precipitation

Warming-El Nino-Nitrogen Deposition Experiment (WENNDEx): Soil Temperature, Moisture, and Carbon Dioxide Data from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2011 - present)

Abstract: 

Humans are creating significant global environmental change, including shifts in climate, increased nitrogen (N) deposition, and the facilitation of species invasions. A multi-factorial field experiment is being performed in an arid grassland within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to simulate increased nighttime temperature, higher N deposition, and heightened El Niño frequency (which increases winter precipitation by an average of 50%). The purpose of the experiment is to better understand the potential effects of environmental drivers on grassland community composition, aboveground net primary production and soil respiration. The focus is on the response of two dominant grasses (Bouteloua gracilis and B eriopoda), in an ecotone near their range margins and thus these species may be particularly susceptible to global environmental change.

It is hypothesized that warmer summer temperatures and increased evaporation will favor growth of black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda), a desert grass, but that increased winter precipitation and/or available nitrogen will favor the growth of blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), a shortgrass prairie species. Treatment effects on limiting resources (soil moisture, nitrogen availability, species abundance, and net primary production (NPP) are all being measured to determine the interactive effects of key global change drivers on arid grassland plant community dynamics and ecosystem processes. This dataset shows values of soil moisture, soil temperature, and the CO2 flux of the amount of CO2 that has moved from soil to air.

On 4 August 2009 lightning ignited a ~3300 ha wildfire that burned through the experiment and its surroundings. Because desert grassland fires are patchy, not all of the replicate plots burned in the wildfire. Therefore, seven days after the wildfire was extinguished, the Sevilleta NWR Fire Crew thoroughly burned the remaining plots allowing us to assess experimentally the effects of interactions among multiple global change presses and a pulse disturbance on post-fire grassland dynamics.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

305

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Experimental Design

Our experimental design consists of three fully crossed factors (warming, increased winter precipitation, and N addition) in a completely randomized design, for a total of eight treatment combinations, with five replicates of each treatment combination, for a total of 40 plots. Each plot is 3 x 3.5 m. All plots contain B. eriopoda, B. gracilis and G. sarothrae. Our nighttime warming treatment is imposed using lightweight aluminum fabric shelters (mounted on rollers similar to a window shade) that are drawn across the warming plots each night to trap outgoing longwave radiation. The dataloggers controlling shelter movements are programmed to retract the shelters on nights when wind speeds exceed a threshold value (to prevent damage to shelters) and when rain is detected by a rain gauge or snow is detected by a leaf wetness sensor (to prevent an unintended rainout effect).

Each winter we impose an El Nino-like rainfall regime (50% increase over long-term average for non-El Nino years) using an irrigation system and RO water. El Nino rains are added in 6 experimental storm events that mimic actual El Nino winter-storm event size and frequency. During El Nino years we use ambient rainfall and do not impose experimental rainfall events. For N deposition, we add 2.0 g m-2 y-1 of N in the form of NH4NO3 because NH4 and NO3 contribute approximately equally to N deposition at SNWR (57% NH4 and 43% NO3; Bez et al., 2007). The NH4NO3 is dissolved in 12 liters of deionized water, equivalent to a 1 mm rainfall event, and applied with a backpack sprayer prior to the summer monsoon. Control plots receive the same amount of deionized water.

Soil Measurements

Soil temperature is measured with Campbell Scientific CS107 temperature probes buried at 2 and 8 cm In the soil. Soil volume water content, measured with Campbell Scientific CS616 TDR probes is an integrated measure of soil water availability from 0-15 cm deep in the soil. Soil CO2 is measured with Vaisala GM222 solid state CO2 sensors. For each plot, soil sensors are placed under the canopy of B. eriopoda at three depths: 2, 8, and 16 cm. Measurements are recorded every 15 minutes.

CO2 fluxes are calculated using the CO2, temperature, and moisture data, along with ancillary variables following the methods of Vargas et al (2012) Global Change Biology

Values of CO2 concentration are corrected for temperature and pressure using the ideal gas law according to the manufacturer (Vaisala). We calculate soil respiration using the flux-gradient method (Vargas et al. 2010) based on Fick’s law of diffusion where the diffusivity of CO2 is corrected for temperature and pressure (Jones 1992) and calculated as a function of soil moisture, porosity and texture (Moldrup et al. 1999).

Data sources: 

sev305_wenndex_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2011
sev305_wenndex_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2012
sev305_wenndex_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2013
sev305_wenndex_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2014
sev305_wenndex_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2015

Instrumentation: 

Instrument Name: Solid State Soil CO2 sensor
Manufacturer: Vaisala
Model Number: GM222

Instrument Name: Temperature Probe
Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific
Model Number: CS107

Instrument Name: Water Content Reflectometer Probe
Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific
Model Number: CS616

Monsoon Rainfall Manipulation Experiment (MRME) Soil Temperature, Moisture and Carbon Dioxide Data from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2012- present)

Abstract: 

The Monsoon Rainfall Manipulation Experiment (MRME) is designed to understand changes in ecosystem structure and function of a semiarid grassland caused by increased precipitation variability, by altering rainfall pulses, and thus soil moisture, that drive primary productivity, community composition, and ecosystem functioning. The overarching hypothesis being tested is that changes in event size and frequency will alter grassland productivity, ecosystem processes, and plant community dynamics. Treatments include (1) a monthly addition of 20 mm of rain in addition to ambient, and a weekly addition of 5 mm of rain in addition to ambient during the months of July, August and September. It is predicted that changes in event size and variability will alter grassland productivity, ecosystem processes, and plant community dynamics. In particular, we predict that many small events will increase soil CO2 effluxes by stimulating microbial processes but not plant growth, whereas a small number of large events will increase aboveground NPP and soil respiration by providing sufficient deep soil moisture to sustain plant growth for longer periods of time during the summer monsoon.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

304

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Experimental Design

MRME contains three ambient precipitation plots and five replicates of the following treatments: 1) ambient plus a weekly addition of 5 mm rainfall, 2) ambient plus a monthly addition of 20 mm rainfall. Rainfall is added during the monsoon season (July-Sept) by an overhead (7 m) system fitted with sprinkler heads that deliver rainfall quality droplets. At the end of the summer, each treatment has received the same total amount of added precipitation, delivered in different sized events. Each plot (9x14 m) includes subplots (2x2 m) that receive 50 kg N ha-1 y-1. Each year we measure: (1) seasonal (July, August, September, and October) soil N, (2) plant species composition and ANPP, (3) annual belowground production in permanently located root ingrowth cores, and (4) soil temperature, moisture and CO2 fluxes (using in situ solid state CO2 sensors).

Soil Measurements

Soil temperature is measured with Campbell Scientific CS107 temperature probes buried at 2 and 8 cm In the soil. Soil volume water content, measured with Campbell Scientific CS616 TDR probes is an integrated measure of soil water availability from 0-15 cm deep in the soil. Soil CO2 is measured with Vaisala GM222 solid state CO2 sensors. For each plot, soil sensors are placed under the canopy of B. eriopoda at three depths: 2, 8, and 16 cm. Measurements are recorded every 15 minutes.

CO2 fluxes are calculated using the CO2, temperature, and moisture data, along with ancillary variables following the methods of Vargas et al (2012) Global Change Biology

Values of CO2 concentration are corrected for temperature and pressure using the ideal gas law according to the manufacturer (Vaisala). We calculate soil respiration using the flux-gradient method (Vargas et al. 2010) based on Fick’s law of diffusion where the diffusivity of CO2 is corrected for temperature and pressure (Jones 1992) and calculated as a function of soil moisture, porosity and texture (Moldrup et al. 1999).

Data sources: 

sev304_mrme_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2012
sev304_mrme_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2013
sev304_mrme_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2014
sev304_mrme_soiltemp_moisture_co2_2015

Instrumentation: 

Instrument Name: Solid State Soil CO2 sensor
Manufacturer: Vaisala
Model Number: GM222

Instrument Name: Temperature Probe
Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific
Model Number: CS107

Instrument Name: Water Content Reflectometer Probe
Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific
Model Number: CS616

Additional information: 

Additional Study Area Information

Study Area Name: Monsoon site

Study Area Location: Monsoon site is located just North of the grassland Drought plots

Vegetation: dominated by black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda), and other highly prevalent grasses include Sporabolus contractus, S.cryptandrus, S. lexuosus, Muhlenbergia aernicola and Bouteloua gracilis.

