Mueller-Dombois, Dieter

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DR. DIETER MUELLER-DOMBOIS specialty is vegetation ecology, an area in which I wrote a university textbook together with a European colleague (Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology, Wiley & Sons, 1974). Based on that background I became particularly interested in vegetation and ecosystem dynamics, an area in which I did research for the past 25 years. Island ecosystems vary along a spectrum of biological diversity and disturbance regimes and often display a special dynamics that is rarely found in continental ecosystems. The differences are elucidating and carry a strong message for forestry and natural area management.


Dr. Dieter Mueller-Dombois
Emeritus Professor, Department of Botany (1963-1990)
Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 1960

Student Mentoring: 18 dissertations, 17 theses


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 54
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    Integrated island ecosystem ecology in Hawaii: spatial distribution of island biota: introduction
    (Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program, 1975-06) Mueller-Dombois, Dieter ; Bridges, Kent W.
    This portion of the synthesis volume is being reproduced now because it is important that all synthesis volume contributors have these basic materials as they prepare their own contributions. Chapter 6, the subject matter of this report, follows the first five chapters that were contained in Technical Report 54 (Introductory Survey, Part I of the Synthesis Volume). It is expected that there will be some reworking of sections of this report as more data are analyzed and the integration needs of the entire synthesis part become more apparent. Chapter 6 is only the introduction to Part II. Additional material will include the altitudinal distribution of individual organism groups (Chap. 7) and their spatial integration along the Mauna Loa Transect (Chap. 8). This report is a draft manuscript of the introduction to Part II of our proposed synthesis volume. As chapter 6, this introduction forms the continuation to Part I in Technical Report 54, which contains the first five chapters. Part II, which is concerned with an analysis of the spatial distribution of island biota in an ecosystem context, is one of four major synthesis areas of the Island Ecosystems Integrated Research Program of the US/IBP. This report gives the conceptual and physical background to our distribution analysis along a transect on a high-island mountain, Mauna Loa. It further discusses current ecological theory of species distributions along environmental gradients and presents examples together with the analytical techniques that we adopted for all organism groups investigated in spatially integrated community samples.
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    Integrated island ecosystem ecology in Hawaii: introductory survey
    (Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program, 1975-02) Mueller-Dombois, Dieter
    This report is a draft manuscript of Part I (Introductory Survey) of the synthesis volume of the US/IBP Island Ecosystems Stability and Evolution Subprogram. Further parts to follow are: Part II Spatial Distribution of Island Biota; Part III Temporal Relationships of Island Biota; Part IV Community Structure and Niche Differentiation; Part V Genetic variation within Island Species; Part VI General Conclusions.
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    Vegetation types: a consideration of available methods and their suitability for various purposes
    (Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program, 1974-11) Mueller-Dombois, Dieter ; Ellenberg, Heinz
    The problem of classifying vegetation is discussed in relation to three general objectives: (1) inventorying existing vegetation types for conservation purposes, (2) providing a framework for biological field studies and local management, and (3) understanding plant and community distribution and dynamics in relation to the environment. It is shown that the map scale which is used imposes a set of constraints on the method of classification. Several different map scales are discussed in terms of these limitations. A number of well known structural and floristic classifying schemes are reviewed including a new scheme of world ecosystems. The IBP/CT (Conservation of Terrestrial Ecosystems) checksheet survey is evaluated in the light of these methods. The conclusion is made that Fosberg's structural scheme, which was adopted for the check-sheet survey, provided only a first approximation to the ultimate objective of inventorying existing vegetation types for conservation purposes. A recommendation for a next step is made, which involves a scheme of hierarchical mapping of world ecosystems. It is anticipated that this activity will be carried out under the UNESCO Man-and-the-Biosphere (MAB) Project No. 8 (Conservation of Natural Areas and of the Genetic Materials they contain).
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    Fourth progress report and budget proposal for FY 1975
    (Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program, 1974-03) Mueller-Dombois, D. ; Bridges, K.
    This document is the fourth annual progress report of the ISLAND ECOSYSTEMS STABILITY AND EVOLUTION Subprogram of the U. S. International Biological Program (IBP). It covers the period from February 1973 through February 1974. During the fourth year, the Subprogram has completed a majority of its field studies and begun the preparation of a draft synthesis volume. This report discusses the scientific objectives which are proposed for the terminal year of funding, details the general plan by which these objectives will be met, and highlights some of the scientific accomplishments which have been recognized. A revised and detailed plan for the presentation of the synthesis results is included, as are compilations of the Contribution Numbers, Technical Reports, and Student Dissertations and Theses.
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    The influence of SO2 fuming on the vegetation surrounding the Kahe power plant on Oahu, Hawaii
    (Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program, 1972-10) Mueller-Dombois, Dieter ; Spatz, Gunter
    The study relates to an investigation of the vegetation around Kahe power station, a recently established electricity generating plant at Kahe Point on SW Oahu. A vegetation map was prepared from aerial photographs at 1:5,000 and a search was made for possible S02 damage manifestations from the fumes emitted by the plant. Three major communities were identified, (1) closed forest of Prosopis pallida, (2) open forest-scrub dominated by Leucaena leucocephala and Acacia farnesiana and 3) open scrub-grassland dominated by the native pili grass (Heteropogon contortus). Within each of these major units, two to three floristic and structural subunits were mapped. No S02 damage was noted in the vascular plants. A separate survey of rock-lichens on identically sea-breeze-exposed ridges, north and south of the power plant, showed a considerably lower abundance of foliose rock-lichens in the southern area which receives much of the S02 plume. It was concluded that a beginning influence is shown by the lower abundance of lichens and that S02 damage in the vascular plants may show up only during the rainy season when the vegetation is actively growing. The investigation was done during the dry season in September.
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    Natural area system development for the Pacific region, a concept and symposium
    (Island Ecosystems IRP, U.S. International Biological Program, 1973-06) Mueller-Dombois, Dieter
    This report presents the concept and proceedings (in form of abstracts) of an international symposium of the Ecology Section of the Scientific Committee on Pacific Botany held at the Second Inter-Congress of the Pacific Science Association in Guam, May 20-25, 1973. The concept for a natural area system in the Pacific Region is developed through a brief problem analysis, a statement of objectives, an assessment of the criteria for natural areas to be included in the system and through proposing a hierarchical system for assembling the necessary information. The symposium theme is structured into six subthemes concerned with (1) Conceptual aspects, (2)Geographic and climatic analyses of natural areas in different Pacific countries, including a show of maps, (3)Analyses of community- and habitat-variation within major reserves, (4} Biogeographic similarity and difference-evaluation between ecological reserves, (5)Human influences and protection status of each area, and (6} The need for additional areas to be considered in the system. Twenty-two abstracts are enclosed from participants in South America, New Zealand, Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, California and Hawaii. An international orientation towards developing a natural area system and with this, a scientific basis for the extrapolation of results of ecosystems research in the Pacific Region falls into the broader objectives of the ISLAND ECOSYSTEMS IRP of the U.S. International Biological Program. A follow-up program is suggested for the 13th Pacific Science Congress in Vancouver, August 18-30, 1975.