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Sample records for thar desert soils

  1. Strategic sustainable development of groundwater in Thar desert of Pakistan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zaigham, N.A.

    2002-01-01

    Thar Desert forms the extreme southeastern part of Pakistan, covering about 50,000 km/sup 2/ area. It is one of the densely populated deserts of the world. Population of Thar is living primarily on limited agricultural products and by raising goats, sheep, cattle, and camels. The region is characterized by parallel chains of the NE-SW trending parabolic stable sanddunes having desertic varieties of vegetation, generally on windward sides, up to the crests. Interdunal areas are favourable for agricultural activities, where crops are mainly dependent on rainwater. Average rainfall is significant but inconsistent, due to recurrent drought-cycles causing inverse impact on food-production and socio-economic development. In spite of extensive groundwater- exploration projects, accomplished by a number of organizations, the water-crisis of the region could not be controlled, most probably due to lack of systematic exploration and development of deep groundwater potential. Management of the available water- resources is also not adequate, even to sustain a short period of drought-cycle. On recurrence of a drought-cycle, a significant section of the population is compelled to migrate towards other parts of the Sindh province, which affects their socio-economic stability. An integrated research study, based on geo-electric scanning, drilling and seismic-data analyses, has been carried out to delineate subsurface hydro-geological conditions beneath the Thar Desert. Regional gradient maps of surface elevation, top of subsurface Oxidized Zone, top of coal-bearing formation(s) and the deeply buried basement have been prepared, covering almost the whole of That Desert. These gradient maps, analyzed in conjunction with the annual rainfall data, reveal the existence of encouraging subsurface hydrogeological conditions, associated with the sedimentary sequences and the basement. From the results of the study, it is observed that perch water aquifers, commonly being utilized

  2. Arsenic and Fluoride Mobilization Mechanism in Groundwater of Indus Delta and Thar Desert, Sindh, Pakistan

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    VIQAR HUSAIN

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Indus deltaic plain consists of medium to fine grained sediments, rich in organic matter deposited during the Holocene period. Thar desert is covered with sand dunes and loess originated from transported sediments from Rann of Kutch or the Indus plain by monsoon winds or by the reworking of local alluvial deposits. Groundwater salinity and microbial pollution are common in both types of lanforms, but arsenic (AS and fluoride (F toxicity dominate in the groundwater of Indus delta and Thar desert, respectively. Arsenic concentration in Tando Mohammad Khan and Tando Allayar varies from 10-500 ppb and exhibits near neutral slightly alkaline pH ranging from 6.8 to 8.0. Arsenic distribution is patchy and seems to be related to the prsence of small scale redox zonation in the aquifer. High arsenic affected areas are densely populated and intensively cultivated and its hot spots are those from where the Indus river passed during the Holocene period including Tando Allayar and Tando Mohammad Khan. Extensive ground water irrigation has accelerated flow of groundwater that brought dissolved degraded organic matter in contact with arsenic bearing sediments, enhancing reduction processes and triggering release of arsenic from detrital bioitite and muscovite in the groundwater. Furthermore, unlined sanitation and microbial contamination contribute to degradation of organic matter that enhances the reduction of iron oxy-hydroxide leading to release of arsenic to groundwater. Fluoride is found in all the groundwater samples of Tharparkar district, in the range of 0.96-2.74mg/l. The pH of groundwater is alkaline (7.38-8.59, which is accelerating maximum (1.24%F dissolution in the groundwater. The favourable pH of groundwater and soil composition of Holocene sediments of Indus delta and slightly older alluvium of Thar desert, respectively are responsible for mobilization of arsenic and fluoride in groundwater of Sindh province of Pakistan.

  3. Analyzing energy-water exchange dynamics in the Thar desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raja, P.; Singh, Nilendu; Srinivas, C. V.; Singhal, Mohit; Chauhan, Pankaj; Singh, Maharaj; Sinha, N. K.

    2017-07-01

    Regions of strong land-atmosphere coupling will be more susceptible to the hydrological impacts in the intensifying hydrological cycle. In this study, micrometeorological experiments were performed to examine the land-atmosphere coupling strength over a heat low region (Thar desert, NW India), known to influence the Indian summer monsoon (ISM). Within the vortex of Thar desert heat low, energy-water exchange and coupling behavior were studied for 4 consecutive years (2011-2014) based on sub-hourly measurements of radiative-convective flux, state parameters and sub-surface thermal profiles using lead-lag analysis between various E-W balance components. Results indicated a strong (0.11-0.35) but variable monsoon season (July-September) land-atmosphere coupling events. Coupling strength declined with time, becomes negative beyond 10-day lag. Evapotranspiration (LE) influences rainfall at the monthly time-scale (20-40 days). Highly correlated monthly rainfall and LE anomalies (r = 0.55, P < 0.001) suggested a large precipitation memory linked to the local land surface state. Sensible heating (SH) during March and April are more strongly (r = 0.6-0.7) correlated to ISM rainfall than heating during May or June (r = 0.16-0.36). Analyses show strong and weak couplings among net radiation (Rn)-vapour pressure deficit (VPD), LE-VPD and Rn-LE switching between energy-limited to water-limited conditions. Consistently, +ve and -ve residual energy [(dE) = (Rn - G) - (SH + LE)] were associated with regional wet and dry spells respectively with a lead of 10-40 days. Dew deposition (18.8-37.9 mm) was found an important component in the annual surface water balance. Strong association of variation of LE and rainfall was found during monsoon at local-scale and with regional-scale LE (MERRA 2D) but with a lag which was more prominent at local-scale than at regional-scale. Higher pre-monsoon LE at local-scale as compared to low and monotonous variation in regional-scale LE led to

  4. The aeolian sedimentation record of the Thar desert

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    R. Narasimhan (Krishtel eMaging) 1461 1996 Oct 15 13:05:22

    the monsoon activity in the Thar varied significantly, from being minimal during the isotopic marine stages 4 and 2 ... oped over millennial scale and more, and that the aeolian ..... silt-and-clay-rich horizons within the aeolian sand units, with a ...

  5. Isolation and characterization of osmotolerant bacteria from Thar Desert of Western Rajasthan (India

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    Ramavtar Sharma

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available The Thar Desert harsher environment harbors a limited diversity of life forms due to extreme conditions like low moisture of sandy soils and high soil temperature. In the present study, osmotolerant bacteria from the Thar soils were isolated and characterized. Bacteria were isolated from 20 soil samples (100g, collected from sand dunes, suspended in water and absolute alcohol. A total of 11 biochemical and morphological tests were carried out for generic identification of bacteria. Osmotic tolerance capacity of isolates was examined on glycerol, NaCl and alcohol; and sequencing of 16S rRNA gene was also performed for bacterial identification. 16S to 23S rRNA internal transcribed spacer analysis (RISA was done for phylogenetic analysis of isolates. The soil suspended in water contained 2.5×10(6 bacteria/g of soil while alcohol suspended soil had 4.4×10(4 bacteria/g. The 24 bacterial isolates were found tolerant to 26% glycerol, 14% NaCl and 10% of alcohol, and 22 out of 24 isolates were found Gram positive. The results showed that 45.83% and 41.67% bacteria belong to Bacillus spp. and Corynebacterium spp., respectively, while Acinetobacter spp., Aeromonas spp. and Staphylococcus spp. were in equal proportion (4.16% each. Six isolates were selected for 16S rRNA gene sequencing and five were found 95% similar with Bacillus licheniformis whereas one isolate was identified as B. subtilis. All the isolates showed good growth up to 50°C with gradual reduction on subsequent increment of temperature. Out of 24 isolates, six could survive at 65°C while one isolate could grow at 63°C. Growth kinetic studies revealed that the reduction in generation time in solute(s and temperature stress was more as compared to generation time in plain medium. This study suggests that virgin sand dunes may be a rich source of bacteria, tolerant to osmotrophic solutes, and can be examined for plant growth promotion activity in agriculture. Moreover, study might help to

  6. Ethnobotany of medicinal plants in the Thar Desert (Sindh) of Pakistan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yaseen, Ghulam; Ahmad, Mushtaq; Sultana, Shazia; Suleiman Alharrasi, Ahmed; Hussain, Javid; Zafar, Muhammad; Shafiq-Ur-Rehman

    2015-04-02

    The traditional use of medicinal plants in health-care practices among the rural communities provides the basis for natural drug discovery development. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first quantitative ethnobotanical investigation on the use of medicinal plants in the Thar Desert (Sindh) of Pakistan. In total, 530 local informants and traditional healers were interviewed, using semistructured interviews. Various quantitative indices such as relative frequency of citation (RFC), use value (UV), informant consensus factor (ICF), fidelity level (FL), relative importance (RI), and the Jaccard Index (JI) were applied to the documented data. The traditional medical uses of 87 plant species belonging to 32 families were reported on. Amaranthaceae was the most-frequently cited (nine species), followed by Cucurbitaceae and Euphorbiaceae (six species each). The most dominant life form was herbs (73.56%). The most-used plant parts were leaves, with 65 reports (28.88%), followed by seeds (16%). The common mode of preparation reported was powder (25.75%), with 74% herbal medicines obtained from fresh plant materials. The ethnobotanical result documented in this study provides practical evidence about the use of medicinal plants among the inhabitants of the Thar Desert. Further, the findings revealed that the medicinal plants of the area are a major source of herbal drugs for primary health care used among the rural communities. This survey can be used as baseline information for further scientific investigation to develop new plant-based commercial drugs. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Calcretes in the Thar desert: Genesis, chronology and ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    R. Narasimhan (Krishtel eMaging) 1461 1996 Oct 15 13:05:22

    to Yaalon (1988) soils with secondary carbonate accumulations ..... The fraction over 500 µm constituted 6 to 8% of the sample and its absolute carbonate was less than 1%. .... However, if we take note of the uncertainty level of the estimate, an ...

  8. Fluvial-aeolian interactions in sediment routing and sedimentary signal buffering: an example from the Indus Basin and Thar Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    East, Amy E.; Clift, Peter D.; Carter, Andrew; Alizai, Anwar; VanLaningham, Sam

    2015-01-01

    Sediment production and its subsequent preservation in the marine stratigraphic record offshore of large rivers are linked by complex sediment-transfer systems. To interpret the stratigraphic record it is critical to understand how environmental signals transfer from sedimentary source regions to depositional sinks, and in particular to understand the role of buffering in obscuring climatic or tectonic signals. In dryland regions, signal buffering can include sediment cycling through linked fluvial and eolian systems. We investigate sediment-routing connectivity between the Indus River and the Thar Desert, where fluvial and eolian systems exchanged sediment over large spatial scales (hundreds of kilometers). Summer monsoon winds recycle sediment from the lower Indus River and delta northeastward, i.e., downwind and upstream, into the desert. Far-field eolian recycling of Indus sediment is important enough to control sediment provenance at the downwind end of the desert substantially, although the proportion of Indus sediment of various ages varies regionally within the desert; dune sands in the northwestern Thar Desert resemble the Late Holocene–Recent Indus delta, requiring short transport and reworking times. On smaller spatial scales (1–10 m) along fluvial channels in the northern Thar Desert, there is also stratigraphic evidence of fluvial and eolian sediment reworking from local rivers. In terms of sediment volume, we estimate that the Thar Desert could be a more substantial sedimentary store than all other known buffer regions in the Indus basin combined. Thus, since the mid-Holocene, when the desert expanded as the summer monsoon rainfall decreased, fluvial-eolian recycling has been an important but little recognized process buffering sediment flux to the ocean. Similar fluvial-eolian connectivity likely also affects sediment routing and signal transfer in other dryland regions globally.

  9. Environmental isotope studies on groundwater problems in the Thar Desert, India

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nair, A.R.; Navada, S.V.; Rao, S.M.

    1997-01-01

    One of the groundwater problems encountered in arid areas like the Thar Desert in Rajasthan is to know whether the shallow groundwater is being actively recharged. Environmental isotopes particularly tritium are very useful in providing evidence of recent recharge. In the Barmer area, the shallow groundwaters have tritium levels generally in the range 3-6 TU showing modern recharge. Most of the recharge possibly occurs by direct infiltration of precipitation. Indirect recharge through wadis (river channels) could sometimes be an important mechanism of groundwater recharge. Environmental isotope study in Jalore area showed that the shallow groundwaters near the Sukri river course had δ 2 H and δ 18 O are depleted compared to present day precipitation but not as depleted as the present day Himalayan rivers. Carbon-24 values of some of these groundwaters are in the range of 54-58 pMC showing that they possibly represent old river with headwater connection outside the desert. In the Thar, the deep groundwaters which sometimes form the bulk of water supply are generally paleowaters as sown by environmental δ 2 H, δ 18 O, 3 H and 14 C. For example in the Barmer area, deep groundwaters (depth > 150m) have depleted δ 2 H and δ 18 O compared to the shallow groundwaters and present day precipitation. They have negligible 3 H and 14 C model ages ranging from 4000 to 9500 BP. Hence the isotope data of the deep groundwaters indicate they are paleowaters recharged during humid periods in the Holocene. Over-exploitation of deep groundwaters could lead to mixing of shallow and deep groundwaters or influx of waters from adjoining aquifers. In the Bikaner area similar δ 2 H and δ 18 O of the shallow and deep wells and young waters encountered in some of the deep wells indicated mixing between the two aquifers due to heavy exploitation of groundwaters in the area. In a limestone belt of Jodhpur-Nagaur district heavy exploitation of groundwaters is taking place in the southern

  10. Prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and essential hypertension in the desert area of Thar

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Umedani, L.U.; Ahmad, U.; Frossard, P.M.; Aiwan, M.I.

