Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy - Forestry



First Advisor

Matthew W. McBroom

Second Advisor

Kenneth W. Farrish

Third Advisor

Kevin W. Stafford


The Owl Mountain Province is located within the Fort Hood Military Installation, an approximately 880 km2 installation established in the 1940s in Bell and Coryell counties, Texas, which has undergone extensive land use changes associated with military training, maintaining much of the vegetation in early succession. This study investigates thelithologic, stratigraphic, and structural controls on the hydrologic, hydrogeologic, and geomorphologic evolution of the Owl Mountain Province as expressed by mesic vegetation communities, including Pleistocene relicts Acer grandidentatum, within karst terrains. These systems exhibit complexly overprinted speleogenetic evolutions within a dynamic groundwater regime resulting from regional climate shifts throughout the Neogene that have been complicated by extensive anthropogenic modifications as a result of urbanization, agriculture, and expanding populations in the region. Landscape evolution and the resulting vegetation patterns, examined through the prism of hydrologic and geologic principles, are investigated throughout the inter-disciplinary nature of this study and used as the foundation for the explanation of the floristic phenomena observed within the Owl Mountain Province.


Much of science research today is done in collaboration, and this work is no exception. While the research is my own, I had many willing (and some not as willing) field partners and am very grateful for their help.

First, I would like to recognize Charles Pekins, the Wildlife Biologist at the Fort Hood Natural Resources Management Branch for acting as my liaison and allowing me to conduct my research on the military installation. He provided maps, initial tours of areas that might be of scientific interest, field passes, housing, and the all-important code to the ice machine. His guidance and support were instrumental during field data collection.

My committee has been very supportive as I shifted my educational focus from geology to forestry to complete this research. Dr. Matthew McBroom, my dissertation advisor, was willing to take on the challenge of navigating a geologist through the forest; he is a wonderful mentor, a challenging advisor, a curator of cryptic musical lyrics, and I treasure his friendship. Dr. Kevin Stafford was my introduction into the world of karst science, unique cave music, and some the culinary wonders found under gas station heat lamps. Dr. McBroom and Dr. Stafford spent many hours helping me tailor this project to highlight my unique set of research skills and without their guidance this project would not have come to completion. Dr. Kenneth Farrish was also very helpful in the evolution of this project and his wise counsel and direction were often sought. Dr. Yanli Zhang and Dr. Alyx Frantzen were instrumental in offering helpful advice and I look forward to working with all of my committee members in the future. I would also like to mention Dr. Dean Coble and Dr. Brian Oswald, both of whom supplied timely advice and> direction regarding this project, and Dr. Montague Whiting and Dr. Michael Fountain, with whom I began my forestry education many years ago.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture and the Division of Environmental Science for allowing me use of a vehicle and boat to complete parts of my research. Mr. Wayne Weatherford in the SFA Soil, Plant, and Water Analysis Laboratory assisted with soil samples and water analyses. The Department of Geology was also very supportive, providing transportation and “quiet time” when needed. A special thank you is also extended to Dr. Joseph Musser who stepped in at the last minute to serve as the Graduate School representative on this committee.

Field assistance was provided by Brandon Tate, Aaron Bryant, Kevin Stafford, William Welles, JaHoward Hutchins, Asa Vermeulen, and my very patient and loving husband Joel. Laboratory assistance was provided by Kyle Altimore, Cassie Jay Barron and Lillian O’Shay. I am very grateful for all who helped me with this project, your assistance was invaluable.

My parents also deserve recognition and have waited a very long time for this moment, particularly my mother who endured my teenage rebellious nature. When I decided to return to school in 1999, none of us could imagine that this is where my educational path might lead. To my children Jillian, Asa, Chris, Caiti, and Emily: thank you for all the love and support you extended to me when I decided to return to school (again). To my beautiful, perfect granddaughters, thank you for your patience.

Finally, I would like to thank my husband Joel for his enduring love and support. He spent many hours reading my papers, driving the boat, collecting rock samples in the middle of summer, looking for maples in densely vegetated canyons, collecting water samples, cutting billets for thin sections, camping in inclement weather, and driving on questionable roads so that I could conduct my research. If love is indeed an action word, he proved it every day. Without his help, this dissertation would not have happened, and I will never be able to fully express my gratitude.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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