North Coordinate:34.20143
South Coordinate:34.20143
East Coordinate:106.41489
West Coordinate:106.41489

Riparian Evapotranspiration (ET) Study (SEON) from the Middle Rio Grande River Bosque, New Mexico (1999-2011): Micrometeorological Data

Abstract: 

This study originated with the objective of parameterizing riparian evapotranspiration (ET) in the water budget of the Middle Rio Grande. We hypothesized that flooding and invasions of non-native species would strongly impact ecosystem water use. Our objectives were to measure and compare water use of native (Rio Grande cottonwood, Populus deltoides ssp. wizleni) and non-native (saltcedar, Tamarix chinensis, Russian olive, Eleagnus angustifolia) vegetation and to evaluate how water use is affected by climatic variability resulting in high river flows and flooding as well as drought conditions and deep water tables. Eddy covariance flux towers to measure ET and shallow wells to monitor water tables were instrumented in 1999. Active sites in their second decade of monitoring include a xeroriparian, non-flooding salt cedar woodland within Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge and a dense, monotypic salt cedar stand at Bosque del Apache NWR, which is subject to flood pulses associated with high river flows. These are the meteorological data collected as part of this study.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

311

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Three-dimensional eddy covariance: Measures fluxes of latent heat, sensible heat, and momentum, integrated over an area such as a vegetation canopy. High frequency measurements are made of vertical wind speed and water vapor, and their covariance over thirty minutes is used to compute latent heat flux, the heat absorbed by evaporation, from the canopy surface. Latent heat flux (LE) is converted to a direct measurement of evapotranspiration (ET). Simultaneous, high frequency measurements of temperature are used with vertical wind speed to compute the sensible heat flux (H), the heat transfer due to vertical temperature gradients. Measuring net radiation (Rn) and ground heat flux (G), allows the energy balance to be calculated (Rn = LE + H + G), providing a self-check for accuracy and closure error.

Design: Eddy covariance systems were mounted on towers in the turbulent surface layer 2-2.5 m above the canopy. Measurement period was 10 Hz and the covariance period was 30 minutes. Additional energy fluxes were made at 1 Hz and averaged over 30 minutes.

Data sources: 

sev311_bosqueETmet_20160713.txt

Instrumentation: 

Current Instruments:

*Instrument Name: 3-D Sonic Anemometer
*Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific, Inc. (Logan, UT)
*Model Number: CSAT3

*Instrument Name: CO2/H2O Analyzer
*Manufacturer: Li-Cor, Inc. (Lincoln, NE)
*Model Number: LI-7500

*Instrument Name: Net Radiometer
*Manufacturer: Kipp & Zonen (Delft, The Netherlands)
*Model Number: CNR1

*Instrument Name: Barometric Pressure Sensor
*Manufacturer: Vaisala (Helsinki, Finland)
*Model Number: CS105

*Instrument Name: Temperature and Relative Humidity Probe
*Manufacturer: Vaisala (Helsinki, Finland)
*Model Number: HMP45C

*Instrument Name: Wind Sentry (Anemometer and Vane)
*Manufacturer: R.M. Young (Traverse City, MI)
*Model Number: 03001

*Instrument Name: Tipping Bucket Rain Gage
*Manufacturer: Texas Electronics, Inc. (Dallas, TX)
*Model Number: TE525

*Instrument Name: Quantum Sensor (PAR)
*Manufacturer: Li-Cor, Inc. (Lincoln, NE)
*Model Number: LI-190

*Instrument Name: Water Content Reflectometer
*Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific, Inc. (Logan, UT)
*Model Number: CS616

*Instrument Name: Soil Heat Flux Plate
*Manufacturer: Radiation and Energy Balance Systems, Inc. (Bellevue, WA)
*Model Number: HFT3

*Instrument Name: Averaging Soil Thermocouple Probe
*Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific, Inc. (Logan, UT)
*Model Number: TCAV

*Instrument Name: Measurement and Control System (Datalogger)
*Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific, Inc. (Logan, UT)
*Model Number: CR5000

*Instrument Name: Levelogger and Barologger (Water Table)
*Manufacturer: Solinst Canada Ltd. (Georgetown, ON, Canada)
*Model Number: 3001 LT M10 and 3001 LT M1.5

*Instrument Name: Mini-Diver, Cera-Diver, and Baro-Diver (Water Table)
*Manufacturer: Van Essen Instruments ((Delft, The Netherlands)
*Model Number: DI501, DI701, and DI500

Discontinued Instruments:

*Instrument Name: Krypton Hygrometer
*Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific, Inc. (Logan, UT)
*Model Number: KH2O

*Instrument Name: Net Radiometer
*Manufacturer: Radiation and Energy Balance Systems, Inc. (Bellevue, WA)
*Model Number: Q-7.1

*Instrument Name: Pyranometer
*Manufacturer: Kipp & Zonen (Delft, The Netherlands)
*Model Number: CM3

*Instrument Name: Micrologger
*Manufacturer: Campbell Scientific, Inc. (Logan, UT)
*Model Number: CR23X

*Instrument Name: Submersible Sensor Pressure Transducer (Water Table)
*Manufacturer: Electronic Engineering Innovations (Las Cruces, NM)
*Model Number: 2.0 (2 m) and 5.0 (4 m)

Mega-Monsoon Experiment (MegaME) Vegetation Sampling Data from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (2014 - present)

Abstract: 

Shrub encroachment is a global phenomenon. Both the causes and consequences of shrub encroachment vary regionally and globally. In the southwestern US a common native C3 shrub species, creosotebush, has invaded millions of hectares of arid and semi-arid C4-dominated grassland. At the Sevilleta LTER site, it appears that the grassland-shrubland ecotone is relatively stable, but infill by creosotebush continues to occur.  The consequences of shrub encroachment have been and continue to be carefully documented, but the ecological drivers of shrub encroachment in the southwestern US are not well known.

One key factor that may promote shrub encroachment is grazing by domestic livestock. However, multiple environmental drivers have changed over the 150 years during which shrub expansion has occurred through the southwestern US. Temperatures are warmer, atmospheric CO2 has increased, drought and rainy cycles have occurred, and grazing pressure has decreased. From our prior research we know that prolonged drought greatly reduces the abundance of native grasses while having limited impact on the abundance of creosotebush in the grass-shrub ecotone. So once established, creosotebush populations are persistent and resistant to climate cycles. We also know that creosotebush seedlings tend to appear primarily when rainfall during the summer monsoon is well above average. However, high rainfall years also stimulate the growth of the dominant grasses creating a competitive environment that may not favor seedling establishment and survival. The purpose of the Mega-Monsoon Experiment (MegaME) is twofold. First, this experiment will determine if high rainfall years coupled with (simulated) grazing promote the establishment and growth of creosotebush seedlings in the grassland-shrubland ecotone at Sevilleta, thus promoting infill and expansion of creosotebush into native grassland. Second, MegaME will determine if a sequence of wet summer monsoons will promote the establishment and growth of native C4 grasses in areas where creosotebush is now dominant, thus demonstrating that high rainfall and dispersal limitation prevent grassland expansion into creosotebush shrubland. 

Data set ID: 

259

Core Areas: 

Additional Project roles: 

499
500
501
502

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Data Collection 

Vegetation and soil measurements are taken in the spring and fall each year. Spring measurements are taken in May when spring annuals have reached peak biomass for the growing season. Fall measurements are taken in either September or October when summer annuals and all perennial species have reached peak biomass for the growing season, but prior to killing frosts. Vegetation cover is measured to assess growth and survival of grasses and shrubs. Bare soil and litter covers are also measured to monitor substrate changes that occur within the plots.

One meter2 vegetation quadrats are used to measure the cover of all plants present in each m2.   There are 10 quads in each plot, checkered along on side of the plot.  There is a tag on one rebar of each quad with the representative quad number.  


General vegetation measurements 

The cover is recorded for each species of live plant material inside the quadrat.  Vegetation measurements are taken in two layers: a ground level layer that includes all grasses, forbs, sub-shrubs, and a litter and bare soil, and a “shrub” layer that includes the canopy of Larrea tridentata.  The purpose of this approach is to include Larrea canopies, while allowing the cover values of the ground level layer to sum to approximately 100%. The dead plant covers are not included in the measurement, thus the total amount may not equal 100%.  It is assumed that the remaining cover missing from the 100% is a combination of dead plant material.

 The quadrat boundaries are delineated by the 1 m2 PVC-frame placed above the quadrat.   Each PVC-frame is divided into 100 squares with nylon string.  The dimensions of each square are 10cm x 10cm and represent 1 % of the total quadrat area or cover.  The cover and height of all individual plants of a species that fall within the 1m2 quadrat are measured.  Cover is quantified by counting the number of 10cm x 10cm squares intercepted by all individual plants of a particular species, and/or partial cover for individual plants < 1%.


Vegetation cover measurements 

Cover measurements are made by summing the live cover values for all individual plants of a given species that fall within an infinite vertical column that is defined by the inside edge of the PVC-frame. This includes vegetation that is rooted outside of the frame but has foliage that extends into the vertical column defined by the PVC-frame.  Again, cover is quantified by counting the number of 10cm x 10cm squares intercepted by each species.  Do not duplicate overlapping canopies, just record the total canopy cover on a horizontal plane when looking down on the quadrat through the grid.

Larger cover values will vary but the smallest cover value recorded should never be below 0.1%.  When dealing with individual plants that are < 1.00%, round the measurements to an increment of 0.1.  Cover values between 1.00% and 10.00% should be rounded to increments of 1.0, and values > 10.00% are rounded to increments of 5.

