Colonization of microclimates

Gene Spears spears at bobcat.lmc.edu
Mon Jun 8 08:20:38 EST 1992


In article <1992Jun5.190353.8694 at dsd.es.com> rthomson at mesa.dsd.es.com (Rich Thomson) writes:
			Some deletions

>The nearby Pahvant range of mountains supports a wider variety of
>plant life due to the larger amount of moisture received and higher
>elevation.  However, the microclimates would seem to be able to
>support a wider variety of plants than those able to survive on the
>surface of the lava fields (sage, juniper, etc.).  Could plants from
>the nearby Pahvant range and/or other nearby localities survive in
>these microclimates?  Would it be possible for a person to act as a
>"steward" and enhance colonization of these microclimates, thus
>increasing the diversity in this locale?  It seems unlikely to me that
>plants would be able to colonize these microclimates unaided (unless
>they were remnants from the Lake Bonneville period; but that is
>unlikely since most of the area containing microclimates now was
>under water then).  The wind could carry spores and seeds, but the
>predominant winds blow towards the mountains from the microclimated
>region.

>As an aside, this brings up the idea of "stewardship" in general,
>where man acts as an active agent for the increase of biodiversity
>instead of the usual behavior as an agent decreasing biodiversity and
>fostering gigantic monocrops.

>                                               -- Rich
>-- 
You describe a very interesting habitat that I would recommend be disturbed 
as little as possible.  Keep in mind that there are several types of species 
diversity.  While each little habitat "island" may have a limited number of 
species (and classic island biogeographic theory suggests that the number of 
species in each "island" is at equilibrium, and your efforts would only 
temporarily increase diversity), the different "islands" may have different 
assemblages of species.  Microclimate A will probably have a different 
community than Microclimate B.  Your efforts to increase diversity at 
each microclimate might actually decrease the overall diversity of the 
area.  
	The system that you describe would be an ideal one for ecological 
studies of extinction and colonization.  Better to leave it alone for some 
future research.

					Gene Spears
					spears at andy.lmc.edu



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