Biodiversity Analysis of Vegetation on the Nevada Test Site Page: 4 of 20
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The description of the methods used in delineating ecological landform units (ELUs) and
gathering field data that was used in this analysis was reported previously in early proceedings of the
Shrub Research Consortium (Ostler and others 1999). Methods presented here describe how field data
were analyzed to obtain species diversity values and distribution patterns.
A total of 1,508 ELUs were sampled on the NTS. At each ELU, we obtained a list of total
species observed. From this we calculated a species richness value for each ELU. We gathered relative
abundance of woody species at each ELU along a 200-m transect. From that abundance data, we
calculated species abundance using the Berger-Parker indices for each ELU (Berger and Parker 1970).
Based on our vegetation classification, 10 vegetation alliances and 20 associations were
recognized as occurring on the NTS (Ostler and others 2000). Alliance and associations are described
based on the standardized national classification system described by Grossman and others (1998).
Species richness and species abundance were calculated for each association and alliance. Species
richness was determined by recording all unique species in each ELU. Species richness for associations,
alliances, and ecoregions was obtained by averaging of the species richness values for every ELU within
that association, alliance, or ecoregion. Species abundance was obtained by averaging the species
abundance values obtained for every ELU within that association, alliance, or ecoregion.
Two major ecoregions, Mojave Desert and Great Basin Desert, can be identified from the
vegetation classification of the NTS. Between these two deserts is a broad transition zone that often
includes a mixture of species from either major ecoregion. Beatley (1976) refers to this climatic zone as
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Ostler, W. K. & Hansen, D. J. Biodiversity Analysis of Vegetation on the Nevada Test Site, article, June 1, 2001; Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc739605/m1/4/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.