Creosote 

Larrea tridentata canopy  is estimated using the portion of the canopy that falls within the quadrat.  The canopy edge is defined by a straight gravity line from the canopy to the ground (i.e. imagine a piece of string with a weight on the end being moved around the canopy edge).  ForLarrea seedlings the code LSEED is used and is a separate measurement from the Larrea canopy measurements. The cover measurement for LSEED is simply a count of individuals, not actual cover, as it is assumed that they would have a cover of < 1.00%.

Grasses 

To determine the cover of a grass clump, envision a perimeter around the central mass or densest portion of the plant excluding individual long leaves, wispy ends or more open upper regions of the plant.  Live tissue is frequently mixed with dead tissue in grass clumps. 

Forbs 

The cover of forbs is the perimeter around the densest portion of the plant.    Measure all foliage that was produced during the current season.

Cacti and Yucca 

The cover of cacti and yucca is made by estimating a perimeter around the densest portion of the plant and recorded as a single cover.  For cacti that consist of a cluster of pads or jointed stems (i.e., Opuntia phaecantha, Opuntia imbricata), estimate an average perimeter around the series of plant parts and record a single coverage measurement.

Vines 

Vine cover (and some forbs) is often convoluted. Rather than attempt to estimate cover directly, take a frequency count of 10X10X10cm cubes that the vine is present in. 

Seedlings 

As with other vegetation measurements, the smallest cover value for seedlings should never be <0.1%.  If the value of a seedling’s cover is less, round up to 0.1%.


Non-Vegetation cover measurements 

Materials other than vegetation that are measured in the drought plots include soil and litter.  

Soil 

Measure the cover of the area occupied by abiotic substrates.  Cover is quantified by summing the number of 10cm x 10cm squares intercepted by abiotic substrates.  Cover values < 10.00% should be rounded to increments of  and cover values > 10.00% should be recorded in increments of 5.  If there is no soil in the quadrat, record “SOIL” in the species column for that quadrat and record a “0” for cover.

Litter 

Measure the cover of the area occupied by litter, which is unattached dead plant material.  Cover is quantified by summing the number of 10cm x 10cm squares intercepted by abiotic substrates. Cover values < 10.00% should be rounded to increments of 1 and cover values > 10.00% should be recorded in increments of 5.  If there is no litter in the quadrat, record “LITT” in the species column for that quadrat and record a “0” for cover.


Clipping grass at Ecotone Site 

After measurements are taken at the Ecotone Site, grass is clipped down to the soil and removed from half of the quads in each plot. The goal is to assess the impact of competition on successful creosote seedling germination. The following quads, # 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10, get clipped in every plot at the ecotone site.


Water Addition 

The watering schedule varies based on seasonal rainfall. Our goal is to increase average monsoon precipitation (150mm) by 50%, so we shoot for a total of 225mm on the plots during the summer monsoon.

Data sources: 

sev259_megame_20161222.csv

Additional information: 

Additional Information on the personnel associated with the Data Collection:

Stephanie Baker 2014-present

Megan McClung 2014-present

Chandra Tucker 2014-present

Response of Vegetation and Microbial Communities to Monsoon Precipitation Manipulation in a Mixed Blue and Black Grama Grassland at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Abstract: 

The purpose of this project is to test the hypothesis that the smallest 50% of precipitation events during the monsoon season affect microbial functioning and grassland productivity in mixed grasslands of B.eriopoda and B. gracilis at the SNWR. At the SNWR, the summer monsoon season accounts for 60% of total annual precipitation and drives the majority of vegetation productivity during the year; the largest 25% of precipitation events account for the majority of this precipitation. I predict that important ecological variables such as nutrient and soil moisture availability are disproportionately influenced by smaller events. The proposed project will help tease apart the importance of precipitation event classes on nutrient availability and grassland aboveground net primary production (ANPP). This research will also provide a basis for understanding how increased aridity in the U.S. southwest due to increasing global surface temperature and altered precipitation could affect grassland communities at the SNWR.

Additional Project roles: 

34
35

Data set ID: 

286

Core Areas: 

Keywords: 

Methods: 

We will implement 10 open plots (control) and 10 precipitation exclosure plots(treatment; 20 total plots) at a mixed blue and black grama grassland site at the SNWR. In this experiment, treatment plots will only receive the largest 50% of precipitation events. This will maintain statistically similar total precipitation between control and treatment plots because the smallest 50% of events have an insignificant effect on total seasonal precipitation. How these small events are linked to microbial activity and vegetation productivity is still very much unknown. I predict that soil microbial activity and nutrient availability will differ between control and treatment plots and will result in differing vegetation ANPP between them. These effects may become more distinct as time progresses, which is the reason for conducting this research for a series of monsoon seasons.

Existing precipitation exclosures (2.45 m x 2.45 m) will be employed at the mixed grassland site. We will implement 20 total plots (10 control, 10 treatment; approx. 500 m2 total area). Temporary site infrastructure will include 10 precipitation exclosures, a water tank (1100 gal.) and soil moisture probes. This infrastructure currently exists at the mixed grassland site and will be adopted from Michell Thomey's project entitled, "Soil moisture extremes and soil water dynamics across a semiarid grassland ecotone."

Precipitation is the only independent variable in this experiment. Using precipitation exclosures, I will remove all ambient precipitation from treatment plots from DOY 182-273. Ambient daily precipitation thatexceeds the estimated 50% threshold will be delivered to the plots within 24 hours of an event. Delivered precipitation will be adjusted for atmospheric demand differences. 

Dependent variables in this experiment are vegetation ANPP, soil nitrogen content, soil enzymatic activityand soil moisture content. Vegetation biomass will be collected from the sites on DOY 181 and 274. Soil enzymatic activity will be determined approximately 4 times per monsoon season using plot soil samples. Soil nitrogen content will be measured under vegetation using nitrogen probes. Volumetric soil moisture content [m3 m-3] will be measured continuously using soil moisture probes (30 cm depth). 

Ecosystem-Scale Rainfall Manipulation in a Piñon-Juniper Forest at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico: Sap Flow Data (2006-2013)

Abstract: 

Climate models predict that water limited regions around the world will become drier and warmer in the near future, including southwestern North America. We developed a large-scale experimental system that allows testing of the ecosystem impacts of precipitation changes. Four treatments were applied to 1600 m2 plots (40 m × 40 m), each with three replicates in a piñon pine (Pinus edulis) and juniper (Juniper monosperma) ecosystem. These species have extensive root systems, requiring large-scale manipulation to effectively alter soil water availability.  Treatments consisted of: 1) irrigation plots that receive supplemental water additions, 2) drought plots that receive 55% of ambient rainfall, 3) cover-control plots that receive ambient precipitation, but allow determination of treatment infrastructure artifacts, and 4) ambient control plots. Our drought structures effectively reduced soil water potential and volumetric water content compared to the ambient, cover-control, and water addition plots. Drought and cover control plots experienced an average increase in maximum soil and air temperature at ground level of 1-4° C during the growing season compared to ambient plots, and concurrent short-term diurnal increases in maximum air temperature were also observed directly above and below plastic structures. Our drought and irrigation treatments significantly influenced tree predawn water potential, sap-flow, and net photosynthesis, with drought treatment trees exhibiting significant decreases in physiological function compared to ambient and irrigated trees.  Supplemental irrigation resulted in a significant increase in both plant water potential and xylem sap-flow compared to trees in the other treatments. This experimental design effectively allows manipulation of plant water stress at the ecosystem scale, permits a wide range of drought conditions, and provides prolonged drought conditions comparable to historical droughts in the past – drought events for which wide-spread mortality in both these species was observed. 

The focus of this study was to determine the effects of rainfall manipulation on our two target tree species.  Therefore, the analysis of the water relations of these trees was an essential component of the project.  Sap-flow within each individual target tree was monitored through the use of Granier probes.  These monitoring efforts provided a window on processes such as transpiration and the night-time re-filling of the xylem tissue.  Drought tolerance and adaptation strategies were also explored by comparing differences in sap-flow rates across treatment types and between species.

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

277

Additional Project roles: 

361
362
363
364
365
366

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Site Description

In total, our study site consisted of 12 experimental plots located in three replicate blocks that varied in slope % and aspect. Slope varied from 0-2% in experimental plots situated in level portions of the site, with steeper grades ranging from 6-18% for plots established on hill-slopes. Soil depth across the site ranged from 20 to ≥ 100 cm, with shallower soil depths occurring on hill-slopes where depth to caliche and/or bed-rock was only 20-30 cm in some instances. 

The study utilized four different experimental treatments applied in three replicate blocks. The four experimental treatments included 1) un-manipulated, ambient control plots, 2) drought plots, 3) supplemental irrigation plots, and 4) cover-control plots that have a similar infrastructure to the drought plots, but remove no precipitation.  The three replicated blocks differed in their slope and aspect. One block of four plots was located on south facing slopes, one on north facing slopes, and one in a flat area of the landscape.  