    2010-01-01

    Globally essential hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are associated with high morbidity and mortality due to unhealthy life styles and lack of preventative measures. In some ethnicities these factors are insignificant due to genetic makeup favoring protection against these diseases. To study the prevalence of risk factors for essential hypertension in the Pakistani population of a desert area of Thar. A random cross sectional study was done from 2002 to 2008 on 276 subjects (126 males, 150 females) in Islamkot-Thar, the desert area of Sindh. Data for anthropometric, demographic, socioeconomic, dietary pattern, basal metabolic index, body fat content, antihypertensive use and psychosocial factors were recorded. Three consecutive readings for blood pressure were taken in 15 minutes. Any systolic blood pressure of over 140mm Hg and diastolic of over 90mm Hg in all 3 readings was taken as hypertension. Study population was divided in hypertensives (patients) and non hypertensives (controls). Data were analyzed in two steps clinically, descriptively and inferentially using SPSS version 14, first for entire population and second by breaking this population into two sub ethnicities having no consanguinity in them. Hypertension was seen in (10.9%) cases while 88.4 % were normotensive. Hypertensive group showed increased association of risk factors e.g. male gender, old age, marriage, moderately high monthly income, lack of exercise, low leisure time activity, prolonged tobacco exposure, parental history, high basal metabolic index profile, intermediate body fat content and stressful job. However, this group showed lack of association of factors like alcohol, extra salt, scarce education and stress. Decrease association with saturated fat was seen as compared to oil (20.7% versus 79.3%). Subethnicity analysis of the two communities, both having no consanguinity showed one group to be suffering from essential hypertension (17%) and its comorbids like diabetes mellitus

  11. Estimates of primary productivity over the Thar Desert based upon Nimbus-7 37 GHz data - 1979-1985

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choudhury, B. J.

    1987-01-01

    An empirical relationship has been determined between the difference of vertically and horizontally polarized brightness temperatures noted at the 37 GHz frequency of the Nimbus-7 SMMR and primary productivity over hot arid and semiarid regions of Africa and Australia. This empirical relationship is applied to estimate the primary productivity over the Thar Desert between 1979 and 1985, giving an average value of 0.271 kg/sq m per yr. The spatial variability of the productivity values is found to be quite significant, with a standard deviation about the mean of 0.08 kg/sq m per yr.

  12. Chemical and genetic diversity among some wild stands of Calligonum polygonoides (Polygonaceae from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan

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    Govind K. Vyas

    2012-09-01

    Full Text Available The arid Western Rajasthan, where the Thar Desert of India is immersed, is mostly covered by sand dunes, a common landscape. The region has confronted with fragilities of natural resources, low, erratic and ill-distributed rainfall, and is covered up with many perennial hardy shrubs. Calligonum polygonoides, the most common perennial shrub, is widely present in some localities of this Thar Desert. In this study, we evaluated the diversity present among 54 wild Calligonum polygonoides plants, sampled from eight different locations within the Thar Desert. Our methods included chemical/nutritional characteristics and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD. Both chemical and molecular methods produced wider range of diversity, however, RAPD detected comparatively more diversity. A total of 163 band positions were produced by ten RAPD primers, of which 147 were found polymorphic with 90.18% polymorphism. RAPD-based Jaccard’s similarity coefficients ranged from 0.43-0.89. The analysis of various chemical and mineral constituents revealed that phog is an excellent source of calcium, potassium and phosphorous while relatively poor in zinc. Among minerals, average potassium content was found maximum (2 430mg/100g with 0.14 CV. Zinc was observed comparably less in quantity while highest variable with CV 0.73. The chemical-based Manhattan dissimilarity coefficient values ranged from 0.01-0.22 with an average of 0.12. The comparison of the clusters obtained based on the chemical and mineral parameters with those of the RAPD data showed that the groups formed in both cases showed different patterns of relationships among the samples. Broader range of diversity might be due to the out breeding behavior of C. polygonoides and indicates the good adaptability of the plants in the region studied. However, low diversity observed in the Bikaner province is alarming and suggests that anthropogenic activities leading to heavy population disturbances can affect the

  13. Water quality assessment and flora study of desert thar and nagarparkar district tharparkar, sindh Pakistan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Leghari, S.M.; Mahar, M.A.; Khuhawar, M.Y.; Jahangir, T.M.

    2007-01-01

    A number of water samples (24) were collected from wells, water pumps, natural and artificial depressions from Naukot, Vajuto, Mithi, Islamkot, Virawah and Nagarparkar area and analyzed on the site and at the laboratories for 18 different parameters. There was a wide variation in water quality; conductivity 157 to 41400 micro S/m and total dissolved solids 100 to 26500 mg/L. The highest values were observed at Virawah area and lowest at an artificial depression of rainwater within Nagarparkar town. The higher vegetation of Thar region consists mainly of thorny or prickly shrubs and perennial herbs capable of drought resistance as Calligonum polygonoides, Aerva javanica, Salvadora oleoides, Acacia senegal, Capparis decidua, Tamarix aphylla, Prosopis spicigera, Leptadenia pyrotechnica and Zizyphus nummularia. During rainy season when dunes are covered with grasses and other herbs Salvadora oleoides, Capparis decidua, and Tamarix aphylla were found scattered in Thar area. Acacia leucophloea, Acacia senegal, Salvadora oleoides, Commiphora mukul, Barleria prionitis, Blepharis sindica, Euphorbia caudicifolia were found on dry and rocky area. Rainwater pools contain total 83 algal sp; 37 sp belonging to Cyanophyta; 23 sp Volocothyta; 10 sp Chlorophyta; 3 sp Charophyta; 10 sp Bacillarophyta; some algal species found epiphytic on aquatic plants such as Chaetophora pisiformis, Stigeoclonium subsecundum, Oedogonium sp. Spirogyra rhizobrachialis, S. fluviatilis and Gloeotrichia natans attached to Najas minor, Nymphaea stellata, and Typha domingensis. (author)

  14. Combining molecular-marker and chemical analysis of Capparis deciduas (Capparaceae in the Thar Desert of Western Rajasthan (India

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    Sushil Kumar

    2013-03-01

    Full Text Available The Thar Desert, a very inhospitable place, accommodates only plant species that survive acute drought, unpredictable precipitation, and those can grow in the limited moisture of sandy soils. Capparis decidua is among one of the few plants able to grow well under these conditions. This species is highly exploited and has been naturally taken, as local people use it for various purposes like food, timber and fuel, although, no management or conservation efforts have been established. The present study was conducted in this arid area of Western Rajasthan (India with the aim to obtain preliminary molecular information about this group of plants. We evaluated diversity among 46 samples of C. decidua using chemical parameters and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD markers. Fourteen chemical parameters and eight minerals (total 22 variables of this species fruits were estimated. A total of 14 RAPD primers produced 235 band positions, of which 81.27% were polymorphic. Jaccard s similarity coefficients for RAPD primers ranged from 0.34 to 0.86 with a mean genetic similarity of 0.50. As per observed coefficient of variation, NDF (Neutral Detergent Fiber content was found to be the most variable trait followed by starch and soluble carbohydrate. The Manhattan dissimilarity coefficient values for chemical parameters ranged between 0.02-0.31 with an average of 0.092. The present study revealed a very low correlation (0.01 between chemical parameters and RAPD-based matrices. The low correlation between chemical- and RAPD-based matrices indicated that the two methods were different and highly variable. The chemical-based diversity will assist in selection of nutritionally rich samples for medicinal purpose, while genetic diversity to face natural challenges and find sustainable ways to promote conservation for future use.El desierto de Thar, un lugar muy inhóspito, alberga sólo a las especies de plantas capaces de resistir a condiciones de sequ

  15. Atmospheric aerosols size distribution properties in winter and pre-monsoon over western Indian Thar Desert location

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Panwar, Chhagan, E-mail: chhaganpanwar@gmail.com; Vyas, B. M. [Department of Physics, M.L. Sukhadia University, Udaipur-313001 (India)

    2016-05-06

    The first ever experimental results over Indian Thar Desert region concerning to height integrated aerosols size distribution function in particles size ranging between 0.09 to 2 µm such as, aerosols columnar size distribution (CSD), effective radius (R{sub eff}), integrated content of total aerosols (N{sub t}), columnar content of accumulation and coarse size aerosols particles concentration (N{sub a}) (size < 0.5 µm) and (N{sub c}) (size between 0.5 to 2 µm) have been described specifically during winter (a stable weather condition and intense anthropogenic pollution activity period) and pre-monsoon (intense dust storms of natural mineral aerosols as well as unstable atmospheric weather condition period) at Jaisalmer (26.90°N, 69.90°E, 220 m above surface level (asl)) located in central Thar desert vicinity of western Indian site. The CSD and various derived other aerosols size parameters are retrieved from their average spectral characteristics of Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT) from UV to Infrared wavelength spectrum measured from Multi-Wavelength solar Radiometer (MWR). The natures of CSD are, in general, bio-modal character, instead of uniformly distributed character and power law distributions. The observed primary peaks in CSD plots are seen around about 10{sup 13} m{sup 2} μm{sup −1} at radius range 0.09-0.20 µm during both the seasons. But, in winter months, secondary peaks of relatively lower CSD values of 10{sup 10} to 10{sup 11} m{sup 2}/μm{sup −1} occur within a lower radius size range 0.4 to 0.6 µm. In contrast to this, while in dust dominated and hot season, the dominated secondary maxima of the higher CSD of about 10{sup 12} m{sup 2}μm{sup −3} is found of bigger aerosols size particles in a rage of 0.6 to 1.0 µm which is clearly demonstrating the characteristics of higher aerosols laden of bigger size aerosols in summer months relative to their prevailed lower aerosols loading of smaller size aerosols particles (0

  16. In vitro propagation of female Ephedra foliata Boiss. & Kotschy ex Boiss.: an endemic and threatened Gymnosperm of the Thar Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lodha, Deepika; Rathore, Nisha; Kataria, Vinod; Shekhawat, N S

    2014-07-01

    Ephedra foliata Boiss. & Kotschy ex Boiss., (family - Ephedraceae), is an ecologically and economically important threatened Gymnosperm of the Indian Thar Desert. A method for micropropagation of E. foliata using nodal explant of mature female plant has been developed. Maximum bud-break (90 %) of the explant was obtained on MS medium supplemented with 1.5 mg l(-1) of benzyl adenine (BA) + additives. Explant produces 5.3 ± 0.40 shoots from single node with 3.25 ± 0.29 cm length. The multiplication of shoots in culture was affected by salt composition of media, types and concentrations of plant growth regulators (PGR's) and their interactions, time of transfer of the cultures. Maximum number of shoots (26.3 ± 0.82 per culture vessel) were regenerated on MS medium modified by reducing the concentration of nitrates to half supplemented with 200 mg l(-1) ammonium sulphate {(NH4) 2SO4} (MMS3) + BA (0.25 mg l(-1)), Kinetin (Kin; 0.25 mg l(-1)), Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA; 0.1 mg l(-1)) and additives. The in vitro produced shoots rooted under ex vitro on soilrite moistened with one-fourth strength of MS macro salts in screw cap bottles by treating the shoot base (s) with 500 mg l(-1) of Indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) for 5 min. The micropropagated plants were hardened in the green house. The described protocol can be applicable for (i) large scale plant production (ii) establishment of plants in natural habitat and (iii) germplasm conservation of this endemic Gymnosperm of arid regions.

  17. Calcretized Ferricretes Around the Jaisalmer Area, Thar Desert, India: Their Chemistry, Mineralogy, Micromorphology and Genesis

    OpenAIRE

    TIWARI, DESIKAN RAMAKRISHNAN & KRISHNA CHANDRA

    2006-01-01

    Ferricrete, an iron duricrust, caps Tertiary and Mesozoic rocks around Jaisalmer in the Indian desert. These ferricretes are associated with two distinct present-day landforms. The upper unit is a high-level dissected, rocky structural plain and the lower one a colluvial flat with soft ferricrete gravels. This study pertains to the first situation wherein field observations, micromorphological features and regolith chemistry suggest an in situ origin for the ferricretes, as in the case of the...

  18. Analysis of Seasonal and Annual Change of Vegetation in the Indian Thar Desert Using Modis Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santra, P.; Chkraborty, A.

    2011-09-01

    The western part of India, specifically the dry region, will play an important role in determining the Indian monsoon and even global climate patterns. Drastically change in land use pattern of the region has been observed during last few decades. In this paper, an effort was made to track the seasonal as well as annual changes of vegetation pattern in Jaisalmer district using MODIS normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) products. Apart from this, ground data on vegetation were also collected under vegetation carbon pool assessment programme of ISRO-IGBP. It was found that during the hot summer month of May, the area under NDVI class 0-0.1 is reduced from 98% during 2003 to 95% during 2009 with a simultaneous increase in area under NDVI class 0.1-0.2 from 2 to 5%. During the month of September, area under NDVI class 0.2-0.3 increased from almost negligible during May to 34-39% during normal or surplus rainfall year but only to 3% during a deficit year. From the ground data on vegetation biomass, it was found that Prosopis juliflora and Acacia senegal are the most abundant trees in Jaisalmer region of the desert. The sites with NDVI value ≥ 0.2 were mostly found with Prosopis juliflora tree. Among shrubs, the most abundant species was Calotropis procera and Zizyphus numularia. From this study, it has been found that MODIS NDVI products may be used to quickly assess the vegetation changes in response to rainfall as well as due to anthroprogenic interventions in desert.

