Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Jeffrey D. May

Second Advisor

Frank S. Gilliam

Third Advisor

Dan K. Evans


Disturbances play a key role in the structure of ecosystems. Most ecosystems are subject to several different disturbance regimes that occur at different temporal and spatial scales. Studying the effects of disturbances can lead to a better understanding of a vegetative community’s future productivity. However, in order to understand the effects of disturbance, a vegetative community should first be studied before the disturbance occurs. This study analyzes the composition and seasonal variations of vegetative communities in and around four ponds at the McClintic Wildlife Management Area in Mason County, West Virginia during two growing seasons prior to remediation activities in order to provide a comparison for the effects of the remediation occurring in that area. The objectives of the study were: (1) to characterize aquatic and terrestrial shrubs and herbs over the 1997 and 1998 growing seasons; (2) to observe the monthly patterns of richness, cover and density of the aquatic and terrestrial vegetation; and (3) to compare the vegetation in and around the four ponds where sampling occurred. Species richness, cover and density were used to determine seasonal variations among the species present at each pond. Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) was used to indicate variability among the sampling sites and the influence of certain species during the growing seasons. A wide range of variability occurred among the three vegetative strata and four ponds. In the aquatic stratum, Pond 4 had the most variation among the months and years, where Pond 3 seemed to have the least amount of variation. For the herbaceous stratum, all ponds had some degree of variability mostly occurring between the months in 1997, especially between June and the other two months. The shrub stratum showed mostly overlap between years, indicating a small amount of variability and separation between 1997 and 1998 with most of the variation occurring between months. In general, expected seasonal trends of productivity occurred with a few exceptions which could be attributed to unexpected seasonal trends in precipitation, resource availability and/or interspecific and intraspecific competition. As such, these factors should be considered in evaluating the composition of a community both before and after a disturbance.

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Plant Biology Commons