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The effect of herbivory on grassland whole-plant production is poorly understood. Herbivores can increase grassland aboveground productivity, and laboratory experiments suggest that herbivory should reduce grass root growth. However, few field studies have directly measured the response of grassland root production to herbivores. We examined the effect of native migratory ungulates on grassland primary production by comparing aboveground (NAP) and belowground (NBP) production in grazed vs. ungrazed (fenced) grassland at nine variable sites in Yellowstone National Park. NBP was determined with minirhizotrons to account for root turnover. Grazers stimulated aboveground, below-ground, and whole-grassland productivity...
Juniper species are noted for long-lived foliage, low and persistent gas exchange activity and drought tolerance. Because leaves and roots of the same species are thought to be similar in structure and life history, we hypothesized that Juniperus osteosperma (Torr.) Little (Utah juniper) fine roots would reflect the persistent aboveground foliage characteristic of this species. We monitored fine roots, less than 1 mm in diameter, by minirhizotron imaging to a depth of 150 cm over two growing seasons from April 2002 to December 2003. We measured fine root numbers, lengths and diameters, and noted the time of birth and death of root segments. We correlated our root data with soil water potential measured by thermocouple...

    map background search result map search result map Root turnover and relocation in the soil profile in response to seasonal soil water variation in a natural stand of Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma).