Ian Farrar

Date of Award


Degree Name

Physical and Applied Science


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Ralph Oberly

Second Advisor

Dewey Sanderson

Third Advisor

James O. Brumfield

Fourth Advisor

Leonard Deutsch


In the Appalachian Mountains of Canaan Valley, the warmer temperatures and fading native species are conducive for invading foreign species. Localized relic communities of red spruce, sphagnum and polytrichum are sensitive to climatic change and potential indicators of global warming. Therefore, the development of a baseline assessment and further research are necessary to observe and model changes. Influencing factors in wetland ecology include slope, aspect, biologically rich and diverse vegetation associations, micro-topography, hydrology, underlying soils, and geology. Three uniquely independent study sites have been established along a single transect of the Yellow Creek stream terraces, in Tucker County, West Virginia. Vegetation physiognomic association, micro-topography, hydrology, and soils data were collected using a variety of technologies. A plane table polar coordinate paper, with K&E® alidade, and Sonin® sonic ranging device for vegetation physiognomic association mappings was originally employed. This was replaced by Magellan® ProMarkX-CP-GPS providing more efficient vegetation association delineation and registration to UTM mapping coordinates. A detailed micro-topographic survey was performed using Nikon® Theodolite Total Station to accurately determine the micro-topography. Collected field data were imported into ER Mapper®5.5 software, the geobiophysical modeling system, via an iterative registration process. Digitized 1995 color infrared one-meter resolution aerial imagery supplied by the United States Forest Service formed the base map for all registration. A combination of image processing techniques including principal component analysis and cluster analysis was applied to extract features for pattern recognition. The processed spectral, spatial, and multi-temporal components were geobiophysically modeled to characterize vegetation physiognomic associations and other identified features. The three-dimensional cartographic representations illustrate the subtle relationships between sphagnum, eriophorum and polytrichum physiognomic associations and surface hydrology.


Wetland ecology.

Wetlands – West Virginia—Tucker County.