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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Ecology has made significant strides in scaling up spatially, with the development of metapopulation and landscape approaches and new types of data and techniques of analysis (GIS, Landsat data, spatial statistics). There has also been some progress in scaling up temporally with recent developments of paleoecology, palynology, and tree ring research. However, the relative difficulty of obtaining temporal data as compared to spatial data, has slowed the rate of advance of temporal scaling. I have collected a 19-year data set on the population and community dynamics of a guild of Sonoran Desert annuals at the Desert Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. These data provide a valuable window on demographic variability in arid ecosystems that should be of interest to scientists studying climate-vegetation interactions, adaptations to variable environments and species coexistence in variable environments. I propose to spend my 12-month sabbatical at NCEAS to analyze this data and synthesize the results with respect to these three conceptual frameworks. While at NCEAS I intend to interact with other ecologists with long temporal data sets on population and community dynamics of desert organisms to explore the climate-population-community linkages in temporal dynamics. I also intend to interact with investigators interested in exploring the population dynamic functions shared by seed banks and other partially substitutable traits from an evolutionary ecological theoretical perspective and with investigators interest in temporal variance based species coexistence in desert annuals.

Principal Investigator(s)

D. Lawrence Venable

Project Dates

Start: August 1, 2001

End: July 31, 2002



Sandy Adondakis
State of New Mexico
Peter L. Chesson
University of California, Davis
D. Lawrence Venable
University of Arizona


  1. Journal Article / 2008

    Seed dispersal of desert annuals