Biodiversity varies considerably in Southern Californian riparian vegetation. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis posits greater diversity in settings that are subject to moderate-intensity disturbance. Flood intensity tends to vary systematically in watersheds, potentially imposing patterns of biodiversity. In two study watersheds, species richness increases with flood severity. Diversity, or heterogeneity, is less predictable: Biodiversity patterns in these watersheds are complicated by atypical patterns of flood severity. Although riparian diversity may be intimately dependent on flood disturbance, the relationship is predictable only with due attention to the physiographic details of individual stream networks.
Keywords: biodiversity, floods, riparian vegetation, stream power.
Dr. BENDIX is an assistant professor of geography at Syracuse University.
To contact the author: Professor Jacob Bendix
Department of Geography, and Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
144 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244-1090
Phone: 315.433-2605, 315.433-4227 fax