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Pre-ABoVE: Arctic Vegetation Plots at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, 1973-1980

Documentation Revision Date: 2016-11-22

Data Set Version: V1

Summary

This data set provides environmental, soil, and vegetation data collected between 1973 and 1980 from 89 study plots in the Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska. Data includes the baseline plot information for vegetation, soils, and site factors for study plots subjectively located in 43 plant communities and 4 broad habitat types across the glaciated landscape. Specific attributes include: dominant vegetation, species, and cover; soil chemistry, physical characteristics, moisture, and organic matter. This product brings together for easy reference all the available information collected from the plots that has been used for classification, mapping, and analysis of geobotanical factors in the Prudhoe Bay region and across Alaska.

This data set includes three data files in *.csv format and three companion files in *.pdf format.

Figure 1. Collecting field notes at Plot 1403 in the Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska

Citation

Walker, D.A. 2016. Pre-ABoVE: Arctic Vegetation Plots at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, 1973-1980. ORNL DAAC, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA. http://dx.doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1360

Table of Contents

  1. Data Set Overview
  2. Data Characteristics
  3. Application and Derivation
  4. Quality Assessment
  5. Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods
  6. Data Access
  7. References

Data Set Overview

This data set provides environmental, soil, and vegetation data collected between 1973 and 1980 from 89 study plots in the Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska. Data includes the baseline plot information for vegetation, soils, and site factors for study plots subjectively located in 43 plant communities and 4 broad habitat types across the glaciated landscape. Specific attributes include: dominant vegetation, species, and cover; soil chemistry, physical characteristics, moisture, and organic matter. This product brings together for easy reference all the available information collected from the plots that has been used for classification, mapping, and analysis of geobotanical factors in the Prudhoe Bay region and across Alaska.

The Pre-ABoVE vegetation plot datasets were curated to create the Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK; Walker et al. 2016b, Walker 2013). The AVA-AK is a regional database that is part of the larger Arctic Vegetation Archive (Walker 2016a, Walker et al. 2013, Walker and Raynolds 2011). The database contains vegetation plots from homogeneous plant communities with tables of cover or cover-abundance scores for all species, and accompanying environmental site data. Field data were collected using Braun-Blanquet, US National Vegetation Classification protocols, or comparable methods.

Project: Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

The Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) is a NASA Terrestrial Ecology Program field campaign based in Alaska and western Canada between 2016 and 2021. Climate change in the Arctic and Boreal region is unfolding faster than anywhere else on Earth. ABoVE seeks a better understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of ecosystems and society to this changing environment.

Acknowledgements:

These data were obtained from the Alaska Arctic Geoecological Atlas (http://agc.portal.gina.alaska.edu), which provides access to existing Arctic vegetation plot and map data in support of the ABoVE campaign.

Data Characteristics

Spatial Coverage: Plots near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

ABoVE Grid Location: Ah1v0Bh2v2

Spatial Resolution: Point resolution

Temporal Coverage: 19730101 - 19801231

Temporal Resolution: Each plot was sampled once

Study Area (All latitude and longitude given in decimal degrees)

Site

Westernmost Longitude

Easternmost Longitude

Northernmost Latitude

Southernmost Latitude

Frost Boils, Alaska

-148.9532

-148.2892 70.3779 70.2520

Data File Information

The data set includes three data files in *.csv format: Prudhoe_Bay_Soil_Data, Prudhoe_Bay_Species_Data, and Prudhoe_Bay_Environmental_Data, and two companion files: Prudhoe_Bay_Plot_Photos.pdf and Prudhoe_Bay_dwalker1985_Report.pdf.

 

Table 1. Data and companion files

Data File Name Description
Prudhoe_Bay_Soil_Data.csv Soil characterization data for Prudhoe Bay research plots
Prudhoe_Bay_Environmental_Data.csv Comprehensive set of environmental characterization data for Prudhoe Bay research plots including the descriptive site factors.
Prudhoe_Bay_Species_Data.csv Species cover data for Prudhoe Bay research plots
   
Companion File Name Description
Prudhoe_Bay_Plot_Photos.pdf Plot photos
Prudhoe_Bay_dwalker1985_Report.pdf Summary report of all the data collected, methods of collection, maps/plots etc. for the 81 study plots at the Prudhoe Bay research site. Walker 1985
Prudhoe_Bay_Env_Legend.pdf List of coded and scalar variables and their descriptions (Prudhoe_Bay_Environmental_Data.csv)

 

Data Descriptions: The column names, their units, and descriptions for each of the *.csv data files are listed below.

