Oecologia

, Volume 178, Issue 2, pp 403–414 | Cite as

Impact of intra- versus inter-annual snow depth variation on water relations and photosynthesis for two Great Basin Desert shrubs

  • Michael E. Loik
  • Alden B. Griffith
  • Holly Alpert
  • Amy L. Concilio
  • Catherine E. Wade
  • Sharon J. Martinson
Population ecology - Original research

Abstract

Snowfall provides the majority of soil water in certain ecosystems of North America. We tested the hypothesis that snow depth variation affects soil water content, which in turn drives water potential (Ψ) and photosynthesis, over 10 years for two widespread shrubs of the western USA. Stem Ψ (Ψstem) and photosynthetic gas exchange [stomatal conductance to water vapor (gs), and CO2 assimilation (A)] were measured in mid-June each year from 2004 to 2013 for Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana (Asteraceae) and Purshia tridentata (Rosaceae). Snow fences were used to create increased or decreased snow depth plots. Snow depth on +snow plots was about twice that of ambient plots in most years, and 20 % lower on −snow plots, consistent with several down-scaled climate model projections. Maximal soil water content at 40- and 100-cm depths was correlated with February snow depth. For both species, multivariate ANOVA (MANOVA) showed that Ψstem, gs, and A were significantly affected by intra-annual variation in snow depth. Within years, MANOVA showed that only A was significantly affected by spatial snow depth treatments for A. tridentata, and Ψstem was significantly affected by snow depth for P. tridentata. Results show that stem water relations and photosynthetic gas exchange for these two cold desert shrub species in mid-June were more affected by inter-annual variation in snow depth by comparison to within-year spatial variation in snow depth. The results highlight the potential importance of changes in inter-annual variation in snowfall for future shrub photosynthesis in the western Great Basin Desert.

Keywords

Antelope bitterbrush Climate change Sagebrush Soil water Water potential 

Supplementary material

442_2015_3224_MOESM1_ESM.docx (98 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 97 kb)

