Date of Award:

11-2011

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

Dr. Eugene W. Schupp

Abstract

The processes by which plant spatial patterns are formed, and the effects of those patterns on plant community dynamics, remain important areas of research in plant ecology. Plant spatial pattern formation has been linked to many ecological processes that act to structure plant communities at different spatiotemporal scales. Past studies of pattern formation are common, but recent methodological advances in data collection and analysis have permitted researchers to conduct more advanced observational studies of pattern formation in space and time. While studies of the effects of plant spatial patterns were formally rare, they have increased in the last decade as new types of experiments and analysis have been developed to better understand the myriad effects of plant patterns on community dynamics. My dissertation research examined both the causes and consequences of plant spatial patterns in the context of natural and experimental Great Basin semi-arid plant communities. In both cases, I implemented novel methodologies for data collection, experimental design, and data analysis in an attempt to address current gaps in knowledge related to the processes by which plant spatial patterns are formed, as well as the effect of plant spatial patterns on community dynamics. The results inform both basic and applied plant ecology, and set the stage for further research on the causes and consequences of plant spatial patterns in semi-arid plant communities.

Comments

Publication made available electronically January 24, 2012.

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