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Patterns of nitrogen (N) accumulation and turnover in riparian systems in semi-arid regions are poorly understood, particularly in those ecosystems that lack substantial inputs from nitrogen fixing vegetation. We investigated sources and fluxes of N in chronosequences of riparian forests along the regulated Green River and the free-flowing Yampa River in semi-arid northwestern Colorado. Both rivers lack significant inputs from N-fixing vegetation. Total soil nitrogen increased through time along both rivers, at a rate of about 7.8 g N m(-2) year(-1) for years 10-70, and 2.7 g N m(-2)year(-1) from years 70-170. We found that the concentration of N in freshly deposited sediments could account for most of the soil...
Encroachment of woody plants into grasslands, and subsequent brush management, are among the most prominent changes to occur in arid and semiarid systems over the past century. Despite the resulting widespread changes in landcover, substantial uncertainty about the biogeochemical impacts of woody proliferation and brush management exists. We explored the role of shrub encroachment and brush management on leaf litter decomposition in a semidesert grassland where velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) abundance has increased over the past 100 years. This change in physiognomy may affect decomposition directly, through altered litter quality or quantity, and indirectly through altered canopy structure. To assess the direct...
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Biological soil crusts are diverse assemblages of bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, lichens, and mosses that cover much of arid land soils. The objective of this study was to quantify protozoa associated with biological soil crusts and test the response of protozoa to increased temperature and precipitation as is predicted by some global climate models. Protozoa were more abundant when associated with cyanobacteria/lichen crusts than with cyanobacteria crusts alone. Amoebae, flagellates, and ciliates originating from the Colorado Plateau desert (cool desert, primarily winter precipitation) declined 50-, 10-, and 100-fold, respectively, when moved in field mesocosms to the Chihuahuan Desert (hot desert, primarily...
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Analysis of a typical semiarid mountain system recharge (MSR) setting demonstrates that geochemical tracers help resolve the location, rate, and seasonality of recharge as well as ground water flowpaths and residence times. MSR is defined as the recharge at the mountain front that dominates many semiarid basins plus the often-overlooked recharge through the mountain block that may be a significant ground water resource; thus, geochemical measurements that integrate signals from all flowpaths are advantageous. Ground water fluxes determined from carbon-14 ((14)C) age gradients imply MSR rates between 2 x 10(6) and 9 x 10(6) m(3)/year in the Upper San Pedro Basin, Arizona, USA. This estimated range is within an order...


    map background search result map search result map Geochemical quantification of semiarid mountain recharge. Effects of Altered Temperature and Precipitation on Desert Protozoa Associated with Biological Soil Crusts Geochemical quantification of semiarid mountain recharge. Effects of Altered Temperature and Precipitation on Desert Protozoa Associated with Biological Soil Crusts