References

  1. Adam JC, Lettenmaier DP (2003) Adjustment of global gridded precipitation for systematic bias. J Geophys Res Atmos 1984–2012:108Google Scholar
  2. Alpert H, Loik ME (2013) Pinus jeffreyi establishment along a forest–shrub ecotone in eastern California, USA. J Arid Environ 90:12–21. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.09.017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkin OK, Holly C, Ball MC (2000) Acclimation of snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) leaf respiration to seasonal and diurnal variations in temperature: the importance of changes in the capacity and temperature sensitivity of respiration. Plant Cell Environ 23:15–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Breshears DD, Rich PM, Barnes FJ, Campbell K (1997) Overstory-imposed heterogeneity in solar radiation and soil moisture in a semiarid woodland. Ecol Appl 7:1201–1215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caldwell MM, Dawson TE, Richards JH (1998) Hydraulic lift: consequences of water efflux from the roots of plants. Oecologia 113:151–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cayan DR, Kammerdiener SA, Dettinger MD, Caprio JM, Peterson DH (2001) Changes in the onset of spring in the western United States. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 82:399–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Concilio AL, Loik ME (2013) Elevated nitrogen effects on Bromus tectorum dominance and native plant diversity in an arid montane ecosystem. Appl Veg Sci 16:598–609. doi:10.1111/avsc.12029 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Concilio AL, Loik ME, Belnap J (2013) Global change effects on Bromus tectorum L. (Poaceae) at its high-elevation range margin. Glob Change Biol 19:161–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Essery R, Pomeroy J, Parviainen J, Storck P (2003) Sublimation of snow from coniferous forests in a climate model. J Clim 16:1855–1864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Galen C, Stanton ML (1993) Short-term responses of alpine buttercups to experimental manipulations of growing-season length. Ecology 74:1052–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Galen C, Stanton ML (1995) Responses of snowbed plant-species to changes in growing-season length. Ecology 76:1546–1557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Griffith AB, Loik ME (2010) Effects of climate and snow depth on Bromus tectorum population dynamics at high elevation. Oecologia 164:821–832CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Griffith AB, Alpert H, Loik ME (2010) Predicting shrub ecophysiology in the Great Basin Desert using spectral indices. J Arid Environ 74:315–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Groisman PY, Knight RW, Karl TR, Easterling DR, Sun BM, Lawrimore JH (2004) Contemporary changes of the hydrological cycle over the contiguous United States: trends derived from in situ observations. J Hydrometeorol 5:64–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harte J, Shaw R (1995) Shifting dominance within a montane vegetation community—results of a climate-warming experiment. Science 267:876–880CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hayhoe K et al (2004) Emissions pathways, climate change, and impacts on California. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:12422–12427CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Huxman TE et al (2004) Convergence across biomes to a common rain-use efficiency. Nature 429:651–654CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Jackson RB et al (2001) Water in a changing world. Ecol Appl 11:1027–1045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Knapp AK, Smith MD (2001) Variation among biomes in temporal dynamics of aboveground primary production. Science 291:481–484CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Lambrecht SC, Shattuck AK, Loik ME (2007) Combined drought and episodic freezing effects on seedlings of low- and high-elevation subspecies of sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). Physiol Plant 130:207–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lapp S, Byrne J, Townshend I, Kienzle S (2005) Climate warming impacts on snowpack accumulation in an alpine watershed. Int J Climatol 25:521–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Leffler AJ, Caldwell MM (2005) Shifts in depth of water extraction and photosynthetic capacity inferred from stable isotope proxies across an ecotone of Juniperus osteosperma (Utah juniper) and Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush). J Ecol 93:783–793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leffler AJ, Ivans CY, Ryel RJ, Caldwell MM (2004) Gas exchange and growth responses of the desert shrubs Artemisia tridentata and Chrysothamnus nauseosus to shallow- vs. deep-soil water in a glasshouse experiment. Environ Exp Bot 51:9–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leffler AJ, Peek MS, Ryel RJ, Ivans CY, Caldwell MM (2005) Hydraulic redistribution through the root systems of senesced plants. Ecology 86:633–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Limousin JM et al (2013) Regulation and acclimation of leaf gas exchange in a pinon–juniper woodland exposed to three different precipitation regimes. Plant Cell Environ 36:1812–1825. doi:10.1111/pce.12089 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Loik ME (2007) Sensitivity of water relations and photosynthesis to summer precipitation pulses for Artemisia tridentata and Purshia tridentata. Plant Ecol 191:95–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Loik ME, Breshears DD, Lauenroth WK, Belnap J (2004a) A multi-scale perspective of water pulses in dryland ecosystems: climatology and ecohydrology of the western USA. Oecologia 141:269–281CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Loik ME, Still CJ, Huxman TE, Harte J (2004b) In situ photosynthetic freezing tolerance for plants exposed to a global warming manipulation in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA. New Phytol 162:331–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Loik ME, Griffith AB, Alpert H (2013) Impacts of long-term snow climate change on a high-elevation cold desert shrubland, California, USA. Plant Ecol 214:255–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Looney SW, Stanley WB (1989) Exploratory repeated measures analysis for two or more groups: review and update. Am Stat 43:220–225Google Scholar
