Biology ETDs

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The modern pollen rain from each forest association on the east slope of the Sandia Mountains, new Mexico was sampled by the means of byrophytic pollsters. These modern pollen spectra were then compared to the diagrams of four fossil pollen profiles collected at 10,000, 8,000, 8,100, and 7,300 feet. It was found that the modern pollen rain of Picea and Abies is limited to the association in which these taxa are found and that down-slope, wind-borne drifting of Picea pollen is less than 400 feet. Since the only Picea found in the Sandia Mountains grow in the spruce-fir association, the presence of greater than 10% Picea pollen can be used as an indicator of spruce-fir for both modern and fossil sediments with pollen derived principally from air-borne origin. The pollen of Pinus is useless as an association indicator as it is wind-drifted over the entire mountain slope. Pseudotsuga and Juniperus pollen were found only in conjunction with local stands and are not representative of any association. All of the fossil pollen profiles contained a percentage trend that implies a depression of the spruce-fir association from its present lower limits of 10,000 feet to an elevation of at least 7,300 feet and probably lower during the last glacial-pluvial. In each profile, Picea pollen increased with depth indicating a cooler and wetter climate during this period. The pollen of Chenopodiaceae-Amaranthaceae has been increasing in recent times with the general climatic drying and warming that has been going on since the end of the last glacial-pluvial.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Loren David Potter

Second Committee Member

William Clarence Martin

Third Committee Member

Roger Yates Anderson

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Biology Commons