Temporal Ecology of a Subalpine Ecosystem: Plant Communities, Plant-Pollinator Interactions, and Climate Change

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/620860
Title:
Temporal Ecology of a Subalpine Ecosystem: Plant Communities, Plant-Pollinator Interactions, and Climate Change
Author:
CaraDonna, Paul James
Issue Date:
2016
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Ecological systems are inherently dynamic, and a primary way in which they are dynamic is through time. Individual organisms, populations, communities, species interactions, and ecosystem functions all follow a temporal progression from the past, to the present, and into the future. This temporal progression can occur over the course of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, or various other timescales. In this sense, temporal dynamics are an intrinsic property of all biological systems. In fact, one of the most prominent signals of recent global climate change is the significant change in the timing of biological events for a diversity of organisms. In light of this widespread pattern, there is a renewed interest in understanding the multifaceted importance of time in ecology. In this dissertation, I investigate the temporal ecology of a subalpine ecosystem, specifically focusing on flowering plant communities and plant-pollinator interactions. I examine the temporal dynamics of this system over multiple decades in response to ongoing climate change as well as over shorter time scales within a growing season. Using a 39-year record of flowering phenology, I show that species-specific shifts in the timing of flowering in response to climate change can substantially reshape a subalpine plant community over this time period. Community phylogenetic analyses reveal that these changes are largely independent of evolutionary history. Using a laboratory experiment, I show that the timing of an important harsh abiotic event-low temperatures that cause frost damage to plants-can differentially affect flowering plant species, with implications for plant demography, community structure, and interactions with pollinators. Finally, I show that plant-pollinator interactions exhibit substantial within-season temporal turnover, and that this temporal flexibility of plant-pollinator interactions from one week to the next is consistent and predictable across years. Taken together, this dissertation provides a multifaceted investigation of the temporal ecology of plant communities and plant-pollinator interactions, revealing the important consequences of ecological timing at short-term and longer-term scales.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Community Ecology; Phenology; Pollination; Species Interactions; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Climate Change
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Bronstein, Judith L.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleTemporal Ecology of a Subalpine Ecosystem: Plant Communities, Plant-Pollinator Interactions, and Climate Changeen_US
dc.creatorCaraDonna, Paul Jamesen
dc.contributor.authorCaraDonna, Paul Jamesen
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractEcological systems are inherently dynamic, and a primary way in which they are dynamic is through time. Individual organisms, populations, communities, species interactions, and ecosystem functions all follow a temporal progression from the past, to the present, and into the future. This temporal progression can occur over the course of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, or various other timescales. In this sense, temporal dynamics are an intrinsic property of all biological systems. In fact, one of the most prominent signals of recent global climate change is the significant change in the timing of biological events for a diversity of organisms. In light of this widespread pattern, there is a renewed interest in understanding the multifaceted importance of time in ecology. In this dissertation, I investigate the temporal ecology of a subalpine ecosystem, specifically focusing on flowering plant communities and plant-pollinator interactions. I examine the temporal dynamics of this system over multiple decades in response to ongoing climate change as well as over shorter time scales within a growing season. Using a 39-year record of flowering phenology, I show that species-specific shifts in the timing of flowering in response to climate change can substantially reshape a subalpine plant community over this time period. Community phylogenetic analyses reveal that these changes are largely independent of evolutionary history. Using a laboratory experiment, I show that the timing of an important harsh abiotic event-low temperatures that cause frost damage to plants-can differentially affect flowering plant species, with implications for plant demography, community structure, and interactions with pollinators. Finally, I show that plant-pollinator interactions exhibit substantial within-season temporal turnover, and that this temporal flexibility of plant-pollinator interactions from one week to the next is consistent and predictable across years. Taken together, this dissertation provides a multifaceted investigation of the temporal ecology of plant communities and plant-pollinator interactions, revealing the important consequences of ecological timing at short-term and longer-term scales.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectCommunity Ecologyen
dc.subjectPhenologyen
dc.subjectPollinationen
dc.subjectSpecies Interactionsen
dc.subjectEcology & Evolutionary Biologyen
dc.subjectClimate Changeen
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineEcology & Evolutionary Biologyen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorBronstein, Judith L.en
dc.contributor.committeememberBronstein, Judith L.en
dc.contributor.committeememberArnold, A. Elizabethen
dc.contributor.committeememberPapaj, Daniel R.en
dc.contributor.committeememberVenable, D. Lawrenceen
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