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Date Permissions Signed

4-12-2016

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Bunn, Andrew Godard

Second Advisor

Matthews, Robin A.

Third Advisor

Salzer, Matthew W.

Abstract

Tree-ring analysis can provide information about the surrounding environment of trees, as ring widths often reflect the variability of the factors that limit their growth. Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva D. K. Bailey) provides crucial tree-ring data to understand paleoclimate, but the growth signals can be difficult to interpret. The bristle- cone record could present a potentially confounding narrative because of its mixed growth signals; in many cases, not all trees at one site are limited by the same environmental variable. Trees that are sensitive to patterns in temperature tend to grow in the alpine upper treeline ecotone, and trees limited by moisture availability have the tendency to grow downslope. At four sites in the Great Basin region, USA, this study uses cluster analysis to find dual-signal patterns in tree growth, and uses topoclimate modeling to better understand bristlecone growth. I found two-cluster patterns at two of those sites; both of these sites included a cluster that correlated well with temperature data and one cluster that correlated with reconstructed drought data. Temperature-limited clusters contained trees growing in colder areas at higher elevations, and moisture-limited clusters contained trees at lower elevation in warmer areas. This study presents models to predict the primary limiting factor of an individual tree based on topoclimate variables in hopes of furthering understanding of mixed-signal growth patterns and improving the accuracy of climate reconstructions using bristlecone pine.

Type

Text

Publisher

Western Washington University

OCLC Number

949905386

Digital Format

application/pdf

Geographic Coverage

Southwest, New

Genre/Form

Academic theses

Language

English

Language Code

eng

Rights

Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

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