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9 August 2018 La Sal Daisy, Erigeron mancus, Density and Associated Species from Treeline Ecotone and Alpine Habitats
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Abstract

The La Sal daisy, Erigeron mancus, is endemic to treeline ecotone and alpine meadow habitats of the La Sal Mountains in Utah, an insular, laccolithic mountain range on the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah. From 2009 to 2011 we established elevational transects through upper spruce-fir forest, treeline ecotone, and alpine meadow habitats on Laurel Ridge in the Middle Mountain group of the La Sal Mountains to measure (1) periodic changes in E. mancus population density, (2) changes in the elevation of the E. mancus population centroid, (3) changes in patch size occupied by E. mancus, and (4) changes in frequency of occurrence in herbaceous plant species associated with E. mancus along these transects. We measured both E. mancus density and vascular plant species composition within 1-m × 1-m square frames in mid-July, near peak alpine plant flowering time. The E. mancus population density on Mt. Laurel ridge did not significantly change from 2009 to 2015, but the species was most abundant in alpine meadow habitat for both years. Changes in patch width, centroid elevation, and frequency of occurrence of 30 associated plant species were also not statistically significant. Like E. mancus, most species show changes in frequency of occurrence between upper spruce-fir forest, treeline ecotone, and alpine meadow habitats. Individual plants of E. mancus are probably long-lived perennials, so changes in population density and distribution due to global warming are expected to be gradual and/or have an unknown lag time. Although there is no evidence of ongoing change in the Laurel Ridge population of E. mancus, having this information will provide a solid statistical basis for determining significant future changes.

© 2018
James F. Fowler, Steve Overby, and Barb Smith "La Sal Daisy, Erigeron mancus, Density and Associated Species from Treeline Ecotone and Alpine Habitats," Western North American Naturalist 78(2), (9 August 2018). https://doi.org/10.3398/064.078.0209
Received: 18 September 2017; Accepted: 30 April 2018; Published: 9 August 2018
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