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Differences in resource availability and quality along environmental gradients are important influences contributing to intraspecific variation in body size, which influences numerous life-history traits. Here, we examined variation in body size and sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in relation to temperature, seasonality, and precipitation among 10 populations located throughout Arizona of the western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). Specifically, in our analyses we addressed the following questions: (i) Are adult males larger in cooler, wetter areas? (ii) Does female body size respond differently to environmental variation? (iii) Is seasonality a better predictor of body size variation? (iv) Is SSD positively...
Organic carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) are essential for heterotrophic soil microorganisms, and their bioavailability strongly influences ecosystem C and N cycling. We show here that the natural (15)N abundance of the soil microbial biomass is affected by both the availability of C and N and ecosystem N processing. Microbial (15)N enrichment correlated negatively with the C : N ratio of the soil soluble fraction and positively with net N mineralization for ecosystems spanning semiarid, temperate and tropical climates, grassland and forests, and over four million years of ecosystem development. In addition, during soil incubation, large increases in microbial (15)N enrichment corresponded to high net N mineralization...
Variable densities of an invasive species may represent variation in invasion resistance, due to variation in resource availability. This study determined whether low- and high-density cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) patches within a shadscale-bunchgrass community of western Utah, USA, can be explained by variation in resource availability. It also explored the possible role of seed limitation and enemy pressure on invasion patterns. Two parallel field experiments were conducted:(1) increasing resources within low-density cheatgrass patches and, conversely (2) reducing resources within high-density cheatgrass patches. Treatments were applied at three life stages separately and across all stages. In low-density cheatgrass...
Ecosystem susceptibility to invasion by nonnative species is poorly understood, but evidence is increasing that spatial and temporal variability in resources has large-scale effects. We conducted a study in Artemisia tridentata ecosystems at two Great Basin locations examining differences in resource availability and invasibility of Bromus tectorum over elevation gradients and in response to direct and interacting effects of removal of perennial herbaceous vegetation and fire. We monitored environmental conditions, soil variables, and B. tectorum establishment and reproduction over two years. Soil water (measured as the number of days soil matric potential was >?1.5 MPa) and nitrate availability (measured as micromoles...