Carbon reduction pathways and standing crop in three Chihuahuan desert plant communities

TitleCarbon reduction pathways and standing crop in three Chihuahuan desert plant communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1976
AuthorsSyvertsen J.P, Nickell G.L, Spellenberg R.W, Cunningham G.L
JournalThe Southwestern Naturalist
Volume21
Pagination311-320
Date Published1976
Call Number00330
Keywordsarticle, articles, carbon reduction pathway, journal, journals, list, photosynthesis pathways, photosynthesis, pathways, plant community, carbon reduction pathways, plant community, standing crop
AbstractThe complete floras of three Chihuahuan desert plant communities were surveyed to determine the relative numbers of species that possess either the C3, C4 or CAM carbon reduction pathway. There were more C3 species in all three communities. Spring-flowering species were predominantly C3 and CAM; C4 species most commonly flowered in the summer. Plant standing crop data were used as an indication of the contribution of each pathway to the primary production of the communities. In the most geographically widespread of the three communities, an alluvial plain, CAM plants contributed 48% of the total biomass while only representing 10% of the possible species present. Less than 1% of the biomass was contributed by C4 species although they comprised 24% of the possible species present. The C4 pathway did make a substantial standing crop contribution in a very localized community, an ephemeral desert lake bottom, where one C4 grass species accounted for 90% of the biomass present.