MODELING WITH PLANT RESPONSE GUILDS AND EXPLORING RIPARIAN COMMUNITY LINKAGES ON A REGULATED RIVER IN THE SOUTHWEST U.S.
We seek a highly motivated post-doctoral scientists to lead research on the effects of Glen Canyon Dam operations, and other drivers of environmental change on riparian and terrestrial vegetation along the Colorado River downstream of the dam using plant response guilds. The successful candidate will have experience in plant ecology, familiarity with developing and applying statistical models, some exposure to riparian systems, as well as proven record of publications in peer reviewed journals.
Background: Riparian vegetation affects physical processes and biological interactions along river and stream channels. The presence and expansion of riparian vegetation promotes bank stability, diminishes the magnitude of scour and fill during floods, and the types of vegetation present affect wildlife habitat quality in both the terrestrial and aquatic realms. In Grand Canyon, the effect of riparian plants on the physical template of the Colorado River corridor is beginning to receive more attention because of the interaction between vegetation and sediment has implications for campsite availability and accessibility, wildlife habitat, and aquatic shoreline habitats. With the increasing recognition of the role that both of vegetation and river regulation have on fluvial geomorphology, studies that evaluate the addictive effects of both change agents on shoreline and channel geomorphic landforms are increasingly relevant to resource managers interested in preserving or reestablishing biotic linkages and channel dynamics.
Project Description: This project utilizes annual monitoring data and historic data to explore the utility of plant response guilds to probabilistically evaluate and assess wildlife habitat, and to use the guilds and a 22-year topographic survey record for retrospective analyses of riparian vegetation change on selected sandbars. We seek a post-doctoral scientists to use identified plant-response guilds (sensu Merritt et al., 2010, Freshwater Biology, 55: 206-225) to develop vegetation response modes to flow released from Geln Canyon Dam that may inform the retrospective analysis and future restoration efforts. The researcher identifies and estimates vegetation response but alo works with riparian and aquatic ecologist and geomorphologist to identify linkages between vegetation and aquatic terrestrial communities and explores feedback resposnes between vegetation change and sediment and geomorphic change