Experimental Treatment Design 

To effectively reduce water availability to trees, we installed treatments of sufficient size to minimize tree water uptake from outside of the plot. Thus, we constructed three replicated drought structures that were 40 m × 40 m (1600 m2). We targeted a 50% reduction in ambient precipitation through water removal troughs that covered ~50% of the land surface area. Drought plot infrastructure was positioned to insure that targeted Piñon pine and juniper were centrally located within each drought plot to provide the maximum distance between tree stems and the nearest plot boundary. Each drought and cover-control plot consists of 27 parallel troughs running across the 40 m plot. Each trough was constructed with overlapping 3ft ×10 ft (0.91 m × 3.05 m) pieces of thermoplastic polymer sheets (Makloron SL Polycarbonate Sheet, Sheffield Plastics Inc, Sheffield, MA) fixed with self-tapping metal screws to horizontal rails that are approximately waist height and are supported by vertical posts every 2.5-3.5 m. The plastic sheets were bent into a concave shape to collect and divert the precipitation off of the plot. The bending and spacing of the plastic resulted in 0.81 m (32 in) troughs separated by 0.56 m (22 in) walkways. 

Individual troughs often intersected the canopy of trees because of their height. The troughs were installed as close to the bole of the tree as possible without damaging branches in order to maximize the area covered by the plastic across the entire plot. An end-cap was attached to the downstream edge of the trough to prevent water from falling onto the base of the tree. The end-caps were 81 cm × 30 cm and made with the same plastic as the troughs. Each end-cap was fixed to the trough with a 75 cm piece of 20 gauge angle iron cut to match the curve of the bottom of the trough and held in place with self-tapping screws. The plastic junctures were then sealed with acrylic cement (Weld-On #3 epoxy, IPS Corp., Compton, CA). The middle of the end-cap was fitted with a 3 in (7.62 cm) PVC collar to allow water to flow through. A piece of 3 in (7.62 cm) PVC pipe or suction hose (used when the bole of a tree was directly below trough) was then attached to the downstream side of the end-cap, enabling water to flow into the trough on the other side of a tree. End-caps were also placed at the downhill end of the troughs on the edge of the plot and fitted with 90o fittings to divert water down into a 30 cm2 gutter (open on top) that ran perpendicular to the plot. Collected water was then channeled from the gutter into adjacent arroyos for drainage away from the study area. 

We built cover-control infrastructures to investigate the impact of the plastic drought structures independent of changes in precipitation. This was necessary because of the high radiation environment in central New Mexico, in which the clear plastic troughs can effectively act as a greenhouse structure. The cover-control treatment had the same dimensions as the drought plots with one key difference. The plastic was attached to the rails in a convex orientation so precipitation would fall on top of the plastic and then drain directly down onto the plot. The cover-control plots were designed to receive the same amount of precipitation as un-manipulated ambient plots, with the precipitation falling and draining into the walkways between the rows of troughs. Cover-control plots were constructed between June-21-07 and July-24-07; drought plots were constructed between August-09-07 and August-27-07.  The total plastic coverage in each plot is 45% ± 1% of the 1600 m2 plot area due to the variable terrain and canopy cover. A direct test of the amount of precipitation excluded via the plastic troughs was performed over a 2-week period during the summer monsoon season of 2008. Two rainfall collection gutters (7.6 cm width, 6.1 m length) were installed in a perpendicular arrangement across four plastic drought structures and four intervening open walkways. One gutter was located below the troughs (~0.6 m above ground), and the other was located just above (~1.35 m) and offset, to determine the interception of rainfall by the troughs. Rainfall totals collected via the perpendicular gutters were measured using Series 525 tipping bucket rain gauges (Texas Electronics, Dallas, TX). 

Our irrigation system consisted of above-canopy sprinkler nozzles configured to deliver supplemental rainstorm event(s) at a rate of 19 mm hr-1. Our irrigation system is a modified design of the above-canopy irrigation system outlined by Munster et al. (2006). Each of the three irrigation plots has three 2750 gal (10.41 m3) water storage tanks connected in parallel.  These tanks were filled with filtered reverse osmosis (RO) water brought to the site with multiple tractor-trailer trucks. During irrigation events, water is pumped from the tanks through a series of hoses that decrease from 7.62 cm (3 in) main lines out of the tank to 2.54 cm (1 in) hoses attached to 16 equally-spaced sprinklers within the plot. Each sprinkler is 6.1 m (20 ft) tall (2-3 m higher than mean tree height), and fitted with a sprinkler nozzle that creates an even circular distribution of water with a radius of 5 m on the ground. Due to the varying topography, sprinklers located downslope (if unregulated) would receive more pressure than those at the top of a hill and thus spray more water. To mitigate this problem, each sprinkler line was fitted with a pressure gauge and variable globe valve (inline water spigot with precise regulation) equidistant from the top of the sprinkler. Each sprinkler line was then set so that the pressure gauges were equal, thus ensuring equal distribution of water throughout the plot, regardless of elevational differences.  The irrigation systems were tested in October 2007 (2 mm supplemental), and full applications (19 mm) were applied in 2008 on 24-June, 15-July, and 26-August. During the 24-June event, we deployed six ~1 m2 circular trays across one of the irrigation plots to test the spatial variation of the wetting. Data from this test indicated that on average, collection trays received 19.5 (± 2.5) mm of water. 

Site Abiotic Monitoring

We utilized Campbell Scientific dataloggers to continuously monitor and record abiotic conditions and physiological measurements across the site.  All systems were connected to a solar-powered wireless network with NL100 relays (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT).  Plots were instrumented with CR-1000 dataloggers (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT).  Each CR-1000 datalogger was accompanied by AM25T and AM 16/32 multiplexers to expand sensor measurement capacity (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT). The south facing block of experimental plots (the intensive physiology block) was extensively instrumented with sensors to measure both abiotic and plant physiological parameters. The non-intensive experimental plots in the north facing and flat blocks were initially only instrumented to monitor abiotic conditions.  

Plant Physiological Response

Multiple physiological characteristics of ten target trees (five piñon and five juniper) within each of the intensive measurement plots were continually monitored by automated sensors.  Stem sap-flow (JS) was measured using Granier heat dissipation sap flow sensors installed in 2007 in each intensive physiology plot within the south aspect block.  Trees in north facing (plots 5-8) and flat blocks (plots 1-4) were not instrumented with sap-flow sensors during the 2007 or 2008 seasons.  All target trees had two 10mm Granier sap-flow sensors installed in the outermost sapwood (Granier 1987).  Each sensor used the traditional two probe heated and unheated reference design (Granier 1987), with two additional probes located 5 cm to the right side of the primary probes to correct for axial temperature gradients in the stem (Goulden and Field 1994). We found that this compensation for axial temperature gradients is critical to reduce measurement noise resulting from the open-canopy and high radiation environment of this ecosystem.  In addition, stems were wrapped with reflective insulation (Reflectix Inc., Markleville, IN) in an effort to shield sap-flow probes from short term ambient temperature fluctuations and direct solar irradiance.  Sapflow (JS) was calculated according to the methods outlined in Granier (1987) and Goulden and Field (1994). Sapwood depth was generally greater than 10 mm on the majority of instrumented trees, thus only a small % of measurements required a correction due to sensor installation in non-functional stem heartwood (see Clearwater and others 1999).  All data from sap-flow sensors was recorded using Campbell Scientific AM16/32 multiplexers and CR1000 dataloggers (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT).

Statistics 

Statistical tests for treatment differences in stem sap-flow (JS) were analyzed using a linear-effects mixed model with repeated measures.  For the repeated measures analysis, an autoregressive first order [AR(1)] covariance structure was utilized.  Differences between groups and/or treatment means were deemed significant at a threshold α-value of p = 0.05.   All mean values are reported with ± 1 S.E.  

Data Processing and Quality Assurance & Control (QA-QC)

Data processing and QA-QC were performed using either Matlab (The Mathworks, Inc.) or Microsoft Office 2010 Excel (Microsoft Corporation) software.  All raw and/or processed data traces were visually plotted and inspected for noisy, erroneous, or out of range data points or sensors traces.  All removed data points had a “NaN” value assigned.   Despite this QA-QC review and data cleaning, all data sets should still be evaluated for outliers, etc., as standard outlier statistical tests were not performed.

Data sources: 

sev277_pjsapflow06_20150608.txt
sev277_pjsapflow07_20150608.txt
sev277_pjsapflow08_20150608.txt
sev277_pjsapflow09_20150608.txt
sev277_pjsapflow10_20150608.txt
sev277_pjsapflow11_20150608.txt
sev277_pjsapflow12_20150608.txt
sev277_pjsapflow13_20150608.txt

Quality Assurance: 

Data processing and QA-QC were performed using either Matlab (The Mathworks, Inc.) or Microsoft Office 2010 Excel (Microsoft Corporation) software.  All raw and/or processed data traces were visually plotted and inspected for noisy, erroneous, or out of range data points or sensors traces.  All removed data points had a “NaN” value assigned.   Despite this QA-QC review and data cleaning, all data sets should still be evaluated for outliers, etc., as standard outlier statistical tests were not performed.

