Department

Department of Botany

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen T. Jackson

Description

Pollen in fossil packrat middens is often used to infer past vegetation composition. But we know very little about what the pollen data means in terms of vegetation and its variability. To address this question, we compared pollen samples from modern or active woodrat middens with the composition of surrounding vegetation within a 50 m radius. Pollen samples all had substantial pollen from plants growing more than 50 m away. All pollen samples were dominated by juniper pollen ranging from 38 to 83% of total dominance. Pine pollen was especially co mmon, even in middens with no nearby pine tree. Ongoing analyses will determine the relationship between the pollen and the local vegetation in specific sites.

Comments

Oral Presentation. Wyoming NSF EPSCoR

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Pollen Representation of Vegetation Pattern in Woodrat Middens

Pollen in fossil packrat middens is often used to infer past vegetation composition. But we know very little about what the pollen data means in terms of vegetation and its variability. To address this question, we compared pollen samples from modern or active woodrat middens with the composition of surrounding vegetation within a 50 m radius. Pollen samples all had substantial pollen from plants growing more than 50 m away. All pollen samples were dominated by juniper pollen ranging from 38 to 83% of total dominance. Pine pollen was especially co mmon, even in middens with no nearby pine tree. Ongoing analyses will determine the relationship between the pollen and the local vegetation in specific sites.