Alaska Geobotany Center
Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive: Prudhoe Bay Vegetation Plots (Walker 1985)
The vegetation of the Prudhoe Bay area was described and mapped by D. A. Walker for doctoral thesis at the University of Colorado, Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology (Walker 1981). The study was initiated in 1973 under the U.S. Tundra Biome portion of the International Biological Program (IBP) and is part of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) research activities conducted under DA Project 4A161102AT24. Results were also included in CRREL report 85-14 (D. Walker 1985). This study is important because it came 5 years after the discovery of the Prudhoe Bay Oilfield and includes baseline vegetation and environmental data of the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field.
Data from eighty-nine subjectively located study plots are presented. Plots occur in forty-three plant communities and 4 broad habitat categories including: 1) dry tundra (including gravelly pingos, high-centered polygons, frost scars, dry river sands and gravels, sand dunes, river bluffs, coastal beaches, and early melting snowbeds (24 plots), 2) moist tundra (including moist nonacidic tundra, acidic coastal tundra, snowbeds, moist stream banks, bird mounds and animal dens, and moist sandy tundra (33 plots), wet tundra (including wet nonacidic tundra, wet acidic tundra, and wet saline coastal tundra) (22 plots), aquatic tundra (including shallow and deep water habitats, and (10 plots). Plots were permanently marked in a corner of the first square meter of the 1 m by 10 m plots, and in a corner of the 1 square meter plots. Species and environmental data (including soil physical variables, subjective site assessments, and active layer depths) were collected in the field and soil samples were brought back to the lab for the chemical assessments. Approximate GPS coordinates were obtained for all but 2 plots by the author in 2013 utilizing aerial photographs of the study area in conjunction with Google Earth.
These data were subsequently used in several reports and publications listed below.
Raynolds, M. K., Walker, D. A., Ambrosius, K. J., Brown, J., Everett, K. R., Kanevskiy, M., Kofinas, G. P., Romanovsky, V. E., Shur, Y., and P. J. Webber. 2014. Cumulative geoecological effects of 62 years of infrastructure and climate change in ice-rich permafrost landscapes, Prudhoe Bay Oilfield, Alaska. Global Change Biology 20:1211-1224.
Walker, D. A., K. R. Everett, P. J. Webber, and J. Brown (Editors). 1980. Geobotanical Atlas of the Prudhoe Bay Region, Alaska. CRREL Report 80-14. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.
Walker, D. A. 1981. The vegetation and environmental gradients of the Prudhoe Bay region, Alaska. Dissertation. University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
Walker, D. A. 1985. The vegetation and environmental gradients of the Prudhoe Bay region. CRREL Report No. 85-14. U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.
Walker, D. A., and W. Acevedo. 1987. Vegetation and a Landsat-derived Land Cover Map of the Beechey Point Quadrangle, Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska. CRREL Report 87-5. U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA.
Walker, D. A., and K. R. Everett. 1991. Loess ecosystems of northern Alaska: regional gradient and toposequence at Prudhoe Bay. Ecological Monographs 61:437–464.
Webber, P. J., and D. A. Walker. 1975. Vegetation and landscape analysis at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska: a vegetation map of the Tundra Biome study area. Pages 81–91 in J. Brown, editor. Ecological Investigations of the Tundra Biome in the Prudhoe Bay Region, Alaska. Biological Papers of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.
Data and Resources
Start Date: 1974/06/01
End Date: 1975/08/31
Data Types: Image, Database, Map, Report