Alpine Vegetation- patterns of biodiversity and response to environmental change Bill Bowman- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Mountain Research Station, INSTAAR (firstname.lastname@example.org) reference: Körner, Ch. 1999. Alpine Plant Life. Springer Verlag, Berlin. What is the alpine?
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Alpine Vegetation- patterns of biodiversity and response to environmental change
Bill Bowman- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Mountain Research Station, INSTAAR
reference: Körner, Ch. 1999. Alpine Plant Life. Springer Verlag, Berlin
What is the alpine? environmental change
Is it tundra?
elevation of treeline corresponds environmental change
1) minimum growing season
temperature around 6 °C
3) geomorphic disturbance- avalanches
krummholz- "twisted wood"
large variation in altitude at mid-latitudes environmental change
Global distribution of treeline
from Körner, 1999
associated with continentality- treelines lower in moist, maritime locations
Alpine is a globally distributed biome- environmental change
plants have similar
Alpine environmental conditions: environmental change
by cloud cover)
Adaptations to the alpine environment include: environmental change
Greenhouse experiment- artificial imposition of N limitation environmental change
amount of growth is biologically constrained in some species
Alpine is an extensive biome- globally distributed environmental change
How has Pleistocene glaciation influenced alpine diversity and plant distribution?
interglacial (present) and plant distribution?
Continuous and isolated alpine habitat: Colorado
Glacial (ca. 20K BP)
~ same number species
more Arctic species to north
more endemic species to south
Biogeographic similarities ( diversityafter Hadley 1987)
Sangre de Cristos
San Fransisco Peaks
Global Plant Diversity diversity
Weld County: ~600 species diversity
Boulder County: 1550 species
(50% of flora of Colorado)
Regional scale plant diversity in S. Rockies; the influence of mountains:
Alpine Mesotopographic Gradient diversity(After Billings)
Similarity of flora among communities
(Sørenson’s index): 25-77%
Alpine plant diversity relationship to soil N+P availability on Niwot Ridge
Environmental change on Niwot Ridge in alpine - primarily “indirect:”
climate, N deposition, stratospheric ozone degredation (↑UV)
locally most immediate threat is N deposition
source: William Travis on Niwot Ridge
Colorado ranks 3rd in U.S. population growth, with most of the increase in the Front Range urban corridor:
Moist meadows- elevated N on Niwot Ridge
inputs due to topographic location
Where in the alpine landscape is change most probable?
Snow is an effective reservoir of atmospheric N inputs
} on Niwot Ridge
+ responder to N non responders
15N labeling experiment:
Implications of differential N uptake by alpine vegetation: on Niwot Ridge