  19. Alluvial flash-flood stratigraphy of a large dryland river: the Luni River, Thar Desert, Western India

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carling, Paul; Leclair, Suzanne; Robinson, Ruth

    2017-04-01

    Detailed descriptions of the fluvial architecture of large dryland rivers are few, which hinders the understanding of stratigraphic development in aggradational settings. The aim of this study was to obtain new generic insight of the fluvial dynamics and resultant stratigraphy of such a river. The novelty of this investigation is that an unusually extensive and deep section across a major active dryland river was logged and the dated stratigraphy related to the behaviour of the discharge regimen. The results should help improve understanding of the stratigraphic development in modern dryland rivers and in characterizing oil, gas and groundwater reservoirs in the dryland geological record more generally. The Luni River is the largest river in the Thar desert, India, but yet details of the channel stratigraphy are sparse. Discharges can reach 14,000 m3s-1 but the bed is dry most of the year. GPS positioning and mm-resolution surveys within a 700m long, 5m deep trench enabled logging and photography of the strata associations, dated using optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL). The deposits consist of planar, sandy, upper-stage plane bed lamination and low-angle stratification, sandwiching less-frequent dune trough cross-sets. Mud clasts are abundant at any elevation. Water-ripple cross-sets or silt-clay layers occur rarely, usually near the top of sections. Aeolian dune cross-sets also appear sparsely at higher elevations. Consequently, the majority of preserved strata are due to supercritical flows. Localized deep scour causes massive collapse and soft-sediment deformation. Scour holes are infilled by rapidly-deposited massive sands adjacent to older bedded-deposits. Within bedform phase diagrams, estimated hydraulic parameters indicate a dominance of the upper-stage plane bed state, but the presence of dune cross-sets is also related to the flood hydrograph. Repeated deep scour results in units of deposition of different OSL ages (50 to 500 years BP) found at

  20. Study of atmospheric scattering and absorbing aerosols at 550 nm over nearby western Indian tropical sites of Thar Desert effected region

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vyas, B. M.; Saxenna, Abhishek; Panwar, Chhagan

    2016-01-01

    The first time experimental results based on spaced satellite observations of different kinds of aerosols properties have been described over two different contrast environmental conditions locations in western tropical Indian region specifically first at Jaisalmer (26.90°N, 69.90°E, 220 m above mean sea level (amsl)) located in central Thar dessert vicinity of western Indian site over Indian Thar Desert region and another at Udaipur (24.6° N, 73.7° E, 560 m amsl) site concerning to semi-urban and semi arid place of hilly areas. The daily values of aerosols optical depth absorption at 500nm (AOD abs 500nm), aerosols optical depth extinction at 500nm (AOD ext 500nm) along with aerosols optical depth at 500nmon (AOD 500nm) of eleven year period from Jan., 2004 to Dec., 2014 are basis of primary database of the present investigation. From the synthesis if the above database and the basis of rigorous statistical approach, following some of interesting facts are noted (i) larger annual monthly AOD variation of 0.93 is noted over JSM when compared to observed annual monthly change in AOD cycle, over UDP, of only 0.50 clearly indicating the more impact of desert influence activities about more than double times over JSM than UDP (ii) The higher abundance of absorbing aerosols occurrences about two time higher are seen in JSM in comparison to UDP. It indicates the clear evidence of strong optical absorption properties of useful solar mid visible wavelength at 550nm as the results of presence of more availability of dust aerosols as mineral natural type in pre-monsoon to post-monsoon over JSM which is also more predominant over JSM than the UDP region located far away from desert activity regime (iii) The greater sharing of extinction solar radiation effect on aerosols are more effective in pre-monsoon in UDP in reference to over JSM, where as in case of UDP, the aerosols effect through the scattering mechanism gradually reduce from monsoon to winter months as compared

  1. Study of atmospheric scattering and absorbing aerosols at 550 nm over nearby western Indian tropical sites of Thar Desert effected region

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Vyas, B. M., E-mail: bmvyas@yahoo.com; Saxenna, Abhishek; Panwar, Chhagan [Department of Physics, M.L. Sukhadia University, Udaipur-313001 (India)

    2016-05-06

    The first time experimental results based on spaced satellite observations of different kinds of aerosols properties have been described over two different contrast environmental conditions locations in western tropical Indian region specifically first at Jaisalmer (26.90°N, 69.90°E, 220 m above mean sea level (amsl)) located in central Thar dessert vicinity of western Indian site over Indian Thar Desert region and another at Udaipur (24.6° N, 73.7° E, 560 m amsl) site concerning to semi-urban and semi arid place of hilly areas. The daily values of aerosols optical depth absorption at 500nm (AOD abs 500nm), aerosols optical depth extinction at 500nm (AOD ext 500nm) along with aerosols optical depth at 500nmon (AOD 500nm) of eleven year period from Jan., 2004 to Dec., 2014 are basis of primary database of the present investigation. From the synthesis if the above database and the basis of rigorous statistical approach, following some of interesting facts are noted (i) larger annual monthly AOD variation of 0.93 is noted over JSM when compared to observed annual monthly change in AOD cycle, over UDP, of only 0.50 clearly indicating the more impact of desert influence activities about more than double times over JSM than UDP (ii) The higher abundance of absorbing aerosols occurrences about two time higher are seen in JSM in comparison to UDP. It indicates the clear evidence of strong optical absorption properties of useful solar mid visible wavelength at 550nm as the results of presence of more availability of dust aerosols as mineral natural type in pre-monsoon to post-monsoon over JSM which is also more predominant over JSM than the UDP region located far away from desert activity regime (iii) The greater sharing of extinction solar radiation effect on aerosols are more effective in pre-monsoon in UDP in reference to over JSM, where as in case of UDP, the aerosols effect through the scattering mechanism gradually reduce from monsoon to winter months as compared

  2. Fluoride Levels in Urine, Blood Plasma and Serum of People Living in an Endemic Fluorosis Area in the Thar Desert, Pakistan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rafique, T.; Shirin, K.; Ahmed, I.; Khan, M. H.; Soomro, F.

    2015-01-01

    Fluoride (F/sup -/) levels in the urine, blood plasma and serum samples of people living in a village in the Thar Desert have been analysed where fluorosis is endemic and groundwater contains fluoride as high as 9.76 mg/L. Average values of fluoride levels in these human specimens i.e. urine, blood plasma and serum have been found to be 12.98 mg/L, 0.61 mg/L and 0.75 mg/L, respectively. These values are much higher than the normal values reported from other parts of the world. It was observed that urinary fluoride levels increase with age of an individual but with an insignificant correlation (r = 0.116), however, fluoride levels in plasma and serum samples did not vary considerably with age in male and female subjects. It has been found that after the age of 50 years the urinary fluoride decreases with its concomitant increase in serum fluoride level. Since groundwater is the only available source of water for human consumption and it contains higher fluoride (av. 7.09 mg/L) than WHO limit (1.5 mg/L), therefore, it is the main cause of fluorosis in the area. (author)

  3. Quaternary alluvial stratigraphy and palaeoclimatic reconstruction at the Thar margin

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jain, M.; Tandon, S.K.

    2003-01-01

    Quaternary alluvial record at the Thar desert margin has been examined using the exposed succession along Mahudi, Sabarmati river, Western India. Different alluvial facies, their associations and granulometry have been studied for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Clay mineral indices smectite/...

  4. Climate variation in the Thar Desert since the Last Glacial Maximum and evaluation of the Indian Monsoon

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Priyadarsi D. Roy

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available El desierto de Thar está ubicado en la parte noroccidental de la India y es una región con escasez de lluvia (~500-100 mm/año. Los datos previamente publicados sobre la mineralogía, facies sedimentarias y cronología de radiocarbono han ayudado a reconstruir los cambios en el nivel lacustre y la salinidad de los cuerpos de agua en la escala orbital en cinco diferentes cuencas lacustres del desierto. Se evaluaron las condiciones hidrológicas en términos de la variación en la fuerza (cantidad y cobertura geográfica del monzón del suroeste desde el último máximo glacial (UMG. Entre el UMG y aproximadamente 15 ka cal AP, las cuencas de la parte oriental mantuvieron lagos salinos e hipersalinos y la parte occidental tuvo un lago intermitente. El cambio de una playa salina-hipersalina a un lago perenne con condiciones profundas ocurrió en la margen oriental alrededor de los 15 ka cal AP a medida que la insolación de verano aumentó tanto la temperatura superficial del mar (TSM del Océano Índico como la fuerza del monzón del suroeste. Durante la transición del Pleistoceno al Holoceno, la mayor insolación de verano y la alta TSM del Océano Índico aumentaron la cantidad de lluvia de verano y facilitaron la expansión del monzón a todo el desierto. Sin embargo, el predominio de las precipitaciones de invierno sobre las lluvias de verano durante el Holoceno temprano y medio mantuvieron lagos perennes a lo largo del desierto. Durante el Holoceno medio y tardío, las condiciones más secas en la región fueron contemporáneas a los intervalos de reducción en la insolación de verano, la ubicación de la Zona de Convergencia Intertropical en una latitud sureña y el aumento en la actividad de El Niño-Oscilación del Sur.

  5. Biological Invasion and Loss of Endemic Biodiversity in the Thar ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Home; Journals; Resonance – Journal of Science Education; Volume 6; Issue 3. Nature Watch - Biological Invasion and Loss of Endemic Biodiversity in the Thar Desert. Ishwar Prakash. Feature Article Volume 6 Issue 3 March 2001 pp 76-85. Fulltext. Click here to view fulltext PDF. Permanent link:

  6. Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Webb, Robert H.; Esque, Todd; Brooks, Matthew L.; DeFalco, Lesley; MacMahon, James A.

    2016-01-01

    The deserts of California (Lead photo, Fig. 1) occupy approximately 38% of California’s landscape (Table 1) and consist of three distinct deserts: the Great Basin Desert, Mojave Desert, and Colorado Desert, the latter of which is a subdivision of the Sonoran Desert (Brown and Lowe 1980). The wide range of climates and geology found within each of these deserts result in very different vegetative communities and ecosystem processes and therefore different ecosystem services. In deserts, extreme conditions such as very high and low temperatures and very low rainfall result in abiotic factors (climate, geology, geomorphology, and soils) controlling the composition and function of ecosystems, including plant and animal distributions. This is in contrast to wetter and milder temperatures found in other ecosystems, where biotic interactions are the dominant driving force. However, despite the harsh conditions in deserts, they are home to a surprisingly large number of plants and animals. Deserts are also places where organisms display a wide array of adaptations to the extremes they encounter, providing some of the best examples of Darwinian selection (MacMahon and Wagner 1985, Ward 2009). Humans have utilized these regions for thousands of years, despite the relatively low productivity and harsh climates of these landscapes. Unlike much of California, most of these desert lands have received little high-intensity use since European settlement, leaving large areas relatively undisturbed. Desert landscapes are being altered, however, by the introduction of fire following the recent invasion of Mediterranean annual grasses. As most native plants are not fire-adapted, they Many do not recover, whereas the non-native grasses flourish. Because desert lands are slow to recover from disturbances, energy exploration and development, recreational use, and urban development will alter these landscapes for many years to come. This chapter provides a brief description of where the

  7. Recovery of compacted soils in Mojave Desert ghost towns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webb, R.H.; Steiger, J.W.; Wilshire, H.G.

    1986-01-01

    Residual compaction of soils was measured at seven sites in five Mojave Desert ghost towns. Soils in these Death Valley National Monument townsites were compacted by vehicles, animals, and human trampling, and the townsites had been completely abandoned and the buildings removed for 64 to 75 yr. Recovery times extrapolated using a linear recovery model ranged from 80 to 140 yr and averaged 100 yr. The recovery times were related to elevation, suggesting freeze-thaw loosening as an important factor in ameliorating soil compaction in the Mojave Desert. -from Authors

  8. Biological soil crusts as an integral component of desert environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Weber, Bettina

    2013-01-01

    The biology and ecology of biological soil crusts, a soil surface community of mosses, lichens, cyanobacteria, green algae, fungi, and bacteria, have only recently been a topic of research. Most efforts began in the western U.S. (Cameron, Harper, Rushforth, and St. Clair), Australia (Rogers), and Israel (Friedmann, Evenari, and Lange) in the late 1960s and 1970s (e.g., Friedmann et al. 1967; Evenari 1985reviewed in Harper and Marble 1988). However, these groups worked independently of each other and, in fact, were often not aware of each other’s work. In addition, biological soil crust communities were seen as more a novelty than a critical component of dryland ecosystems. Since then, researchers have investigated many different aspects of these communities and have shown that although small to microscopic, biological soil crusts are critical in many ecological processes of deserts. They often cover most of desert soil surfaces and substantially mediate inputs and outputs from desert soils (Belnap et al. 2003). They can be a large source of biodiversity for deserts, as they can contain more species than the surrounding vascular plant community (Rosentreter 1986). These communities are important in reducing soil erosion and increasing soil fertility through the capture of dust and the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen and carbon into forms available to other life forms (Elbert et al. 2012). Because of their many effects on soil characteristics, such as external and internal morphological characteristics, aggregate stability, soil moisture, and permeability, they also affect seed germination and establishment and local hydrological cycles. Covering up to 70% of the surface area in many arid and semi-arid regions around the world (Belnap and Lange 2003), biological soil crusts are a key component within desert environments.

  9. The thar lignite project in the Sindh province, Pakistan

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hofmann, L. [RWE Power International, RE GmbH, Mining Dept., Koeln (Germany); Dittrich, W. [RWE Power International, RE GmbH, Mechanical and Electrical Dept., Koeln (Germany)

    2005-05-01

    A prospective area of the known lignite deposit located in the Thar region was investigated with regard to the future development of an opencast mine. For this purpose, a bankable feasibility study was prepared that evaluates all relevant facts and additional exploration activities. The study includes among others: Geological report; Opencast mine planning; Equipment and infrastructure planning; Assessment of staff requirements; Conceptual design of the power station; Anticipation of environmental aspects; Bankable costing for lignite mining and power generation. In conclusion, the development of an opencast mine and the construction of a 1000 MW power station are feasible in technical and economic terms. For the mine, the shovel/truck method was proposed since it offers cost advantages. For the power station, a closed cooling circuit and pre-drying of the lignite was recommended due to water shortage in the Thar desert. The resulting prices for power generation are usual market costs in Pakistan. (orig.)

  10. Diel hysteresis between soil respiration and soil temperature in a biological soil crust covered desert ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guan, Chao; Li, Xinrong; Zhang, Peng; Chen, Yongle

    2018-01-01

    Soil respiration induced by biological soil crusts (BSCs) is an important process in the carbon (C) cycle in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, where vascular plants are restricted by the harsh environment, particularly the limited soil moisture. However, the interaction between temperature and soil respiration remains uncertain because of the number of factors that control soil respiration, including temperature and soil moisture, especially in BSC-dominated areas. In this study, the soil respiration in moss-dominated crusts and lichen-dominated crusts was continuously measured using an automated soil respiration system over a one-year period from November 2015 to October 2016 in the Shapotou region of the Tengger Desert, northern China. The results indicated that over daily cycles, the half-hourly soil respiration rates in both types of BSC-covered areas were commonly related to the soil temperature. The observed diel hysteresis between the half-hourly soil respiration rates and soil temperature in the BSC-covered areas was limited by nonlinearity loops with semielliptical shapes, and soil temperature often peaked later than the half-hourly soil respiration rates in the BSC-covered areas. The average lag times between the half-hourly soil respiration rates and soil temperature for both types of BSC-covered areas were two hours over the diel cycles, and they were negatively and linearly related to the volumetric soil water content. Our results highlight the diel hysteresis phenomenon that occurs between soil respiration rates and soil temperatures in BSC-covered areas and the negative response of this phenomenon to soil moisture, which may influence total C budget evaluations. Therefore, the interactive effects of soil temperature and moisture on soil respiration in BSC-covered areas should be considered in global carbon cycle models of desert ecosystems.

