Award Date

December 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Life Sciences

First Committee Member

Scott Abella

Second Committee Member

Jacimaria Batista

Third Committee Member

Dale Devitt

Fourth Committee Member

Stanley Smith

Fifth Committee Member

Llo Stark

Number of Pages



All vegetation communities have been shaped by disturbances. This dissertation consists of three separate chapters: Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) natural regeneration in the Great Basin-Mojave Desert Transition Zone on two fires, Long-term Response to Fire in Eastern Mojave Desert semi-arid shrubland communities, and an Annotated Checklist of Gold Butte National Monument in the Mojave-Colorado Plateau Transition Zone. The section on blackbrush natural regeneration was a long-term dataset from two fires in Basin and Range National Monument that burned in 2008 with monitoring events in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018 and 2019. The monitoring documented some of the strongest post-fire regeneration for the paleoendemic Coleogyne. It established as seedlings the first year following fire and grew to dominate the burned area over the next decade, reaching 11% total cover. The fire chronosequence included permanent plots on 31 burned areas across the Eastern Mojave Desert that burned from 1980-2006 and were previously monitored from 2007—2009, and then remonitored in 2016. It documents long-term change in creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and Coleogyne shrubland communities. An Annotated Checklist of Gold Butte National Monument is a landscape scale description of the vegetation communities and diversity at one of the country’s newest national monuments. It verified 676 vouchered vascular plant taxa from 84 families that occurred within the monument’s boundaries, including Nevada state records for Cutler’s jointfir (Ephedra cutleri) and Utah knotweed (Polygonum utahense). These three chapters relate to the description of Mojave Desert plant communities and their successional responses following disturbance. The often slow response of desert plant communities and long-lived shrubs makes them difficult to monitor. The strength of the data come from study designs with substantial replication of disturbance events within the area and repeated long-term permanent plots which are able to describe vegetation change occurring over decades. This dissertation will expand on existing knowledge about long-term vegetation recovery and floristic composition in the Mojave Desert.


checklist; Coleogyne; fire; Gold Butte; Larrea; paleoendemic


Biology | Environmental Sciences | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology

File Format


File Size

6.0 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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