Table 2. Prudhoe_Bay_Soil_Data.csv

Column Name Units Description
FIELD_PLOT_NUMBER   Field plot number
SOIL_MOISTURE_IN_1977 % Percentage of water content in the soil sample
BULK_DENSITY_IN_1977 g/cm3 Bulk density of the soil sample
SAND % Percentage of sand in the soil sample
SILT % Percentage of silt in the soil sample
CLAY % Percentage of clay in the soil sample
FIELD_CAPACITY_AT_1/3_BAR % Percentage of moisture content in the soil sample at 1/3 atmosphere of pressure
WILTING_POINT_AT_15_BAR % Percentage of moisture content in the soil sample at 15 atmospheres of pressure
AVAILABLE_WATER % Percentage of available water in soil sample (FIELD_CAPACITY - WILTING_POINT) *
HYGROSCOPIC_MOISTURE % Percentage of soil moisture obtained through hygroscopic absorption
WATER_ABSORPTION % Percentage of oven-dried weight *
ORGANIC_MATTER % Percentage of organic matter in the soil sample
PH_PASTE_AT_10_CM   PH of the soil sample at 10-cm depth
NH4_MASS_CONCENTRATION PPM NH4 concentration in the soil sample
NO3_MASS_CONCENTRATION PPM NO3 concentration in the soil sample
CO3_MASS_CONCENTRATION % Percentage CO3 concentration in the soil sample
P_MASS_CONCENTRATION PPM P concentration in the soil sample
K_MASS_CONCENTRATION PPM K concentration in the soil sample
CA_MASS_CONCENTRATION PPM Ca concentration in the soil sample
MG_MASS_CONCENTRATION PPM Mg concentration in the soil sample

* See Walker (1985) for complete description of data records

 

Table 3. Prudhoe_Bay_Environmental_Data.csv

NOTE: Coded and scalar variables are followed by a description column (e.g. LOCATION and LOCATION_DESC). See legend companion file for complete list of coded and scalar variables and their descriptions.

Column Name Units Description
FIELD_PLOT_NUMBER   Field plot number
STAND_TYPE   Stand type *
PLANT_COMMUNITY_DESCRIPTION   Primary vegetation types
MICROSITE   Detailed description of microsite within the plots
SOIL_MOISTURE_IN_1977 % Percentage of water content in the soil sample
BULK_DENSITY_IN_1977 g/cm3 Bulk density of the soil sample
SAND % Percentage of sand in the soil sample
SILT % Percentage of silt in the soil sample
CLAY % Percentage of clay in the soil sample
FIELD_CAPACITY_1/3_BAR % Percentage of moisture content in the soil sample at 1/3 atmosphere of pressure
WILTING_POINT_AT_15_BAR % Percentage of moisture content in the soil sample at 15 atmospheres of pressure
AVAILABLE_WATER % Percentage of available water in soil sample (FIELD_CAPACITY - WILTING_POINT) *
HYGROSCOPIC_MOISTURE % Percentage of soil moisture obtained through hygroscopic absorption
WATER_ABSORPTION % Percentage of oven-dried weight *
ORGANIC_MATTER % Percentage of organic matter in the soil sample
PH_PASTE_AT_10_CM   PH of the soil sample at 10-cm depth
NH4.MASS_CONCENTRATION_AT_10_CM PPM NH4 concentration in the soil sample
NO3_MASS_CONCENTRATION_AT_10_CM PPM NO3 concentration in the soil sample
C03_MASS_CONCENTRATION_AT_10_CM % Percentage CO3 concentration in the soil sample
P_MASS_CONCENTRATION_AT_10_CM PPM P concentration in the soil sample
K_MASS_CONCENTRATION_AT_10_CM PPM K concentration in the soil sample
CA_MASS_CONCENTRATION_AT_10_CM PPM Ca concentration in the soil sample
MG_MASS_CONCENTRATION_AT_10_CM PPM Mg concentration in the soil sample
LOCATION   Plot location within Prudhoe Bay
LOCATION_DESC   Description of plot location within Prudhoe Bay
TEMPERATURE_REGIME   Plot temperature regime 
TEMPERATURE_REGIME_DESC   Description of plot temperature regime
MOISTURE_REGIME   Plot moisture regime
MOISTURE_REGIME_DESC   Description of plot moisture regime
SNOW_REGIME   Plot snow regime
SNOW_REGIME_DESC   Description of plot snow regime 
CRYOTURBATION_REGIME   Plot cryoturbation regime
CRYOTURBATION_REGIME_DESC   Description of plot cryoturbation regime
VEGETATION_TYPE   Vegetation type within the plots
TOPOGRAPHIC_FEATURE   Topographic feature of the plots
TOPOGRAPHIC_FEATURE_DESC   Description of the topographic feature of the plots
SLOPE   Slope of the plots
SLOPE_DESC   Description of slope of the plots
HUMMOCK_MEAN_HEIGHT   Mean height of plot hummocks
HUMMOCK_MEAN_HEIGHT_DESC   Description of mean height of plot hummocks
ASPECT   Aspect of the plots
SOIL_COVER % Percentage of soil cover of the plots
ROCK_COVER % Percentage of rock cover of the plots
WATER_COVER % Percentage of water cover of the plots
THAW_DEPTH_IN_1977 CM Thaw depth of the plots
WATER_DEPTH_IN_1977 CM Water depth of the plots
MARL_SURFACE_COVER % Percentage of marl surface cover of the plots
CRUSTOSE_LICHEN_COVER % Percentage of crustose lichen cover of the plots
FOLIOSE_LICHEN_COVER % Percentage of foliose lichen cover of the plots
BRYOPHYTE_COVER % Percentage of bryophyte cover of the plots
ERECT_DEAD_PLANT_COVER % Percentage of erect dead plant cover of the plots
PROSTRATE_DEAD_PLANT_COVER % Percentage of prostrate dead plant cover of the plots
PLOT_SIZE   Size of the plots
PLOT_SIZE_DESC   Description of size of the plots
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_CARIBOU_FECES   Animal activity gradient for caribou feces *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_CARIBOU_GRAZING   Animal activity gradient for caribou grazing *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_BROWN_LEMMING   Animal activity gradient for brown lemming *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_COLLARED_LEMMING   Animal activity gradient for collared lemming *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_MISCELLANEOUS_BIRD   Animal activity gradient for miscellaneous birds *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_FOX   Animal activity gradient for fox *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_PTARMIGAN   Animal activity gradient for ptarmigan *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_GOOSE   Animal activity gradient for goose *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_SQUIRREL   Animal activity gradient for squirrel *
ANIMAL_DISTURBANCE_BEAR   Animal activity gradient for bear *
COMMUNITY_AND_LOCATION_DESCRIPTIONS   Field notes about plant community and landscape of the plots
LATITUDE decimal degrees Latitude of the plots
LONGITUDE decimal degrees Longitude of the plots
LITTER_COVER % Percentage of litter cover of the plots
SOIL_TEXTURE   Soil texture of the plots

