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Tumamoc Hill ecological reservation

Tumamoc Hill, an 860-acre ecological reservation in the midst of Tucson, Ariz.

Tumamoc Hill, an 860-acre ecological reservation in the midst of Tucson, Ariz., as seen from the northwest.

Tumamoc Hill is managed by the University of Arizona (UA) College of Science and Pima County. Researchers at UA digitized 106 years of growth data on individual plants on Tumamoc Hill. Some of the plots date from 1906--and the birth, growth and death of the individual plants on those plots have been periodically recorded ever since. Knowing how plants respond to changing conditions over many decades provides new insight into how ecosystems behave.

By digitizing this information, it will now be available for study by people all over the world. The century-long, searchable archive is unique and invaluable, says Larry Venable, a UA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who has been studying plants on Tumamoc since 1982. "You can see the ebb and flow of climate, and you can see the ebb and flow of vegetation," he said.

The foreground of this picture includes part of Venable's long-term study plots for the population and community ecology of desert winter annuals. These plots are different from the 106 year-old ones.

This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (grants DEB 04-53781, DEB 02-12782, DEB 07-17380, DEB 08-17121, DEB 08-44780 and DEB 12-56792).

To learn more, see the UA news story Worlds Longest-Running Plant Monitoring Program Now Digitized. (Date of Image: 2006)

Credit: Venable Lab, University of Arizona Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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