phenology

Pollinator Monitoring Study in the Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands and Creosote Shrubland at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2000-present)

Abstract: 

This study is designed to look at community or population level fluctuations in bees over the
season and on a long term basis, over years. Funnel traps are a very low maintenance method of
trapping pollinators with zero human bias. The bias of the traps is that the color determines the
species and sexes that it attracts. Therefore the traps provide relative abundance that can be
compared over the season or year, but individual species cannot be compared within a season. This
study is designed to be compared with the data from SEV137 Phenology, to look at spatial and
temporal patterns within pollinator and flowering plant communities. Data is not available at this
time, but the species list is.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

135

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Activating and collecting the traps

When the traps are activated, the worker need only a screwdriver to open the cans and a gallon of propylene glycol to fill the traps. After major rain events, the watered down glycol is collected for disposal and the trap is refilled with undiluted glycol.

To collect the specimens, the worker carries 10 small kitchen strainers, a pint size plastic cup and a hammer. The specimens are strained and the old antifreeze is placed back in the paint can. The funnel is left inside the cage with the closed paint can for the inactive period.

Back at the truck, the specimens are transferred into labelled vials with 70% ethyl alcohol and stored until they can be processed.

Lab Processing

In the lab, the specimens are rinsed of any left over glycol and pinned and labelled according to museum standards. All of 2001 specimens were pinned. In 2002, some of the more common species or species groups were not pinned, but were stored in alcohol with the non-target specimens.

Identifications

Identifications are done by Karen Wetherill (Sevilleta LTER) and Terry Griswold (USDA Bee Laboratory, Logan, Utah). Twenty specimens of each  species or morphotype are deposited in the Museum of Southwestern Biology (MSB) and 20 are deposited in the arthropod collection of the  Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Station which is a permanent loan from the MSB. Some specimens were retained by the USDA Bee Laboratory in Logan, Utah. Host codes are Kartez Plant codes as listed on the USDA Plants Database.

Sampling design

One blue trap and one yellow trap were installed 10m north or 10m south of each phenology transect. The north or south location of each color of trap was decided by flipping a coin. The phenology transects are the north/south lines of each rodent trapping web and are 200m long. There are five rodent trapping webs at each of the three sites, totalling 30 traps, 15 of each color. One sample equals the sum of one yellow trap and one blue trap.

The traps consist of a 2 foot high chicken wire cage with a platform 1 1/2 feet off the ground. The cage prevents wildlife from disturbing  the traps. The trap itself rests on the platform and is made up of a one quart paint can with about an inch of propylene glycol and a yellow or blue automotive funnel with a heavy section of pipe glued around the spout to prevent the wind from blowing the funnel. The funnels have been sprayed with blue and yellow Krylon brand flourescent spray paint. The lid of the paint can is left in the cage to close the can when the trap is inactive.

The traps are activated in March every year and are left open for 14 days at which point the specimens are collected and the traps are closed for another 14 days. This cycle repeats itself through the month of October.

Maintenance: 

This file was created on Jan. 14, 2003 by Kristin Vanderbilt.

This study began in February of 2001. The first year is to be considered a pilot study as the methods changed for 2002. In the first year, pan traps were used. These were replaced by funnel traps for the year 2002.

This file was updated by Karen Wetherill on March 10, 2004 and again on December 7, 2005 and again on July 9, 2008.

Quality Assurance: 

All identifications were verified at the USDA Bee Laboratories in Logan, Utah with the help of Dr. Terry Griswold.

Additional information: 

Information on data collection

In 2001, the samples were collected once a month, during the same time as the phenology data. Yellow pan traps were put out for 48 hours (or shorter due to evaporation). In 2002, after the traps were replaced with funnel traps which use antifreeze rather than water, the traps were left open for two weeks and then closed for two weeks from February through October.

In August 2002, the traps were accidentally closed one week early and then reset for an additional week (August 30th to September 6th) so these samples will be more like the September samples than they are like the July samples.

In 2004 the February collection was not taken.

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area 1

Study Area Name: Blue Grama Core Site

Study Area Location: The Blue Grama Core Site is one of 5 current core SEVLTER study sites. Core studies include meteorology, rodent abundance, pollinator diversity, monthly phenology, and NPP. Additional studies have examined the Bootleg Canyon fire of 1998 and grass patch dynamics.

