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Starr, Benjamin I

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Historically, ecosystems in the southwestern United States derived much of their nitrogen (N) from N-fixation in biological soil crusts. Today, these regions have highly reduced crust cover, and atmospheric deposition may be the dominant source of N. This study investigates the effects of increased nitrogen deposition on nitrogen uptake, photosynthesis, and growth of the two main forage grasses on the Colorado Plateau, galleta (Hilaria jamesii [Torr.] Benth.) and Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides, [Roemer & J.S. Schultes] Ricker ex Piper). Plots were fertilized for 2 years with 0, 10, 20, and 40 kg nitrogen ha?1 annually, up to 4� the estimated current annual deposition rate, in 2 applications per year (spring...
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We conducted experiments to examine the quantitative relationships between rainfall event size and rainwater uptake and use by four common native plant species of the Colorado Plateau, including two perennial grasses, Hilaria jamesii (C(4)) and Oryzopsis hymenoides (C(3)), and two shrubs, Ceratoides lanata (C(3)), and Gutierrezia sarothrae (C(3)). Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that grasses use small rainfall events more efficiently than shrubs and lose this advantage when events are large. Rainfall events between 2 and 20 mm were simulated in spring and summer by applying pulses of deuterium-labeled irrigation water. Afterwards, pulse water fractions in stems and the rates of leaf gas exchange were monitored...
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We investigated the effects of winter and summer drought on plants of the Colorado Plateau in western North America. This winter-cold, summer-hot desert region receives both winter and summer precipitation. Droughts were imposed for two consecutive years using rainout shelters. Here, we examine drought effects on the hydrologic interactions between plants and soil. We chose three perennial species for this study, representing different rooting patterns and responsiveness to precipitation pulses: Oryzopsis hymenoides, a perennial bunch grass with shallow roots; Gutierrezia sarothrae, a subshrub with dimorphic roots; and Ceratoides lanata, a predominantly deep-rooted woody shrub. Drought effects on plant water status...
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