Sara Souther

Sara Souther
Northern Arizona University | NAU · School of Earth and Sustainability

PhD

About

31
Publications
6,008
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431
Citations
Citations since 2016
11 Research Items
340 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220204060

Publications

Publications (31)
Article
Full-text available
Disturbance is one of the fundamental shapers of ecological communities, redistributing resources and resetting successional pathways. Human activities including resources management can influence disturbance regimes and trajectories by actively imposing or suppressing disturbance events or shaping ecosystem recovery via disturbance response. Furth...
Article
Pectis imberbis is an endangered plant found in the Madrean Archipelago ecoregion of southern Arizona. Numerous, potentially interacting stressors, such as drought, shifting fire regimes, invasive species, and grazing by domesticated and wild ungulates, affect this species and region. We used Integral Projection Models (IPMs) to describe dynamics o...
Article
As climates change, species with locally adapted populations may be particularly vulnerable as specialization narrows the range of conditions under which populations can persist. Populations adapted to local climate as well as other site‐specific characteristics like soils present challenges for inferring how changing climates affect fitness, as cl...
Article
Full-text available
Federal land management agencies in the US are tasked with maintaining the ecological integrity of over 2 million km2 of land for myriad public uses. Citizen science, operating at the nexus of science, education, and outreach, offers unique benefits to address socio-ecological questions and problems, and thus may offer novel opportunities to suppor...
Article
Emory oak acorns are a critically important commodity for Western Apache Tribal Nations, both as a food source and also for cultural and ceremonial uses. The Apache people historically inhabited much of Emory oak's range, but these lands are now divided among many entities, with the majority of trees occurring off-reservation in public domains. Bas...
Article
Resilience quantifies the ability of a system to remain in or return to its current state following disturbance. Due to inconsistent terminology and usage of resilience frameworks, quantitative resilience studies are challenging, and resilience is often treated as an abstract concept rather than a measurable system characteristic. We used a novel,...
Article
Full-text available
As a multi-jurisdictional, non-fire-adapted region, the Sonoran Desert Ecoregion is a complex, social-ecological system faced increasingly with no-analogue conditions. A diversity of management objectives and activities form the socioecological landscape of fire management. Different managers have different objectives, resources, and constraints, a...
Article
Full-text available
Grasslands managed for grazing are the largest land‐use category globally, with a significant proportion of these grasslands occurring in semiarid and arid regions. In such dryland systems, the effect of grazing on native plant diversity has been equivocal, some studies suggesting that grazing reduces native plant diversity, others that grazing inc...
Article
Full-text available
Management of domesticated ungulates on grasslands has the potential to affect ecosystem function at landscape to global scales. In the southwestern United States, introduction of livestock in the 1800s corresponded with grassland degradation and dramatic shifts in vegetation, including the rapid spread of invasive plant species. In contemporary gr...
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Full-text available
Article
Plants are often genetically specialized as ecotypes attuned to local environmental conditions. When conditions change, the optimal environment may be physically displaced from the local population, unless dispersal or in situ evolution keep pace, resulting in a phenomenon called adaptational lag. Using a 30 year old reciprocal transplant study acr...
Article
Over the next century, the conservation of biodiversity will depend not only on our ability to understand the effect of climate change, but also on our capacity to predict how other factors interact with climate change to influence species viability. We used American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.), the United States' premier wild-harvested medici...
Article
Full-text available
Although shale drilling operations for oil and natural gas have increased greatly in the past decade, few studies directly quantify the impacts of shale development on plants and wildlife. We evaluate knowledge gaps related to shale development and prioritize research needs using a quantitative framework that includes spatial and temporal extent, m...
Article
Full-text available
Ecotypic differentiation reduces climatic niche breadth at the population level relative to a species’ spatial distribution. For species that form climatic ecotypes, if future climate exceeds local population tolerance, climate change will precipitate the decline of extant populations range-wide. Here, we examine the variation in physiological and...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation practitioners and scientists are often faced with seemingly intractable problems in which traditional approaches fail. While other sectors (e.g., business) frequently emphasize creative thinking to overcome complex challenges, creativity is rarely identified as an essential skill for conservationists. Yet more creative approaches are u...
Article
Full-text available
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is an uncommon perennial understory herb found in eastern deciduous forest. The species is harvested for the international medicinal plant trade. While previous research has inferred that seed dispersal is limited, the production of bright red, fleshy berries suggests long-distance dispersal may be facilitated...
Article
Full-text available
Over the next century, the conservation of biodiversity will depend not only on our ability to understand the effect of climate change, but also on our capacity to predict how other factors interact with climate change to influence species viability. We used American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.), the United States' premier wild-harvested medici...
Article
Full-text available
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) is an uncommon to rare understory plant of the eastern deciduous forest. Harvesting to supply the Asian traditional medicine market made ginseng North America's most harvested wild plant for two centuries, eventually prompting a listing on CITES Appendix II. The prominence of this representative understory...
Article
E. Kintisch recently reported on the evolution of the climate stabilization wedge concept (“Climate study highlights wedge issue,” News & Analysis, 11 January, p. [128][1]), first conceptualized by Pacala and Socolow in 2004 ([ 1 ][2]). At the close of the News story, Socolow acknowledges the
Article
Local climatic adaptation can influence species' response to climate change. If populations within a species are adapted to local climate, directional change away from mean climatic conditions may negatively affect fitness of populations throughout the species' range. Adaptive differentiation to temperature was tested for in American ginseng (Panax...
Article
Full-text available
Bioclimatic envelope models of species' responses to climate change are used to predict how species will respond to increasing temperatures. These models are frequently based on the assumption that the northern and southern boundaries of a species' range define its thermal niche. However, this assumption may be violated if populations are adapted t...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods In 1980-1982, we established a reciprocal transplant experiment with the tussock-forming sedge, Eriophorum vaginatum, at six sites; three locations north of the Brooks Range and three locations south of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. In 2010 we recensused the gardens to test the hypothesis that populations from s...
Article
Full-text available
Frost events in natural plant populations can have dramatic demographic consequences. For many plant species, spring emergence occurs when probability of damaging frost is low. Climate change, however, may alter weather patterns such that the environmental cues signaling spring emergence no longer coincide with periods of low frost risk, rendering...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Typically, frugivory is detected and quantified by examining the presence of seeds in animal feces, an approach that presents a biased, animal-centric picture. This may be valuable for diet studies, but is less useful for studies of seed dispersal, particularly for uncommon to rare plant species whose fruits may be consu...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Classic bioclimatic envelope approaches to projecting species response to climate change assume a range-wide relationship of fitness to climate. However, temperature optima may be population-specific if populations within a species are adapted to local climate. While local adaptation to climatic variables has been experi...
Article
Full-text available
Thirty natural populations of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) were censused twice annually for five to 11 years to monitor the rate, frequency, and intensity of root harvest. Over this period, 43% of populations were harvested and ca.10% of plants was removed by harvesters. On an annual basis, 15% of populations were harvested and 1.3% of...

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