Chamisa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) shrub plants growing in a former liquid waste disposal site Solid Waste Management Unit [SWMU] 10-003(c) in Bayo Canyon at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) were collected and analyzed for strontium (90Sr) and total uranium. Surface soil samples were also collected from below (understory) and between (interspace) shrub canopies. Both chamisa plants growing over SWMU 10-003(c) contained significantly higher concentrations of 90Sr than a control plant -- one plant, in particular, contained 90, 500 pCi 90Sr g-1 ash in top-growth material. Similarly, soil surface samples collected underneath and between plants contained 90Sr concentrations above background and LANL screening action levels; this probably occurred as a result of chamisa plant leaf fall contaminating the soil understory area followed by water and/or winds moving 90Sr to the soil interspace area. Although some soil surface migration of 90Sr from SWMU 10-003(c) has occurred, the level of 90Sr in sediments collected downstream of SWMU 10-003(c) at the Bayo Canyon/State Road 5 intersection was still within regional (background) concentrations
A major concern of managers at low-level waste burial site facilities is that plant roots may translocate contaminants up to the soil surface. This study investigates the uptake of strontium (90Sr), a biologically mobile element, by chamisa (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), a deep-rooted shrub plant, growing in a former liquid waste disposal site (Solid Waste Management Unit [SWMU] 10-003[c]) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, New Mexico. Surface soil samples were also collected from below (understory) and between (interspace) shrub canopies. Both chamisa plants growing over SWMU 10-003(c) contained significantly higher concentrations of 90Sr than a control plant--one plant, in particular, contained 3.35 x 106 Bq kg-1 ash (9.05 x 104 pCi g-1 ash) in top-growth material. Similarly, soil surface samples collected underneath and between plants contained 90Sr concentrations above background and LANL screening action levels (> 218 Bq kg-1 dry [5.90 pCi g-1 dry]); this probably occurred as a result of chamisa plant leaf fall contaminating the soil understory area followed by water and/or winds moving 90Sr to the soil interspace areas. Although some soil surface migration of 90Sr from SWMU 10-003(c) has occurred, the level of 90Sr in sediments collected downstream of SWMU 10-003(c) at the LANL boundary was still within regional (background) concentrations
James, J J; Richards, J H
In arid ecosystems, the ability to rapidly capture nitrogen (N) from brief pulses is expected to influence plant growth, survival, and competitive ability. Theory and data suggest that N capture from pulses should depend on plant growth rate and availability of other limiting resources. Theory also predicts trade-offs in plant stress tolerance and ability to capture N from different size pulses. We injected K15NO3, to simulate small and large N pulses at three different times during the growing season into soil around the co-dominant Great Basin species Sarcobatus vermiculatus, Chrysothamnus nauseosus ssp. consimilis, and Distichlis spicata. Soils were amended with water and P in a partial factorial design. As predicted, all study species showed a comparable decline in N capture from large pulses through the season as growth rates slowed. Surprisingly, however, water and P availability differentially influenced the ability of these species to capture N from pulses. Distichlis N capture increased up to tenfold with water addition while Chrysothamnus N capture increased up to threefold with P addition. Sarcobatus N capture was not affected by water or P availability. Opposite to our prediction, Sarcobatus, the most stress tolerant species, captured less N from small pulses but more N from large pulses relative to the other species. These observations suggest that variation in N pulse timing and size can interact with variable soil water and P supply to determine how N is partitioned among co-existing Great Basin species.