Additional information: 

Additional notes: The Sapflow Js data-set contains 15 minute interval data from 2006 thru 2012.   Data Qa/Qc has been performed on these files.   PJ day refers to days since start of project (i.e., 1/1/2006).   PJ Timestamp denotes/records each 15 minute interval entry from 1/1/2006.

The treatment classes provided in the file are as follows; ambient (1), drought (2), cover control (3), and irrigation (4).  The experiment used plot aspect as the blocking factor.   There are 3 different replicate blocks and block classifications designated in the files; flat aspect (1), north aspect (2), and south aspect (3).  This will be obvious when viewing the files.

The remaining cols in the data frame are the 15 minute sap-flow data for each tree in a particular plot.   This type of variable is commonly referred to as sapflow density, and it is represented by the symbol/abbreviation JS, in units of (g/m2 s).  

Tree numbers are always grouped by species as follows (regardless of plot); Trees 1-5 are original Pinus edulis, Trees 6-10 are original Juniper monosperma.   When one of these original trees died, an additional tree in the plot was added to retain an adequate sample size over time (i.e., multiple years+).   These additional trees are grouped as follows; Trees 11-15 are “replacement” Pinus edulis, Trees 16-20 are “replacement” Juniper monosperma.  “Replacement” is used here in a more restricted sense, as these additional trees have their separate and unique tree designation number.

So, in differing plots you will have differing numbers of trees depending on; 1) the number of trees for which data was collected, and 2) how many additional “replacement trees” had to be designated due to mortality (or partial mortality) of original trees.  Many plots have n=10 trees, based on the original T1-T5 & T6-10 designation, as these particular plots did not experience mortality.   However, a plot like P10 has a total of n=16 trees.  In P10, the original T1-5 & T6-T10 trees are listed, a replacement Pinon (T11) is listed, and five additional/replacement junipers (T16-T20).   In some cases you will see data present at the same time for both original and replacement junipers (plots 6 & 10).  This is fine, as juniper experiences a slow/partial canopy dieback, so we monitored the original and replacement trees at the same time in these two plots.     Finally, we only provide data on trees for which data was collected (so for example, in some instances you may only have n=4 cols of data for a particular species in a particular plot).  

Ecosystem-Scale Rainfall Manipulation in a Piñon-Juniper Forest at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico: Volumetric Water Content (VWC) at 5 cm Depth Data (2006-2013)

Abstract: 

Climate models predict that water limited regions around the world will become drier and warmer in the near future, including southwestern North America. We developed a large-scale experimental system that allows testing of the ecosystem impacts of precipitation changes. Four treatments were applied to 1600 m2 plots (40 m × 40 m), each with three replicates in a piñon pine (Pinus edulis) and juniper (Juniper monosperma) ecosystem. These species have extensive root systems, requiring large-scale manipulation to effectively alter soil water availability.  Treatments consisted of: 1) irrigation plots that receive supplemental water additions, 2) drought plots that receive 55% of ambient rainfall, 3) cover-control plots that receive ambient precipitation, but allow determination of treatment infrastructure artifacts, and 4) ambient control plots. Our drought structures effectively reduced soil water potential and volumetric water content compared to the ambient, cover-control, and water addition plots. Drought and cover control plots experienced an average increase in maximum soil and air temperature at ground level of 1-4° C during the growing season compared to ambient plots, and concurrent short-term diurnal increases in maximum air temperature were also observed directly above and below plastic structures. Our drought and irrigation treatments significantly influenced tree predawn water potential, sap-flow, and net photosynthesis, with drought treatment trees exhibiting significant decreases in physiological function compared to ambient and irrigated trees.  Supplemental irrigation resulted in a significant increase in both plant water potential and xylem sap-flow compared to trees in the other treatments. This experimental design effectively allows manipulation of plant water stress at the ecosystem scale, permits a wide range of drought conditions, and provides prolonged drought conditions comparable to historical droughts in the past – drought events for which wide-spread mortality in both these species was observed. 

Obviously, one of the important areas of interest in this experiment was the effects of elevated (greater-than-average) and decreased (less-than-average) precipitation levels on soil moisture.  The volumetric water content of the soil was monitored across all twelve plots, all four treatment types, and all three cover types.  The record created through these monitoring activities not only noted the initial “wetting-up” of the soil after a precipitation event but also tracked the “drying-down” of the soil after the event.  The water content of the soil and its associated storage capacity could then provide a frame of reference in which changes in the physiological properties of our two target tree species, such as water potential and sapflow rate, could be interpreted. 

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

276

Additional Project roles: 

206
207
208
209
210
211
212
213

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Site Description

The study utilized four different experimental treatments applied in three replicate blocks. The four experimental treatments included 1) un-manipulated, ambient control plots, 2) drought plots, 3) supplemental irrigation plots, and 4) cover-control plots that have a similar infrastructure to the drought plots, but remove no precipitation.  The three replicated blocks differed in their slope and aspect. One block of four plots was located on south facing slopes, one on north facing slopes, and one in a flat area of the landscape.  

Experimental Treatment Design (see Pangle et al. 2012 for detailed methodology)
To effectively reduce water availability to trees, we installed treatments of sufficient size to minimize tree water uptake from outside of the plot.  Thus, we constructed three replicated drought structures that were 40 m × 40 m (1600 m2). We targeted a 50% reduction in ambient precipitation through water removal troughs that covered ~50% of the land surface area. Drought plot infrastructure was positioned to insure that targeted Piñon pine and juniper were centrally located within each drought plot to provide the maximum distance between tree stems and the nearest plot boundary.  Each drought and cover-control plot consists of 27 parallel troughs running across the 40 m plot. Each trough was constructed with overlapping 3ft ×10 ft (0.91 m × 3.05 m) pieces of thermoplastic polymer sheets (Makloron SL Polycarbonate Sheet, Sheffield Plastics Inc, Sheffield, MA) fixed with self-tapping metal screws to horizontal rails that are approximately waist height and are supported by vertical posts every 2.5-3.5 m. The plastic sheets were bent into a concave shape to collect and divert the precipitation off of the plot. The bending and spacing of the plastic resulted in 0.81 m (32 in) troughs separated by 0.56 m (22 in) walkways.  

Individual troughs often intersected the canopy of trees because of their height. The troughs were installed as close to the bole of the tree as possible without damaging branches in order to maximize the area covered by the plastic across the entire plot. An end-cap was attached to the downstream edge of the trough to prevent water from falling onto the base of the tree.  A piece of 3 in (7.62 cm) PVC pipe or suction hose (used when the bole of a tree was directly below trough) was then attached to the downstream side of the end-cap, enabling water to flow into the trough on the other side of a tree. End-caps were also placed at the downhill end of the troughs on the edge of the plot and fitted with 90 degree fittings to divert water down into a 30 cm2 gutter (open on top) that ran perpendicular to the plot. Collected water was then channeled from the gutter into adjacent arroyos for drainage away from the study area.

We built cover-control infrastructures to investigate the impact of the plastic drought structures independent of changes in precipitation. This was necessary because of the high radiation environment in central New Mexico, in which the clear plastic troughs can effectively act as a greenhouse structure. The cover-control treatment had the same dimensions as the drought plots with one key difference. The plastic was attached to the rails in a convex orientation so precipitation would fall on top of the plastic and then drain directly down onto the plot. The cover-control plots were designed to receive the same amount of precipitation as un-manipulated ambient plots, with the precipitation falling and draining into the walkways between the rows of troughs. Cover-control plots were constructed between June-21-07 and July-24-07; drought plots were constructed between August-09-07 and August-27-07.  The total plastic coverage in each plot is 45% ± 1% of the 1600 m2 plot area due to the variable terrain and canopy cover.

Our irrigation system consisted of above-canopy sprinkler nozzles configured to deliver supplemental rainstorm event(s) at a rate of 19 mm hr-1. Our irrigation system is a modified design of the above-canopy irrigation system outlined by Munster et al. (2006). Each of the three irrigation plots has three 2750 gal (10.41 m3) water storage tanks connected in parallel.  These tanks were filled with filtered reverse osmosis (RO) water brought to the site with multiple tractor-trailer trucks. During irrigation events, water is pumped from the tanks through a series of hoses attached to 16 equally-spaced sprinklers within the plot. Each sprinkler is 6.1 m (20 ft) tall (2-3 m higher than mean tree height), and fitted with a sprinkler nozzle that creates an even circular distribution of water with a radius of 5 m on the ground.  The irrigation systems were tested in October 2007 (2 mm supplemental), and full applications (19 mm) were applied in 2008 on 24-June, 15-July, and 26-August. During subsequent years (2009-2012), a total of four to six irrigation events (19mm each) were applied (please contact Will Pockman and/or Robert Pangle for specific application dates and rates).   

