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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HYDROLOGIC PROCESSES, SCALE, CLIMATE VARIABILITY, AND WATER RESOURCES FOR SEMIARID WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

Location: Southwest Watershed Research

Title: Two-Site Comparison of Transpiration by Larrea Tridentata 2024

Authors
item Cavanaugh, Michelle
item Kurc, S. -
item Scott, Russell
item Bryant, Ross

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2008
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Citation: Cavanaugh, M.L., Kurc, S., Scott, R.L., Bryant, R.B. 2008. Two-Site Comparison of Transpiration by Larrea Tridentata. [abstract]. EOS Trans. AGU, 89(53), Fall Meet. Suppl., B43C-0448.

Interpretive Summary: As a result of landscape changes within the desert southwestern U.S. such as increased grazing, reduced wildfire frequency, and changes in atmospheric conditions, the native creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) has encroached upon historically grass-dominated ecosystems, expanding in range and land cover density. To understand how creosotebush influences the water budget of ecosystems, heat balance sap flow sensors were employed on creosotebush stems at both the Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER) and Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW). Additionally, both sites are equipped with eddy covariance towers, associated micrometeorological measurements, and profiles of water content reflectometers for soil moisture. The differences found between the two sites, including soil type and precipitation regime, are the basis of the following hypotheses. Firstly, we hypothesize that we will not see transpiration (T) responses following storms less than 5 mm at both sites. Secondly, we hypothesize that at both sites we will see a lagged response of T to large precipitation events, with evaporation being the dominate component in the partitioning of evapotranspiration (ET) for the first two days. Thirdly, we hypothesize that the ratio of plant transpiration to total evapotranspiration (T/ET) will be less at SRER due to the larger amount of bare soil exposed at this site. In this study, we show data from one summer at both sites and show how these relate to different precipitation events and soil moisture reservoirs

Technical Abstract: As a result of landscape changes within the desert southwestern U.S. such as increased grazing, reduced wildfire frequency, and changes in atmospheric conditions, the native creosotebush (Larrea tridentata) has encroached upon historically grass-dominated ecosystems, expanding in range and land cover density. To understand how creosotebush influences the water budget of ecosystems, heat balance sap flow sensors were employed on creosotebush stems at both the Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER) and Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW). Additionally, both sites are equipped with eddy covariance towers, associated micrometeorological measurements, and profiles of water content reflectometers for soil moisture. The differences found between the two sites, including soil type and precipitation regime, are the basis of the following hypotheses. Firstly, we hypothesize that we will not see transpiration (T) responses following storms less than 5 mm at both sites. Secondly, we hypothesize that at both sites we will see a lagged response of T to large precipitation events, with evaporation being the dominate component in the partitioning of evapotranspiration (ET) for the first two days. Thirdly, we hypothesize that the ratio of plant transpiration to total evapotranspiration (T/ET) will be less at SRER due to the larger amount of bare soil exposed at this site. In this study, we show data from one summer at both sites and show how these relate to different precipitation events and soil moisture reservoirs

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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