Date of Award:

1982

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Ecology

Department name when degree awarded

Range Science

Advisor/Chair:

Cyrus M. McKell

Abstract

Four populations of Deschampsia caespitosa (L.) Beauv (a Poaceae species), growing on disturbed and undisturbed sites at Climax, Colorado, were examined for metal tolerances (Zn, Cu, Pb, Al). Root growth assessments on parent plant and offspring material for each population were conducted using nutrient solutions containing elevated levels of Zn, Cu, Pb, or Al. Seed germination and seedling survival tests for each population were conducted on both alpine topsoil and mine spoil material.

Evidence is presented that supports the hypothesis that ecotypic variation exists within Deschampsia caespitosa and that this variation has allowed certain Deschampsia populations to become successfully established on alpine mine spoils. Acid mine spoil populations showed significantly less root growth retardation in the presence of zinc, copper or aluminum.

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