Dr. Emily Palmquist is a plant ecologist with the Southwest Biological Science Center, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Station. Emily studies riparian plant ecology in drylands of the western U.S. with particular emphasis on providing scientific information that addresses land management and stakeholder needs.
Emily conducts research with direct applications to improving land stewardship in a changing environment. Her research examines how environmental pressures, plant genetics, plant traits, and interactions among these factors affect plant community structure and change. This research often provides information needed to make management decisions, for example, characterizing floristic patterns, choosing plants for restoration, and evaluating taxonomic relationships. These studies also often characterize the effect of management decisions, for example, dam operations or grazing. Since her research sits at the interface of conservation and land use, she aims to contribute to creating solutions for living sustainably in drylands.
Her current research projects focus on the impact of river regulation on riparian vegetation communities, riparian plant population genetics in a restoration context, and physiological responses of riparian plants to flooding and climate.
Emily moved to the Southwest in 2006 after a variety of seasonal plant ecology positions in Minnesota, Indiana, and Western Australia. Since then, she has worked in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico assisting with research on rare plants, dryland plant ecology, spring vegetation, grazing, and riparian vegetation. Emily has been working in the Grand Canyon region since 2011, which has included conducting upland and riparian long-term vegetation monitoring and grazing assessments.
2014 – present: Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Southwestern Biological Science Center, Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, Flagstaff, AZ
2012 – 2014: Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Southwestern Biological Science Center, Moab, UT
2011: Botanist, National Park Service, Southern Colorado Plateau Inventory & Monitoring Network, Flagstaff, AZ
2011: Botanist, Grand Canyon Trust, Flagstaff, AZ
2006 – 2009: Biological Science Technician, National Park Service, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Page, AZ
Education and Certifications
2022 - PhD. in Biology with Distinction, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. Co-advised by Drs. Kiona Ogle and Thomas Whitham
Dissertation: "Climate, genetics, and river flow interact to shape riparian plant community structure"
2010 - M.S. in Biology with Distinction, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. Advised by Dr. Tina Ayers.
Thesis: Phylogeny and evolutionary history of Anticlea vaginata Rydb. (Melanthiaceae): a hanging garden endemic
2005 - B.Sc. in Environmental Science: Resource Conservation and Management (Second Major: English), summa cum laude, Carroll University, Waukesha, WI
Science and Products
Is timing really everything? Evaluating Resource Response to Spring Disturbance Flows
Terrestrial Riparian Vegetation Monitoring: How One Square Meter Can Tell the Story of 245 River Miles
Overview of Riparian Vegetation in Grand Canyon
Arrowweed (Pluchea sericea) morphological and physiological response data from a greenhouse inundation experiment
Riparian vegetation data downstream of Glen Canyon Dam in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park, AZ from 2014 to 2019
Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona (ver. 2.0, 2022)
Rangeland Ecosystem Data, Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument, AZ, USA
Riparian vegetation data used for comparing sampling methods along the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Climate, hydrology and riparian vegetation composition data, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Riparian Vegetation and Environmental Variables, Colorado River, 2014Data
Plant functional traits, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2012-2014Data
Community-level riparian plant traits, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2013-2015Data
Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2014 - 2016Data
Evaluating rehabilitation efforts following the Milford Flat Fire: Successes, failures, and controlling factorsData
Assessment of riparian vegetation patterns and change downstream from Glen Canyon Dam from 2014 to 2019
Proceedings of the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Reporting Meeting to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program
Provenance, genotype, and flooding influence growth and resource acquisition characteristics in a clonal, riparian shrub
The hydroclimate niche: A tool for predicting and managing riparian plant community responses to streamflow seasonality
What drought means for southwestern landscapes
Riverine complexity and life history inform restoration in riparian environments in the southwestern U.S.
Regional coordination between riparian dependence and atmospheric demand in willows (Salix L.) of western North America
Assessment of rangeland ecosystem conditions in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona
Associations between riparian plant morphological guilds and fluvial sediment dynamics along the regulated Colorado River in Grand Canyon
A comparison of riparian vegetation sampling methods along a large, regulated river
Effects of high flow experiments on riparian vegetation resources in Grand Canyon
Hydrological regime and climate interactively shape riparian vegetation composition along the Colorado River, Grand Canyon
**Disclaimer: The views expressed in Non-USGS publications are those of the author and do not represent the views of the USGS, Department of the Interior, or the U.S. Government.
