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Andersen, Douglas C

Patterns of nitrogen (N) accumulation and turnover in riparian systems in semi-arid regions are poorly understood, particularly in those ecosystems that lack substantial inputs from nitrogen fixing vegetation. We investigated sources and fluxes of N in chronosequences of riparian forests along the regulated Green River and the free-flowing Yampa River in semi-arid northwestern Colorado. Both rivers lack significant inputs from N-fixing vegetation. Total soil nitrogen increased through time along both rivers, at a rate of about 7.8 g N m(-2) year(-1) for years 10-70, and 2.7 g N m(-2)year(-1) from years 70-170. We found that the concentration of N in freshly deposited sediments could account for most of the soil...
We compared beaver (Castor canadensis) foraging patterns on Fremont cottonwood (Populus deltoides subsp. wislizenii) saplings and the probability of saplings being cut on a 10 km reach of the flow-regulated Green River and a 8.6 km reach of the free-flowing Yampa River in northwestern Colorado. We measured the abundance and density of cottonwood on each reach and followed the fates of individually marked saplings in three patches of cottonwood on the Yampa River and two patches on the Green River. Two natural floods on the Yampa River and one controlled flood on the Green River between May 1998 and November 1999 allowed us to assess the effect of flooding on beaver herbivory. Independent of beaver herbivory, flow...
We monitored movements of small mammals resident on floodplains susceptible to spring floods to assess whether and how these animals respond to habitat inundation. The 2 floodplains were associated with 6th order river segments in a semiarid landscape; each was predictably inundated each year as snowmelt progressed in headwater areas of the Rocky Mountains. Data from live trapping, radiotelemetry, and microtopographic surveys indicated that Peromyscus maniculatus, Microtus montanus, and Dipodomys ordii showed different responses to inundation, but all reflected a common tendency to remain in the original home range until "forced" to leave. The reluctance of Dipodomys ordii to abandon the home burrow often resulted...
Floodplain plant-herbivore-hydroperiod interactions have received little attention despite their potential as determinants of floodplain structure and functioning. We used five types of exclosures to differentially exclude small-, medium-, and large-sized mammals from accessing Fremont cottonwood (Populus deltoides Marshall subsp. wizlizenii (Watson) Eckenwalder) seedlings and saplings growing naturally on four landform types at an alluvial reach on each of two rivers, the Green and Yampa, in Colorado and Utah. The two study reaches differed primarily as a result of flow regulation on the Green River, which began in 1962. Landforms were a rarely flooded portion of the alluvial plain, geomorphically active slow-...
Patterns and processes involved in litter breakdown on desert river floodplains are not well understood. We used leafpacks containing Fremont cottonwood (Populus deltoides subsp. wislizenii) leaf litter to investigate the roles of weather and microclimate, flooding (immersion), and macroinvertebrates on litter organic matter (OM) and nitrogen (N) loss on a floodplain in a cool-temperate semi-arid environment (Yampa River, northwestern Colorado, USA). Total mass of N in fresh autumn litter fell by 20% over winter and spring, but in most cases there was no further N loss prior to termination of the study after 653 days exposure, including up to 20 days immersion during the spring flood pulse. Final OM mass was 10?40%...
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