Description: Questions addressed under this grant shared the common hypothesis that plant and ecosystem performance will positively respond to the augmentation of the most limiting resources to plant growth in the Mojave Desert, e.g., water and nitrogen. Specific hypothesis include (1) increased summer rainfall will significantly increase plant production thorugh an alleviation of moisture stress in the dry summer months, (2) N-deposition will increase plan production in this N-limited system, particularly in wet years or in concert with added summer rain, and (3) biological crust disturbance will gradually decrease bio-available N, with concomitant long-term reductions in photosynthesis and ANPP. Individual plan and ecosystem responses to global change may be regulated by biogeochemical processes and natural weather variability, and changes in plant and ecosystem processes may occur rapidly, may occur only after a time lag, or may not occur at all. During the first PER grant period, we observed changes in plant and ecosystem processes that would fall under each of these time-response intervals: plant and ecosystem processes responded rapidly to added summer rain, whereas most processes responded slowly or in a lag fashion to N-deposition and with no significant response to crust disturbance. Therefore, the primary objectives of this renewal grant were to: (1) continue ongoing measurements of soil and plant parameters that assess primary treatment responses; (2) address the potential heterogeneity of soil properties and (3) initiate a new suite of measurements that will provide data necessary for scaling/modeling of whole-plot to ecosystem-level responses. Our experimental approach included soil plan-water interactions using TDR, neutron probe, and miniaturized soil matric potential and moisture sensors, plant ecophysiological and productivity responses to water and nitrogen treatments and remote sensing methodologies deployed on a radio control platform.
Date: November 30, 2007
Creator: Smith, Stanley D. & Nowak, Robert S.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department