  11. Colonization patterns of soil microbial communities in the Atacama Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crits-Christoph, Alexander; Robinson, Courtney K; Barnum, Tyler; Fricke, W Florian; Davila, Alfonso F; Jedynak, Bruno; McKay, Christopher P; Diruggiero, Jocelyne

    2013-11-20

    The Atacama Desert is one of the driest deserts in the world and its soil, with extremely low moisture, organic carbon content, and oxidizing conditions, is considered to be at the dry limit for life. Analyses of high throughput DNA sequence data revealed that bacterial communities from six geographic locations in the hyper-arid core and along a North-South moisture gradient were structurally and phylogenetically distinct (ANOVA test for observed operating taxonomic units at 97% similarity (OTU0.03), P microbial communities' diversity metrics (least squares linear regression for observed OTU0.03 and air RH and soil conductivity, P PCoA Spearman's correlation for air RH and soil conductivity, P <0.0001), indicating that water availability and salt content are key factors in shaping the Atacama soil microbiome. Mineralization studies showed communities actively metabolizing in all soil samples, with increased rates in soils from the southern locations. Our results suggest that microorganisms in the driest soils of the Atacama Desert are in a state of stasis for most of the time, but can potentially metabolize if presented with liquid water for a sufficient duration. Over geological time, rare rain events and physicochemical factors potentially played a major role in selecting micro-organisms that are most adapted to extreme desiccating conditions.

  12. Variation of Desert Soil Hydraulic Properties with Pedogenic Maturity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nimmo, J. R.; Perkins, K. S.; Mirus, B. B.; Schmidt, K. M.; Miller, D. M.; Stock, J. D.; Singha, K.

    2006-12-01

    Older alluvial desert soils exhibit greater pedogenic maturity, having more distinct desert pavements, vesicular (Av) horizons, and more pronounced stratification from processes such as illuviation and salt accumulation. These and related effects strongly influence the soil hydraulic properties. Older soils have been observed to have lower saturated hydraulic conductivity, and possibly greater capacity to retain water, but the quantitative effect of specific pedogenic features on the soil water retention or unsaturated hydraulic conductivity (K) curves is poorly known. With field infiltration/redistribution experiments on three different-aged soils developed within alluvial wash deposits in the Mojave National Preserve, we evaluated effective hydraulic properties over a scale of several m horizontally and to 1.5 m depth. We then correlated these properties with pedogenic features. The selected soils are (1) recently deposited sediments, (2) a soil of early Holocene age, and (3) a highly developed soil of late Pleistocene age. In each experiment we ponded water in a 1-m-diameter infiltration ring for 2.3 hr. For several weeks we monitored subsurface water content and matric pressure using surface electrical resistance imaging, dielectric-constant probes, heat-dissipation probes, and tensiometers. Analysis of these data using an inverse modeling technique gives the water retention and K properties needed for predictive modeling. Some properties show a consistent trend with soil age. Progressively more developed surface and near-surface features such as desert pavement and Av horizons are the likely cause of an observed consistent decline of infiltration capacity with soil age. Other properties, such as vertical flow retardation by layer contrasts, appear to have a more complicated soil-age dependence. The wash deposits display distinct depositional layering that has a retarding effect on vertical flow, an effect that may be less pronounced in the older Holocene soil

  13. Biological Soil Crusts: Webs of Life in the Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne

    2001-01-01

    Although the soil surface may look like dirt to you, it is full of living organisms that are a vital part of desert ecosystems. This veneer of life is called a biological soil crust. These crusts are found throughout the world, from hot deserts to polar regions. Crusts generally cover all soil spaces not occupied by green plants. In many areas, they comprise over 70% of the living ground cover and are key in reducing erosion, increasing water retention, and increasing soil fertility. In most dry regions, these crusts are dominated by cyanobacteria (previously called blue-green algae), which are one of the oldest known life forms. Communities of soil crusts also include lichens, mosses, microfungi, bacteria, and green algae. These living organisms and their by-products create a continuous crust on the soil surface. The general color, surface appearance, and amount of coverage of these crusts vary depending on climate and disturbance patterns. Immature crusts are generally flat and the color of the soil, which makes them difficult to distinguish from bare ground. Mature crusts, in contrast, are usually bumpy and dark-colored due to the presence of lichens, mosses, and high densities of cyanobacteria and other organisms.

  14. Aircraft and satellite remote sensing of desert soils and landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petersen, G. W.; Connors, K. F.; Miller, D. A.; Day, R. L.; Gardner, T. W.

    1987-01-01

    Remote sensing data on desert soils and landscapes, obtained by the Landsat TM, Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM), Simulated SPOT, and Thermal IR Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) aboard an aircraft, are discussed together with the analytical techniques used in the studies. The TM data for southwestern Nevada were used to discriminate among the alluvial fan deposits with different degrees of desert pavement and varnish, and different vegetation cover. Thermal-IR data acquired from the HCMM satellite were used to map the spatial distribution of diurnal surface temperatures and to estimate mean annual soil temperatures in central Utah. Simulated SPOT data for northwestern New Mexico identified geomorphic features, such as differences in eolian sand cover and fluvial incision, while the TIMS data depicted surface geologic features of the Saline Valley in California.

  15. Water transport in desert alluvial soil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kearl, P.M.

    1982-04-01

    Safe storage of radioactive waste buried in an arid alluvial soil requires extensive site characterization of the physical process influencing moisture movement which could act as a transport medium for the migration of radionuclides. The field portion of this study included an infiltration plot instrumented with thermocouple psychrometers and neturon moisture probe access holes. Baseline information shows a zone of higher moisture content at approximately 1.5 m (5 ft) in depth. A sprinkler system simulated a 500-year precipitation event. Results revealed water penetrated the soil to 0.9 m (2.9 ft). Due to the low moisture content, vapor transport was primarily responsible for water movement at this depth. Temperature gradients are substantially responsible for vapor transport by preferentially sorting water-vapor molecules from the surrounding air by using the soil as a molecular sieve. Adsorbed and capillary water vapor pressure increases in response to a temperature increase and releases additional water to the soil pore atmosphere to be diffused away

  16. Effects of altered temperature and precipitation on desert protozoa associated with biological soil crusts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darby, Brian J; Housman, David C; Zaki, Amr M; Shamout, Yassein; Adl, Sina M; Belnap, Jayne; Neher, Deborah A

    2006-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are diverse assemblages of bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, lichens, and mosses that cover much of arid land soils. The objective of this study was to quantify protozoa associated with biological soil crusts and test the response of protozoa to increased temperature and precipitation as is predicted by some global climate models. Protozoa were more abundant when associated with cyanobacteria/lichen crusts than with cyanobacteria crusts alone. Amoebae, flagellates, and ciliates originating from the Colorado Plateau desert (cool desert, primarily winter precipitation) declined 50-, 10-, and 100-fold, respectively, when moved in field mesocosms to the Chihuahuan Desert (hot desert, primarily summer rain). However, this was not observed in protozoa collected from the Chihuahuan Desert and moved to the Sonoran desert (hot desert, also summer rain, but warmer than Chihuahuan Desert). Protozoa in culture began to encyst at 37 degrees C. Cysts survived the upper end of daily temperatures (37-55 degrees C), and could be stimulated to excyst if temperatures were reduced to 15 degrees C or lower. Results from this study suggest that cool desert protozoa are influenced negatively by increased summer precipitation during excessive summer temperatures, and that desert protozoa may be adapted to a specific desert's temperature and precipitation regime.

  17. Subcritical Water Extraction of Amino Acids from Atacama Desert Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amashukeli, Xenia; Pelletier, Christine C.; Kirby, James P.; Grunthaner, Frank J.

    2007-01-01

    Amino acids are considered organic molecular indicators in the search for extant and extinct life in the Solar System. Extraction of these molecules from a particulate solid matrix, such as Martian regolith, will be critical to their in situ detection and analysis. The goals of this study were to optimize a laboratory amino acid extraction protocol by quantitatively measuring the yields of extracted amino acids as a function of liquid water temperature and sample extraction time and to compare the results to the standard HCl vapor- phase hydrolysis yields for the same soil samples. Soil samples from the Yungay region of the Atacama Desert ( Martian regolith analog) were collected during a field study in the summer of 2005. The amino acids ( alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, serine, and valine) chosen for analysis were present in the samples at concentrations of 1 - 70 parts- per- billion. Subcritical water extraction efficiency was examined over the temperature range of 30 - 325 degrees C, at pressures of 17.2 or 20.0 MPa, and for water- sample contact equilibration times of 0 - 30 min. None of the amino acids were extracted in detectable amounts at 30 degrees C ( at 17.2 MPa), suggesting that amino acids are too strongly bound by the soil matrix to be extracted at such a low temperature. Between 150 degrees C and 250 degrees C ( at 17.2 MPa), the extraction efficiencies of glycine, alanine, and valine were observed to increase with increasing water temperature, consistent with higher solubility at higher temperatures, perhaps due to the decreasing dielectric constant of water. Amino acids were not detected in extracts collected at 325 degrees C ( at 20.0 MPa), probably due to amino acid decomposition at this temperature. The optimal subcritical water extraction conditions for these amino acids from Atacama Desert soils were achieved at 200 degrees C, 17.2 MPa, and a water- sample contact equilibration time of 10 min.

  18. Growth responses of five desert plants as influenced by biological soil crusts from a temperate desert, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yuanming; Belnap, Jayne

    2015-01-01

    In almost all dryland systems, biological soil crusts (biocrusts) coexist alongside herbaceous and woody vegetation, creating landscape mosaics of vegetated and biocrusted patches. Results from past studies on the interaction between biocrusts and vascular plants have been contradictory. In the Gurbantunggut desert, a large temperate desert in northwestern China, well-developed lichen-dominated crusts dominate the areas at the base and between the sand dunes. We examined the influence of these lichen-dominated biocrusts on the germination, growth, biomass accumulation, and elemental content of five common plants in this desert: two shrubs (Haloxylon persicum, Ephedra distachya) and three herbaceous plants (Ceratocarpus arenarius, Malcolmia africana and Lappula semiglabra) under greenhouse conditions. The influence of biocrusts on seed germination was species-specific. Biocrusts did not affect percent germination in plants with smooth seeds, but inhibited germination of seeds with appendages that reduced or eliminated contact with the soil surface or prevented seeds from slipping into soil cracks. Once seeds had germinated, biocrusts had different influences on growth of shrub and herbaceous plants. The presence of biocrusts increased concentrations of nitrogen but did not affect phosphorus or potassium in tissue of all tested species, while the uptake of the other tested nutrients was species-specific. Our study showed that biocrusts can serve as a biological filter during seed germination and also can influence growth and elemental uptake. Therefore, they may be an important trigger for determining desert plant diversity and community composition in deserts.

  19. Remontant erosion in desert soils of Tamaulipas, México.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivera-Ortiz, P.; Andrade-Limas, E.; De la Garza-Requena, F.; Castro-Meza, B.

    2012-04-01

    REMONTANT EROSION IN DESERT SOILS OF TAMAULIPAS MÉXICO Rivera-Ortiz, P.1; Andrade-Limas, E.1; De la Garza-Requena, F.1 and Castro-Meza, B.1 1Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, México The degradation of soil reduces the capacity of soils to produce food and sustain life. Erosion is one of the main types of soil degradation. Hydric erosion of remontant type can occur in soils located close to the channel of a river through the expansion of a gully that begins as a fluvial incision over the ravine of one side of the river. The incision takes place at the point of greatest flow of runoff from areas adjacent to empty into the river. The depth of the incision causes the growth of the gully by collapse to move their heads back, upstream. The soil loss by remontant erosion on land use in agriculture and livestock was estimated in order to understand the evolution of gullies formed by this type of erosion. Through measurements on satellite images and GPS (Global Positioning System) two gullies, developed on alluvial soils which drain into the river Chihue, were studied. The investigation was conducted during 2003 to 2010 period in the municipality of Jaumave, Tamaulipas, in northeastern Mexico. Soil loss in gullies developed by remontant erosion was large and it was caused by soil collapse and drag of soil on the headers. The estimated loss of soil by remontant erosion was 3500 t in the deeper gully during 2010 and nearly 1200 t per year in the period 2003-2009. New sections of gully of about 20 m length, with more than 3 m deep and up to 13 m wide, were formed each year. This degradation has significantly reduced the productive surface of soil that for many years has been used to the cultivation of maize (Zea mays) and beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) as well as pasture production.

  20. Desert farming benefits from microbial potential in arid soils and promotes diversity and plant health.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martina Köberl

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: To convert deserts into arable, green landscapes is a global vision, and desert farming is a strong growing area of agriculture world-wide. However, its effect on diversity of soil microbial communities, which are responsible for important ecosystem services like plant health, is still not known. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We studied the impact of long-term agriculture on desert soil in one of the most prominent examples for organic desert farming in Sekem (Egypt. Using a polyphasic methodological approach to analyse microbial communities in soil as well as associated with cultivated plants, drastic effects caused by 30 years of agriculture were detected. Analysing bacterial fingerprints, we found statistically significant differences between agricultural and native desert soil of about 60%. A pyrosequencing-based analysis of the 16S rRNA gene regions showed higher diversity in agricultural than in desert soil (Shannon diversity indices: 11.21/7.90, and displayed structural differences. The proportion of Firmicutes in field soil was significantly higher (37% than in the desert (11%. Bacillus and Paenibacillus play the key role: they represented 96% of the antagonists towards phytopathogens, and identical 16S rRNA sequences in the amplicon library and for isolates were detected. The proportion of antagonistic strains was doubled in field in comparison to desert soil (21.6%/12.4%; disease-suppressive bacteria were especially enriched in plant roots. On the opposite, several extremophilic bacterial groups, e.g., Acidimicrobium, Rubellimicrobium and Deinococcus-Thermus, disappeared from soil after agricultural use. The N-fixing Herbaspirillum group only occurred in desert soil. Soil bacterial communities were strongly driven by the a-biotic factors water supply and pH. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: After long-term farming, a drastic shift in the bacterial communities in desert soil was observed. Bacterial communities in agricultural

  1. Influence of shrubs on soil chemical properties in Alxa desert steppe, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hua Fu; Shifang Pei; Yaming Chen; Changgui Wan

    2007-01-01

    Alxa desert steppe is one of severely the degraded rangelands in the Northwest China. Shrubs, as the dominant life form in the desert steppe, play an important role in protecting this region from further desertification. Chemical properties of three soil layers (0 to 10, 10 to 20 and 20 to 30 cm) at three locations (the clump center [A], in the periphery of shrub...

