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The large land area occupied by arid lands, roughly 36% to 40% globally, underscores the importance for understanding how these ecosystems function in the global carbon cycle. Few studies have directly examined soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics and the effect of vegetation on SOC and microbial community structure in arid ecosystems. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of vegetation type on SOC dynamics in an arid, hyperthermic Sonoran Desert ecosystem. We specifically examined the influence of Prosopis velutina (mesquite), Larrea tridentata (creosote), and a combination of Bouteloua barbata, Bouteloua aristidoides, Aristida adscensionis, and Cynodon dactylon (mixed grass) vegetation types on...
In semiarid ecosystems, physiography (landscape setting) may interact with woody-plant and soil microbe communities to constrain seasonal exchanges of material and energy at the ecosystem scale. In an upland and riparian shrubland, we examined the seasonally dynamic linkage between ecosystem CO2 exchange, woody-plant water status and photosynthesis, and soil respiration responses to summer rainfall. At each site, we compared tower-based measurements of net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) with ecophysiological measurements among velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina Woot.) in three size classes and soil respiration in sub-canopy and inter-canopy micro-sites. Monsoonal rainfall influenced a greater shift in the magnitude...