|Title||Arroyo water storage and soil nutrients and their effects on gas-exchange of shrub species in the northern Chihuahuan Desert|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1999|
|Authors||Atchley M.C., de Soyza A.G., Whitford WG|
|Journal||Journal of Arid Environments|
|ARIS Log Number||098831|
|Keywords||Chihuahuan Desert, Chilopsis linearis, fallugia paradoxa, photosynthesis, prosopis glandulosa, soil nutrients, soil water storage, transpiration|
A variable fraction of the rain falling on desert landscapes runs off and accumulates in ephemeral channels (arroyos), where some of the water is transported downslope. Relatively large amounts of water are stored in arroyo sediments. This water may support high rates of gas-exchange in some riparian species. We examined differences in the timing of flow events, soil water storage, and soil nutrients on gas-exchange rates of shrubs growing on arroyo margins and in adjacent piedmont areas in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico, USA. The semi-riparian shrub, Fallugia paradoxa (Apache plume), had very different photosynthetic rates between two arroyos, but transpiration rates did not differ. This may result from nutrient limitation differences between arroyos. At one site, the semi-riparian shrub, Prosopis glandulosa (mesquite), on arroyo margins had access to more water and showed higher rates of gas-exchange compared with non-arroyo mesquite located on nearby piedmont areas. The obligate riparian shrub, Chilopsis linearis (desert willow), had intermediate gas-exchange rates when compared with Apache plume and mesquite, and neither soil water nor nutrient concentrations appeared to affect photosynthesis during the growing season. Variation between and within arroyos was high; however, our data suggest that stored water enabled mesquite of arroyo margins to maintain relatively high rates of gas-exchange. When water was relatively abundant, nutrient availability appeared to limit photosynthetic rates of Apache plume. (C) 1999 Academic Press.