* See Walker (1985) for more complete description of data records

 

Table 4. Prudhoe_Bay_Species_Data.csv

Column Numbers Column Name Units Description
1 PASL_TAXON_SCIENTIFIC_NAME_NO_AUTHORS   Current taxonomy according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL)
2 PASL_TAXON_SCIENTIFIC_NAME_WITH_AUTHORS   Current taxonomy according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL) including authors names
3 DATASET_TAXON   Dataset taxonomy
4 to 92 DATASET_PLOT_NUMBER   Column headings are all 117 plot numbers. The data values are Species Cover Classes (Braun-Blanquet cover-abundance scale): where r (rare), + (common, but less than 1 percent cover), 1 (1-5 percent), 2 (6 to 25 percent), 3 (25 to 50 percent), 4 (51 to 75 percent), 5 (76 to 100 percent).

Application and Derivation

This data set is important because these data were recorded 5 years after the discovery of the Prudhoe Bay Oilfield and this data includes baseline vegetation and environmental data of the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field.

Derived regional maps of these data will be used in regional models of fluxes of trace gases, water, and energy from tundra surfaces. In addition, a circumpolar vegetation classification resulting from these data sets would be highly desirable to extend the results to the entire arctic region.

Quality Assessment

No specific quality assessment information provided.

Data Acquisition, Materials, and Methods

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. A map of the plots is depicted in Figure 2.

Data from 89 subjectively located study plots are presented. Plots occur in 43 plant communities and 4 broad habitat categories including:

  • 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); 
  • 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); and,
  • aquatic tundra - including shallow and deep water habitats (10 plots)

Plots were permanently marked in a corner of the first square meter of the 1x10-m plots, and in a corner of the 1-m2 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.

Figure 2. Aerial photograph of Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska with study plots marked in yellow.

Species Data 

The source of these data is the Prudhoe Bay CRREL report 85-14 (Walker 1985). Species cover classes are by percent. Both the author's determination and the current taxonomy according to the Panarctic Species List (PASL) are listed. Taxa are listed in alphabetical order according to the accepted PASL name. In one instance, taxa were lumped into a single taxon in the PASL: Ochrolechia frigida (Ochrolechia frigida and Ochrolechia frigida thelephoroides). 

Environmental Data 

The source of these data is the Prudhoe Bay CRREL report 85-14 (Walker 1985). The plot numbers in the source data are the author's. The main plot numbers in the Turboveg database are accession numbers and will differ. The author's plot numbers are retained in the FIELD_RELEVE_NUMBER field in the Turboveg database.

Observations of soil moisture and pH, percentage of organic matter, soil nutrients, snow depth, hummock size, cryoturbation and animal activity were recorded for each of the plots.

Soils Data

These are the physical and chemical characteristics of the soils for the Prudhoe Bay vegetation plots from the CRREL report 85-14 (Walker 1985). Soil terminology is according to Soil Survey Staff Manual (1974; USDA).

This data set was provided by the GINA repository at http://geobotanical.portal.gina.alaska.edu/catalogs/9629-alaska-arctic-vegetation-archive-frost-boil-ve; access date 15 November 2016. 

Data Access

These data are available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC).

Pre-ABoVE: Arctic Vegetation Plots at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, 1973-1980

Contact for Data Center Access Information:

References

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.