Site Abiotic Monitoring

Site Abiotic Monitoring (please see Pangle et al. 2012 for more detailed methodology) We used Campbell Scientific dataloggers to continuously monitor and record abiotic conditions and physiological measurements across the site. All systems were connected to a solar-powered wireless network with NL100 relays (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT). Plots were instrumented with CR-1000, CR-7, and CR-10X dataloggers (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT). Each CR-1000 datalogger was accompanied by AM25T and AM 16/32 multiplexers to expand sensor measurement capacity (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT). Abiotic conditions were measured under each cover type (n=3-5 locations per cover type): under piñon, juniper, and intercanopy areas between trees. These measurements included; a) soil temperature (TS) at –5 cm depth and shielded air temperature (TA) at 10 cm (above soil surface), both measured with 24 gauge Type–T thermocouples (Omega, Stamford, CT), b) shallow soil volumetric water content (VWC) at –5 cm measured using EC-20 ECH2O probes (Decagon, Pullman, WA), and c) soil VWC at depth using EC-5 soil moisture probes (Decagon, Pullman, WA). Soil VWC profiles had sensors installed at –15 cm, –20 cm, and as deep as possible (down to –100 cm, depending on soil conditions).

Data sources: 

sev276_pjvwc5cm06_20150707.csv
sev276_pjvwc5cm07_20150709.csv
sev276_pjvwc5cm08_20150708.csv
sev276_pjvwc5cm09_20150709.csv
sev276_pjvwc5cm10_20150709.csv
sev276_pjvwc5cm11_20150709.csv
sev276_pjvwc5cm12_20150709.csv
sev276_pjvwc5cm13_20150709.csv

Quality Assurance: 

Data processing and QA-QC were performed using either Matlab (The Mathworks, Inc.) or Microsoft Office 2010 Excel (Microsoft Corporation) software.  All raw and/or processed data traces were visually plotted and inspected for noisy, erroneous, or out of range data points or sensors traces.  All removed data points had a “NaN” value assigned.   Despite this QA-QC review and data cleaning, all data sets should still be evaluated for outliers, etc., as standard outlier statistical tests were not performed.

Additional information: 

The VWC_5cm depth data-set contains 15 minute interval data from 2006 thru 2012.   Data Qa/Qc has been performed on these files.   PJ day refers to days since start of project (i.e., 1/1/2006).   PJ Timestamp denotes/records each 15 minute interval entry from 1/1/2006.


The treatment classes provided in the file are as follows; ambient control (1), drought (2), cover control (3), and irrigation (4).  The experiment used plot aspect as the blocking factor.   There are 3 different replicate blocks and block classifications designated in the files; flat aspect (1), north aspect (2), and south aspect (3).  This will be obvious when viewing the files.


Values are reported in decimal % (in other words, a 0.25 data entry = 25%).  There are three cover types within each plot; 1) VWC (5cm) data under Piñon canopy cover, 2) VWC (5cm) under juniper canopy cover, and 3) VWC (5cm) at inter-canopy locations (i.e., bare, no canopy cover).  The VWC (5cm) data was collected from probes installed/buried at 5cm soil depth.


Detailed information on VWC-5cm header columns for the Tree_Number, SensorID, Species, and Sensor_Location variables.  Tree_Number refers to the label given to each sensor probe (i.e., it is installed beneath a specific target tree or a bare inter-canopy location).  The SensorID is an identifier that provides both the Tree_Number information and the soil depth of the probe.  Species indicates the cover type where the measurement was made; PIED, JUMO, or bare ground/intercanopy (INCA).   And the Sensor_Location simply indicates the depth where the soil moisture (VWC) probe is installed.   


Tree numbers are always grouped by species as follows (regardless of plot); Trees 1-5 are original Pinus edulis, Trees 6-10 are original Juniper monosperma.  B1 through B5 always designate an inter-canopy (i.e., bare) location.  Note, for the VWC_5cm data – there are no or very few “replacement” trees.  All (or most all) VWC_5cm measurements were made original target trees, i,e., the sensor installation positions/locations remained in their original locations regardless of any later tree death or mortality.


Similar to the Sapflow-JS data, there may be differing tree labels (and sample sizes, i.e., n=3, n=4, or n=5) for each cover type in differing plots depending on; 1) the specific target trees under which measurements were made, and 2) the total number of target trees in a given plot under which soil moisture probes were installed (this varies from n=3 to n=5 per cover type for differing plots).    This will be obvious when you view the files for different plots.

Ecosystem-Scale Rainfall Manipulation in a Piñon-Juniper Forest at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico: Soil Temperature Data (2006-2013)

Abstract: 

Climate models predict that water limited regions around the world will become drier and warmer in the near future, including southwestern North America. We developed a large-scale experimental system that allows testing of the ecosystem impacts of precipitation changes. Four treatments were applied to 1600 m2 plots (40 m × 40 m), each with three replicates in a piñon pine (Pinus edulis) and juniper (Juniper monosperma) ecosystem. These species have extensive root systems, requiring large-scale manipulation to effectively alter soil water availability.  Treatments consisted of: 1) irrigation plots that receive supplemental water additions, 2) drought plots that receive 55% of ambient rainfall, 3) cover-control plots that receive ambient precipitation, but allow determination of treatment infrastructure artifacts, and 4) ambient control plots. Our drought structures effectively reduced soil water potential and volumetric water content compared to the ambient, cover-control, and water addition plots. Drought and cover control plots experienced an average increase in maximum soil and air temperature at ground level of 1-4° C during the growing season compared to ambient plots, and concurrent short-term diurnal increases in maximum air temperature were also observed directly above and below plastic structures. Our drought and irrigation treatments significantly influenced tree predawn water potential, sap-flow, and net photosynthesis, with drought treatment trees exhibiting significant decreases in physiological function compared to ambient and irrigated trees. Supplemental irrigation resulted in a significant increase in both plant water potential and xylem sap-flow compared to trees in the other treatments. This experimental design effectively allows manipulation of plant water stress at the ecosystem scale, permits a wide range of drought conditions, and provides prolonged drought conditions comparable to historical droughts in the past – drought events for which wide-spread mortality in both these species was observed. 

Soil temperature impacts both the abiotic and biotic processes at our site. The rate of evaporation, soil water content, VPD, and many other environmental factors are directly or indirectly affected by the temperature of the system. By monitoring the soil temperature at our site, we were able to determine its influence on the target trees and their associated physiological functions. Differences in soil temperature between plots can be impacted by the drought and cover-control structures used in our rainfall-manipulation treatments. Therefore, measuring soil temperatures in all three cover types and all four treatment regimes also allowed us to tease-out the temperature differences that were an artifact of the treatment structures as opposed to the actual treatments. 

Core Areas: 

Data set ID: 

274

Additional Project roles: 

248
249
250
251
252
253
254
255

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Site Description

In total, our study site consisted of 12 experimental plots located in three replicate blocks that varied in slope % and aspect. Slope varied from 0-2% in experimental plots situated in level portions of the site, with steeper grades ranging from 6-18% for plots established on hill-slopes. Soil depth across the site ranged from 20 to ≥ 100 cm, with shallower soil depths occurring on hill-slopes where depth to caliche and/or bed-rock was only 20-30 cm in some instances. 

The study utilized four different experimental treatments applied in three replicate blocks. The four experimental treatments included 1) un-manipulated, ambient control plots, 2) drought plots, 3) supplemental irrigation plots, and 4) cover-control plots that have a similar infrastructure to the drought plots, but remove no precipitation.  The three replicated blocks differed in their slope and aspect. One block of four plots was located on south facing slopes, one on north facing slopes, and one in a flat area of the landscape.  

Experimental Treatment Design 

To effectively reduce water availability to trees, we installed treatments of sufficient size to minimize tree water uptake from outside of the plot. Thus, we constructed three replicated drought structures that were 40 m × 40 m (1600 m2). We targeted a 50% reduction in ambient precipitation through water removal troughs that covered ~50% of the land surface area. Drought plot infrastructure was positioned to insure that targeted Piñon pine and juniper were centrally located within each drought plot to provide the maximum distance between tree stems and the nearest plot boundary.  Each drought and cover-control plot consists of 27 parallel troughs running across the 40 m plot. Each trough was constructed with overlapping 3ft ×10 ft (0.91 m × 3.05 m) pieces of thermoplastic polymer sheets (Makloron SL Polycarbonate Sheet, Sheffield Plastics Inc, Sheffield, MA) fixed with self-tapping metal screws to horizontal rails that are approximately waist height and are supported by vertical posts every 2.5-3.5 m. The plastic sheets were bent into a concave shape to collect and divert the precipitation off of the plot. The bending and spacing of the plastic resulted in 0.81 m (32 in) troughs separated by 0.56 m (22 in) walkways. 