Elevation: 1670 m

Vegetation: Vegetation is characterized as Plains-Mesa Grassland, dominated by blue and black gramma (Bouteloua gracilis & B. eriopoda) and galleta grass (Hilaria jamesii)

North Coordinate:34.3348
South Coordinate:34.3348
East Coordinate:106.631
West Coordinate:106.631

Study Area 2

Study Area Name: Five Points Creosote Core Site

Study Area Location: Five Points is the general area which emcompasses the Black Grama Grassland (known as Five Points Grassland) and Creosote Core (Five Points Larrea) study sites and the transition between Chihuahuan Desert Scrub and Desert Grassland habitats. Both core sites are subject to intensive research activities, including measurements of NPP, phenology, pollinator diversity, and ground dwelling arthropod and rodent populations. There are drought rain-out shelters in both the Grassland and Creosote sites, as well as another set in the mixed ecotone with co-located ET Towers. The grassland Small Mammal Exclosure Study is located here, as well as many plots related to patch mapping and biotic transitions.

Elevation: 1615 m

Vegetation: The Creosote Core site is characterized as Chihuahuan Desert Scrub, dominated by a creosotebush overstory, with broom snakeweed, purple pricklypear (O. macrocentra) and soapweed yucca as notable shrubs. The site is also characterized by numerous, dense grass dominated patches, reflecting proximity to the Black Grama Core site and the presumably recent appearance of creosotebush. Dominant grasses were black grama, fluffgrass (Dasyochloa pulchellum), burrograss (Scleropogon brevifolia), bushmuhly (M. porteri), and galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii). Notable forb species included field bahia (Bahia absinthifolia), baby aster (Chaetopappa ericoides), plains hiddenflower, Indian rushpea (Hoffmannseggia glauca), Fendler’s bladderpod (Lesquerella fendleri), and globemallow.

North Coordinate:34.3331
South Coordinate:34.3331
East Coordinate:106.736
West Coordinate:106.736

Study Area 3

Study Area Name: Five Points Grass Core Site

Study Area Location: Five Points is the general area which emcompasses the Black Grama Grassland (known as Five Points Grassland) and Creosote Core (Five Points Larrea) study sites and the transition between Chihuahuan Desert Scrub and Desert Grassland habitats. Both core sites are subject to intensive research activities, including measurements of NPP, phenology, pollinator diversity, and ground dwelling arthropod and rodent populations. There are drought rain-out shelters in both the Grassland and Creosote sites, as well as another set in the mixed ecotone with co-located ET Towers. The grassland Small Mammal Exclosure Study is located here, as well as many plots related to patch mapping and biotic transitions.

Elevation: 1616 m

Vegetation: Desert Grassland habitat is ecotonal in nature and the Black Grama Core site is no exception, bordering Chihuahuan Desert Scrub at its southern boundary and Plains-Mesa Grassland at its northern, more mesic boundary. There is also a significant presence of shrubs, dominantly broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), along with less abundant fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), Mormon tea (Ephedra torreyana), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata), tree cholla (Opuntia imbricata), club cholla (O. clavata), desert pricklypear (O. phaeacantha), soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca), and what are presumed to be encroaching, yet sparsely distributed, creosotebush (Larrea tridentata). Characteristically, the dominant grass was black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda). Spike,  sand, and mesa dropseed grasses (Sporobolus contractus, S. cryptandrus, S. flexuosus) and sand muhly (Muhlenbergia arenicola) could be considered co-dominant throughout, along with blue grama  (B. gracilis) in a more mesic, shallow swale on the site. Notable forb species included trailing four o’clock (Allionia incarnata), horn loco milkvetch (Astragalus missouriensis), sawtooth spurge  (Chamaesyce serrula), plains hiddenflower (Cryptantha crassisepala), blunt tansymustard (Descarania obtusa), wooly plaintain (Plantago patagonica), globemallow (Sphaeralcea wrightii), and mouse ear (Tidestromia lanuginosa).

North Coordinate:34.3381
South Coordinate:34.3381
East Coordinate:106.717
West Coordinate:106.717

Ground-Truthing Satellite Imagery with Phenological Observations: Visual Observations from Grasslands at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2007-2008)

Abstract: 

Phenology is the study of recurring natural phenomena. The seasonal "greening-up" and "greening-down" of dominant vegetation can be used as a predictor for a variety of processes and variables at local to global scales. The use of satellites to monitor land surface phenology is important for understanding local and regional ecosystem variability, identifying change over time, and potentially predicting ecosystem response to short and long-term changes in climate. However, the relationship between how phenology is expressed on the ground and how it is interpreted from satellites is poorly understood because phenological stages do not always correspond well to changes in spectral reflectance. In this study, we explored the relationship between greenness as measured by digital camera, the human eye, and ASTER imagery in two perennial grasslands at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

214

Additional Project roles: 

176
177

Keywords: 

Data sources: 

sev214_remotesensing_06252009

Methods: 

Visual observations: While facing south, a "niner" (i.e., a 30 cm x 30 cm frame partioned into nine squares, each equal to an area of 1% of 1m2) was placed with one corner at a pinflag to the north and the other at a pinflag to the south. Four substrates were measured: bare Soil (S), brown vegetation (B), green vegetation (G), and green forbs (F).

