University of Colorado at Boulder

Colloquia Event

Friday November 16, 2012. 03:30 pm. GUGG 205

Use it or lose it: vegetation response to microsite variability over time and space

Preston Cumming

University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Geography

Abstract: Fine scale studies are rarely performed to address landscape level responses to climatic variability. Is it the timing, distribution, and magnitude of soil temperature and moisture that affects what species emerge each season and, in turn, their resilience to fluctuations in microclimate. Studies of this type done over several years can tease out these potentially highly effective variation in microclimate versus other site characteristics that define the species composition. The current research evaluated the response of vegetation change to climatic variability within two communities over a three year period (2009-2012). In order to evaluate this, three 25 meter transects were established at two locations along the Front Range of Colorado near Boulder and Golden respectively. To assess the variability of climate and soil conditions, correlation analyses were performed using both native and non-native vegetation abundance and cover; soil temperature; and moisture. The results from these correlations show that soil conditions and local climate may be important drivers of both native and non-native species distribution each season. This research contributes to the understanding of the resilience of these communities in the face of future climate change.

Geography colloquium series was made possible by the generous support from The Beirne Carter Foundation.