Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences


College of Science and Mathematics


Dena Grossenbacher

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor College

College of Science and Mathematics


Plants of alpine regions around the world are threatened by climate warming. In alpine regions, climate warming has been predicted to cause ‘greening’ and plant community shifts towards species from warmer climates. However, slow growth rates coupled with limited dispersal in alpine habitats may lead to considerable lags in community level responses. Here we took advantage of a historical survey conducted on 105 plots in the alpine of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, USA. We found that over a 30-year period, plots display, on average, a 21% increase in herbaceous plant cover, a 25% increase in species richness, and the community shifts towards species with affinities for higher maximum summer temperatures.