The total cover of substrates at a sampling location equalled 9% (i.e., the entire niner). If the substrate had < 0.25% cover, T (i.e., trace) was recorded. If the cover of a substrate was > 0.25% it was rounded up to 1. If a substrate did not exist at a location, a zero was recorded

Time of day: The date/time stamp on a digital camera was used so that date/time was recorded on each photo.

Plot layout: Two sites were chosen to represent semi-arid grasslands. Site B was dominated by blue grama and site G by black grama. At each site six plots were established. Each plot was comprised of twelve quadrats that measured 50 X 50 cm for digital photographs and 30 X 30 cm for visual observations in a 3 X 4 grid.

Digital images: A 50 X 50 cm pvc frame was used to delineate area. Laminated markers placed next to the frame denoted the plot and quadrat number. A camera was held directly over a quadrat to get the entire PVC frame in the picture. Every effort was made to minimize shadow.

Maintenance: 

All data was checked for errors. Both years were combined and put online. 6/25/09, KRW.

Additional information: 

Data Collection Period:

5/3/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/31/2007, 8/17/2007, 9/4/2007, 9/18/2007, 10/4/2007, 4/14/2008, 5/30/2008, 8/4/2008, 8/19/2008, 9/5/2008, 9/22/2008, and 10/6/2008.

Ocotillo Plant Dimensions in the Chihuahuan Desert at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (1991)

Abstract: 

This study looks at Ocotillo (Fouqieria splendens) at the northern extent of its range in New Mexico. Gross morphological and phenological measurements are made in the field and leaves are collected for isozyme work. Questions that this study may address are: Do individuals at range edges show reduced genetic diversity relative to individuals in the heart of the range? Do population age structures(Can we age them?) differ at edges. Can we, in time, determine stasis or movement of populations? Are demographics germane to the study questions? What other methods, in addition to isozyme work will we use to get at the relative genetics of these populations?

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

54

Additional Project roles: 

165
166
167
168

Keywords: 

Data sources: 

sev054_ocotillodimensions_09082011.txt

Methods: 

Five hundred ocotillo individuals were tagged and measured in the ways described below. The plants follow the south-facing slopes of a ridgeline near the southern boundry of the Sevilleta. The plants were marked starting at the easternmost population and numbered consecutively as one moves west along the ridge.

DESCRIPTION OF EACH MEASUREMENT

1] PLANT# - this is the number on the tag attached to the plant.

2] POP# - Represents the population number which is simply which group of plants encountered. Each population is separated by an area along the ridge that does not have ocotillo growing on it.

3] PHENOLOGY - Phenology is measured by circling one of the following codes for each plant. If the code was circled on the data sheet it is given a value of "y" in the data base, if not circled, the value is "n" in the data base.

  • St = Stems only (i.e. plant is alive but no leaves or reproductive structures are present)
  • B = Flower Buds - Flower buds are present.
  • Fl = Flowers - Flowers are present.
  • Fr = Fruit - Fruit is present. Fruit is considered   to be present when the ovary has expanded and the perianth has senesced.
  • L = Leaves - Leaves are present.
  • D = Senescence/Plant is dying(Plant has dead stems attached.)

4] #/STEM - this measurement is the number of stems Son the plant at the highest order of branching, i.e. if a stem branches near the base and each of those two stems branch once then a person counts four stems, the first branching does not matter in the count.

5] #/FLOWERING STEMS - simply the number of stems with reproductive structures, counted as above.

6] HSTEM - this is the longest stem measured from the base to the apical tip of the stem.

7] NOTES - any comments or qualifiers that need to be made. Notes are put in curly brackets '{}' on the next line.

Maintenance: 

File initiated 11 Jun 1991. Data entered by 3 Nov 1992 by Rupal Shah Errors changed on 5 Nov 1992 by Rupal Shah More Errors corrected on 9 Nov 1992 by Rupal Shah 8 Feb 1993 - Added a date to documentation from data sheets recently found by Rupal Shah - Troy Maddux. 11/12/98 - Added final line of "END OF DATA" to dataset. K. Taugher - Aligned columns to right justification. K. Taugher doc

Additional information: 

Additional Information on the personnel associated with the Data Collection / Data Processing

 The data were collected by the 1991 plant crew: Troy Maddux (Head Plant Technician), Sam Loftin (Plant Research Assistant), Joran Viers, (Plant Technician), Kathleen McGee (Plant Technician).

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