Science and Products
Is timing really everything? Evaluating Resource Response to Spring Disturbance FlowsGlen Canyon Dam has altered ecological processes of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Before the dam was built, the Colorado River experienced seasonable variable flow rates, including springtime flooding events. These spring floods scoured the river bottom and enhanced natural processes that sustained the Colorado River ecosystem. Since the dam’s construction in 1963, springtime floods have...
Terrestrial Riparian Vegetation Monitoring: How One Square Meter Can Tell the Story of 245 River MilesThe goal of Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center’s (part of the Southwest Biological Science Center) riparian vegetation monitoring program is to assess changes and trends in plant species composition and cover and relate those changes to Glen Canyon Dam operations, river hydrology, climate, and geomorphology. Monitoring is done by annual field-data collection on plant cover and diversity...
Overview of Riparian Vegetation in Grand CanyonRiparian areas are conspicuous belts of dense, green vegetation along streams and rivers, and can be considered “ribbons of life”. Despite covering less than 2 percent of the land area in the southwestern U.S., riparian areas tend to have high species diversity and population density, making them valuable to managers, scientists, and the public. These unique ecosystems act as a link between dry...
Arrowweed (Pluchea sericea) morphological and physiological response data from a greenhouse inundation experimentThese data were collected to evaluate if arrowweed (Pluchea sericea) individuals and genotypes collected from across a 5.3 degree Celsius temperature gradient and grown in a common greenhouse environment had different physiological and morphological responses to inundation. The objectives of the study were to assess if 1) individuals from climatically different provenances differ in their morpholo
Riparian vegetation data downstream of Glen Canyon Dam in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park, AZ from 2014 to 2019These data were collected by the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC) to support riparian vegetation monitoring along the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and the full pool level of Lake Mead. The objectives of the GCMRC riparian vegetation monitoring program are to annually measure and summarize the status (composition and cover) of native and non-native vascular plant specie
Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona (ver. 2.0, 2022)Trait-based approaches to vegetation analyses are becoming more prevalent in studies of riparian vegetation dynamics, including responses to flow regulation, groundwater pumping, and climate change. These analyses require species trait data compiled from the literature and floras or original field measurements. Gathering such data makes trait-based research time intensive at best and impracticable
Rangeland Ecosystem Data, Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument, AZ, USAThese data were compiled for an assessment of rangeland ecosystem conditions of the Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument. The approximately one-million-acre Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument (PARA) is located in the northwest corner of Arizona and co-managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Service (NPS). This report is focused on the ca. 200,000 acres of NPS
Riparian vegetation data used for comparing sampling methods along the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, ArizonaThese data were collected as part of a methodologial comparison for collecting riparian vegetation data. Two common methods for collecting vegetation data were used: line-point intercept and 1m2 ocular quadrats (visual cover estimates). At each site and transect, both methods were used to collect cover and composition data by four different observers. The same transects and quadrats were utilized
Climate, hydrology and riparian vegetation composition data, Grand Canyon, ArizonaThese data were compiled for monitoring riparian vegetation change along the Colorado River. This file contains data recorded at 42 sandbars between Lees Ferry and Diamond Creek, AZ, which are sampled for both geomorphic and vegetation change annually. Field data contained here were collected from 2012 to 2016 in September and October of each year. Plant species cover values in 5441 1m^2 quadrat f
Riparian Vegetation and Environmental Variables, Colorado River, 2014DataThese data consist of species relative cover, percent cover of dead plant material, percent cover of soil and rock, and a variety of broad - and local- scale environmental variables. These data relate to sample sites along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon between Lees Ferry and river mile 245. The plant and ground cover data included here were originally collected as a part of annual vegeta
