Date of Graduation

5-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor

Steven L. Stephenson

Committee Member

Johnnie L. Gentry

Second Committee Member

Jason A. Tullis

Keywords

diversity, glades, Ozarks of Arkansas, vascular plant taxa

Abstract

Glades are one of the many habitats that exist in the Arkansas Ozarks and contribute to the overall biodiversity of the state of Arkansas. For this study, five dolomite glades and five limestone glades in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas were studied from March to October in the years 2017 and 2018 to determine the similarities or differences that might be present. One hundred and fifteen vascular plant taxa were documented in the dolomite glades and one hundred and three vascular plant taxa were documented in the limestone glades. Forty-six vascular plant taxa were unique to the dolomite glades and thirty-four vascular plant taxa were unique to the limestone glades. The species richness and total abundance of the dolomite glades were slightly higher than the limestone glades. Shannon’s diversity index and Simpson’s diversity index for the dolomite and limestone glades were not significantly different. Factors that might account for the observed differences include washout after heavy rains, tree fall, wild hog activity, and mechanical removal of eastern red-cedar. The dolomite and limestone glades had sixty-nine taxa in common with the most abundant species being little bluestem in both glade types. Little bluestem occurred in all five dolomite and all five limestone glades. Drones were used to obtain 3D dense point cloud and orthomosaic images of glades to emphasize differences in topography of limestone and dolomite glades. As a result of the diversity indices being similar, the sixty-nine taxa in common, and the minor differences in species richness and total abundance for the dolomite and limestone glades, the two types of glades could potentially be managed using similar practices, such as prescribed fire and mechanical removal of eastern red-cedar, without having detrimental effects on vascular plant diversity.

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