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Leffler, A Joshua

Juniper species are noted for long-lived foliage, low and persistent gas exchange activity and drought tolerance. Because leaves and roots of the same species are thought to be similar in structure and life history, we hypothesized that Juniperus osteosperma (Torr.) Little (Utah juniper) fine roots would reflect the persistent aboveground foliage characteristic of this species. We monitored fine roots, less than 1 mm in diameter, by minirhizotron imaging to a depth of 150 cm over two growing seasons from April 2002 to December 2003. We measured fine root numbers, lengths and diameters, and noted the time of birth and death of root segments. We correlated our root data with soil water potential measured by thermocouple...
Water conservation is important for plants that maintain physiologically active foliage during prolonged periods of drought. A variety of mechanisms for water conservation exist including stomatal regulation, foliage loss, above- and below-ground allocation patterns, size of xylem vessels and leaf pubescence. Using the results of a field and simulation study with Artemisia tridentata in the Great Basin, USA, we propose an additional mechanism of water conservation that can be used by plants in arid and semi-arid environments following pulses of water availability. Precipitation redistributed more uniformly in the soil column by roots (hydraulic redistribution of water downward) slows the rate at which this water...
The significance of soil water redistribution facilitated by roots (an extension of "hydraulic lift", here termed hydraulic redistribution) was assessed for a stand of Artemisia tridentata using measurements and a simulation model. The model incorporated water movement within the soil via unsaturated flow and hydraulic redistribution and soil water loss from transpiration. The model used Buckingham-Darcy's law for unsaturated flow while hydraulic redistribution was developed as a function of the distribution of active roots, root conductance for water, and relative soil-root (rhizosphere) conductance for water. Simulations were conducted to compare model predictions with time courses of soil water potential at several...
* 1 In western North America, juniper trees (Juniperus spp.) are apparently encroaching into numerous communities including sagebrush-dominated (Artemisia tridentata) valleys, where, as density of juniper increases, the density and condition of sagebrush decline but juniper condition appears unaffected. * 2 We examined stable isotope proxies of plant gas exchange and relative depth of soil water extraction of Juniperus osteosperma and Artemisia tridentata as their relative densities changed across a transition zone in northern Utah, USA. Measurement of 13C and 18O of foliage allowed separation of the contributions of stomatal and biochemical factors to differences in mean intercellular CO2 concentration, while deuterium...
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