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We investigated the effect of plant residue decomposability and fungal biomass on the dynamics of macroaggregate (250?2000 ?m) formation in a three months' incubation experiment and determined the distribution of residue-derived C and N in the microbial biomass and in aggregate size fractions (250?2000 ?m, 53?250 ?m and <53 ?m) using 13C and 15N data. A silty loam soil (sieved <250 ?m) was incubated with and without addition of 15N labelled maize leaves (C/N = 27.4) and roots (C/N = 86.4). Each treatment was carried out with and without fungicide application. The addition of maize residues enhanced soil respiration and microbial biomass C and N and resulted in increased macroaggregate formation with a higher and...
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...
Incubation temperature has a direct effect on sex determination of the desert tortoise. Low temperatures (26.0-30.6 C) produce males and high temperatures (32.8-35.3 C) produce females. Pivotal temperature is approximately 31.8 C. Macroscopic and microscopic anatomy of the gonads is similar to that of other turtles. Hatching success and survival is very good between 28.1 and 32.8 C in dry sand (-5000 kPa). Incubation at 35.3 C is lethal for 72% of the eggs and produces weak hatchlings that die within 45 days. Wet sand (-5 kPa) is lethal for desert tortoise eggs. Hatchling size was dependent upon egg size and incubation condition. Hatchlings from eggs incubated at 32.8 and 35.3 C were significantly smaller than hatchlings...