Soil Moisture Controls on Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Carbon Dioxide Fluxes in Drylands
carbon dioxide flux
AdvisorBrooks, Paul D.
Papuga, Shirley A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDryland ecosystems provide a unique opportunity to study the effects of water limitation on ecosystem activity. The sensitivity of these systems to small inputs of moisture is well-documented, but the expression of water limitation in terms of carbon dioxide flux between the ecosystem and atmosphere remains unclear. Applying a simple conceptual approach to soil moisture dynamics, patterns in carbon flux become clear. Release of carbon dioxide via respiration is primarily driven by moisture in the shallow soil, and differences in respiration rates among plant functional types are only evident after controlling for soil moisture. Alternatively, carbon uptake by a semiarid shrubs ecosystem is largely driven by the availability of deep soil moisture. This link to deep soil moisture improves spatial scaling of gross and net carbon uptake using remote sensing data. Lateral redistribution of moisture on the landscape connects readily observed physical features, namely topography, to ecosystem function, but redistribution is generally not considered in carbon models. A simple runoff scheme coupled to a conceptual model for carbon flux demonstrates the high degree of spatial heterogeneity in carbon dioxide flux resulting from moisture redistribution. The importance of redistribution in carbon modeling is highlighted by interannual variability in modeled carbon fluxes under different rainfall characteristics (event size, event duration, interstorm duration). The links between hydrology and ecology across spatial scales become clearer when topographically-based moisture distribution is used as an organizing variable. In all, this research identifies new avenues for research where moisture dynamics are of central interest in dryland ecohydrology.
Degree ProgramGraduate College