A comparative analysis of plant species distribution and growth response to edaphic features between the San Saba River and a tributary
Henson, Jeremy D.
Riparian corridors are often a mosaic of vegetative communities that serve as interfaces between terrestrial and aquatic systems and, consequently, span multiple environmental gradients. As such, an interesting question is whether the interconnection of streams and tributaries within a drainage basin facilitates homogeneous community structure and development, or if these systems host distinctly different floras as a result of differing physiognomy and disturbance cycles. In relation to the size of the state, relatively few comprehensive qualitative or quantitative surveys of natural plant resources within managed areas of Texas have been conducted. As a result, quantitative data on vegetation are insufficient to support fine scale plant community classification for most of the natural regions in Texas. The objectives of this research were to 1) conduct a comprehensive floristic survey of the study site to identify, collect, and preserve specimens of each plant species located on-site and 2) conduct a comparative analysis to evaluate patterns of plant species richness and distribution in relation to edaphic characteristics between three riparian communities with different hydrologic regimes. Results show that, although multiple factors influence a particular ecological dynamic, only certain factors have a greater degree of importance in the development of plant communities. The most important factor in plant species distribution and richness at the study site appears to be moisture availability, with secondary effects of nutrient availability from flood deposits, as well as physical impacts from flood disturbance.
riparian ecology, phytogeography
Henson, J. D. (2013). A comparative analysis of plant species distribution and growth response to edaphic features between the San Saba River and a tributary (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.