Wind is suspected to be a primary dispersal mechanism for large branchiopod cysts on the Colorado Plateau. We used a wind tunnel to investigate wind velocities capable of moving pothole sediment and cysts from intact and disturbed surfaces. Material moved in the wind tunnel was trapped in filters; cysts were separated from sediment and counted. Undisturbed sediment moved at velocities as low as 5.9 m s-1 (12.3 miles h-1). A single all-terrain vehicle (ATV) track increased the sediment mass collected 10-fold, with particles moving at a wind velocity of only 4.2 m s-1 (8.7 miles h-1). Cysts were recovered from every wind tunnel trial. Measured wind velocities are representative of low-wind speeds measured near Moab, Utah. Wind can move large numbers of cysts to and from potholes on the Colorado Plateau. Our results indicate that large branchiopod cysts move across pothole basins at low-wind speeds; additional work is needed to establish velocities at which cysts move between potholes. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Additional publication details
Dispersal of large branchiopod cysts: Potential movement by wind from potholes on the Colorado Plateau