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Pikes Peak freckles : spatial pattern formation of alpine tundra on Pikes Peak, Colorado

by Jensen, Johanna Elizabeth

Abstract

Spatially-organized patches primarily composed of Alpine avens (Geum rossii) on Pikes Peak, CO give the tundra of the 14,000 ft. mountain a freckled appearance. The mechanisms causing formation and maintenance of these patches were examined using parameters such as vegetation height, species abundance, micro-topography, C:N ratios of soils and plants, and soil moisture. This study focused on eight patches by evaluating the above parameters along eight, horizontal 15-18 m transects that ran through the centers of the patches. Shockingly, vegetation height was two times greater within the patch compared to open tundra. This suggests nutrient accumulation within the patch parameters. In this thesis we analyze abiotic, top-down and bottom-up processes, to evaluate these patches. We conclude that this ecosystem is a bi-stable dynamical structure (Lotka-Volterra). In addition, scale-dependent feedback mechanisms (short-distance facilitation and long-distance inhibition) may be a primary contributor to patch formation and maintenance.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Includes bibliographical references.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College
PID
coccc:9566
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
57 pages : color illustrations
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Kummel, Miro Snyder, Marc
Department/Program
Environmental Program
Degree Name
bachelor
Degree Type
B.A.
Degree Grantor
Colorado College
Date Issued
2014-05