  2. Interactions between soil phototrophs and vascular plants in Himalayan cold deserts

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Řeháková, Klára; Čapková, Kateřina; Dvorský, M.; Kopecký, M.; Altman, J.; Šmilauer, P.; Doležal, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 115, Dec (2017), s. 568-578 ISSN 0038-0717 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : cold desert * Himalaya * interactions * soil phototrophs Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 4.857, year: 2016

  3. Role of biological soil crusts in desert hydrology and geomorphology: Implications for military training operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven D. Warren

    2014-01-01

    Biological soil crusts, composed of soil surfaces stabilized by a consortium of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, lichens, and/or bryophytes, are common in most deserts and perform functions of primary productivity, nitrogen fixation, nutrient cycling, water redistribution, and soil stabilization. The crusts are highly susceptible to disturbance. The degree of perturbation...

  4. The Chemistry and Mineralogy of Atacama Desert soils: A Possible Analog for Mars Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Amundson, R.; Ewing, S.; Rhodes, K. W.; McKay, C.

    2002-12-01

    The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the driest desert in the world, having experienced its present hyper-arid climate since the Miocene. While Mars is vastly more dry and cold than the Atacama, the Atacama environment may be one of the best terrestrial Mars analog environments accessible to researchers. Because of the long-term hyperaridity, the soils retain atmospherically-derived elements, which accumulate to economically valuable quantities. The objective of this work was to examine physical and chemical evolution of the soils of the hyper-arid Atacama Desert to provide insight as to what soil properties may be found on Mars. Three soils were excavated and examined on widely representative landforms along a south to north transect (Copiapo > Altimira > Yungay) that coincides with decreasing moisture levels (~15mm to ~2 mm yr-1, south to north). Total chemical analyses were used to calculate strain (i.e. volume change) and elemental gains or losses (\\tau). Relative to parent material values, the Yungay and Altimira soils have expanded over 400% in certain horizons, while the Copiapo soil has collapsed by as much as 48%. The expansions are driven by elemental gains; the collapse by weathering losses. Calculations of \\tau indicate a 380 000% enrichment in Cl (halite) in the lower horizons, and S enrichments (anhydrite, gypsum) as high as 50 000% in the upper horizons, of the Yungay soil. The Altimira soil had a 110 000% enrichment of S (gypsum) and a 16,000% enrichment of carbonate, reflecting the higher precipitation and the relative solubility of salts. The southern, higher rainfall Copiapo soil had small \\tau values for S (283%) and Cl (63%) in the middle horizons, but significant gains of CaCO3 (\\tau values as high as 4 000% in certain horizons). In general, the type and depth of Cl, S, and CaCO3 enrichment in the soils varied predictably with rainfall. The results of this work, which document enormous atmospherically-derived elemental gains and

  5. Soil texture drives responses of soil respiration to precipitation pulses in the sonoran desert: Implications for climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cable, J.M.; Ogle, K.; Williams, D.G.; Weltzin, J.F.; Huxman, T. E.

    2008-01-01

    Climate change predictions for the desert southwestern U.S. are for shifts in precipitation patterns. The impacts of climate change may be significant, because desert soil processes are strongly controlled by precipitation inputs ('pulses') via their effect on soil water availability. This study examined the response of soil respiration-an important biological process that affects soil carbon (C) storage-to variation in pulses representative of climate change scenarios for the Sonoran Desert. Because deserts are mosaics of different plant cover types and soil textures-which create patchiness in soil respiration-we examined how these landscape characteristics interact to affect the response of soil respiration to pulses. Pulses were applied to experimental plots of bare and vegetated soil on contrasting soil textures typical of Sonoran Desert grasslands. The data were analyzed within a Bayesian framework to: (1) determine pulse size and antecedent moisture (soil moisture prior to the pulse) effects on soil respiration, (2) quantify soil texture (coarse vs. fine) and cover type (bare vs. vegetated) effects on the response of soil respiration and its components (plant vs. microbial) to pulses, and (3) explore the relationship between long-term variation in pulse regimes and seasonal soil respiration. Regarding objective (1), larger pulses resulted in higher respiration rates, particularly from vegetated fine-textured soil, and dry antecedent conditions amplified respiration responses to pulses (wet antecedent conditions dampened the pulse response). Regarding (2), autotrophic (plant) activity was a significant source (???60%) of respiration and was more sensitive to pulses on coarse- versus fine-textured soils. The sensitivity of heterotrophic (microbial) respiration to pulses was highly dependent on antecedent soil water. Regarding (3), seasonal soil respiration was predicted to increase with both growing season precipitation and mean pulse size (but only for pulses

  6. Determination of Oxygen Production by Cyanobacteria in Desert Environment Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bueno Prieto, J. E.

    2009-12-01

    The cyanobacteria have been characterized for being precursor in the production of oxygen. By means of photosynthetic reactions, they provide oxygen to the environment that surrounds them and they capture part of surrounding dioxide of carbon. This way it happened since the primitive Earth until today. Besides, these microorganisms can support the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. The presence of cyanobacterias in an environment like a dry tropical bioma, such as the geographical location called Desert of The Tatacoa (Huila - Colombia), is determinant to establish parameters in the search of biological origin of atmospheric oxygen detected in Mars. In that case, I work with a random sample of not rhizospheric soil, taken to 15 cm of depth. After determining the presence of cyanobacterias in the sample, this one was in laboratory to stimulate the oxygen production. The presence of oxygen in Mars is very interesting. Since oxygen gas is very reactive, it disappear if it is not renewed; the possibility that this renovation of oxygen has a biological origin is encouraging, bearing in mind that in a dry environment and high radiation such as the studied one, the production of oxygen by cyanobacterias is notable. Also it is necessary to keep in mind that the existence of cyanobacterias would determine water presence in Mars subsoil and the nutrients cycles renovation. An interesting exploration possibility for some future space probe to Mars might be the study of worldwide distribution of oxygen concentration in this planet and this way, indentify zones suitable for microbian life.

  7. Soil stabilization by a prokaryotic desert crust - Implications for Precambrian land biota

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, S. E.

    1979-01-01

    The ecology of the cyanophyte-dominated stromatolitic mat forming the ground cover over desert areas of Utah and Colorado is investigated and implications for the formation of mature Precambrian soils are discussed. The activation of the growth of the two species of filamentous cyanophyte identified and the mobility of their multiple trichromes upon wetting are observed, accompanied by the production and deposition of a sheath capable of accreting and stabilizing sand and clay particles. The formation of calcium carbonate precipitates upon the repeated wetting and drying of desert crust is noted, and it is suggested that the desert crust community may appear in fossil calcrete deposits as lithified microscopic tubes and cellular remains of algal trichromes. The invasion of dry land by both marine and freshwater algae on the model of the desert crust is proposed to be responsible for the accumulation, stabilization and biogenic modification of mature Precambrian soils.

  8. Landscape position moderates how ant nests affect hydrology and soil chemistry across a Chihuahuan Desert watershed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ants moderate the supply of critical resources such as water and nutrients in desert environments by changing the physical arrangement of soils during nest construction. We measured water infiltration and soil physical and chemical properties on and off the nests of two ant species (Pogonomyrmex rug...

  9. Thar coal exploration : a radical view

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Khan, N.A.

    1996-01-01

    Pakistan needs a manpower intensive technology to utilize its immense human resource. This human resource, however, has low literacy rate and thus lower skills and therefore there is a requirement of visualizing an employment technique compatible with the human resource. The vast coal deposits at Thar Coal Field provide an opportunity for development of low cost coal mining technique utilizing this manpower. Our history is filled with examples of effective utilization of human resources in the recent past. 300 years ago a few Muslim Emperors of the subcontinents constructed 40 meters deep wells, by utilizing human power only, to reach drinking water deep down, now in 2000 AD, can we go down 120 meters to dig the coal in Thar Coal Field by utilizing much enlarged manpower? (author)

  10. Water regime history drives responses of soil Namib Desert microbial communities to wetting events

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frossard, Aline; Ramond, Jean-Baptiste; Seely, Mary; Cowan, Don A.

    2015-07-01

    Despite the dominance of microorganisms in arid soils, the structures and functional dynamics of microbial communities in hot deserts remain largely unresolved. The effects of wetting event frequency and intensity on Namib Desert microbial communities from two soils with different water-regime histories were tested over 36 days. A total of 168 soil microcosms received wetting events mimicking fog, light rain and heavy rainfall, with a parallel “dry condition” control. T-RFLP data showed that the different wetting events affected desert microbial community structures, but these effects were attenuated by the effects related to the long-term adaptation of both fungal and bacterial communities to soil origins (i.e. soil water regime histories). The intensity of the water pulses (i.e. the amount of water added) rather than the frequency of wetting events had greatest effect in shaping bacterial and fungal community structures. In contrast to microbial diversity, microbial activities (enzyme activities) showed very little response to the wetting events and were mainly driven by soil origin. This experiment clearly demonstrates the complexity of microbial community responses to wetting events in hyperarid hot desert soil ecosystems and underlines the dynamism of their indigenous microbial communities.

  11. Biological soil crusts in deserts: A short review of their role in soil fertility, stabilization, and water relations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne

    2003-01-01

    Cyanobacteria and cyanolichens dominate most desert soil surfaces as the major component of biological soil crusts (BSC). BSCs contribute to soil fertility in many ways. BSC can increase weathering of parent materials by up to 100 times. Soil surface biota are often sticky, and help retain dust falling on the soil surface; this dust provides many plant-essential nutrients including N, P, K, Mg, Na, Mn, Cu, and Fe. BSCs also provide roughened soil surfaces that slow water runoff and aid in retaining seeds and organic matter. They provide inputs of newly-fixed carbon and nitrogen to soils. They are essential in stabilizing soil surfaces by linking soil particles together with filamentous sheaths, enabling soils to resist both water and wind erosion. These same sheaths are important in keeping soil nutrients from becoming bound into plant-unavailable forms. Experimental disturbances applied in US deserts show soil surface impacts decrease N and C inputs from soil biota by up to 100%. The ability to hold aeolian deposits in place is compromised, and underlying soils are exposed to erosion. While most undisturbed sites show little sediment production, disturbance by vehicles or livestock produces up to 36 times more sediment production, with soil movement initiated at wind velocities well below commonly-occurring wind speeds. Winds across disturbed areas can quickly remove this material from the soil surface, thereby potentially removing much of current and future soil fertility. Thus, reduction in the cover of cyanophytes in desert soils can both reduce fertility inputs and accelerate fertility losses.

  12. Disturbance to desert soil ecosystems contributes to dust-mediated impacts at regional scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pointing, Stephen B.; Belnap, Jayne

    2014-01-01

    This review considers the regional scale of impacts arising from disturbance to desert soil ecosystems. Deserts occupy over one-third of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, and biological soil covers are critical to stabilization of desert soils. Disturbance to these can contribute to massive destabilization and mobilization of dust. This results in dust storms that are transported across inter-continental distances where they have profound negative impacts. Dust deposition at high altitudes causes radiative forcing of snowpack that leads directly to altered hydrological regimes and changes to freshwater biogeochemistry. In marine environments dust deposition impacts phytoplankton diazotrophy, and causes coral reef senescence. Increasingly dust is also recognized as a threat to human health.

  13. Diversity of bacterial communities along a petroleum contamination gradient in desert soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abed, Raeid M M; Al-Kindi, Sumaiya; Al-Kharusi, Samiha

    2015-01-01

    Microbial communities in oil-polluted desert soils have been rarely studied compared to their counterparts from freshwater and marine environments. We investigated bacterial diversity and changes therein in five desert soils exposed to different levels of oil pollution. Automated rRNA intergenic spacer (ARISA) analysis profiles showed that the bacterial communities of the five soils were profoundly different (analysis of similarities (ANOSIM), R = 0.45, P pollution levels. Multivariate analyses of ARISA profiles revealed that the microbial communities in the S soil, which contains the highest level of contamination, were different from the other soils and formed a completely separate cluster. A total of 16,657 ribosomal sequences were obtained, with 42-89 % of these sequences belonging to the phylum Proteobacteria. While sequences belonging to Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacilli, and Actinobacteria were encountered in all soils, sequences belonging to anaerobic bacteria from the classes Deltaproteobacteria, Clostridia, and Anaerolineae were only detected in the S soil. Sequences belonging to the genus Terriglobus of the class Acidobacteria were only detected in the B3 soil with the lowest level of contamination. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that oil contamination level was the most determinant factor that explained variations in the microbial communities. We conclude that the exposure to different levels of oil contamination exerts a strong selective pressure on bacterial communities and that desert soils are rich in aerobic and anaerobic bacteria that could potentially contribute to the degradation of hydrocarbons.

  14. Recovery of severely compacted soils in the Mojave Desert, California, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webb, R.H.

    2002-01-01

    Often as a result of large-scale military maneuvers in the past, many soils in the Mojave Desert are highly vulnerable to soil compaction, particularly when wet. Previous studies indicate that natural recovery of severely compacted desert soils is extremely slow, and some researchers have suggested that subsurface compaction may not recover. Poorly sorted soils, particularly those with a loamy sand texture, are most vulnerable to soil compaction, and these soils are the most common in alluvial fans of the Mojave Desert. Recovery of compacted soil is expected to vary as a function of precipitation amounts, wetting-and-drying cycles, freeze-thaw cycles, and bioturbation, particularly root growth. Compaction recovery, as estimated using penetration depth and bulk density, was measured at 19 sites with 32 site-time combinations, including the former World War II Army sites of Camps Ibis, Granite, Iron Mountain, Clipper, and Essex. Although compaction at these sites was caused by a wide variety of forces, ranging from human trampling to tank traffic, the data do not allow segregation of differences in recovery rates for different compaction forces. The recovery rate appears to be logarithmic, with the highest rate of change occurring in the first few decades following abandonment. Some higher-elevation sites have completely recovered from soil compaction after 70 years. Using a linear model of recovery, the full recovery time ranges from 92 to 100 years; using a logarithmic model, which asymptotically approaches full recovery, the time required for 85% recovery ranges from 105-124 years.

