Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Environmental Science and Engineering


Craig E. Tweedie


Over the last century, arid and semiarid regions have undergone intense desertification and in many regions, vegetation has shifted from grassland to shrubland dominated ecosystems. This land cover change has important implications for how desert ecosystems function - especially with regards to land-atmosphere exchange of carbon, water, and energy. Although the extent of desertified landscapes is expected to expand over the next 30 to 40 years, there is a relatively poor understanding of how this state transition will impact ecosystem function and feedbacks to other components of the earth system. Key to addressing this challenge is an improved understanding of ecosystem dynamics and land-atmosphere interactions at the landscape scale, and a capacity to extrapolate ecosystem dynamics to regional scales using remote sensing. This study addresses both the scientific and technical aspects of the above challenges to further our understanding of biophysical controls of ecosystem fluxes of carbon of shrublands representative of the Northern Chihuahua Desert, and also assess the effectiveness of scaling ecosystem fluxes using spectral and greenness indices derived from two spectral platforms using established, repurposed, and novel Cyber infrastructure. The study was completed through interdisciplinary collaborations within the University of Texas at El Paso's (UTEP) Cyber-ShARE Center that includes faculty and students affiliated with the environmental, computational, geological, social, and computer sciences. Several publications and conference proceedings have arisen from these collaborations. This project also intends to facilitate long term and synThesis studies through data submission to the network, and to provide a data stream for the data information system developed by fellow staff and graduate students of the Systems Ecology Laboratory at UTEP.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

202 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Aline Jaimes