Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Plant Biology

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kristina Stinson

Subject Categories

Bioinformatics | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology


High-elevation ecosystems are at risk of disruption from the future effects of climate change. Sub-alpine meadows are a source of unique plant populations, intraspecific variation of elevationally extreme populations, and vital sources of fresh water resources. We evaluated the whole fungal communities, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities, plant communities, and edaphic variables of sub-alpine meadows in undisturbed, disturbed, and disturbed with a non-native member of the Brassicaceae (Thlaspi arvense) plots. In conjunction with measuring the effects of disturbance on native communities we conducted potting experiments on a dominant grass of sub-alpine meadows (Festuca thurberi). We also surveyed T. arvense with 14 other members of the Brassicaceae for association with AMF in the context of a broad review of the literature for instances of Brassicaceae members found with arbuscules in their fine roots. We found that T. arvense disrupts native fungal and plant community dynamics by filtering phylogenetic diversity of AMF. In addition, we determined that intraspecific variation in F. thurberi is greater than variations in treatments associated with synthetic invasion. Several members of the Brassicaceae were also found to have arbuscules present in fine roots that may be relevant to AMF biogeography.