  15. Soil seed bank in different habitats of the Eastern Desert of Egypt.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomaa, Nasr H

    2012-04-01

    The floristic composition and species diversity of the germinable soil seed bank were studied in three different habitats (desert salinized land, desert wadi, and reclaimed land) in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Moreover, the degree of similarity between the seed bank and the above-ground vegetation was determined. The seed bank was studied in 40 stands representing the three habitats. Ten soil samples (each 25 × 20 cm and 5 cm depth) were randomly taken per stand. The seed bank was investigated by the seedling emergence method. Some 61 species belonging to 21 families and 54 genera were identified in the germinable seed bank. The recorded species include 43 annuals and 18 perennials. Ordination of stands by Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) indicates that the stands of the three habitats are markedly distinguishable and show a clear pattern of segregation on the ordination planes. This indicates variations in the species composition among habitats. The results also demonstrate significant associations between the floristic composition of the seed bank and edaphic factors such as CaCO3, electrical conductivity, organic carbon and soil texture. The reclaimed land has the highest values of species richness, Shannon-index of diversity and the density of the germinable seed bank followed by the habitats of desert wadi and desert salinized land. Motyka's similarity index between the seed bank and the above-ground vegetation is significantly higher in reclaimed land (75.1%) compared to desert wadi (38.4%) and desert salinized land (36.5%).

  16. Impacts of tracked vehicles on sediment from a desert soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erek H. Fuchs; Karl M. Wood; Tim L. Jones; Brent Racher

    2003-01-01

    Off-road military vehicle traffic is a major consideration in the management of military lands. The objective of this study was to determine the impacts of military tracked M1A1 heavy combat tank vehicles on sediment loss from runoff, surface plant cover, and surface microtopography in a desert military training environment. A randomized block design was used which had...

  17. Diversity and feeding strategies of soil microfauna along elevation gradients in Himalayan cold deserts

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Devetter, Miloslav; Háněl, Ladislav; Řeháková, Klára; Doležal, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 12, č. 11 (2017), č. článku e0187646. E-ISSN 1932-6203 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LTC17019 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : diversity * feeding strategies * soil microfauna * Himalayan cold deserts Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 2.806, year: 2016

  18. Diversity and feeding strategies of soil microfauna along elevation gradients in Himalayan cold deserts

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Devetter, M.; Háněl, L.; Řeháková, Klára; Doležal, Jiří

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 12, č. 11 (2007), č. článku e0187646. E-ISSN 1932-6203 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA17-19376S; GA ČR GA13-13368S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : soil microfauna * Himalayas * cold desert Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology

  19. [Soil infiltration of snowmelt water in the southern Gurbantunggut Desert, Xinjiang, China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Shun-jun; Chen, Yong-bao; Zhu, Hai

    2015-04-01

    Soil infiltration of snow-melt water is an important income item of water balance in arid desert. The soil water content in west slope, east slope and interdune of sand dune in the southern Gurbantunggut Desert was monitored before snowfall and after snow melting during the winters of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. According to the principle of water balance, soil infiltration of snow-melt in the west slope, east slope, interdune and landscape scale was calculated, and compared with the results measured by cylinder method. The results showed that the soil moisture recharge from unfrozen layer of unsaturated soil to surface frozen soil was negligible because the soil moisture content before snowfall was lower, soil infiltration of snow-melt water was the main source of soil water of shallow soil, phreatic water did not evaporate during freezing period, and did not get recharge after the snow melting. Snowmelt water in the west slope, east slope, interdune and landscape scale were 20-43, 27-43, 32-45, 26-45 mm, respectively.

  20. Niche Filtering of Bacteria in Soil and Rock Habitats of the Colorado Plateau Desert, Utah, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Kevin C; Archer, Stephen D J; Boyle, Rachel H; Lacap-Bugler, Donnabella C; Belnap, Jayne; Pointing, Stephen B

    2016-01-01

    A common feature of microbial colonization in deserts is biological soil crusts (BSCs), and these comprise a complex community dominated by Cyanobacteria. Rock substrates, particularly sandstone, are also colonized by microbial communities. These are separated by bare sandy soil that also supports microbial colonization. Here we report a high-throughput sequencing study of BSC and cryptoendolith plus adjacent bare soil communities in the Colorado Plateau Desert, Utah, USA. Bare soils supported a community with low levels of recoverable DNA and high evenness, whilst BSC yielded relatively high recoverable DNA, and reduced evenness compared to bare soil due to specialized crust taxa. The cryptoendolithic community displayed the greatest evenness but the lowest diversity, reflecting the highly specialized nature of these communities. A strong substrate-dependent pattern of community assembly was observed, and in particular cyanobacterial taxa were distinct. Soils were virtually devoid of photoautotrophic signatures, BSC was dominated by a closely related group of Microcoleus/Phormidium taxa, whilst cryptoendolithic colonization in sandstone supported almost exclusively a single genus, Chroococcidiopsis . We interpret this as strong evidence for niche filtering of taxa in communities. Local inter-niche recruitment of photoautotrophs may therefore be limited and so communities likely depend significantly on cyanobacterial recruitment from distant sources of similar substrate. We discuss the implication of this finding in terms of conservation and management of desert microbiota.

  1. Soil respiration sensitivities to water and temperature in a revegetated desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Zhi-Shan; Dong, Xue-Jun; Xu, Bing-Xin; Chen, Yong-Le; Zhao, Yang; Gao, Yan-Hong; Hu, Yi-Gang; Huang, Lei

    2015-04-01

    Soil respiration in water-limited ecosystems is affected intricately by soil water content (SWC), temperature, and soil properties. Eight sites on sand-fixed dunes that revegetated in different years since 1950s, with several topographical positions and various biological soil crusts (BSCs) and soil properties, were selected, as well as a moving sand dune (MSD) and a reference steppe in the Tengger Desert of China. Intact soil samples of 20 cm in depth were taken and incubated randomly at 12 levels of SWC (0 to 0.4 m3 m-3) and at 9 levels of temperature (5 to 45°C) in a growth chamber; additionally, cryptogamic and microbial respirations (RM) were measured. Total soil respiration (RT, including cryptogamic, microbial, and root respiration) was measured for 2 years at the MSD and five sites of sand-fixed dunes. The relationship between RM and SWC under the optimal SWC condition (0.25 m3 m-3) is linear, as is the entire range of RT and SWC. The slope of linear function describes sensitivity of soil respiration to water (SRW) and reflects to soil water availability, which is related significantly to soil physical properties, BSCs, and soil chemical properties, in decreasing importance. Inversely, Q10 for RM is related significantly to abovementioned factors in increasing importance. However, Q10 for RT and respiration rate at 20°C are related significantly to soil texture and depth of BSCs and subsoil only. In conclusion, through affecting SRW, soil physical properties produce significant influences on soil respiration, especially for RT. This indicates that a definition of the biophysical meaning of SRW is necessary, considering the water-limited and coarse-textured soil in most desert ecosystems.

  2. Impact of elevated precipitation, nitrogen deposition and warming on soil respiration in a temperate desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yue, Ping; Cui, Xiaoqing; Gong, Yanming; Li, Kaihui; Goulding, Keith; Liu, Xuejun

    2018-04-01

    Soil respiration (Rs) is the most important source of carbon dioxide emissions from soil to atmosphere. However, it is unclear what the interactive response of Rs would be to environmental changes such as elevated precipitation, nitrogen (N) deposition and warming, especially in unique temperate desert ecosystems. To investigate this an in situ field experiment was conducted in the Gurbantunggut Desert, northwest China, from September 2014 to October 2016. The results showed that precipitation and N deposition significantly increased Rs, but warming decreased Rs, except in extreme precipitation events, which was mainly through its impact on the variation of soil moisture at 5 cm depth. In addition, the interactive response of Rs to combinations of the factors was much less than that of any single-factor, and the main response was a positive effect, except for the response from the interaction of increased precipitation and high N deposition (60 kg N ha-1 yr-1). Although Rs was found to show a unimodal change pattern with the variation of soil moisture, soil temperature and soil NH4+-N content, and it was significantly positively correlated to soil dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and pH, a structural equation model found that soil temperature was the most important controlling factor. Those results indicated that Rs was mainly interactively controlled by the soil multi-environmental factors and soil nutrients, and was very sensitive to elevated precipitation, N deposition and warming. However, the interactions of multiple factors largely reduced between-year variation of Rs more than any single-factor, suggesting that the carbon cycle in temperate deserts could be profoundly influenced by positive carbon-climate feedback.

  3. Trace elements assessment in agricultural and desert soils of Aswan area, south Egypt: Geochemical characteristics and environmental impacts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darwish, Mohamed Abdallah Gad; Pöllmann, Hebert

    2015-12-01

    Determination of chemical elements, Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, P, Pb, Sc, Sr, Ti, Y, and Zn have been performed in agricultural and desert soils and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) at Aswan area. Consequently, the pollution indices, univariate and multivariate statistical methods have been applied, in order to assess the geochemical characteristics of these elements and their impact on soil environmental quality and plant, and to reach for their potential input sources. The investigation revealed that the mean and range values of all element concentrations in agricultural soil are higher than those in desert soil. Furthermore, the agricultural soil displayed various degrees of enrichment and pollution of Cd, Zn, Mo, Co, P, Ti, Pb. The geochemical pattern of integrated pollution indices gave a clear image of extreme and strong pollution in the agricultural soil stations, their poor quality with high risk to human health and considered as a tocsin for an alert. In contrast, the desert soil is the good environmental quality and safe for plant, animal and human health. Alfalfa is tolerant plant and considered as a biomarker for P and Mo in polluted agricultural soil. Four geochemical associations of analyzing elements in agricultural soil and three ones in desert soil have been generated, and their enhancements were essentially caused by various anthropogenic activities and geogenic sources. The investigation also revealed that the broad extended desert soil is fruitful and promising as cultivable lands for agricultural processes in the futures.

  4. High Resolution Mapping of Soils and Landforms for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Potter, Christopher S.; Li, Shuang

    2014-01-01

    The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a major component of California's renewable energy planning efforts, is intended to provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems, while allowing for the sensible development of renewable energy projects. This NASA mapping report was developed to support the DRECP and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We outline in this document remote sensing image processing methods to deliver new maps of biological soils crusts, sand dune movements, desert pavements, and sub-surface water sources across the DRECP area. We focused data processing first on the largely unmapped areas most likely to be used for energy developments, such as those within Renewable Energy Study Areas (RESA) and Solar Energy Zones (SEZs). We used imagery (multispectral and radar) mainly from the years 2009-2011.

  5. Soil microbial diversity, site conditions, shelter forest land, saline water drip-irrigation, drift desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, Zhengzhong; Lei, Jiaqiang; Li, Shengyu; Xu, Xinwen

    2013-10-01

    Soil microbes in forest land are crucial to soil development in extreme areas. In this study, methods of conventional culture, PLFA and PCR-DGGE were utilized to analyze soil microbial quantity, fatty acids and microbial DNA segments of soils subjected to different site conditions in the Tarim Desert Highway forest land. The main results were as follows: the soil microbial amount, diversity indexes of fatty acid and DNA segment differed significantly among sites with different conditions (F 84%), followed by actinomycetes and then fungi (<0.05%). Vertical differences in the soil microbial diversity were insignificant at 0-35 cm. Correlation analysis indicated that the forest trees grew better as the soil microbial diversity index increased. Therefore, construction of the Tarim Desert Highway shelter-forest promoted soil biological development; however, for enhancing sand control efficiency and promoting sand development, we should consider the effects of site condition in the construction and regeneration of shelter-forest ecological projects. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  6. Spatiotemporal Distribution of Soil Moisture and Salinity in the Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuan Huang

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Salinization and secondary salinization often appear after irrigation with saline water. The Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt has been irrigated with saline ground water for more than ten years; however, soil salinity in the shelterbelt has not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to analyze the spatial and temporal distribution of soil moisture and salinity in the shelterbelt system. Using a non-uniform grid method, soil samples were collected every two days during one ten-day irrigation cycle in July 2014 and one day in spring, summer, and autumn. The results indicated that soil moisture declined linearly with time during the irrigation cycle. Soil moisture was greatest in the southern and eastern sections of the study area. In contrast to soil moisture, soil electrical conductivity increased from 2 to 6 days after irrigation, and then gradually decreased from 6 to 8 days after irrigation. Soil moisture was the greatest in spring and the least in summer. In contrast, soil salinity increased from spring to autumn. Long time drip-irrigation with saline groundwater increased soil salinity slightly. The soil salt content was closely associated with soil texture. The current soil salt content did not affect plant growth, however, the soil in the shelterbelt should be continuously monitored to prevent salinization in the future.

  7. [Rainfall and soil moisture redistribution induced by xerophytic shrubs in an arid desert ecosystem].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Zheng Ning; Wang, Xin Ping; Liu, Bo

    2016-03-01

    Rainfall partitioning by desert shrub canopy modifies the redistribution of incident rainfall under the canopy, and may affect the distribution pattern of soil moisture around the plant. This study examined the distribution of rainfall and the response of soil moisture beneath the canopy of two dominant desert shrubs, Caragana korshinskii and Artemisia ordosica, in the revegetation area at the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert. The results showed that throughfall and stemflow ave-ragely occupied 74.4%, 11.3% and 61.8%, 5.5% of the gross precipitation for C. korshinskii and A. ordosica, respectively. The mean coefficients of variation (CV) of throughfall were 0.25 and 0.30, respectively. C. korshinski were more efficient than A. ordosica on stemflow generation. The depth of soil wetting front around the stem area was greater than other areas under shrub canopy for C. korshinski, and it was only significantly greater under bigger rain events for A. ordosica. The shrub canopy could cause the unevenness of soil wetting front under the canopy in consequence of rainfall redistribution induced by xerophytic shrub.

