Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2021


Drylands play a critical role in global carbon dynamics. Anthropogenic climate change is causing these hot and dry regions to become increasingly hotter, drier, and more variable. This is especially concerning as drylands are some of the most sensitive regions to changes in aridity. It is critical to understand how dryland plant species might react to a changing climate. In this dissertation, I explored the relative effects of plant community composition and dominant species abundance on determining ecosystem-wide carbon dynamics. I compared the population stability of 98 dryland plant species and related stability to phenological traits. Lastly, I related branch movements of a common desert shrub to a number of micrometeorological measurements. This dissertation contributes to scientific understanding of dryland plant species, how and when they contribute to carbon cycling, balance growth and reproductive investment, and leverage physiological traits to survive in dry and variable abiotic conditions.




phenology, primary productivity, long-term ecological research, phenocams, Sevilleta, semi-arid

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Scott Collins

Second Committee Member

Marcy Litvak

Third Committee Member

Christopher Lippitt

Fourth Committee Member

Andrew Richardson