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This completed dataset contains soil moisture data from a study at the Jornada Experimental Range (JER) in southern New Mexico. The study was designed to assess the effect of interannual variability in precipitation on average aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in Chihuahuan Desert grasslands. The study began in 2009 and has five precipitation treatments (see Methods). While the study began in 2009, contains 50 plots (10 per treatment) and is ongoing, these data were only collected from July 2011 to December 2013 in a subset of 20 plots (4 per treatment). This dataset is intended to provide information about the amount of water in the top 30 cm of soil as well as verify that experimental precipitation manipulations are effective. Figure of soil moisture by precipitation treatment: https://jornada.nmsu.edu/sites/jornada.nmsu.edu/files/files/data/soil_moisture_figure.jpg Metadata and data on EDI: https://portal.edirepository.org/nis/mapbrowse?scope=knb-lter-jrn&identifier=210328003
These data are part of a larger study conducted in Exclosure 4 of Pasture 13 on the Jornada Experimental Range (JER) in Dona Ana County, southern New Mexico, USA. The study is designed to assess the effect of interannual variability in precipitation on average aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in Chihuahuan Desert grasslands. It began in 2009 and has five treatments: 1) ambient precipitation, 2) alternating +50% and -50% precipitation, 3) alternating -50% and +50% precipitation, 4) alternating + 80% and -80% precipitation, and 5) alternating -80% and +80% precipitation. Ambient precipitation plots serve as controls and have no water manipulation. Rainout shelters are used to exclude 50% and 80% precipitation and an irrigation system is used to add 50% and 80% of natural PPT (Gherardi and Sala 2013). The +50% variability, in even years, receives one half of ambient PPT by installing rainout shelters and, in odd years, receives 150% of ambient PPT via experimental watering. The +80% variability treatment alternates years of +80% with years of -80%. For the alternating treatments, annual changeover takes place during the third week of May. At the end of the study period, each treatment will have received the same relative amount, but one treatment received a natural PPT each year while the other treatments experienced sequences of dry and wet years resulting in different interannual variability. We use ten replicates per treatment for a total of 50 plots. The soil moisture data presented here is intended to provide information about the amount of water in the top 30 cm of soil as well as verify that experimental precipitation manipulations are effective.
Four plots were selected from each treatment group (total of 20) for soil moisture probe installation. Campbell Scientific CS625 probes were programmed and installed by Laureano Gherardi in August 2010. Data are missing from some probes during periods of disconnect or malfunction, NAs added accordingly. Hourly measurements were made by water content reflectometer and recorded/stored on datalogger (Campbell Scientific CR200x). Data were downloaded a few times annually via USB port on a field tablet computer (Lenovo S10-3t) with Campbell Scientific PC200W software. Datalogger records are checked for date/time completion using R. Any missing records are added in with “NA” values as placeholders.