Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master in Advanced Studies (MAS)


Biological Science

Number of Pages



Yucca brevifolia is distributed throughout a broad range of plant communities. Open substrate dominates the study areas, however a large majority of Y. brevifolia seedlings were found growing under the canopy of other woody shrubs. This pattern of recruitment did not vary by canyon or elevation. Thirty-five species of perennial shrubs were identified in the study areas and sixteen of these were found in association with at least one Y. brevifolia seedling. However, four shrubs were found in a nurse relationship with Y. brevifolia above the frequency predicted by either their canopy area or numerical dominance. The research indicates there is strong micro-habitat specificity for Yucca brevifolia recruitment under the canopy of nurse plants. These data also suggest that the local presence of specific perennial shrubs resulted in higher levels of recruitment causing a distinct pattern of community development, presumably through the amelioration of abiotic stresses.


Brevifolia; California; Desert; Facilitation; Mojave; Nevada; Recruitment; Shrubs; Yucca

Controlled Subject


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1249.28 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas


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