  8. The stage of soil development modulates rhizosphere effect along a High Arctic desert chronosequence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mapelli, Francesca; Marasco, Ramona; Fusi, Marco; Scaglia, Barbara; Tsiamis, George; Rolli, Eleonora; Fodelianakis, Stilianos; Bourtzis, Kostas; Ventura, Stefano; Tambone, Fulvia; Adani, Fabrizio; Borin, Sara; Daffonchio, Daniele

    2018-05-01

    In mature soils, plant species and soil type determine the selection of root microbiota. Which of these two factors drives rhizosphere selection in barren substrates of developing desert soils has, however, not yet been established. Chronosequences of glacier forelands provide ideal natural environments to identify primary rhizosphere selection factors along the changing edaphic conditions of a developing soil. Here, we analyze changes in bacterial diversity in bulk soils and rhizospheres of a pioneer plant across a High Arctic glacier chronosequence. We show that the developmental stage of soil strongly modulates rhizosphere community assembly, even though plant-induced selection buffers the effect of changing edaphic factors. Bulk and rhizosphere soils host distinct bacterial communities that differentially vary along the chronosequence. Cation exchange capacity, exchangeable potassium, and metabolite concentration in the soil account for the rhizosphere bacterial diversity. Although the soil fraction (bulk soil and rhizosphere) explains up to 17.2% of the variation in bacterial microbiota, the soil developmental stage explains up to 47.7% of this variation. In addition, the operational taxonomic unit (OTU) co-occurrence network of the rhizosphere, whose complexity increases along the chronosequence, is loosely structured in barren compared with mature soils, corroborating our hypothesis that soil development tunes the rhizosphere effect.

  9. The stage of soil development modulates rhizosphere effect along a High Arctic desert chronosequence

    KAUST Repository

    Mapelli, Francesca

    2018-01-09

    In mature soils, plant species and soil type determine the selection of root microbiota. Which of these two factors drives rhizosphere selection in barren substrates of developing desert soils has, however, not yet been established. Chronosequences of glacier forelands provide ideal natural environments to identify primary rhizosphere selection factors along the changing edaphic conditions of a developing soil. Here, we analyze changes in bacterial diversity in bulk soils and rhizospheres of a pioneer plant across a High Arctic glacier chronosequence. We show that the developmental stage of soil strongly modulates rhizosphere community assembly, even though plant-induced selection buffers the effect of changing edaphic factors. Bulk and rhizosphere soils host distinct bacterial communities that differentially vary along the chronosequence. Cation exchange capacity, exchangeable potassium, and metabolite concentration in the soil account for the rhizosphere bacterial diversity. Although the soil fraction (bulk soil and rhizosphere) explains up to 17.2% of the variation in bacterial microbiota, the soil developmental stage explains up to 47.7% of this variation. In addition, the operational taxonomic unit (OTU) co-occurrence network of the rhizosphere, whose complexity increases along the chronosequence, is loosely structured in barren compared with mature soils, corroborating our hypothesis that soil development tunes the rhizosphere effect.

  10. The stage of soil development modulates rhizosphere effect along a High Arctic desert chronosequence

    KAUST Repository

    Mapelli, Francesca; Marasco, Ramona; Fusi, Marco; Scaglia, Barbara; Tsiamis, George; Rolli, Eleonora; Fodelianakis, Stylianos; Bourtzis, Kostas; Ventura, Stefano; Tambone, Fulvia; Adani, Fabrizio; Borin, Sara; Daffonchio, Daniele

    2018-01-01

    In mature soils, plant species and soil type determine the selection of root microbiota. Which of these two factors drives rhizosphere selection in barren substrates of developing desert soils has, however, not yet been established. Chronosequences of glacier forelands provide ideal natural environments to identify primary rhizosphere selection factors along the changing edaphic conditions of a developing soil. Here, we analyze changes in bacterial diversity in bulk soils and rhizospheres of a pioneer plant across a High Arctic glacier chronosequence. We show that the developmental stage of soil strongly modulates rhizosphere community assembly, even though plant-induced selection buffers the effect of changing edaphic factors. Bulk and rhizosphere soils host distinct bacterial communities that differentially vary along the chronosequence. Cation exchange capacity, exchangeable potassium, and metabolite concentration in the soil account for the rhizosphere bacterial diversity. Although the soil fraction (bulk soil and rhizosphere) explains up to 17.2% of the variation in bacterial microbiota, the soil developmental stage explains up to 47.7% of this variation. In addition, the operational taxonomic unit (OTU) co-occurrence network of the rhizosphere, whose complexity increases along the chronosequence, is loosely structured in barren compared with mature soils, corroborating our hypothesis that soil development tunes the rhizosphere effect.

  11. Composition of soil seed bank over cholistan desert microhabitats at dingarh for area, pakistan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hamid, A.; Arshad, M.; Ghazali, H.M.Z.

    2016-01-01

    Soil seed banks were assessed in three soil layers (L1, from 0 to 2 cm, L2, 2 to 4 cm and L3, 4 to 6 cm depth ) from five microhabitats i.e., Lee-ward side of sand dune (S1), Wind-ward side of sand dune (S2), Clayey area covered with sand (S3), Interdunal sandy area (S4) and Shifting sand dune of site Dingarh Fort area (S5) in Cholistan desert of Pakistan to analyse differences of soil seed bank among these habitats. Ten soil samples were collected from each microhabitat and from each layer i.e., 0-2 cm depth (L1), 2-4 cm depth (L2) and 4-6 cm depth (L3) by using 15*15*6 cm metallic sampler. Consistent differences in seed composition were observed among these microhabitats. Seedling emergence approach was used to assess the soil seed bank of Cholistan desert. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used for the soil seed bank and the plant species analysis. The microhabitats S3 (Clayey area covered with sand) and S4 (Interdunal sandy area) contributed prominently to the total variance in the species and had maximum density of seed bank and soil layer L1 contained maximum number of seeds. (author)

  12. Soil respiration in the cold desert environment of the Colorado Plateau (USA): Abiotic regulators and thresholds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandez, D.P.; Neff, J.C.; Belnap, J.; Reynolds, R.L.

    2006-01-01

    Decomposition is central to understanding ecosystem carbon exchange and nutrient-release processes. Unlike mesic ecosystems, which have been extensively studied, xeric landscapes have received little attention; as a result, abiotic soil-respiration regulatory processes are poorly understood in xeric environments. To provide a more complete and quantitative understanding about how abiotic factors influence soil respiration in xeric ecosystems, we conducted soil- respiration and decomposition-cloth measurements in the cold desert of southeast Utah. Our study evaluated when and to what extent soil texture, moisture, temperature, organic carbon, and nitrogen influence soil respiration and examined whether the inverse-texture hypothesis applies to decomposition. Within our study site, the effect of texture on moisture, as described by the inverse texture hypothesis, was evident, but its effect on decomposition was not. Our results show temperature and moisture to be the dominant abiotic controls of soil respiration. Specifically, temporal offsets in temperature and moisture conditions appear to have a strong control on soil respiration, with the highest fluxes occurring in spring when temperature and moisture were favorable. These temporal offsets resulted in decomposition rates that were controlled by soil moisture and temperature thresholds. The highest fluxes of CO2 occurred when soil temperature was between 10 and 16??C and volumetric soil moisture was greater than 10%. Decomposition-cloth results, which integrate decomposition processes across several months, support the soil-respiration results and further illustrate the seasonal patterns of high respiration rates during spring and low rates during summer and fall. Results from this study suggest that the parameters used to predict soil respiration in mesic ecosystems likely do not apply in cold-desert environments. ?? Springer 2006.

  13. [Fractal features of soil particle size in the process of desertification in desert grassland of Ningxia, China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yan, Xin; An, Hui

    2017-10-01

    The variation of soil properties, the fractal dimension of soil particle size, and the relationships between fractal dimension of soil particle size and soil properties in the process of desertification in desert grassland of Ningxia were discussed. The results showed that the fractal dimension (D) at different desertification stages in desert grassland varied greatly, the value of D was between 1.69 and 2.62. Except for the 10-20 cm soil layer, the value of D gradually declined with increa sing desertification of desert grassland at 0-30 cm soil layer. In the process of desertification in de-sert grassland, the grassland had the highest values of D , the volume percentage of clay and silt, and the lowest values of the volume percentage of very fine sand and fine sand. However, the mobile dunes had the lowest value of D , the volume percentage of clay and silt, and the highest value of the volume percentage of very fine sand and fine sand. There was a significant positive correlation between the soil fractal dimension value and the volume percentage of soil particles 50 μm. The grain size of 50 μm was the critical value for deciding the relationship between the soil particle fractal dimension and the volume percentage. Soil organic matter (SOM) and total nitrogen (TN) decreased gradually with increasing desertification of desert grassland, but soil bulk density increased gradually. Qualitative change from fixed dunes to semi fixed dunes with the rapid decrease of the volume percentage of clay and silt, SOM, TN and the rapid increase of volume percentage of very fine sand and fine sand, soil bulk density. Fractal dimension was significantly correlated to SOM, TN and soil bulk density. Fractal dimension 2.58 was a critical value of fixed dunes and semi fixed dunes. So, the fractal dimension of 2.58 could be taken as the desertification indicator of desert grassland.

  14. Soil microbial diversity in the vicinity of desert shrubs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saul-Tcherkas, Vered; Unc, Adrian; Steinberger, Yosef

    2013-04-01

    Water and nutrient availability are the major limiting factors of biological activity in arid and semiarid ecosystems. Therefore, perennial plants have developed different ecophysiological adaptations to cope with harsh conditions. The chemical profile of the root exudates varies among plant species and this can induce variability in associated microbial populations. We examined the influence of two shrubs species, Artemisia sieberi and Noaea mucronata, on soil microbial diversity. Soil samples were collected monthly, from December 2006 to November 2007, near canopies of both shrubs (0-10-cm depth). Samples were used for abiotic tests and determination of soil bacterial diversity. No significant differences were found in the abiotic variables (soil moisture, total organic matter, and total soluble nitrogen (TSN)) between soil samples collected from under the two shrubs during the study period. No obvious differences in the Shannon-Weaver index, evenness values, or total phylogenetic distances were found for the soil microbial communities. However, detailed denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) clustering as well as taxonomic diversity analyses indicated clear shifts in the soil microbial community composition. These shifts were governed by seasonal variability in water availability and, significantly, by plant species type.

  15. Profile Changes in the Soil Microbial Community When Desert Becomes Oasis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chen-hua Li

    Full Text Available The conversion of virgin desert into oasis farmland creates two contrasting types of land-cover. During oasis formation with irrigation and fertilizer application, however, the changes in the soil microbial population, which play critical roles in the ecosystem, remain poorly understood. We applied high-throughput pyrosequencing to investigate bacterial and archaeal communities throughout the profile (0-3 m in an experimental field, where irrigation and fertilization began in 1990 and cropped with winter wheat since then. To assess the effects of cultivation, the following treatments were compared with the virgin desert: CK (no fertilizer, PK, NK, NP, NPK, NPKR, and NPKM (R: straw residue; M: manure fertilizer. Irrigation had a greater impact on the overall microbial community than fertilizer application. The greatest impact occurred in topsoil (0-0.2 m, e.g., Cyanobacteria (25% total abundance were most abundant in desert soil, while Actinobacteria (26% were most abundant in oasis soil. The proportions of extremophilic and photosynthetic groups (e.g., Deinococcus-Thermus and Cyanobacteria decreased, while the proportions of R-strategy (e.g., Gammaproteobacteria including Xanthomonadales, nitrifying (e.g., Nitrospirae, and anaerobic bacteria (e.g., Anaerolineae increased throughout the oasis profile. Archaea occurred only in oasis soil. The impact of fertilizer application was mainly reflected in the non-dominant communities or finer taxonomic divisions. Oasis formation led to a dramatic shift in microbial community and enhanced soil enzyme activities. The rapidly increased soil moisture and decreased salt caused by irrigation were responsible for this shift. Furthermore, difference in fertilization and crop growth altered the organic carbon contents in the soil, which resulted in differences of microbial communities within oasis.

  16. Rapidly restoring biological soil crusts and ecosystem functions in a severely disturbed desert ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiquoine, Lindsay P; Abella, Scott R; Bowker, Matthew A

    2016-06-01

    biocrusts rapidly restored biocrust communities and soil stability such that restored areas were similar to undisturbed desert within three years. Using salvaged biocrust as inoculum can be an effective tool in ecological restoration because of its efficacy and simple implementation. Although salvaging biocrust material can be technically difficult and potentially costly, utilizing opportunities to salvage material in planned future disturbance can provide additional land management tools.

  17. EFFECTS OF ELEVATED CO2 ON ROOT FUNCTION AND SOIL RESPIRATION IN A MOJAVE DESERT ECOSYSTEM

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nowak, Robert S.

    2007-12-19

    belowground in relatively recalcitrant forms. Indeed, a model-based analysis predicted that the arid/semiarid southwestern bioclimatic region had one of the highest rates of net carbon storage in the United States over the past century (Schimel et al. 2000). Second, root systems of desert plants are often extensive (Foxx et al. 1984, Hartle et al. 2006) with relatively large proportions of roots deep in the soil (Schenk & Jackson 2002). Thus, an understanding of belowground processes in desert ecosystems provides information on the potential for terrestrial carbon sequestration in desert ecosystems.

  18. Phytoadaptation in Desert Soil Prediction Using Fuzzy Logic Modeling

    OpenAIRE

    S. Bouharati; F. Allag; M. Belmahdi; M. Bounechada

    2014-01-01

    In terms of ecology forecast effects of desertification, the purpose of this study is to develop a predictive model of growth and adaptation of species in arid environment and bioclimatic conditions. The impact of climate change and the desertification phenomena is the result of combined effects in magnitude and frequency of these phenomena. Like the data involved in the phytopathogenic process and bacteria growth in arid soil occur in an uncertain environment because of their complexity, it ...

  19. Interacting vegetative and thermal contributions to water movement in desert soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia, C.A.; Andraski, Brian J.; Stonestrom, David A.; Cooper, C.A.; Šimůnek, J.; Wheatcraft, S.W.

    2011-01-01

    Thermally driven water-vapor flow can be an important component of total water movement in bare soil and in deep unsaturated zones, but this process is often neglected when considering the effects of soil–plant–atmosphere interactions on shallow water movement. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the coupled and separate effects of vegetative and thermal-gradient contributions to soil water movement in desert environments. The evaluation was done by comparing a series of simulations with and without vegetation and thermal forcing during a 4.7-yr period (May 2001–December 2005). For vegetated soil, evapotranspiration alone reduced root-zone (upper 1 m) moisture to a minimum value (25 mm) each year under both isothermal and nonisothermal conditions. Variations in the leaf area index altered the minimum storage values by up to 10 mm. For unvegetated isothermal and nonisothermal simulations, root-zone water storage nearly doubled during the simulation period and created a persistent driving force for downward liquid fluxes below the root zone (total net flux ~1 mm). Total soil water movement during the study period was dominated by thermally driven vapor fluxes. Thermally driven vapor flow and condensation supplemented moisture supplies to plant roots during the driest times of each year. The results show how nonisothermal flow is coupled with plant water uptake, potentially influencing ecohydrologic relations in desert environments.

