1. Pick a desert, grassland or shrubland system with which you are familiar or would like to become more familiar.

2. List the top 5-7 primary plants in the system, as well as two disturbances.

3. Create a STM that has THREE states and within each state 2-3 communities. Be sure to clearly label the following:

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  • drivers of community pathways
  • thresholds (abiotic or biotic) and what drives the system across a threshold
  • keep in mind that communities there is disturbance within states that cause a system to reach a threshold; and a primary disturbance that pushes the state over a threshold to a new state.

I find the best way to create an STM is utilizing PPT, however you may utilize any software you wish and you may draw it by hand… just be sure its clear so I can read it.

There are no right or wrong answers for this assignment, but rather thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the diagram. Meaning it should reflect all the elements of an STM and disturbance and community/state shifts should be fairly logical. I don’t expect you to know exactly how a system may respond to a disturbance. I do expect you to understand the difference between a state, community, transition and threshold. I will give you ample feedback on this assignment so you are clear on the purpose of an STM and how to craft one for future assignments.

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