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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....
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.
In desert ecosystems, belowground characteristics are influenced chiefly by the formation and persistence of ?shrub-islands of fertility? in contrast to barren plant interspaces. If soil microbial communities are exclusively compared between these two biogeochemically distinct soil types, the impact of characteristics altered by shrub species, especially soil C and N, are likely to be overemphasized and overshadow the role of other characteristics in structuring microbial composition. To determine how belowground characteristics influence microbial community composition, and if the relative importance of these characteristics shifts across the landscape (i.e., between and within shrub and interspace soils), changes...
Roots influence root litter decomposition through multiple belowground processes. Hydraulic lift or redistribution (HR) by plants is one such process that creates diel drying?rewetting cycles in soil. However, it is unclear if this phenomenon influences decomposition. Since decomposition in deserts is constrained by low soil moisture and is stimulated when dry soils are rewetted, we hypothesized that diel drying?rewetting, via HR, stimulates decomposition of root litter. We quantified the decomposition of root litter from two desert shrubs, Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata and Sarcobatus vermiculatus, during spring and summer in field soil core treatments designed to have abundant roots and high magnitude HR...
Natural and anthropogenic changes in basin lake levels in the western U.S. expose saline, alkaline substrates that are commonly colonized by shrubs in the Chenopodiaceae. On a chronosequence of recently exposed substrates at Mono Lake, California, Sarcobatus vermiculatus has greatest biomass accrual, seed production, seedling establishment, and leaf N at younger sites where soils are extremely saline and alkaline. These field observations and an understanding of the role of N-containing compatible solutes in salinity tolerance of halophytes led to our prediction that Na and N interactions stimulate Sarcobatus performance. To test this, we grew Sarcobatus juveniles for 2 years in the greenhouse at 4 levels of NaCl...
At Mono Lake, California, we investigated field water relations, leaf and xylem chemistry, and gas exchange for two shrub species that commonly co-occur on marginally saline soils, and have similar life histories and rooting patterns. Both species had highest root length densities close to the surface and have large tap roots that probably reach ground water at 3.4-5.0 m on the study site. The species differed greatly in leaf water relations and leaf chemistry. Sarcobatus vermiculatus had a seasonal minimum predawn xylem pressure potential (?pd) of -2.7 MPa and a midday potential (?md) of -4.1 MPa. These were significantly lower than for Chrysothamnus nauseosus, which had a minimum ?pd of -1.0 MPa and ?md of -2.2...


    map background search result map search result map The influence of shade and clouds on soil water potential: The buffered behavior of hydraulic lift