  31. Luo YQ, Wan SQ, Hui DF, Wallace LL (2001) Acclimatization of soil respiration to warming in a tall grass prairie. Nature 413:622–625CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. MacCracken MC, Barron EJ, Easterling DR, Felzer BS, Karl TR (2003) Climate change scenarios for the US National Assessment. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 84:1711–1723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marks D, Dozier J (1992) Climate and energy exchange at the snow surface in the alpine region of the Sierra-Nevada. 2. Snow cover energy-balance. Water Resour Res 28:3043–3054CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Maurer E, Wood A, Adam J, Lettenmaier D, Nijssen B (2002) A long-term hydrologically based dataset of land surface fluxes and states for the Conterminous United States*. J Clim 15:3237–3251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maurer EP, Brekke L, Pruitt T, Duffy PB (2007) Fine-resolution climate projections enhance regional climate change impact studies. Eos Trans Am Geophys Union 88:504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mearns LO, Giorgi F, McDaniel L, Shields C (1995) Analysis of daily variability of precipitation in a nested regional climate model—comparison with observations and doubled CO2 results. Glob Planet Change 10:55–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Meehl G, Covey C, McAvaney B, Latif M, Stouffer R (2005) Overview of the coupled model intercomparison project (CMIP). Bull Am Meteorol Soc 86:89–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meehl GA et al (2007) The WCRP CMIP3 multimodel dataset: a new era in climate change research. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:1383–1394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Miller AJ et al (2003) Potential feedbacks between Pacific Ocean ecosystems and interdecadal climate variations. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 84:617–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Murray CD, Buttle JM (2005) Infiltration and soil water mixing on forested and harvested slopes during spring snowmelt, Turkey Lakes Watershed, central Ontario. J Hydrol 306:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Naumburg E, Mata-Gonzalez R, Hunter RG, McLendon T, Martin DW (2005) Phreatophytic vegetation and groundwater fluctuations: a review of current research and application of ecosystem response modeling with an emphasis on Great Basin vegetation. Environ Manage 35:726–740CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Perryman BL, Laycock WA, Koch DW (2000) Investigation of herbaceous species adapted to snowfence areas. J Range Manag 53:371–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peek MS, Leffler AJ, Ivans CY, Ryel RJ, Caldwell MM (2005) Fine root distribution and persistence under field conditions of three co-occurring Great Basin species of different life form. New Phytol 165:171–180CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Price MV, Waser NM (1998) Effects of experimental warming on plant reproductive phenology in a subalpine meadow. Ecology 79:1261–1271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ryel RJ, Leffler AJ, Peek MS, Ivans CY, Caldwell MM (2004) Water conservation in Artemisia tridentata through redistribution of precipitation. Oecologia 141:335–345CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Saavedra F, Inouye DW, Price MV, Harte J (2003) Changes in flowering and abundance of Delphinium nuttallianum (Ranunculaceae) in response to a subalpine climate warming experiment. Glob Change Biol 9:885–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Saito K, Yasunari T, Cohen J (2004) Changes in the sub-decadal covariability between northern hemisphere snow cover and the general circulation of the atmosphere. Int J Climatol 24:33–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schwinning S, Sala OE (2004) Hierarchy of responses to resource pulses in and and semi-arid ecosystems. Oecologia 141:211–220CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Seney JP, Gallegos JA (1995) Soil survey of Inyo National Forest, West Area. United States Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  51. Shaw MR, Loik ME, Harte J (2000) Gas exchange and water relations of two Rocky Mountain shrub species exposed to a climate change manipulation. Plant Ecol 146:197–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Smith B, Mark AF, Wilson JB (1995) A functional analysis of New Zealand alpine vegetation: variation in canopy roughness and functional diversity in response to an experimental wind barrier. Funct Ecol 9:904–912CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sturges DL (1989) Response of mountain big sagebrush to induced snow accumulation. J Appl Ecol 26:1035–1041CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tabler RD (1974) Design guidelines for the control of blowing and drifting snow. Strategic Highway Research Program, National Research Council, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  55. Taylor KE, Stouffer RJ, Meehl GA (2012) An overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 93:485–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vorosmarty CJ, Sahagian D (2000) Anthropogenic disturbance of the terrestrial water cycle. Bioscience 50:753–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Walker DA, Halfpenny JC, Walker MD, Wessman CA (1993) Long-term studies of snow–vegetation interactions. Bioscience 43:287–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Walker MD, Ingersoll RC, Webber PJ (1995) Effects of interannual climate variation on phenology and growth of 2 alpine forbs. Ecology 76:1067–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Walker MD et al (1999) Long-term experimental manipulation of winter snow regime and summer temperature in arctic and alpine tundra. Hydrol Process 13:2315–2330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Weltzin JF et al (2003) Assessing the response of terrestrial ecosystems to potential changes in precipitation. Bioscience 53:941–952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Woo MK, Marsh P (2005) Snow, frozen soils and permafrost hydrology in Canada, 1999–2002. Hydrol Process 19:215–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Yamagishi H, Allison TD, Ohara M (2005) Effect of snowmelt timing on the genetic structure of an Erythronium grandiflorum population in an alpine environment. Ecol Res 20:199–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zierl B, Bugmann H (2005) Global change impacts on hydrological processes in Alpine catchments. Water Res Res 41:W0208. doi:10.1029/2004WR003447 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael E. Loik
    • 1
  • Alden B. Griffith
    • 1
    • 2
  • Holly Alpert
    • 1
    • 3
  • Amy L. Concilio
    • 1
    • 4
  • Catherine E. Wade
    • 1
  • Sharon J. Martinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Studies DepartmentWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA
  3. 3.Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management ProgramMammoth LakesUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Arctic and Alpine ResearchUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations