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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....
Diel soil water potential fluctuations reflected daytime depletion and nocturnal resupply of water in upper soil layers. Transpiration suppression experiments demonstrated that water absorption by roots caused the daytime depletion. The soil water potential data and experimental results suggest that at night water absorbed from moist soil by deeper roots is transported to and lost from roots into drier upper soil layers. The deeper roots appear to absorb and transport water both day and night. Implications for the efficiency of deep roots and water storage, nutrient uptake and water parasitism in upper soil layers are discussed. Published in Oecologia, volume 73, issue 4, on pages 486 - 489, in 1987.
Root proliferation in nutrient-rich soil patches is an important mechanism facilitating nutrient capture by plants. Although the phenomenon of root proliferation is well documented, the specific timing of this proliferation has not been investigated. We studied the timing and degree of root proliferation for three perennial species common to the Great Basin region of North America: a shrub, Artemisia tridentata, a native tussock grass, Agropyron spicaturn, and an introduced tussock grass, Agropyron desertorum. One day after we applied nutrient solution to small soil patches, the mean relative growth rate of Agropyron desertorurn roots in these soil patches was two to four times greater than for roots of the same...
There is compelling evidence that a general erosion of the global ozone layer is occurring. Since ozone in the stratosphere absorbs much of the shortwave solar ultraviolet radiation (UV-B), diminished ozone means that more UV-B of a very specific wavelength composition will be received at the earth's surface. Evaluating the implications for vegetation involves consideration of the wavelength specificity of biological photochemical reactions and their sensitivity to the extant and future solar spectrum. Recent research suggests the occurrence of direct damaging reactions and of indirect morphological and chemical responses with implications at the community and ecosystem levels. Published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution,...
Recent studies indicate that increasing solar UV-B is not merely an environmental stress for plants. Solar UV-B can cause plant morphogenetic effects, which can, in turn, modify the architecture of plants and the structure of a vegetation, In addition, UV-B radiation affect the production of various secondary metabolites (such as flavonoids, tannins and lignin) with important physiological and ecological consequences. Published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, volume 12, issue 1, on pages 6 - 6, in 1997.
Increased nutrient availability reduces vesicular?arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) associations with plants, but whether increased nutrients in small volumes of soil affect local VAM colonization is not known. In a field experiment we investigated VAM colonization at different times following fertilization of small soil patches. Soil volumes of ~ 1000 cm3 were treated with a nutrient solution (enriched patch) or distilled water (control patch) on opposite sides of individual plants of the tussock grass Agropyron desertorum and the shrub Artemisia tridentata. Agropyron had significantly lower (p = 0.03) arbuscular infection in the locally enriched patches compared to control patches (32 and 40%, respectively). This reduced...
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...
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Biological soil crusts, composed primarily of photosynthetic cyanobacteria, algae, lichens and mosses, play a key role in many ecosystem functions of semi-arid and arid ecosystems around the world (Belnap and Lange 2001). They often cover plant interspaces in undisturbed areas (Kleiner and Harper 1972) and thus can constitute 70% or more of the living ground cover (Belnap 1995). These soil crusts are critical in the stabilization of soils and reduce both wind and water erosion (Belnap and Gillette 1997, 1998). They influence many processes that determine soil fertility, including carbon and nitrogen fixation, dust capture, and mineral chelation. They are often the dominant source of nitrogen (N) in desert ecosystems...
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Phosphate uptake was measured for Artemisia tridentata, Agropyron desertorum and Pseudoroegneria spicata, three common perennial North American Great Basin species. Four patterns of nutrient-rich microsites were used in the experiments (different distances, densities and nutrient concentrations) All species were more efficient at taking up P from microsites nearest the plants than from more distant microsites. Artemisia and Agropyron acquired P more rapidly from the distant microsites when there was a larger number of microsites and, therefore, a greater probability of encounter. Uptake from the nearest microsites did not increase after 26 days, while uptake from distant microsites increased and was equal to uptake...
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...


    map background search result map search result map Hydraulic redistribution in a stand of Artemisia tridentata: evaluation of benefits to transpiration assessed with a simulation model The influence of shade and clouds on soil water potential: The buffered behavior of hydraulic lift Competitive Ability Is Linked to Rates of Water Extraction. A Field Study of Two Aridland Tussock Grasses The timing and degree of root proliferation in fertile-soil microsites for three cold-desert perennials Effectiveness of phosphate acquisition by juvenile cold-desert perennials from different patterns of fertile-soil microsites Water conservation in Artemisia tridentata through redistribution of precipitation Nitrogen deposition and UV stressor impacts in Canyonlands National Park as affected by climatic pulse events Inorganic N turnover and availability in annual- and perennial-dominated soils in a northern Utah shrub-steppe ecosystem Local reduction of mycorrhizal arbuscule frequency in enriched soil microsites Phenology and Dynamics of Root Growth of Three Cool Semi-Desert Shrubs Under Field Conditions Nitrate and phosphate uptake by Agropyron desertorum and Artemisia tridentata from soil patches with balanced and unbalanced nitrate and phosphate supply Shifts in depth of water extraction and photosynthetic capacity inferred from stable isotope proxies across an ecotone of Juniperus osteosperma (Utah juniper) and Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush) Root turnover and relocation in the soil profile in response to seasonal soil water variation in a natural stand of Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma). Nitrogen deposition and UV stressor impacts in Canyonlands National Park as affected by climatic pulse events Competitive Ability Is Linked to Rates of Water Extraction. A Field Study of Two Aridland Tussock Grasses Inorganic N turnover and availability in annual- and perennial-dominated soils in a northern Utah shrub-steppe ecosystem Phenology and Dynamics of Root Growth of Three Cool Semi-Desert Shrubs Under Field Conditions