AVA-AK: Pingo Vegetation Plots (M. Walker 1990)

Arctic Vegetation Archive - Alaska: Pingo Vegetation Plots.

The vegetation and floristics of pingos on the Central Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska were described by M. D. Walker for her doctoral thesis at the University of Colorado, Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology (Walker 1990). Funding was provided by National Science Foundation grants DPP-8312497 and DPP-8520754, with additional funds from the Arctic Institute of North America, the Explorer’s Club, Sigma Xi, University of Colorado Museum Walker van Riper Fund, and the University of Colorado Graduate School Foundation fund. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Slope Borough, and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) provided in-kind support. This study was initiated in 1983 with additional vegetation and snow transect work completed in the years 1984-1986.

A total of 293 plots were subjectively located for uniformity in floristic composition and environmental conditions on 41 pingos located in the Kuparuk, Prudhoe Bay, Kadleroshilik and Toolik River areas on the North Slope of Alaska. Plots were located in 9 different locations on the pingos including a) bottom of snowbank (40 plots), b) middle snowbank (45 plots), c) ENE side of the pingo (36 plots), d) north slope of pingo (41 plots), e) south slope of pingo (45 plots), f) summit of pingo (41 plots), g) WSW slope of pingo (39 plots), h) very late lying or permanent snowbed (4 plots), and g) frost boil. One plot had insufficient location information.

Original pingo latitude and longitude data were measurements from a topographic map. Final pingo locations were determined more accurately by M. Walker and L. Druckenmiller in 2014 using original maps and overlays, aerial photographs, and Google Earth. Circular plots were 12.5 square meter in area were permanently marked. Most pingos had up to 7 plots while some had more. A complete list of plant species was obtained for each plot. Some environmental data is available by plot, while the remainder is summarized by community and is available in the thesis.

These data are included in several publications listed below.


Walker, M. D. 1990. Vegetation and floristics of pingos, Central Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska. Dissertationes Botanicae. J. Cramer, Stuttgart, Germany.

Walker, M. D., D. A. Walker, K. R. Everett, and S. K. Short. 1991. Steppe vegetation on south-facing slopes of pingos, central Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska, USA. Arctic and Alpine Research 23:170–188.

Walker, M. D., Everett, K. R., Walker, D. A., Birkland, P. W. 1996. Soil development as an indicator of relative pingo age, Northern Alaska, USA. Arctic and Alpine Research 28:352-362.

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Last Updated November 24, 2020, 08:45 (AKST)