with respect to wetland area, soil organic matter, plant species richness, and species composition? 2) How is plant species richness influenced locally by soil moisture, soil salinity, and canopy cover, and regionally by elevation, flow gradient (percent slope), and temporally by season? And 3) Within ciénegas, how do soil moisture, soil salinity, and canopy cover influence plant species community composition? To answer these questions I measured environmental variables and quantified vegetation at six cienegas within the Santa Cruz Watershed in southern Arizona over one spring and two post-monsoon periods. Ciénegas are highly variable with respect to wetland area, soil organic matter, plant species richness, and species composition. Therefore, it is important to conserve the ciénega landscape as opposed to conserving a single ciénega. Plant species richness is influenced negatively by soil moisture, positively by soil salinity, elevation, and flow gradient (percent slope), and is greater during the post-monsoon season. Despite concerns about woody plant encroachment reducing biodiversity, my investigation suggests canopy cover has no significant influence on ciénega species richness. Plant species community composition is structured by water availability at all ciénegas, which is consistent with the key role water availability plays in arid and semiarid regions. Effects of canopy and salinity structuring community composition are site specific. My investigation has laid the groundwork for ciénega conservation by providing baseline information of the ecology of these unique and threatened systems. The high variability of ciénega wetlands and the rare species they harbor combined with the numerous threats against them and their isolated occurrences makes these vanishing communities high priority for conservation.

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  • 2016

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The vascular flora of the Eagletail Mountain region

Description

This study identifies the flora of the Eagletail Mountain Region, an area covering approximately 100,600 acres, located in west-central Arizona that includes the Eagletail Mountains, Granite Mountains, portions of the

This study identifies the flora of the Eagletail Mountain Region, an area covering approximately 100,600 acres, located in west-central Arizona that includes the Eagletail Mountains, Granite Mountains, portions of the Harquahala Valley, and Cemetery Ridge near Clanton Well. The region is located about 129 km (80 mi) west of Phoenix and 24 km (15 mi) south of Interstate 10. Plants were collected over a six-year period, beginning September, 2004 and ending May, 2010, including two wet winters and two wet summers. A total of 702 collections were made covering 292 species that represented 63 families. Additional information on the region included in the thesis are: 1) an analysis of the climate, based on 20 years of rainfall records; 2) a description of the geology and its influence on plant distribution; 3) a prehistory and history identifying archeological sites; 4) an analysis of food plants used by the Native Americans that suggests how they were able to live in the region; 5)a paleo-botanical history based on an evaluation of pack-rat midden collections from mountain ranges around the region; 6) a comparison of the trees, shrubs, and perennials of the Eagletail Mountain Region with those of the Sierra Estrella and Kofa Mountains; and 7) a survey of non-native species. The habitats that the plants occupied based on climate and soils included were: 1) the bottoms and sides of sandy/ gravelly washes, 2) bajada slopes-volcanic soils, 3) bajada slopes-granitic sandy soils, 4) slot canyons/rock outcrops, 5) desert pavement, and 6) open valleys. Each habitat has its own characteristic species composition and distribution.

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  • 2012

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Ecological effects of stream flow permanence on butterfly and plant communities of Sonoran Desert streams

Description

Stream flow permanence plays a critical role in determining floristic composition, abundance, and diversity in the Sonoran Desert, but questions remain about the effects of stream flow permanence on butterfly

Stream flow permanence plays a critical role in determining floristic composition, abundance, and diversity in the Sonoran Desert, but questions remain about the effects of stream flow permanence on butterfly composition, abundance, and diversity. Understanding the effects of flow permanence on butterflies and relevant subsets of butterflies (such as butterflies whose host plants are present) and comparing them to these same effects on plants and relevant subsets of plants (such as butterfly nectar plants and larval host plants) provided insight into pollinator and riparian conservation and restoration.

I surveyed four Sonoran desert stream sites, and found significant relationships between flow permanence and plant and butterfly species richness and abundance, as well as strong relationships between plant and butterfly abundance and between plant and butterfly species richness. Most notably, my results pointed to hosted butterflies as a break-out category of butterflies which may more clearly delineate ecological relationships between butterfly and plant abundance and diversity along Sonoran Desert streams; this can inform conservation decisions. Managing for hosted (resident) butterflies will necessarily entail managing for the presence of surface water, nectar forage, varying levels of canopy cover, and plant, nectar plant, and host plant diversity since the relationships between hosted butterfly species richness and/or abundance and all of these variables were significant, both statistically and ecologically.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015