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ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Date Range
2011 2019


Throughout the Southwest, complex geology and physiography concomitant with climatic variability contribute to diverse stream hydrogeomorphologies. Many riparian plant species store their seeds in soil seed banks, and germinate in response to moisture pulses, but the climatic controls of this response are poorly understood. To better understand the ecological implications of a changing climate on riparian plant communities, I investigated seed bank responses to seasonal temperature patterns and to stream hydrogeomorphic type. I asked the following questions: Are there distinct suites of warm and cool temperature germinating species associated with Southwestern streams; how do they differ between riparian and terrestrial …

Contributors
Setaro, Danika, Stromberg, Juliet, Franklin, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2016

Climate and environmental forcing are widely accepted to be important drivers of evolutionary and ecological change in mammal communities over geologic time scales. This paradigm has been particularly influential in studies of the eastern African late Cenozoic fossil record, in which aridification, increasing seasonality, and C4 grassland expansion are seen as having shaped the major patterns of human and faunal evolution. Despite the ubiquity of studies linking climate and environmental forcing to evolutionary and ecological shifts in the mammalian fossil record, many central components of this paradigm remain untested or poorly developed. To fill this gap, this dissertation employs biogeographical …

Contributors
Rowan, John, Reed, Kaye E, Campisano, Christopher J, et al.
Created Date
2018

The recent emergence of global ‘megafires’ has made it imperative to better understand the role of humans in altering the size, distribution, and seasonality of fires. The dynamic relationship between humans and fire is not a recent phenomenon; rather, fire has deep roots in our biological and cultural evolution. Because of its long-term perspective, archaeology is uniquely positioned to investigate the social and ecological drivers behind anthropogenic fire. However, the field faces challenges in creating solution-oriented research for managing fire in the future. In this dissertation, I originate new methods and approaches to archaeological data that enable us to interpret …

Contributors
Snitker, Grant, Barton, Michael, Morehart, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2019

The Great Bustard (Otis tarda) is an iconic species of the temperate grasslands of Europe and Asia, a habitat that is among the least protected ecosystems in the world. A distinct subspecies, the Asian Great Bustard (O. t. dybowskii), is poorly understood due to its wary nature and remote range in Siberia, Mongolia, and northern China. This subspecies is now endangered by rapid development. Using satellite telemetry and remote sensing, I investigated three aspects of the Asian Great Bustard’s ecology critical to its conservation: migratory routes, migratory cues, and habitat use patterns. I found that Asian Great Bustards spent one-third …

Contributors
Kessler, Aimee Elizabeth, Smith, Andrew T, Brown, David, et al.
Created Date
2015

Often, when thinking of cities we envision designed landscapes, where people regulate everything from water to weeds, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem decoupled from biophysical processes. It is unclear, however, what happens when the people regulating these extensively managed landscapes come under stress, whether from unexpected economic fluctuations or from changing climate norms. The overarching question of my dissertation research was: How does urban vegetation change in response to human behavior? To answer this question, I conducted multiscale research in an arid urban ecosystem as well as in a virtual desert city. I used a combination of long-term data and …

Contributors
Ripplinger, Julie, Franklin, Janet, Collins, Scott L, et al.
Created Date
2015

An understanding of the formation of spatial heterogeneity is important because spatial heterogeneity leads to functional consequences at the ecosystem scale; however, such an understanding is still limited. Particularly, research simultaneously considering both external variables and internal feedbacks (self-organization) is rare, partly because these two drivers are addressed under different methodological frameworks. In this dissertation, I show the prevalence of internal feedbacks and their interaction with heterogeneity in the preexisting template to form spatial pattern. I use a variety of techniques to account for both the top-down template effect and bottom-up self-organization. Spatial patterns of nutrients in stream surface water …

Contributors
Dong, Xiaoli, Grimm, Nancy B, Muneepeerakul, Rachata, et al.
Created Date
2015

Climate and land use change are projected to threaten biodiversity over the coming century. However, the combined effects of these threats on biodiversity and the capacity of current conservation networks to protect species' habitat are not well understood. The goals of this study were to evaluate the effect of climate change and urban development on vegetation distribution in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem; to identify the primary source of uncertainty in suitable habitat predictions; and to evaluate how well conservation areas protect future habitat in the Southwest ecoregion of the California Floristic Province. I used a consensus-based modeling approach combining three different …

Contributors
Beltran Villarreal, Bray De Jesus, Franklin, Janet, Fenichel, Eli P, et al.
Created Date
2012

Two critical limitations for hyperspatial imagery are higher imagery variances and large data sizes. Although object-based analyses with a multi-scale framework for diverse object sizes are the solution, more data sources and large amounts of testing at high costs are required. In this study, I used tree density segmentation as the key element of a three-level hierarchical vegetation framework for reducing those costs, and a three-step procedure was used to evaluate its effects. A two-step procedure, which involved environmental stratifications and the random walker algorithm, was used for tree density segmentation. I determined whether variation in tone and texture could …

Contributors
Liau, Yan-Ting, Franklin, Janet, Turner, Billie, et al.
Created Date
2013

Functional traits research has improved our understanding of how plants respond to their environments, identifying key trade-offs among traits. These studies primarily rely on correlative methods to infer trade-offs and often overlook traits that are difficult to measure (e.g., root traits, tissue senescence rates), limiting their predictive ability under novel conditions. I aimed to address these limitations and develop a better understanding of the trait space occupied by trees by integrating data and process models, spanning leaves to whole-trees, via modern statistical and computational methods. My first research chapter (Chapter 2) simultaneously fits a photosynthesis model to measurements of fluorescence …

Contributors
Fell, Michael, Ogle, Kiona, Barber, Jarrett, et al.
Created Date
2017

Climate change has the potential to affect vegetation via changes in temperature and precipitation. In the semi-arid southwestern United States, heightened temperatures will likely lead to accelerated groundwater pumping to meet human needs, and altered storm patterns may lead to changes in flood regimes. All of these hydrologic changes have the potential to alter riparian vegetation. This research, consisting of two papers, examines relationships between hydrology and riparian vegetation along the Verde River in central Arizona, from applied and theoretical perspectives. One paper investigates how dominance of tree and shrub species and cover of certain functional groups change along hydrologic …

Contributors
Hazelton, Andrea Florence, Stromberg, Juliet C, Schmeeckle, Mark W, et al.
Created Date
2011