Plant functional traits, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2012-2014DataThese data were compiled or measured (depending on the trait) for 110 plant species which were documented in vegetation monitoring surveys in years 2012-2014 along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. New trait data was collected forspecific leaf area, stem specific gravity, δ13C, δ15N, percent carbon and nitrogen, and carbon/nitrogen ratio. Seed mass and plant height data were c
Community-level riparian plant traits, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2013-2015DataThese data were compiled based on field observations and available literature. Field observations of plant cover were made in September and October of 2013 and 2014, while trait measurements were made in September and October of 2014 and 2015. Field data was collected on sandbars along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon between river miles 0 and 226. Field measurements of specific leaf area,
Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, 2014 - 2016DataThis dataset contains information on the physical traits and environmental tolerances of plant species occurring along the lower Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Due to the unique combination of plant species within the Grand Canyon, this flora shares species with many riparian areas in the western U.S.A. and represents obligate wetland to obligate upland plant species. Data for the matrix wer
Evaluating rehabilitation efforts following the Milford Flat Fire: Successes, failures, and controlling factorsDataUncontrolled wildfire in arid and semiarid ecosystems has become an increasing concern in recent decades. Active rehabilitation of fire-affected areas is often quickly initiated to minimize long-term ecosystem damage. However, the complex soil-geomorphic-vegetation patterns and low and variable moisture conditions in these regions makes restoration challenging. To further inform these post-fire ma
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Assessment of riparian vegetation patterns and change downstream from Glen Canyon Dam from 2014 to 2019Changes in riparian vegetation cover and composition occur in relation to flow regime, geomorphic template, and climate, and can have cascading effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Tracking such changes over time is therefore an important part of monitoring the condition and trajectory of riparian ecosystems. Maintaining diverse, self-sustaining riparian vegetation comprised of mostly naAuthorsEmily C. Palmquist, Bradley J. Butterfield, Barbara E. Ralston
Proceedings of the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Reporting Meeting to the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program(Hartwell) This report is prepared primarily to account for work conducted and products delivered in FY 2022 by GCMRC and to inform the Technical Work Group of science conducted by GCMRC and its cooperators in support of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (GCDAMP). It includes a summary of accomplishments, modifications to work plans, results, and recommendations related to projects iAuthorsDavid Topping, Paul Grams, Emily C. Palmquist, Joel B. Sankey, Helen C. Fairley, Bridget Deemer, Charles Yackulic, Theodore Kennedy, Anya Metcalfe, Maria C. Dzul, David Ward, Mariah Aurelia Giardina, Lucas Bair, Thomas Gushue, Caitlin M. Andrews, Ronald E. Griffiths, David Dean, Keith Kohl, Michael J Moran, Nicholas Voichick, Thomas A. Sabol, Laura A. Tennant, Kimberly Dibble, Michael C. Runge
Provenance, genotype, and flooding influence growth and resource acquisition characteristics in a clonal, riparian shrubPremiseRiparian plants can exhibit intraspecific phenotypic variability across the landscape related to temperature and flooding gradients. Phenotypes that vary across a climate gradient are often partly genetically determined and may differ in their response to inundation. Changes to inundation patterns across a climate gradient could thus result in site-specific inundation responses. PhenotypicAuthorsEmily C. Palmquist, Kiona Ogle, Thomas G. Whitham, Gerard J. Allan, Patrick B. Shafroth, Bradley J. Butterfield
The hydroclimate niche: A tool for predicting and managing riparian plant community responses to streamflow seasonalityHabitat suitability is a consequence of interacting environmental factors. In riparian ecosystems, suitable plant habitat is influenced by interactions between stream hydrology and climate, hereafter referred to as “hydroclimate”. We tested the hypothesis that hydroclimate variables would improve the fit of ecological niche models for a suite of riparian species using occurrence data from the westAuthorsBradley J. Butterfield, Emily C. Palmquist, Charles Yackulic