Individual troughs often intersected the canopy of trees because of their height. The troughs were installed as close to the bole of the tree as possible without damaging branches in order to maximize the area covered by the plastic across the entire plot. An end-cap was attached to the downstream edge of the trough to prevent water from falling onto the base of the tree. The end-caps were 81 cm × 30 cm and made with the same plastic as the troughs. Each end-cap was fixed to the trough with a 75 cm piece of 20 gauge angle iron cut to match the curve of the bottom of the trough and held in place with self-tapping screws. The plastic junctures were then sealed with acrylic cement (Weld-On #3 epoxy, IPS Corp., Compton, CA). The middle of the end-cap was fitted with a 3 in (7.62 cm) PVC collar to allow water to flow through. A piece of 3 in (7.62 cm) PVC pipe or suction hose (used when the bole of a tree was directly below trough) was then attached to the downstream side of the end-cap, enabling water to flow into the trough on the other side of a tree. End-caps were also placed at the downhill end of the troughs on the edge of the plot and fitted with 90o fittings to divert water down into a 30 cm2 gutter (open on top) that ran perpendicular to the plot. Collected water was then channeled from the gutter into adjacent arroyos for drainage away from the study area. 

We built cover-control infrastructures to investigate the impact of the plastic drought structures independent of changes in precipitation. This was necessary because of the high radiation environment in central New Mexico, in which the clear plastic troughs can effectively act as a greenhouse structure. The cover-control treatment had the same dimensions as the drought plots with one key difference. The plastic was attached to the rails in a convex orientation so precipitation would fall on top of the plastic and then drain directly down onto the plot. The cover-control plots were designed to receive the same amount of precipitation as un-manipulated ambient plots, with the precipitation falling and draining into the walkways between the rows of troughs. Cover-control plots were constructed between June-21-07 and July-24-07; drought plots were constructed between August-09-07 and August-27-07.  The total plastic coverage in each plot is 45% ± 1% of the 1600 m2 plot area due to the variable terrain and canopy cover. A direct test of the amount of precipitation excluded via the plastic troughs was performed over a 2-week period during the summer monsoon season of 2008. Two rainfall collection gutters (7.6 cm width, 6.1 m length) were installed in a perpendicular arrangement across four plastic drought structures and four intervening open walkways. One gutter was located below the troughs (~0.6 m above ground), and the other was located just above (~1.35 m) and offset, to determine the interception of rainfall by the troughs. Rainfall totals collected via the perpendicular gutters were measured using Series 525 tipping bucket rain gauges (Texas Electronics, Dallas, TX). 

Our irrigation system consisted of above-canopy sprinkler nozzles configured to deliver supplemental rainstorm event(s) at a rate of 19 mm hr-1. Our irrigation system is a modified design of the above-canopy irrigation system outlined by Munster et al. (2006). Each of the three irrigation plots has three 2750 gal (10.41 m3) water storage tanks connected in parallel.  These tanks were filled with filtered reverse osmosis (RO) water brought to the site with multiple tractor-trailer trucks. During irrigation events, water is pumped from the tanks through a series of hoses that decrease from 7.62 cm (3 in) main lines out of the tank to 2.54 cm (1 in) hoses attached to 16 equally-spaced sprinklers within the plot. Each sprinkler is 6.1 m (20 ft) tall (2-3 m higher than mean tree height), and fitted with a sprinkler nozzle that creates an even circular distribution of water with a radius of 5 m on the ground. Due to the varying topography, sprinklers located downslope (if unregulated) would receive more pressure than those at the top of a hill and thus spray more water. To mitigate this problem, each sprinkler line was fitted with a pressure gauge and variable globe valve (inline water spigot with precise regulation) equidistant from the top of the sprinkler. Each sprinkler line was then set so that the pressure gauges were equal, thus ensuring equal distribution of water throughout the plot, regardless of elevational differences.  The irrigation systems were tested in October 2007 (2 mm supplemental), and full applications (19 mm) were applied in 2008 on 24-June, 15-July, and 26-August. During the 24-June event, we deployed six ~1 m2 circular trays across one of the irrigation plots to test the spatial variation of the wetting. Data from this test indicated that on average, collection trays received 19.5 (± 2.5) mm of water.  During subsequent years (2009-2012), a total of four to six irrigation events (19mm each) were applied (please contact Will Pockman and/or Robert Pangle for specific application dates and rates).

Site Abiotic Monitoring

We utilized Campbell Scientific dataloggers to continuously monitor and record abiotic conditions and physiological measurements across the site.  All systems were connected to a solar-powered wireless network with NL100 relays (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT).  Plots were instrumented with CR-1000, CR-7, and CR-10X dataloggers (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT).  Each CR-1000 datalogger was accompanied by AM25T and AM 16/32 multiplexers to expand sensor measurement capacity (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT). Abiotic conditions were measured under each cover type (n=3-5 locations per cover type): under piñon, juniper, and intercanopy areas between trees.  These measurements included; a) soil temperature (TS) at –5 cm depth and shielded air temperature (TA) at 10 cm (above soil surface), both measured with 24 gauge Type–T thermocouples (Omega, Stamford, CT), b) shallow soil volumetric water content (VWC) at –5 cm measured using EC-20 ECH2O probes (Decagon, Pullman, WA), and c) soil VWC at depth using EC-5 soil moisture probes (Decagon, Pullman, WA).  Soil VWC profiles had sensors installed at –15 cm, –20 cm, and as deep as possible (down to –100 cm, depending on soil conditions).

Data sources: 

sev274_pjsoiltemp06_20140122.txt
sev274_pjsoiltemp07_20140124.txt
sev274_pjsoiltemp08_20140124.txt
sev274_pjsoiltemp09_20140127.txt
sev274_pjsoiltemp10_20140127.txt
sev274_pjsoiltemp11_20140127.txt
sev274_pjsoiltemp12_20150702.txt
sev274_pjsoiltemp13_20150702.txt

Quality Assurance: 

Data processing and QA-QC were performed using either Matlab (The Mathworks, Inc.) or Microsoft Office 2010 Excel (Microsoft Corporation) software.  All raw and/or processed data traces were visually plotted and inspected for noisy, erroneous, or out of range data points or sensors traces.  All removed data points had a “NaN” value assigned.   Despite this QA-QC review and data cleaning, all data sets should still be evaluated for outliers, etc., as standard outlier statistical tests were not performed.

Additional information: 

The Plot Temperature data-set contains 15 minute interval data from 2006 thru 2012.   Data Qa/Qc has been performed on these files.   PJ day refers to days since start of project (i.e., 1/1/2006).   PJ Timestamp denotes/records each 15 minute interval entry from 1/1/2006.

The treatment classes provided in the file are as follows; ambient control (1), drought (2), cover control (3), and irrigation (4).  The experiment used plot aspect as the blocking factor.   There are 3 different replicate blocks and block classifications designated in the files; flat aspect (1), north aspect (2), and south aspect (3).  This will be obvious when viewing the files.

Detailed information on header columns for the SensorID, Tree_Name, Species, and Sensor_Location variables.   SensorID refers to the label given to each thermocouple probe (it is installed beneath a target tree or a bare inter-canopy location).   The tree name is an identifier that provides both the SensorID information and the location of probe as either a soil temperature or air temperature measurement.  Species indicates the cover type where the measurement was made; PIED, JUMO, or bare ground/intercanopy (INCA).   And the Sensor_Location simply indicates weather the reported value is a soil or air temperature value (in Celsius degrees).  

Tree numbers are always grouped by species as follows (regardless of plot); Trees 1-5 are original Pinus edulis, Trees 6-10 are original Juniper monosperma.  B1 through B5 always designate an inter-canopy (i.e., bare) location.  Note, For the Tsoil and Tair data – there are no “replacement” trees.  All temperature measurements were made original target trees, i,e., the temperature probe installation positions/locations remained in their original locations regardless of any later tree death or mortality.

Similar to the Sapflow-JS data, there may be differing tree labels (and sample sizes, i.e., n=3, n=4, or n=5) for each cover type in differing plots depending on; 1) the specific target trees under which measurements were made, and 2) the total number of target trees in a given plot under which thermocouples were installed (this varies from n=3 to n=5 per cover type for differing plots).    This will be obvious when you view the files for different plots.

Ecosystem-Scale Rainfall Manipulation in a Piñon-Juniper Forest at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico: Meteorological Data (2006-2013)

Abstract: 

Climate models predict that water limited regions around the world will become drier and warmer in the near future, including southwestern North America. We developed a large-scale experimental system that allows testing of the ecosystem impacts of precipitation changes. Four treatments were applied to 1600 m2 plots (40 m × 40 m), each with three replicates in a piñon pine (Pinus edulis) and juniper (Juniper monosperma) ecosystem. These species have extensive root systems, requiring large-scale manipulation to effectively alter soil water availability.  Treatments consisted of: 1) irrigation plots that receive supplemental water additions, 2) drought plots that receive 55% of ambient rainfall, 3) cover-control plots that receive ambient precipitation, but allow determination of treatment infrastructure artifacts, and 4) ambient control plots. Our drought structures effectively reduced soil water potential and volumetric water content compared to the ambient, cover-control, and water addition plots. Drought and cover control plots experienced an average increase in maximum soil and air temperature at ground level of 1-4° C during the growing season compared to ambient plots, and concurrent short-term diurnal increases in maximum air temperature were also observed directly above and below plastic structures. Our drought and irrigation treatments significantly influenced tree predawn water potential, sap-flow, and net photosynthesis, with drought treatment trees exhibiting significant decreases in physiological function compared to ambient and irrigated trees. Supplemental irrigation resulted in a significant increase in both plant water potential and xylem sap-flow compared to trees in the other treatments. This experimental design effectively allows manipulation of plant water stress at the ecosystem scale, permits a wide range of drought conditions, and provides prolonged drought conditions comparable to historical droughts in the past – drought events for which wide-spread mortality in both these species was observed.

