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Gas exchange and water relations responses to warming were compared for two shrub species, Artemisia tridentata spp. vaseyana (Asteraceae), a widely distributed evergreen species of the Great Basin and the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, and Pentaphylloides floribunda (Rosaceae), a deciduous shrub limited in distribution to moist, high-elevation meadows. Plants were exposed to an in situ infrared (IR) climate change manipulation at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, near Crested Butte, CO. Measurements of gas exchange and water relations were made on the two species in July and August, 1993 from plants growing in situ in infrared-heated and control plots. Carbon dioxide uptake, water loss, leaf temperature,...
Greenhouse experiments were undertaken to identify soil factors that curtail growth of the exotic annual grass Bromus tectorum L. (cheatgrass) without significantly inhibiting growth of native perennial grasses (here represented by Hilaria jamesii [Torr.] Benth). We grew B. tectorum and H. jamesii alone (monoculture pots) and together (combination pots) in soil treatments that manipulated levels of soil phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Hilaria jamesii showed no decline when its aboveground biomass in any of the applied treatments was compared to the control in either the monoculture or combination pots. Monoculture pots of B. tectorum showed a decline in aboveground biomass with the addition of Na2HPO4 and K2HPO4....
Exotic plant invasions are a serious concern for land managers and conservationists. There is evidence that increased nitrogen availability favors exotic species and decreased nitrogen availability favors non-weedy native species. This study was conducted to test the effect of nitrogen availability on competition between two grass species with contrasting life histories, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), a North American exotic, and blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), a North American native. We investigated the effects of nitrogen availability and competition on aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, height, and % nitrogen tissue concentrations by growing the two species in the greenhouse under five levels of nitrogen...
Long-lived desert shrubs exhibit infrequent, episodic recruitment from seed. In spite of this long time scale, selection on life history attributes that affect seedling recruitment should be strong. We studied factors affecting germination phenology and seedling establishment for Coleogyne ramosissima, a dominant shrub species in the ecotone between warm and cold deserts in western North America. We also examined ecotypic differentiation in establishment strategy in response to selection regimes in two contrasting habitats. We followed patterns of dormancy loss, germination, emergence, and survival in reciprocal field experiments at warm winter Mojave Desert and cold winter Colorado Plateau study sites. Seed germination...
Broom snakeweed (snakeweed) is an aggressive native range-weed found throughout arid and semiarid areas of the western United States, that increases following disturbances such as overgrazing, drought, or wildfire. Ecologically based strategies that include controlling snakeweed and reestablishing desirable herbaceous species are needed to restore productivity and diversity to invaded areas. The objective of this study was to compare the ability of selected introduced and native grass species and prostrate kochia (kochia) to prevent reinvasion of snakeweed, downy brome, and annual forbs following control. This field study was replicated at two sites (Howell and Nephi, Utah) within the sagebrush-steppe biome. Snakeweed...
Invasive exotic weeds pose one of the earth's most pressing environmental problems. Although many invaders completely eliminate native plant species from some communities, ecologists know little about the mechanisms by which these exotics competitively exclude other species. Mycorrhizal fungi radically alter competitive interactions between plants within natural communities, and a recent study has shown that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi provide a substantial competitive advantage to spotted knapweed, Centaurea maculosa, a noxious perennial plant that has spread throughout much of the native prairie in the northwestern U.S. Here we present evidence that this advantage is potentially due to mycorrhizally mediated...
For much of the western USA, precipitation occurs in pulses, the nature of which determine soil water potential and plant physiological performance. This research utilized three experiments to examine the sensitivity of photosynthesis and water relations for two widespread Great Basin Desert shrub species, Artemisia tridentata (which has both deep and shallow roots) and Purshia tridentata (which reportedly has only deep roots), to (1) variation in pulse magnitude size, (2) the kinetics of responses to pulses, and (3) the relationship between pulse-size and antecedent soil water content. At the study site in the southwestern Great Basin Desert, USA, summer rainfall exhibits a greater frequency of larger-sized events,...
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In annual plants, increased competitive advantage has often been attributed to rapid germination and early establishment. In contrast, many annual species exhibit some degree of delayed germination (i.e., seed dormancy) that results in the formation of age structure within the seed population. Delayed germination can be an effective bet-hedging strategy in variable or unpredictable environments as a seed bank can buffer against years with reproductive failures and reduce the probability of local extinction. However, there has been little consideration of the direct effects of aging within the seed pool although the potential demographic costs of such a strategy (e.g., mortality in the seed bank or delayed reproduction)...
The relationship between secondary succession, soil disturbance, and soil biological activity were studied on a sagebrush community (Artemisia tridentata) in the Piceance Basin of northwestern Colorado, U.S.A. Four levels of disturbance were imposed. I: the vegetation was mechanically removed and as much topsoil as possible was left; 2: the vegetation was mechanically removed and the topsoil scarified to a depth of 30 cm; 3: topsoil and subsoil were removed to a depth of 1 m, mixed and replaced; 4: topsoil and subsoil were removed to a depth of 2 m and replaced in a reverse order. Plant species composition, dehydrogenase and phosphatase enzymatic activity, mycorrhizae infection potentials, and percent organic matter...
An experiment was conducted to determine if growth and biomass responsesof the annual grass Bromus tectorum are affected by themagnitude and timing of nitrogen (N) pulses and if these responses areinfluenced by different perennial neighbor species. Nitrogen(NH4:NO3) was applied in three pulse treatments of varyinginterpulse length (3-d, 9-d, or 21-d between N additions). The total amount of Nadded was the same among treatments; hence, both the frequency and magnitude ofN pulses varied (i.e., the longer the interpulse period,the greater the amount of N added for a single pulse).Bromus showed little response to the different N-pulsetreatments. The only characteristic that varied among pulse treatments wasspecific...
Juniperus woodlands are widely distributed in western North America. Few studies of seedling emergence, long-term survival, growth or mortality of the dominant Juniperus spp. in these woodlands have been carried out. Consequently, regeneration dynamics in these woodlands are poorly understood. Juniperus ashei is the dominant woody plant in the majority of woodland and savanna communities of the Edwards Plateau region in central Texas. We examined the emergence, mortality and growth of various spatial and temporal cohorts of J. ashei seedlings over an eight or nine-year period. Greatest emergence was found during the cool, mostly winter months and under the canopy of mature J. ashei trees. Emergence was significantly...
Biological soil crusts dominated by drought-tolerant mosses are commonly found through arid and semiarid steppe communities of the northern Great Basin of North America. We conducted growth chamber experiments to investigate the effects of these crusts on the germination of four grasses: Festuca idahoensis, Festuca ovina, Elymus wawawaiensis and Bromus tectorum. For each of these species, we recorded germination time courses on bare soil and two types of biological soil crusts; one composed predominantly of the tall moss Tortula ruralis and the other dominated by the short moss Bryum argenteum. On the short-moss crust, the final germination percentage was about half of that on bare soil. Also, the mean germination...
Do relationships between species and environmental gradients strengthen or weaken with tree life-stage (i.e., small seedlings, large seedlings, saplings, and mature trees)? Strengthened relationships may lead to distinct forest type boundaries, or weakening connections could lead to gradual ecotones and heterogeneous forest landscapes. We quantified the changes in forest dominance (basal area of tree species by life-stage) and environmental factors (elevation, slope, aspect, intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), summer soil moisture, and soil depth and texture) across 14 forest ecotones (n = 584, 10 m #x00D7; 10 m plots) in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, U.S.A. Local, ecotone-specific species-environment...


    map background search result map search result map Effects of perennial neighbors and nitrogen pulses on growth and nitrogen uptake by Bromus tectorum Seed aging, delayed germination and reduced competitive ability in Bromus tectorum Seed aging, delayed germination and reduced competitive ability in Bromus tectorum