Article

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 71-90

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The temperature responses of soil respiration in deserts: a seven desert synthesis

  • Jessica M. CableAffiliated withInternational Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska FairbanksEnvironment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska Anchorage Email author 
  • , Kiona OgleAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Program in Ecology, University of WyomingDepartment of Statistics, University of Wyoming
  • , Richard W. LucasAffiliated withDepartment of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • , Travis E. HuxmanAffiliated withEcology and Evolutionary Biology Department, University of ArizonaB2 Earthscience, University of Arizona
  • , Michael E. LoikAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Studies, University of California
  • , Stanley D. SmithAffiliated withSchool of Life Sciences, University of Nevada
  • , David T. TissueAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Texas Tech UniversityCenter for Plants and the Environment, University of Western Sydney
  • , Brent E. EwersAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Program in Ecology, University of Wyoming
  • , Elise PendallAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Program in Ecology, University of Wyoming
    • , Jeffrey M. WelkerAffiliated withEnvironment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska AnchorageBiological Sciences Department, University of Alaska Anchorage
    • , Therese N. CharletAffiliated withSchool of Life Sciences, University of Nevada
    • , Meagan ClearyAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Program in Ecology, University of Wyoming
    • , Alden GriffithAffiliated withWellesley College Botanic Gardens
    • , Robert S. NowakAffiliated withDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, University of Nevada
    • , Matthew RogersAffiliated withEnvironment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska AnchorageBiological Sciences Department, University of Alaska Anchorage
    • , Heidi SteltzerAffiliated withNatural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State UniversityDepartment of Biology, Fort Lewis College
    • , Patrick F. SullivanAffiliated withEnvironment and Natural Resources Institute, University of Alaska AnchorageBiological Sciences Department, University of Alaska Anchorage
    • , Natasja C. van GestelAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Texas Tech University

Abstract

The temperature response of soil respiration in deserts is not well quantified. We evaluated the response of respiration to temperatures spanning 67°C from seven deserts across North America and Greenland. Deserts have similar respiration rates in dry soil at 20°C, and as expected, respiration rates are greater under wet conditions, rivaling rates observed for more mesic systems. However, deserts differ in their respiration rates under wet soil at 20°C and in the strength of the effect of current and antecedent soil moisture on the sensitivity and magnitude of respiration. Respiration increases with temperature below 30°C but declines for temperatures exceeding 35°C. Hot deserts have lower temperature sensitivity than cold deserts, and insensitive or negative temperature sensitivities were predicted under certain moisture conditions that differed among deserts. These results have implications for large-scale modeling efforts because we highlight the unique behavior of desert soil respiration relative to other systems. These behaviors include variable temperature responses and the importance of antecedent moisture conditions for soil respiration.

Keywords

Hierarchical Bayesian Soil carbon cycling Q 10