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Caldwell, Martyn M

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The relative competitive abilities of Agropyron desertorum and Agropyron spicatum under rangeland conditions were compared using Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis transplants as indicator plants. We found A. desertorum to have substantially greater competitive ability than A. spicatum as manifested by the responses of Artemisia shrubs that were transplanted into nearly monospecific stands of these grass species. The Artemisia indicator plants had lower survival, growth, reproduction, and late-season water potential in the neighborhoods dominated by A. desertorum than in those dominated by A. spicatum. In similar, essentially monospecific grass stands, neutron probe soil moisture measurements showed that stands...
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The timing and extent of root growth and development were studied under field conditions in root observation chambers. These chambers were located near small groups of established perennial shrubs. Each of the shrub species, Atriplex confertifolia, Ceratoides lanata, and Artemisia tridentata occur in nearly monospecific stands. The presence of the observation chambers was shown to cause minimal disruption of the soil environment since soil temperatures and water potentials immediately proximate to the observation window were the same as those in the undisturbed soil profile. The season of root growth activity was initiated a few days before active shoot growth in the spring and extended for several months after...
To test the ability of plants to integrate small-scale imbalances in soil nitrate and phosphate patches, plant growth and acquisition of nitrate and phosphate were measured for the perennial grass Agropyron desertorum (Fisch. ex Link) Schult. and the shrub Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle in soil where the principal supply of nitrate and phosphate came from two enriched patches. The soil was calcareous loamy-skeletal Typic Haploxerolls. These patches were applied in two treatments: either nitrate and phosphate were applied in both patches (balanced treatment) or one patch contained only nitrate and the other only phosphate (unbalanced treatment). The same total quantity of nutrients was applied...
In the sagebrush/bunchgrass steppe of the North American Great Basin soil water potential has been shown to exhibit diel fluctuations with water potential increasing during the night as a result of water loss from roots in relatively dry soil layers. We hypothesized that environmental conditions promoting low transpiration rates (shading, cloudiness) would cause a net increase in soil water potential as a result of reduced soil water depletion during the day and continuing water efflux from roots during the night. We examined the response of soil water potential to artificial shading in sagebrush/bunchgrass plantings and used a simple model to predict how soil water potential should respond to reduced transpiration....
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The exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum has replaced thousands of hectares of native perennial vegetation in semi-arid ecosystems of the western United States. Inorganic N availability and production were compared in soil from monodominant patches of Bromus tectorum, the perennial bunchgrass Elymus elymoides, and the shrub Artemisia tridentata, in Curlew Valley, a salt-desert shrub site in Northern Utah. Bromus-dominated soil had greater %N in the top 10 cm than Artemisia or Elymus-dominated soils. As determined by spring isotope-dilution assays, gross mineralization and nitrification rates were higher in Bromus-dominated than Artemisia-dominated soils, but gross rates of NH4+ and NO3- consumption were also higher....
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