Thursday, October 10, 2013, 4:30PM - 5:30PM
RL-1 room 269
Gophers, trees and ungulates on the montane hillslopes of the Colorado Front Range: A linked geomorphic and ecologic system
Pocket gophers have been shown to be significant geomorphic agents in several settings. In this talk I will explore their roles in montane hillslopes of the Colorado Front Range. The efficiency of hillslope sediment transport and vertical mixing accomplished by gophers in this landscape is highly non-uniform, with greatest efficiency in meadows, and reflects a strong interaction between gophers, seedling establishment and ungulate trampling. The feedbacks in this system may govern not only the spatially averaged transport by gophers, but forest-meadow dynamics. The key is that gophers cannot be viewed in isolation from either their ecological or geomorphic settings. This talk will also touch on a budding numerical model of the geomorphic-ecological system in which we explore the feedbacks that result in meadow hotspots of activity.