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Leaf ecophysiological traits related to carbon gain and resource use are expected to be under strong selection in desert annuals. We used comparative and phenotypic selection approaches to investigate the importance of leaf ecophysiological traits for Helianthus anomalus, a diploid annual sunflower species of hybrid origin that is endemic to active desert dunes. Comparisons were made within and among five genotypic classes: H. anomalus, its ancestral parent species (H. annuus and H. petiolaris), and two backcrossed populations of the parental species (designated BC2ann and BC2pet) representing putative ancestors of H. anomalus. Seedlings were transplanted into H. anomalus habitat at Little Sahara Dunes, Utah, and...
Detailed empirical models predicting both species occurrence and fitness across a landscape are necessary to understand processes related to population persistence. Failure to consider both occurrence and fitness may result in incorrect assessments of habitat importance leading to inappropriate management strategies. We took a two-stage approach to identifying critical nesting and brood-rearing habitat for the endangered Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Alberta at a landscape scale. First, we used logistic regression to develop spatial models predicting the relative probability of use (occurrence) for Sage-Grouse nests and broods. Secondly, we used Cox proportional hazards survival models to identify...
Nutrients, in addition to water, limit desert primary productivity, but nutrient limitations to fecundity and seed quality in desert ecosystems have received little attention. Reduced seed production and quality may affect recruitment, population, and community processes. At the Mono Basin, CA, USA where the alkaline, sandy soil has very low availability of N, P, and most other nutrients, seed production, recruitment, and dominance of the desert shrub Sarcobatus vermiculatus decrease over a dune successional sequence. Concurrently, Sarcobatus leaf N, P, and Ca/Mg ratio decline from early to later successional dunes. At two later successional dune sites, we fertilized adult Sarcobatus shrubs for 2 years and determined...