Nom du corpus

Corpus Systématique Végétale

Titre du document

Biotic regionalization and climatic controls in western North America

Lien vers le document
Springer (journals)
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Type de document
Mots-clés d'auteur
  • Biogeography
  • Climate dynamics
  • Community pattern
  • Evolution
  • Western North America
Nom du fichier dans la ressource
  • Ronald P. Neilson
  • Environmental Studies Laboratory, University of Utah Research Institute, 84108, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • Department of Geography, University of Utah, 84108, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

New methods of weather analysis accompanied by microhabitat ‘bioassays’ have been applied in several case studies to demonstrate effects of atmospheric processes on patterns of community composition and structure and potential species evolution. Average spatial and seasonal airmass dynamics which determine regional and elevational patterns of relative microhabitat favorability, were found to vary between a recent global warming trend (ca 1900 to 1940) and the subsequent global cooling trend (ca 1940 to 1970). These apparently systematic spatial and temporal shifts in weather were related to plant establishment patterns and community composition and structure. The proposed causal mechanisms function, in part, through regional shifts in microhabitat size. These effects are similar to larger scale, longer term shifts deduced from the late Quaternary fossil record. By modifying the spatial approach, month-to-month and year-to-year variability of weather has been examined for the last 130 years at individual points in southwestern North America. Three climatic regimes (the end of the Little Ice Age, the recent warming trend and the recent cooling trend) exhibited distinct year-to-year patterns of weather that can be related to the establishment of different kinds of plants (e.g., C4 grasses versus C3 shrubs). Oscillations between different temporal climatic regimes appear to promote the episodic establishment of different life forms, but not necessarily their local extinction. The two methods of weather analysis have been combined in a regional assessment of climatic controls of different biomes in space and time with a primary focus on the Chihuahuan desert. Natural ecotones between the Chihuahuan desert and neighboring biomes are clearly related to large scale airmass dynamics associated with seasonal oscillations in jetstream position. The weather patterns controlling ecotonal positions result from seasonal topographic influences on the general circulation of the atmosphere. The apparent stability of these patterns allows causal hypotheses of biogeographic dynamics and the evolution of physiological traits and life history characteristics.

Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
  • 4 - psychologie. psychophysiologie
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Plant Science
  • 1 - Physical Sciences ; 2 - Environmental Science ; 3 - Ecology
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