Salloum, G S; Isman, M B
Petrol and ethanolic extracts of six asteraceous weeds were added to artificial diets to screen for growth inhibition and mortality of the variegated cutworm,Peridroma saucia (Hbn). Petrol and ethanolic extracts ofArtemisia tridentata andChamomilla suaveolens and ethanolic extracts ofChrysothamnus nauseosus andCentaurea diffusa severely inhibited larval growth at five times the natural concentrations. The twoC. suaveolens extracts and the ethanol extract ofA. tridentata were active at the natural concentration (100%) and were further examined at 20, 40, 60, and 80% of this level. Inhibition of larval growth was directly related to concentration for each of the three extracts tested. EC50s (effective concentration to inhibit growth by 50% relative to controls) for the three extracts were 36-42% of the naturally occurring level in the plants. Nutritional indices were calculated for secondinstarP. saucia feeding on the activeA. tridentata EtOH extract and the petrol extract fromC. suaveolens. Addition of the activeA. tridentata EtOH or theC. suaveolens petrol extract to the diet resulted in significant reduction in the relative growth rate of larvae, although theA. tridentata extract was much more inhibitory. Dietary utilization was significantly lower for larvae fed theA. tridentata EtOH extract. PMID:24272019
Berke, Melissa A; Tipple, Brett J; Hambach, Bastian; Ehleringer, James R
The use of hydrogen isotope ratios (δ(2)H) of sedimentary n-alkanes from leaf waxes has become an important tool for reconstructing paleoenvironmental and ancient hydrologic conditions. Studies of modern plant waxes can elucidate driving ecological mechanisms behind geologic deposits. Here, we used a transect across the North American Monsoon region of the western USA from Tucson, Arizona to Salt Lake City, Utah to study variations in leaf wax δ(2)H among co-occurring plants. Three co-occurring life forms were selected: perennial shrub (rabbit brush, Chrysothamnus nauseosus; sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata); tree (Gambel's oak tree, Quercus gambelii); and annual (sunflower, Helianthus annuus). Our results showed that the distributions and abundances of n-alkanes in perennial plants were similar across all sites and generally did not vary with environmental conditions (e.g., precipitation and temperature). In contrast, variations in n-alkane δ(2)H were significantly correlated with the fraction of the annual precipitation coming during the summer monsoon period. We use a modified Craig-Gordon model to speculate on the possible drivers of the δ(2)H values of leaf wax n-alkanes of plants across the region. The model results suggest that the most likely explanation for variation in wax δ(2)H values was a combination of seasonal source water usage and subsequent environmental conditions. PMID:26310435
McKell, C.M.; Van Epps, G.A.; Barker, J.R.
This project investigated the selection and preliminary study of the most productive native shrubs that are commonly found growing on millions of acres of arid and semiarid lands of the Western United States for their potential use as energy fuel from biomass. Many uncertainties exist in producing biomass for energy fuels. However, arid land shrub biomass production offers several advantages that may be more favorable than other biomass types. Shrubs could utilize available marginal croplands and rangelands; there would be little or no competition for scarce water resources, and within the wide diversity of native shrubs, a number of species have a potential for relatively large biomass production. Species chosen for study were fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), big saltbush (A. lentiformis), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), spreading rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus linifolis), rubber rabbitbrush (C. nauseosus), and greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus). The study was divided into three phases. Phase one dealt with the selection, measurement, and burning quality of large growing shrubs in native populations. The main objective of phase two was to measure the biomass production of the selected large growing shrubs at a dryland field research station for three years. In addition the influence of planting space was ascertained. In phase three the genetic differences of large and small sagebrush (A. tridentata) were evaluated. 15 figs., 24 tabs.
Berke, M. A.; Tipple, B. J.; Hambach, B.; Ehleringer, J. R.
The use of hydrogen isotope ratios of sedimentary n-alkanes from leaf waxes has become an important method for the reconstruction of paleohydrologic conditions. Ideally, the relationship between lipid 2H/1H values and source water is one-to-one. But the extent to which the 2H/1H values are altered between initial source water and lipid 2H/1H values varies by plant type and environment. Additionally, these variables may be confounded by use of varied source waters by plants in the same ecosystem. Here, we use a transect study across the arid southwestern landscape of the United States, which is heavily influenced by the North American Monsoon, to study the variability in 2H/1H values of leaf waxes in co-occurring plants from Tucson, Arizona to Salt Lake City, Utah. Perennials, including rabbit brush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), and gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) and an annual plant, sunflower (Helianthus annuus), were chosen for their wide geographic distribution along the entire transect. Our results indicate that n-alkane distribution for each plant was similar and generally showed no relationship to environmental variables (elevation, mean annual precipitation, latitude, and temperature). However, we find evidence of n-alkane 2H/1H value relating to transect latitude, a relationship that is weaker for all samples combined than the strong individual correlation for each plant species. Further, these 2H/1H values suggest that not all plants in the monsoon region utilize monsoon-delivered precipitation. These results imply an adaptation to discontinuous spatial coverage and amount of monsoonal precipitation and suggest care must be taken when assuming consistent source water for different plants, particularly in regions with highly seasonal precipitation delivery.
