Response of shortgrass Plains vegetation to chronic and seasonally administered gamma radiation

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In order to determine the effect of radiation on the structure of native shortgrass plains vegetation, an 8750 Ci 137Cs source was installed on the Central Plains Experimental Range near Nunn, Colorado; The experimental area was divided into 6 treatment sectors, a control, 2 sectors for chronic exposure (irradiation initiated April 1969 and continuing as of August 1971), and one each for spring, summer and late fall seasonal semi-acute (30 day), exposures which were administered during April, July and December, 1969, respectively. Community structure was measured by coefficient of community and diversity index. Yield was determined by clipping plots in ... continued below

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Pages: 219

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Fraley, L. Jr. August 1, 1971.

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Description

In order to determine the effect of radiation on the structure of native shortgrass plains vegetation, an 8750 Ci 137Cs source was installed on the Central Plains Experimental Range near Nunn, Colorado; The experimental area was divided into 6 treatment sectors, a control, 2 sectors for chronic exposure (irradiation initiated April 1969 and continuing as of August 1971), and one each for spring, summer and late fall seasonal semi-acute (30 day), exposures which were administered during April, July and December, 1969, respectively. Community structure was measured by coefficient of community and diversity index. Yield was determined by clipping plots in September 1970 and visual estimates in September 1969 and 1970 for the grass-sedge component of the vegetation. Individual species sensitivity was determined by density data recorded in April, June and September of 1969 and 1970 and by a phenological index recorded at weekly intervals during the 1969 and 1970 growing seasons. The response of the vegetation was similar whether determined by coefficient of community or diversity with diversity being a more sensitive measure of effects. In the chronically exposed sectors, the exposure rate which resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in these 2 parameters (CC50 or D50) was still decreasing the second growing season and was approximately 18 R/hr for the CC50 as of June 1970 and 10 R/hr for the D50 as of September 1970. For the seasonally exposed sectors, the late fall period (December, 1969) was the most sensitive, summer (July, 1969) the least sensitive and spring (April, 1969) intermediate with CC50 and D50 values of 195 and 90, 240 and 222, and 120 and 74 R/hr for the spring, summer and late fall exposed sectors, respectively. Yield and density data indicated a rapid revegetation of the spring and summer exposed sectors during 1970 as a result of an influx of invader species such as Salsola kali tenuifolia, Chenopodium leptophyllum and Lepidium densiflorum and the reappearance of perennials with underground perennating organs such as Lygodesmia juncea, Gaura coccinea and Oenothera coronopifolia. The most sensitive indicator of radiation damage was the phenological index with a chronic exposure rate of 1 R/hr delaying the development of Tradescantia occidentalis and Opuntia polyacantha. The shortgrass plains vegetation appears to be one of the most resistant community types studied to date with semi-acute exposures of 45 to 75 kR necessary to decrease diversity to 50 per cent of the control value.

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Pages: 219

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See also University Microfilms Order No. 72-16,110

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  • Other Information: DA (Comprehensive Dissertation Index); Thesis.

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  • Report No.: COO--1156-45
  • Grant Number: AT(11-1)-1156
  • DOI: 10.2172/4921450 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 4921450
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1059592

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • August 1, 1971

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Jan. 22, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

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  • Jan. 30, 2018, 12:37 p.m.

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Fraley, L. Jr. Response of shortgrass Plains vegetation to chronic and seasonally administered gamma radiation, thesis or dissertation, August 1, 1971; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1059592/: accessed January 15, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.