A micrometeorological station was used to document the climatic conditions at the study site.  Monitoring the ambient environment in this way allowed us to more easily determine which tree growth responses were driven by changes in the native climate as opposed to those resulting from the rainfall manipulation treatments.  Environmental factors such as temperature, relative humidity, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) have a huge impact on the physiological processes that are being explored in this project.  The data collected by the station created a local climatic record which was needed to provide the context in which the treatment effects can be examined and sensor readings can be interpreted.

Data set ID: 

273

Additional Project roles: 

367

Core Areas: 

Keywords: 

Methods: 

A CR-10X datalogger was used to record data from a micrometeorological tower centrally located in an open intercanopy area of the study site. This tower recorded precipitation with a Series 525 rain gauge (Texas Electronics, Dallas, TX), net radiation with a Kipp and Zonen NK-LITE net radiometer (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT), photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) with a LI-190SA sensor (Li-Cor, Lincoln, NE), windspeed and direction monitored with a 05103-L R.M. Young wind monitor (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT), and air temperature and RH% with a Vaisala HMP45C sensor. During winter months the rain gauge was fitted with a snow adaptor to thaw snow and record the total amount in mm rain. All met-station measurements were made at a height of 1-3 m above ground depending on the sensor array in question. 

Data sources: 

sev273_pjmet_20130508.csv

Linking Precipitation and C3 - C4 Plant Production to Resource Dynamics in Higher Trophic Level Consumers: Insect Data (2005-2006)

Abstract: 

In many ecosystems, seasonal shifts in temperature and precipitation induce pulses of primary productivity that vary in phenology, abundance and nutritional quality.  Variation in these resource pulses could strongly influence community composition and ecosystem function, because these pervasive bottom-up forces play a primary role in determining the biomass, life cycles and interactions of organisms across trophic levels.  The focus of this research is to understand how consumers across trophic levels alter resource use and assimilation over seasonal and inter-annual timescales in response to climatically driven changes in pulses of primary productivity. We measured the carbon isotope ratios (d13C) of plant, arthropod, and lizard tissues in the northern Chihuahuan Desert to quantify the relative importance of primary production from plants using C3 and C4 photosynthesis for consumers.  Summer monsoonal rains on the Sevilleta LTER in New Mexico support a pulse of C4 plant production that have tissue d13C values distinct from C3 plants.  During a year when precipitation patterns were relatively normal, d13C measurements showed that consumers used and assimilated significantly more C4 derived carbon over the course of a summer; tracking the seasonal increase in abundance of C4 plants.  In the following spring, after a failure in winter precipitation and the associated failure of spring C3 plant growth, consumers showed elevated assimilation of C4 derived carbon relative to a normal rainfall regime. These findings provide insight into how climate, pulsed resources and temporal trophic dynamics may interact to shape semi-arid grasslands such as the Chihuahuan Desert in the present and future.

Data set ID: 

271

Additional Project roles: 

437

Core Areas: 

Keywords: 

Methods: 

Study site: 

This research was conducted on the Sevilleta LTER, located 100 km south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is an ecotonal landscape of Chihuahuan desert shrub and grasslands (Muldavin et al. 2008).  Data were collected from a 0.9 x 0.5km strip of land that encompassed a flat bajada and a shallow rocky canyon of mixed desert shrub and grassland dominated by the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and black grama grass (Bouteloua eriopoda). 

Tissue collection & sample preparation for stable isotope analysis:

From May to October of 2005 and 2006 we collected plant, lizard, and arthropod tissues for carbon stable isotope analysis. During mid-summer of 2005, we randomly collected leaf and stem samples from the 38 most abundant species of plants; these species produce over 90% of the annual biomass on our study site (see Appendix Table A).  Approximately 3.5 mg of plant material was then loaded into pre-cleaned tin capsules for isotope analysis.  

All animal research was conducted with the approval of the institutional animal care and use committee (UNM-IACUC #05MCC004).  Lizards were captured by hand using noose poles and by drift fence and pitfall trap arrays (Enge 2001) randomly scattered over a 0.5 km2 area.   Each lizard was toe clipped for permanent identification and snout-vent length (SVL), body mass (g) and sex were recorded.  For stable isotope analysis, we obtained a 50 μL blood sample from each lizard and only sampled individuals once in a two week period.  We acquired a total of 367 blood samples from 11 lizard species.  Blood samples were obtained by slipping a micro-capillary tube (Fisherbrand heparinized 50μL capillary tubes) ventral and posterior to the eyeball to puncture the retro-orbital sinus.   Before and after this procedure a local anesthesia (0.5% tetracaine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution, Akorn Inc.) was applied to the eye.  Blood samples were stored on ice and centrifuged within 24 hours to separate plasma and red blood cells.  For isotope analysis 15 μL of plasma were pipetted into a tin capsule, air dried, and then folded.  

Arthropods were captured bi-weekly from May through October of each year in pitfall traps (see above), as well as by hand and sweep netting. Individuals were frozen, lyophilized, ground into a fine powder and 0.5 mg samples were loaded into tin capsules for isotope analysis.

Stable isotope analysis:

Carbon isotope ratios of samples were measured on a continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer (Thermo-Finnigan IRMS Delta Plus) with samples combusted in a Costech ECS 4010 Elemental Analyzer in the UNM Earth and Planetary Sciences Mass Spectrometry lab.  The precision of these analyses was ± 0.1‰ SD for δ13C.  A laboratory standard calibrated against international standards (valine δ13C -26.3‰ VPDB [Vienna Pee Dee Belemnite Standard]) was included on each run in order to make corrections to raw values. Stable isotope ratios are expressed using standard delta notation (δ) in parts per thousand (‰) as: δX = (Rsample /Rstandard – 1) x 1000, where Rsample and Rstandard are the molar ratios of 13C/12C of a sample and standard. 

Estimation of C3 and C4 carbon incorporation into arthropods and lizards:

We used d13C values of consumer tissues and a two-end-point mixing model to estimate the proportion of a consumer’s assimilated carbon that was derived from each plant photosynthetic type (Martinez del Rio and Wolf 2005):  

In this model p is the fraction of dietary C4 plant material incorporated into a sampled tissue. We chose to analyze the isotope composition of whole bodies for arthropods because this best reflects the diet of lizards.  For lizards we chose plasma because it has a rapid 13C turnover rate with an inter-specific retention time ranging from 25 to 44 days (Warne et al. 2009b). In the above model Δ is a discrimination factor, which is defined as the difference in isotope values between an animal’s tissues and food when feeding on an isotopically pure diet (DeNiro and Epstein 1978).  For our mixing model estimates we used discrimination (Δ13C) values resulting from a diet switch study for two species of lizards (Sceloporus undulatus, and Crotaphytus collaris) fed a diet of C4 raised crickets (Warne et al. 2009b).  We found the plasma of these lizards had a mean Δ13C = -0.2 ± 0.4‰ VPDB, while crickets fed a C4 based dog food had a Δ13C = -0.9 ± 0.4‰.  Reviews of stable isotope ecology have reported Δ13C values for arthropods ranging from -0.5 ± 0.3‰ (Spence and Rosenheim 2005) to 0.3 ± 0.1‰ (McCutchan et al. 2003).  Although variation in our assumed Δ13C values would affect proportional estimates of the C3 or C4 resources consumed, the observed trends would not change. 

Data analysis:  

To compare the seasonal isotope values of consumers between a spring C3 dominated and a summer C4 dominated ecosystem we present the mean δ13C (± SE) of each consumer species during the pre-monsoon (May, June and early-mid-July) and monsoonal periods for each year of this study.   We defined the monsoon period to begin with the first day of recorded monsoon rains in July (monsoon 2005 = July 25 to October 15; monsoon 2006 = July 6 to October 15).  The effects of seasonal and inter-annual primary production patterns on consumer resource assimilation (δ13C) were determined by two-way ANOVA using the PROC MIXED procedure (Littell et al. 2006) in SAS (SAS 1999).  To examine these effects in the lizard community as a whole, lizard species were treated as random effects in the PROC MIXED model.  In order to determine the significance of seasonal and year effects post-hoc analyses were conducted using Tukey-Kramer’s hsd test (Sokal and Rohlf 1995).  Prior to analysis the data were tested for homogeneity of variance and confirmed to meet the assumptions of ANOVA.

Data sources: 

sev271_insectisotope_20140521.txt

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