During the biological survey and inventory of the Hanford Site conducted in the mid-1990s (1995 and 1996), preliminary surveys of the riparian vegetation were conducted along the Hanford Reach. These preliminary data were reported to The Nature Conservancy (TNC), but were not included in any TNC reports to DOE or stakeholders. During the latter part of FY2001, PNNL contracted with SEE Botanical, the parties that performed the original surveys in the mid 1990s, to complete the data summaries and mapping associated with the earlier survey data. Those data sets were delivered to PNNL and the riparian mapping by vegetation type for the Hanford Reach is being digitized during the first quarter of FY2002. These mapping efforts provide the information necessary to create subsequent spatial data layers to describe the riparian zone according to plant functional types (trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges, forbs). Quantification of the riparian zone by vegetation types is important to a number of DOE'S priority issues including modeling contaminant transport and uptake in the near-riverine environment and the determination of ecological risk. This work included the identification of vegetative zones along the Reach by changes in dominant plant species covering the shoreline from just to the north of the 300 Area to China Bar near Vernita. Dominant and indicator species included Agropyron dasytachyudA. smithii, Apocynum cannabinum, Aristida longiseta, Artemisia campestris ssp. borealis var scouleriana, Artemisa dracunculus, Artemisia lindleyana, Artemisia tridentata, Bromus tectorum, Chrysothamnus nauseosus, Coreopsis atkinsoniana. Eleocharis palustris, Elymus cinereus, Equisetum hyemale, Eriogonum compositum, Juniperus trichocarpa, Phalaris arundinacea, Poa compressa. Salk exigua, Scirpus acutus, Solidago occidentalis, Sporobolus asper,and Sporobolus cryptandrus. This letter report documents the data received, the processing by PNNL staff, and additional data gathered in FY
Alados, C.L.; Emlen, J.M.; Wachocki, B.; Freeman, D.C.
Developmental instability has been used to monitor the well-being of natural populations exposed to physical, chemical and biological stressors. Here, we use developmental instability to assess the impact of grazing on Chrysothamnus greenii and Seriphidium novumshrubs, and Oryzopsis hymenoidesgrass, common in the arid intermountain west of the U.S.A. Statistical noise in allometric relations was used as an indicator of developmental instability arising from grazing-induced stress. Unpalatable species that are not grazed (Chrysothamnus greenii) or species that are dormant during the winter–spring grazing period (Oryzopsis hymenoides) show lower allometric variability under high grazing pressure. Palatable species (Seriphidium novum) exhibit high developmental instability under low and high grazing pressure. Grazing pressure imposed by presumably co-adapted wild herbivores enhances developmental stability in species habituated to moderate grazing, likeOryzopsis hymenoides, but stresses plants such as Chrysothamnus greenii that prefer disturbed environments. These grazing effects are probably due to the impact grazing has on competitive relationships and not to the direct action of the herbivore on the plants.
This study characterizes the insects (including spiders) associated with major shrubs of the 200 Area Plateau on the Hanford Site in southcentral Washington. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus sp.) and hopsage (Grayia spinosa) were the three shrubs included in the study. Hemiptera (true bugs) and homoptera (bugs) were the two groups most abundant on sagebrush. Homoptera and Araneida (spiders) were the common inhabitants of rabbitbrush, and Orthoptera (grasshoppers), Coleoptera (beetles), and Araneida the taxa most frequently collected from hopsage. A discussion of the effects of insects on western native shrubs is included. None of the insect populations appeared to threaten the stability of shrub stands, which is important because of the erodability of 200 Area soils.
