Biomes Of The Santa Catalina Mountains   5 comments

October 7th, SCVN naturalist David Dean conducted an advanced training tour of the Biomes of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Biomes of the CatalinasWe began the tour by meeting at the McDonald’s at Catalina Highway where David provided an overview of the biomes of the Catalinas. Before starting the car caravan up Catalina Highway, David covered the lower biomes, the Saguaro-Palo Verde (100′ – 4,000′), which includes the dominant cacti and legume trees; the Desert Grassland (3,800″ – 5,000′) with grasses, succulents & shrubs being dominant.  

Biomes of the CatalinasAt about the 5.5-mile marker, we pulled off at Molino Basin where David lead a discussion on the Oak – Grassland biome (4,000′ – 5,600′) and Oak Woodland (5,000′ – 6,000′) biome. Here he used posters and the natural taurine to cover; Trees: Emory Oak, Mexican Blue Oak, Silverleaf Oak, Arizona White Oak, Alligator Juniper, Western Soapberry, Border Pinyon Pine: Shrubs: Mountain Yucca, Soap-Tree Yucca, Shindagger Agave, Sotol, Golden-flowered Agave, Beargrass; Grasses: AZ Panic Grass, Blue Grama, Sideoats Grama, Cane beard grass, Spidergrass, Bush Muhly, Bull Grass, Lehmann Lovegrass; Oak – Grassland: Oaks & Junipers, Chihuahua Pine, Buckbrush, Golden-flowered Agave, Mt. Yucca.

Biomes of the CatalinasOur next stop was along the highway near Bear Creek to discuss the Riparian Corridor (Not a biome) where we found AZ Sycamore, AZ Walnut, Gooding Willow, Fremont Cottonwood, Velvet Ash, AZ Cypress, AZ Alder.

Biomes of the CatalinasAt the approximately the 5,400″ elevation we stopped at the Middle Bear Picnic/Green Mountain Trail Head to learn about Pine-Oak Woodland biome where the dominant plants are AZ Pine, Chihuahua Pine Silverleaf Oak, AZ White Oak, Emory Oak, Black Cherry, Alligator Juniper.

Biomes of the CatalinasNext, we stopped at Windy Point Vesta(6,500′), a popular place for tourists driving up the scenic Catalina Highway. At this location, David talked about the Chaparral biome, which includes Silver Oak, AZ Madrone, Border Pinyon Pine, Alligator Juniper, Manzanita, Golden-flowered Agave, Beargrass, and Buckbrush.

Biomes of the CatalinasAt the 19.3-mile highway marker (7,825′), David leads a discussion on the Pine Forest biome where the dominant plants are  AZ Pine, SW White Pine, Ponderosa Pine and occasional Douglas-Fir.

Biomes of the CatalinasAs you can see, David used live plant specimens on his posters.

Biomes of the CatalinasEver wonder how Mt. Lemmon got its name? The highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains (9,152′) was named after Sara Plummer Lemmon, a respected botanist from New Gloucester, Maine, who arrived in Arizona after living in coastal California. Her Arizona fate was sealed when she attended a botany lecture in 1876 led by her future husband, John Gill Lemmon, and the whirlwind romance was on. After four years of courtship, the two wed and worked together cataloging the flora of the West, which would lead them to the Coronado National Forest in the southern section of what was then the Arizona Territory.

Biomes of the CatalinasA discussion on the last biome in our tour, Mixed Conifer Forest (Above 8,000′) took place at Bear Wallow (8,100). Here David illustrated the common plants in the Mixed Conifer Forest: Ponderosa Pine, AZ Pine, SW White Pine, Douglas-Fir, White Fir, Quaking Aspen; Silverleaf, Netleaf, and Gambel Oaks; Rocky Mountain, Big Tooth, and Box Elder Maples.

In hindsight, I wish I had done both photography and video of the biomes tour. Near the end of the tour, I did think about doing a video clip, which is what follows.

Note: Much of the copy in this posting is from David Dean’s handout, Biomes of the Santa Catalina Mountains

 

 

 

5 responses to “Biomes Of The Santa Catalina Mountains

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  1. Cool

    Like

  2. Thank you, Kenne. I was disppointed that I could not be on the biome tour, and your blog made me determined NOT to miss the next one should David do another.

    Like

    Lois Peel Eisenstein

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