Plant Line-Intercept Transects

This project was initiated to evaluate temporal and spatial dynamics across vegetation transition zones.  Current research includes an investigation into how the extent of Bouteloua eriopoda (black grama) and B. gracilis (blue grama) cover changes over time in relation to meterological conditions.  Likewise, the dynamics of the forb community in relation to shifting climatic conditions is being explored. 

In 1989, several line-intercept transects were installed, some of which have since been discontinued.  Currently, a 400m transect is sampled at a grassland site (Deep Well) dominated by B. eriopoda (black grama) and, near the southern end of the transect, B. gracilis (blue grama).  A second grassland site (Five Points), dominated by B. eriopoda and, to the south, Larrea tridentata (creosote), is also sampled.  Transects are sampled at a one-centimeter resolution in May/June and September/October.  The biannual sampling protocol detects potential responses in both cool and warm season plants as well as monsoon and non-monsoon dynamics.