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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

White, Justin [1], Mattina, Ciro J. [1], Egan, Ashley N. [1].

High-resolution digital terrain surfaces and topographic position indices illuminate insights into the ecological niche of the rare plant Pediomelum pariense (Fabaceae).

The Paria river breadroot, Pediomelum pariense (Fabaceae), is endemic to and known from only 13-14 populations in Kane and Garfield counties, Utah, USA. This plant has only been found living on the limestone soils of the Claron and Carmel formations in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and adjacent areas. Pediomelum pariense's rarity and narrow distribution create an increased extinction risk in the face of rising threats from habitat degradation, destruction, and climate change, yet not much is known concerning its ecological niche or why it is so narrowly distributed. Here, we take a unique approach to characterizing ecological niche by investigating various topographic position variables. Using geospatial analysis and geographic information systems, we transformed a 1-meter DEM into surficial indices that include: landform category, heat load index, topographic position, slope position, elevation, aspect, Beer's Aspect (weighted for optimal growing orientations), slope, water flow accumulation, topographic convergence , daily intensity of and total solar illumination across 2-hour intervals, and total annual solar radiation. Taken together, these indices help to characterize the influence of topography on sunlight and water availability, critical elements of ecological niche. This work presents a novel approach to niche characterization and highlights a number of unique features that may influence the endemic nature of this species.

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1 - Utah Valley University, Biology, 800 W University Parkway, MS 299, Orem, UT, 84058, United States

Pediomelum pariense
topographic position indices
Digital terrain surface
Ecological niche

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CB03, Conservation Biology 3
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 4:00 PM(EDT)
Number: CB03005
Abstract ID:1012
Candidate for Awards:None

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