Heaton, Eric; Thompson, Greg; Negrini, Rob; Wigand, Peter
Paleontological, geochemical, and geophysical data from western Great Basin pluvial Summer Lake, Oregon have established a high resolution paleoclimate record during the late Pleistocene Mono Lake Excursion (~34.75 ka), Dansgaard-Oeschger interstadials 6-8, and the end of Heinrich Even 4 (~38 ka). Proxies of grain-size, magnetic susceptibility, carbon/nitrogen ratio, ostracode analysis and palynology from a depocenter core show new results with improved age control regarding high amplitude, high frequency changes in lake level, lake temperature, and regional precipitation and temperature which correspond directly with colder/warmer and respectively drier/wetter climates as documented with Northern Atlantic Greenland ice core data. Results from geophysical and geochemical analysis, and the presence of ostracode Cytherissa lacustris consistently demonstrate the correspondence of low lake conditions and colder water temperatures during Dansgaard-Oeschger stadials and the Mono Lake Excursion. The opposite holds true during interstadials. Smaller grain size, increases in carbon/nitrogen ratio and consistent absence of C. lacustris suggest periods of increased discharge into the lake, increased lake level, and warmer water temperatures. Warmer/wetter climate conditions are confirmed during interstadials 7 and 8 from pollen analysis. Existence of Atriplex, Rosaceae, Chrysothamnus and Ambrosia, and pollen ratios of Juniperus/Dip Pinus and (Rosaceae+Atriplex+Poaceae+Chrysothamnus+Ambrosia)/(Pinus+Picea+T. mertensiana+Sarcobatus) suggest warmer/wetter semi-arid woodland conditions during interstadials 7 and 8. This contrasts with absences in these pollens and pollen ratios indicating colder/drier continental montane woodland conditions during stadials and the Mono Lake Excursion. Increases in Juniper/Dip Pinus ratio suggest a warmer/wetter climate during interstadial 6 however additional proxies do not demonstrate comparative warmer/wetter climate, deeper lake level or
Angerer, J.P.; Ostler, W.K.; Gabbert, W.D.; Schultz, B.W.
This report presents the results of a study of secondary plant succession on disturbed sites created during initial site investigations in the late 1970s and early 1980s at Yucca Mountain, NV. Specific study objectives were to determine the rate and success of secondary plant succession, identify plant species found in disturbances that may be suitable for site-specific reclamation, and to identify environmental variables that influence succession on disturbed sites. During 1991 and 1992, fifty seven disturbed sites were located. Vegetation parameters, disturbance characteristics and environmental variables were measured at each site. Disturbed site vegetation parameters were compared to that of undisturbed sites to determine the status of disturbed site plant succession. Vegetation on disturbed sites, after an average of ten years, was different from undisturbed areas. Ambrosia dumosa, Chrysothamnus teretifolius, Hymenoclea salsola, Gutierrezia sarothrae, Atriplex confertifolia, Atriplex canescens, and Stephanomeria pauciflora were the most dominant species across all disturbed sites. With the exception of A. dumosa, these species were generally minor components of the undisturbed vegetation. Elevation, soil compaction, soil potassium, and amounts of sand and gravel in the soil were found to be significant environmental variables influencing the species composition and abundance of perennial plants on disturbed sites. The recovery rate for disturbed site secondary succession was estimated. Using a linear function (which would represent optimal conditions), the recovery rate for perennial plant cover, regardless of which species comprised the cover, was estimated to be 20 years. However, when a logarithmic function (which would represent probable conditions) was used, the recovery rate was estimated to be 845 years. Recommendations for future studies and site-specific reclamation of disturbances are presented.
Full Text Available In semi-arid environmental settings with sparse canopy covers, obtaining remotely sensed information on soil and vegetative growth characteristics at finer spatial and temporal scales than most satellite platforms is crucial for validating and interpreting satellite data sets. In this study, we used a ground-based NDVI system to provide continuous time series analysis of individual shrub species and soil surface characteristics in two different semi-arid environmental settings located in the Great Basin (NV, USA. The NDVI system was a dual channel SKR-1800 radiometer that simultaneously measured incident solar radiation and upward reflectance in two broadband red and near-infrared channels comparable to Landsat-5 TM band 3 and band 4, respectively. The two study sites identified as Spring Valley 1 site (SV1 and Snake Valley 1 site (SNK1 were chosen for having different species composition, soil texture and percent canopy cover. NDVI time-series of greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus from the SV1 site allowed for clear distinction between the main phenological stages of the entire growing season during the period from January to November, 2007. NDVI time series values were significantly different between sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata and rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus at SV1 as well as between the two bare soil types at the two sites. Greasewood NDVI from the SNK1 site produced significant correlations with chlorophyll index (r = 0.97, leaf area index (r = 0.98 and leaf xylem water potential (r = 0.93. Whereas greasewood NDVI from the SV1 site produced lower correlations (r = 0.89, r = 0.73, or non significant correlations (r = 0.32 with the same parameters, respectively. Total percent cover was estimated at 17.5% for SV1 and at 63% for SNK1. Results from this study indicated the potential capabilities of using this ground-based NDVI system to extract spatial and temporal details of soil and vegetation optical properties not possible