Systems Ecology Lab, University of Texas El Paso
Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive: Barrow IBP Tundra Biome Vegetation Plots (Webber 1978; Villerreal et al. 2012)
The Barrow vegetation plots were originally described and mapped by Dr. Patrick J. Webber in 1972 as part of the International Biological Program (IBP). The U. S. Tundra Biome Program focused on long-term studies to understand tundra adaptations as they relate to the distribution of vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens to environmental factors in the light of future oil development on the coastal plain. These sites were resampled by Webber, Craig Tweedie, Robert Hollister, Sandra Villarreal and others in 1999, 2008, and 2010, and assessed for community change by Villarreal as part of the 'IPY Back to the Future: Resampling old research sites to assess changes in high latitude terrestrial ecosystem structure and function project' (NSF Award No. 0732885). The tundra at Barrow is coastal tundra located in the most northern region of North Slope. It is characterized by various microtopographic features such as polygons, as well as many ponds and lakes.
Each vegetation site consists of a 1 x 10m belt with a 1m x 10cm strip along the inside. Each site is divided into 10 sub-plots in which species percent cover is visually estimated in the 1m x 10cm strip and species presence in the 1m x 90cm sub-plot. The vegetation plot data chosen for inclusion in the Alaska-AVA are summaries of the ten 1 x 1m sub-plots.
Forty-three sites, or plots, were originally established in 1972 and were used to characterize 10 plant communities for the IBP project including: 1) Arctophila creek margin (1 plot), 2) Arctophila fulva pond margin (2 plots), 3) Arctophila pond margin (1 plot), 4) Cochlearia officinalis pioneer meadow and creek bed (2 plots) 5) Dry Luzula confusa heath (1 plot), 6) Dry Salix rotundifolia heath (6 plots), 7) Mesic Carex aquatilis-Poa arctica meadow (12 plots), 8) Moist Carex aquatilis-Oncophorus wahlenbergii meadow (4 plots), 9) Wet Carex aquatilis-Eriophorum russeolum meadow (8 plots), 10) Wet Dupontia fisheri-Eriophorum angustifolium meadow (6 plots). An updated classification and change analysis is provided in Villarreal et al. (2012) for individual sub-plots.
Original data from 1972 were classified and community descriptions were published as a report (Webber & Ebert 1973) and as a component of two IBP books (Brown et al. 1980, Webber 1978, Webber et al. 1980). These data and their corresponding resampling data from 1999, 2008, and 2010 for the 33 relocated sites (330 sub-plots) were assessed for change and published as part of a PhD dissertation (Villarreal 2013), site-specific papers (Lara et al. 2012, Villarreal et al. 2012) and as part of a synthesis of the larger IPY Back to the Future project (Callaghan et al. 2011). Webber also provided insight on the quality of these and other datasets collected using his plant community sampling method at the Alaska AVA Boulder Workshop (Webber 2014).
Brown, J., K.R. Everett, P.J. Webber, S.F. MacLean, Jr., and D.F. Murray. 1980. The coastal tundra at Barrow. Pages 1-29 in Brown, J. et al., editors. An Arctic ecosystem: the coastal tundra at Barrow, Alaska. Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Callaghan. T. V., C. E. Tweedie, J. Ackerman, C. Andrews, J. Bergstedt, et al. 2012. Multi-Decadal Changes in Tundra Environments and Ecosystems: The International Polar Year-Back to the Future Project (IPY-BTF). Ambio 40:705-716.
Lara M. J, S. Villarreal, D. R. Johnson, R. D. Hollister, P. J. Webber and C. E. Tweedie. 2012. Estimated change in tundra ecosystem function near Barrow, Alaska between 1972 and 2010. Environmental Research Letters 7:015507
Miller, P. C., P. J. Webber, W. C. Oechel, and L. L. Tieszen. 1980. Biophysical processes and primary production in tundra. Pages 186-218 in Brown, J. et al., editors. An Arctic ecosystem: the coastal tundra at Barrow, Alaska. Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Tweedie, C. E. 2013. IPY Back to the Future (BTF): Re-sampling old research sites to assess change in high latitude terrestrial ecosystem structure and function. NSF Arctic Data Center. doi:10.5065/D6XS5SD1.
Villarreal, S., R. D. Hollister, D. R. Johnson, M. J. Lara, P. J. Webber, and C. E. Tweedie. 2012. Tundra vegetation change near Barrow, Alaska (1972–2010). Environmental Research Letters 7: 015508.
Villarreal, S. 2013. International Polar Year (IPY) Back to the Future (BTF): Changes in arctic ecosystem structure over decadal time scales. PhD thesis, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas, USA.
Webber, P. J. 2014. The nature and appropriateness, to the Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA), of data sets gathered using the Webber plant community sampling method. In Walker, D.nA. (Ed). Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive Workshop, Boulder, Colorado, October 14-16, 2013. CAFF Proceedings Report #11. Akureyri, Iceland. ISBN: 978-9935-431-29-5.
Webber, P. J. and D. C. Ebert. 1973. Ordination and production of tundra vegetation from Niwot Ridge, Colorado, and Point Barrow, Alaska. U.S. International Biological Program, Washington DC Tundra Biome Data Report 73-22.
Webber, P. J. 1978. Spatial and temporal variation of the vegetation and its production, Barrow, Alaska. Pages 37-112 in L. L. Tieszen, editor. Vegetation and Production Ecology of an Alaskan Arctic Tundra. Springer-Verlag, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Webber, P. J., P. C. Miller, F. S. Chapin III, and B. H. McCown. 1980. The Vegetation Pattern and Succession. Pages 186-218 in Brown, J. et al., editors. An Arctic ecosystem: the coastal tundra at Barrow, Alaska. Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Data and Resources
Start Date: 1972/08/01
End Date: 2010/08/01
Data Types: Image, Database, Map, Report
Work: (915) 747 8448