Distribution of junipers and sycamores
Ecology class, BIO 342, Biology Department, DePauw University
Fall semester 2014
The Quarry Bottom in the DePauw Nature Park was the site of an active limestone quarrying operation from 1917 to 1977. The Quarry Bottom has been undergoing primary succession since the quarry was abandoned in 1977. My goal was to characterize the distribution of trees in the Quarry Bottom in relation to piles of rocks left over from the quarrying operation.
I hypothesized that there would be a correlation between rock piles and distribution of trees in the Quarry Bottom.
I set up 25 m x 25 m plots in five areas (I through V) of the Quarry Bottom. Within each plot, I counted the number of trees by species and counted the number of rocks by size (large, medium, small).
Juniper trees were more abundant than sycamore and cottonwood trees in the Quarry Bottom. All three tree species were most common in the vicinity of medium/large rock piles and were less common in areas with no rocks.
Rock piles are having an effect on growth of trees in the Quarry Bottom. Formation of soil under rock piles may provide less stressful habitats for plants. Some plant species are more stress tolerant than others. Junipers are more stress tolerant than sycamores and cottonwoods.