Distribution of plant species at a transition zone between the shortgrass steppe and the Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Kroel-Dulay, G.; Odor, P.; Peters, D.; and Hochstrasser, T. 2004.
Distribution of plant species at a transition zone between the shortgrass steppe and the Chihuahuan Desert grassland [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
The objective of this study was to compare plant species and life form composition of two patch types at a shortgrass steppe, Chihuahuan Desert grassland biome transition zone in central New Mexico, USA. We sought to determine if species were associated with different patch types and if that association was related to differences in soil texture between patch types and the geographic range of subordinate species. Patches dominated by either blue grama, the dominant species in the shortgrass steppe, or black grama, the dominant species in the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands, were sampled at multiple scales for the occurrence of subordinate species and soil texture. Of the 52 subordinate species analyzed, 16 species were associated with blue-grama-dominated patches and 12 species with black-grama-dominated patches. Patches dominated by blue grama were richer in annual grasses and forbs, whereas patches dominated by black grama contained more perennials forbs and shrubs and subshrubs. Soils of blue-grama-dominated patches had higher clay and lower rock contents compared with soils of black-grama-dominated patches. Differences in species characteristics of the dominant species, as well as differences in soil texture between patch types, contribute to patch-scale variation in species and life form composition. Our results show that patch types at this biome transition zone have characteristic life form and species composition, but species are associated to patch types due to local constraints, independently from their affinity to the adjacent biomes.
@article{kroel-dulay_distribution_2004,
	title = {Distribution of plant species at a transition zone between the shortgrass steppe and the {Chihuahuan} {Desert} grassland},
	volume = {15},
	url = {bibliography/04-051.pdf},
	abstract = {The objective of this study was to compare plant species and life form composition of two patch types at a shortgrass steppe, Chihuahuan Desert grassland biome transition zone in central New Mexico, USA.  We sought to determine if species were associated with different patch types and if that association was related to differences in soil texture between patch types and the geographic range of subordinate species.  Patches dominated by either blue grama, the dominant species in the shortgrass steppe, or black grama, the dominant species in the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands, were sampled at multiple scales for the occurrence of subordinate species and soil texture.  Of the 52 subordinate species analyzed, 16 species were associated with blue-grama-dominated patches and 12 species with black-grama-dominated patches.  Patches dominated by blue grama were richer in annual grasses and forbs, whereas patches dominated by black grama contained more perennials forbs and shrubs and subshrubs.  Soils of blue-grama-dominated patches had higher clay and lower rock contents compared with soils of black-grama-dominated patches.  Differences in species characteristics of the dominant species, as well as differences in soil texture between patch types, contribute to patch-scale variation in species and life form composition.  Our results show that patch types at this biome transition zone have characteristic life form and species composition, but species are associated to patch types due to local constraints, independently from their affinity to the adjacent biomes.},
	author = {Kroel-Dulay, G. and Odor, P. and Peters, D.C. and Hochstrasser, T.},
	year = {2004},
	keywords = {JRN}
}
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