What drought means for southwestern landscapesIntroduction Each year, more than 20,000 people raft the Grand Canyon, many of whom will experience this iconic landscape for the first and only time. Visitors to our region for their once-in-a-lifetime Grand Canyon experience might be surprised to see forests and wetlands in addition to deserts. While locals are seeing changes to the Colorado Plateau woodlands, many visitors may not be able to diAuthorsKimberly Samuels-Crow, Kiona Ogle, Emily C. Palmquist
Riverine complexity and life history inform restoration in riparian environments in the southwestern U.S.Riparian habitat in the southwestern USA has undergone substantial degradation over the past century, prompting extensive management and restoration of these critical ecosystems. Most restoration efforts, however, do not account for life history traits or riverine complexity that may influence genetic diversity and structure. Here, we use simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers in four southwestern rAuthorsEmily C. Palmquist, Gerald J Allan, Kiona Ogle, Thomas G. Whitham, Bradley J. Butterfield, Patrick B. Shafroth
Regional coordination between riparian dependence and atmospheric demand in willows (Salix L.) of western North AmericaAimPlants vary in their hydrological and climatic niches. How these niche dimensions covary among closely related species can help identify co‐adaptations to hydrological and climatic factors, as well as predict biodiversity responses to environmental change.LocationWestern United States.MethodsRelationships between riparian dependence and climate niches of willows (Salix L.) were assessed, incorpAuthorsBradley J. Butterfield, Emily C. Palmquist, Kevin R. Hultine
Assessment of rangeland ecosystem conditions in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, ArizonaSustainability of dryland ecosystems depends on the functionality of soil-vegetation feedbacks that affect ecosystem processes, such as nutrient cycling, water capture and retention, soil erosion and deposition, and plant establishment and reproduction. Useful, common indicators can provide information on soil and site stability, hydrologic function, and biotic integrity. Evaluation of rangeland hAuthorsMichael C. Duniway, Emily C. Palmquist
Associations between riparian plant morphological guilds and fluvial sediment dynamics along the regulated Colorado River in Grand CanyonEffects of riparian vegetation on fluvial sediment dynamics depend on morphological traits of the constituent species. Determining the effects of different morphological guilds on sedimentation rates, as influenced by multiple aspects of dam operations, can help identify viable strategies for streamflow and vegetation management to achieve riparian resource goals. Plants of increasing size and braAuthorsBradley J. Butterfield, Paul Grams, Laura E. Durning, Joseph Hazel, Emily C. Palmquist, Barbara Ralston, Joel B. Sankey
A comparison of riparian vegetation sampling methods along a large, regulated riverMonitoring riparian vegetation cover and species richness is an important component of assessing change and understanding ecosystem processes. Vegetation sampling methods determined to be the best option in other ecosystems (e.g., desert grasslands and arctic tundra) may not be the best option in multilayered, species rich, heterogeneous riparian vegetation. This study examines the strengths and wAuthorsEmily C. Palmquist, Sarah Sterner, Barbara Ralston
Effects of high flow experiments on riparian vegetation resources in Grand CanyonFlood events have historically had a strong impact on riparian vegetation within Grand Canyon. Pre-dam sandbars were nearly devoid of perennial riparian vegetation due to the magnitude and frequency of periodic floods (Turner and Karpiscak, 1980). Vegetation has increased since dam closure (Waring, 1995), particularly since the early 1990s (Sankey and others, 2015). This increase in vegetation isAuthorsB.J. Butterfield, Emily C. Palmquist, Joel B. Sankey
Hydrological regime and climate interactively shape riparian vegetation composition along the Colorado River, Grand CanyonQuestionHow closely do riparian plant communities track hydrological and climatic variation in space, and how do interactions among hydrological and climatic filters influence success of flow management strategies?LocationGrand Canyon, Arizona, USA.MethodsMulti‐year vegetation surveys were conducted across three hydrological zones – active channel, active floodplain and inactive floodplain – withiAuthorsBradley J. Butterfield, Emily C. Palmquist, Barbara Ralston
Non-USGS Publications**Palmquist, E., Ayers, T. and Allan, G., 2015. Genetic and morphometric assessment of the origin, population structure, and taxonomic status of Anticlea vaginata (Melanthiaceae). Systematic Botany, 40(1), pp.56-68.
**Disclaimer: The views expressed in Non-USGS publications are those of the author and do not represent the views of the USGS, Department of the Interior, or the U.S. Government.