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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...
Recent water level declines of a saline and alkaline lake (Mono Lake, California, USA) have exposed large areas of former lake bottom substrates that have been sparsely colonized by the halophytic shrub, Sarcobatus vermiculatus. To increase understanding of the interaction of salt and nutrient relations in halophytes we investigated spatial and seasonal patterns of leaf elemental composition and growth for Sarcobatus along an extreme salinity gradient using four sites varying in age since exposure. Soil and groundwater Na and EC increased from non-saline at the site farthest from the Lake to highly saline at the site closest to the Lake. Leaf and stem length growth declined along this same transect. In June, when...