  20. Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Degrading Bacteria in the Desert Soil of Kuwait

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Al-Gounaim, M.; Diab, A.; Al-Hilali, A.; Abu-Shady, A. Sattar

    2005-01-01

    Soil samples of different levels of oil pollutants were collected from Kuwait's Burgan Oil Field, near an oil lake. The samples represented, highly polluted (8.0% w/w), moderately polluted (2.1%-3.4%) and slightly polluted (2.1%-3.4%) and slightly polluted (0.5- 0.8%). The aromatic fractions of the collected samples were in the range of (0.21-2.57g/100g) soil. (GC) analysis of the aromatic fractions of the resolution of the different individual (PAHs) revealed the presence of (16) different (PAHs) resolved from the aromatic fraction of the highly polluted sample (S3). (15), (14) and (13) individual (PAHs) were identified soil samples (S5), (S2) and (S1, S4, S6) respectively. The most frequent (PAH) was indeno (1, 2, 3-c, d) pyrene (22.5%-45.11%) followed chrysene (13.6%-19.48%). Eight carcinogenic (PAHs) were resolved from the aromatic fractions of the polluted samples. Total carcinogenic (PAHs) recorded in this study were in this study were in the range of (11.53) (forS4) - (510.98) (for S3) ppm. The counts of (CFU) of aromatic degraders (AD) were in the range of (3x10) - (110x 10) (CFU/g) soil (with a percent of (2.2%-69.6%)). The results show that, higher counts of (AD) were recorded from a highly polluted sample (S3), followed by the moderately polluted samples; total of (51) bacteria, that gave presumptive positive biodegradation activities, were isolated and identified (45.1%) of them were isolated and identified. (45.1%) of them were isolated from the highly polluted sample (S3). Total of (13) different species were identified of which Micrococcus luteus was more frequent (23.5) followed by Bacillus licheniformis (19.6%) and Bacillus subtilis (11.8%). The three Pseudomonas species collectively were presented by (11.8%). Five different species proved to be of good activities, they are: Bacillus brevis, Bacillus lichenoformis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas stutzeri and Pseudomonas flourescens. The ability of five species and their mixture was

  1. VARIABILITY IN SOILS AND VEGETATION ASSOCIATED WITH HARVESTER ANT (POGONOMYRMEX RUGOSUS) NESTS ON A CHIHUAHUAN DESERT WATERSHED

    Science.gov (United States)

    The effects of harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex rugosus) nests on the density and cover of spring annual plants and on soil characteristics were measured at three locations characterized by different soils and dominant vegetation on a desert watershed. There were few differences in ve...

  2. Predictions of soil-water potentials in the north-western Sonoran Desert

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Young, D.R.; Nobel, P.S.

    1986-03-01

    A simple computer model was developed to predict soil-water potential at a Sonoran Desert site. The variability of precipitation there, coupled with the low water-holding capacity of the sandy soil, result in large temporal and spatial variations in soil-water potential. Predicted soil-water potentials for depths of 5, 10 and 20 cm were in close agreement with measured values as the soil dried after an application of water. Predicted values at a depth of 10 cm, the mean rooting depth of Agave deserti and other succulents common at the study site, also agreed with soil-water potentials measured in the field throughout 1 year. Both soil-water potential and evaporation from the soil surface were very sensitive to simulated changes in the hydraulic conductivity of the soil. The annual duration of soil moisture adequate for succulents was dependent on the rainfall as well as on the spacing and amount of individual rainfalls. The portion of annual precipitation evaporated from the soil surface varied from 73% in a dry year (77 mm precipitation) to 59% in a wet year (597 mm). Besides using the actual precipitation events, simulations were performed using the figures for total monthly precipitation. Based on the average number of rainfalls for a particular month, the rainfall was distributed throughout the month in the model. Predictions using both daily and monthly inputs were in close agreement, especially for the number of days during a year when the soil-water potential was sufficient for water absorption by the succulent plants (above -0.5 MPa).

  3. [Spatial variation of soil carbon and stable isotopes in the southern margin desert of Junggar Basin, China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Na; Xu, Wen Qiang; Xu, Hua Jun; Feng, Yi Xing; Li, Chao Fan

    2017-07-18

    The southern margin desert of Junggar Basin in the central arid region of Asia was selec-ted as the study area. To gain insight into the distribution characteristic of stable carbon isotope and the relationship between the change of soil carbon and the distance to oasis of soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil inorganic carbon (SIC), three belt transects were set according to the distance between the desert and the oasis in edge, middle and hinterland of the desert respectively, and collected the soil profile samples with depth of 2 m. The results indicated that the SOC content reduced with the soil depth, and the variation with the distance to oasis was the edge> the middle> the hinterland. The δ 13 C value of SOC varied in the range of -21.92‰ to -17.41‰, and decreased with the depth; the range in the middle and hinterland was -25.20‰ to -19.30‰, and increased then declined with the depth. Therefore, we could infer that the C3 plants played a dominant role in the central of desert, and had experienced the succession from C3 plants to C4 plants. The average content of SIC was 38.98 g·kg -1 in the edge of desert, which was about 6.01 folds as large as the content in the hinterland. This indicated that a large number of SIC with 0-2 m depth were clustered in the edge of the desert. The δ 13 C value of SIC increased first then decreased with the soil depth, and enriched in the bottom layer, which was mainly affected by the original carbonate content and soil carbon dioxide.

  4. Are biological effects of desert shrubs more important than physical effects on soil microorganisms?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berg, Naama; Steinberger, Yosef

    2010-01-01

    Vegetation cover plays a major role in providing organic matter and in acting as a physical barrier, with both together contributing to the formation of "fertile islands," which play an active role in prolonging biological activity in desert ecosystems. By undertaking this study, a longterm research, we designed an experiment to separate the two components-the physical and biotic parts of the perennial plants-and to identify the factor that contributes the most to the ecosystem. The study site was located in the northern Negev Desert, Israel, where 50 Hammada scoparia shrubs and 50 artificial plants were randomly marked. Soil samples were collected monthly over 3 years of research at three locations: under the canopy of H. scoparia shrubs, in the vicinity of the artificial plants, and between the shrubs (control). The contribution to microbial activity was measured by evaluation of the microbial community functions in soil. The functional aspects of the microbial community that were measured were CO2 evolution, microbial biomass, microbial functional diversity, and the physiological profile of the community. The results of this study are presented in two ways: (1) according to the three locations/treatments; and (2) according to the phenological situation of the vegetation (annual and perennial plants) in the research field: the growing phase, the drying process, and the absence of annual plants. The only parameters that were found to affect microbial activity were the contribution of the organic matter of perennial shrubs and the growth of vegetation (annual and perennial) during the growing seasons. The physical component was found to have no effect on soil microbial functional diversity, which elucidates the important contribution of the desert shrub in enhancing biological multiplicity and activity.

  5. Thermoregulatory value of cracking-clay soil shelters for small vertebrates during extreme desert conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waudby, Helen P; Petit, Sophie

    2017-05-01

    Deserts exhibit extreme climatic conditions. Small desert-dwelling vertebrates have physiological and behavioral adaptations to cope with these conditions, including the ability to seek shelter. We investigated the temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) regulating properties of the soil cracks that characterize the extensive cracking-clay landscapes of arid Australia, and the extent of their use by 2 small marsupial species: fat-tailed and stripe-faced dunnarts (Sminthopsis crassicaudata and Sminthopsis macroura). We measured hourly (over 24-h periods) the T and RH of randomly-selected soil cracks compared to outside conditions, during 2 summers and 2 winters. We tracked 17 dunnarts (8 Sminthopsis crassicaudata and 9 Sminthopsis macroura) to quantify their use of cracks. Cracks consistently moderated microclimate, providing more stable conditions than available from non-crack points, which often displayed comparatively dramatic fluctuations in T and RH. Both dunnart species used crack shelters extensively. Cracks constitute important shelter for small animals during extreme conditions by providing a stable microclimate, which is typically cooler than outside conditions in summer and warmer in winter. Cracks likely play a fundamental sheltering role by sustaining the physiological needs of small mammal populations. Globally, cracking-clay areas are dominated by agricultural land uses, including livestock grazing. Management of these systems should focus not only on vegetation condition, but also on soil integrity, to maintain shelter resources for ground-dwelling fauna. © 2016 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

  6. Modeling Soil-Landscape Relations in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regmi, N. R.; Rasmussen, C.

    2015-12-01

    Digital soil mapping (DSM) techniques that integrate remotely sensed surface topography and reflectance, and map soil-landscape associations have the potential in improve understanding of critical zone evolution and landscape processes. The goal of this study was to understand the soil-geomorphic evolution of Quaternary alluvial and eolian deposits in the Sonoran Desert using a data-driven DSM technique and mapping of soil-landscape relationships. An iterative principal component analysis (iPCA) data reduction routine was developed and implemented for a set of LiDAR elevation- and Landsat ETM+-derived environmental covariates that characterize soil-landscape variability. Principal components that explain more than 95% of the soil-landscape variability were then integrated and classified based on an ISODATA (Iterative Self-Organizing Data) unsupervised technique. The classified map was then segmented based on a region growing algorithm and multi-scale maps of soil-landscape relations were developed, which then compared with maps of major arid-region landforms that can be identified on aerial photographs and satellite images by their distinguishing tone and texture, and in the field by their distinguishing surface and sub-surface soil physical, chemical and biological properties. The approach identified and mapped the soil-landscape variability of alluvial and eolian landscapes, and illustrated the applicability of coupling covariate selection and integration by iPCA, ISODATA classifications of integrated layers, and image segmentation for effective spatial prediction of soil-landscape characteristics. The approach developed here is data-driven, cost- and time-effective, applicable for multi-scale mapping, allows incorporation of wide variety of covariates, and provides accurate quantitative prediction of wide range of soil-landscape attributes that are necessary for hydrologic models, land and ecosystem management decisions, and hazard assessment.

  7. Distribution and Diversity of Organic and Biological Signatures in Soils From the Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharma, Aditi

    2005-01-01

    The Atacama Desert is amongst the driest places on Earth. It is considered to be a suitable analog for the Martian surface in which to conduct studies of life and life detection. Soil samples were collected in June 2005 from the Atacama Desert and analyzed in the lab for amino acid content. HPLC was the primary tool used to analyze samples. The amino acids of interest are aspartic acid, serine, glutamic acid, glycine, and alanine. D and L isomers of each amino acid (except for glycine) were separated through HPLC. The purpose of this study is to find correlations between location of the sample collection sites and amino acid content as well as D/L isomer ratios in order to formulate theories of how different types of environments may affect the abundance and distribution of life forms. Initial analysis of data shows a general lack of or slight correlation between location and amino acid content. Some data appears to contradict the hypothesis that harsher environments would have lower amino acid content than less harsh environments. Further analysis of data is needed to come up with a more conclusive report of the distribution of amino acids in the Atacama Desert.

  8. Bioremediation of Crude Oil Contaminated Desert Soil: Effect of Biostimulation, Bioaugmentation and Bioavailability in Biopile Treatment Systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benyahia, Farid; Embaby, Ahmed Shams

    2016-02-15

    This work was aimed at evaluating the relative merits of bioaugmentation, biostimulation and surfactant-enhanced bioavailability of a desert soil contaminated by crude oil through biopile treatment. The results show that the desert soil required bioaugmentation and biostimulation for bioremediation of crude oil. The bioaugmented biopile system led to a total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) reduction of 77% over 156 days while the system with polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate (Tween 80) gave a 56% decrease in TPH. The biostimulated system with indigenous micro-organisms gave 23% reduction in TPH. The control system gave 4% TPH reduction. The addition of Tween 80 led to a respiration rate that peaked in 48 days compared to 88 days for the bioaugmented system and respiration declined rapidly due to nitrogen depletion. The residual hydrocarbon in the biopile systems studied contained polyaromatics (PAH) in quantities that may be considered as hazardous. Nitrogen was found to be a limiting nutrient in desert soil bioremediation.

  9. The impact of fog on soil moisture dynamics in the Namib Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Bonan; Wang, Lixin; Kaseke, Kudzai F.; Vogt, Roland; Li, Lin; Seely, Mary K.

    2018-03-01

    Soil moisture is a crucial component supporting vegetation dynamics in drylands. Despite increasing attention on fog in dryland ecosystems, the statistical characterization of fog distribution and how fog affects soil moisture dynamics have not been seen in literature. To this end, daily fog records over two years (Dec 1, 2014-Nov 1, 2016) from three sites within the Namib Desert were used to characterize fog distribution. Two sites were located within the Gobabeb Research and Training Center vicinity, the gravel plains and the sand dunes. The third site was located at the gravel plains, Kleinberg. A subset of the fog data during rainless period was used to investigate the effect of fog on soil moisture. A stochastic modeling framework was used to simulate the effect of fog on soil moisture dynamics. Our results showed that fog distribution can be characterized by a Poisson process with two parameters (arrival rate λ and average depth α (mm)). Fog and soil moisture observations from eighty (Aug 19, 2015-Nov 6, 2015) rainless days indicated a moderate positive relationship between soil moisture and fog in the Gobabeb gravel plains, a weaker relationship in the Gobabeb sand dunes while no relationship was observed at the Kleinberg site. The modeling results suggested that mean and major peaks of soil moisture dynamics can be captured by the fog modeling. Our field observations demonstrated the effects of fog on soil moisture dynamics during rainless periods at some locations, which has important implications on soil biogeochemical processes. The statistical characterization and modeling of fog distribution are of great value to predict fog distribution and investigate the effects of potential changes in fog distribution on soil moisture dynamics.

  10. Soil water regulates the control of photosynthesis on diel hysteresis between soil respiration and temperature in a desert shrubland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Ben; Zha, Tian Shan; Jia, Xin; Gong, Jin Nan; Bourque, Charles; Feng, Wei; Tian, Yun; Wu, Bin; Qing Zhang, Yu; Peltola, Heli

    2017-09-01

    Explanations for the occurrence of hysteresis (asynchronicity) between diel soil respiration (Rs) and soil temperature (Ts) have evoked both biological and physical mechanisms. The specifics of these explanations, however, tend to vary with the particular ecosystem or biome being investigated. So far, the relative degree of control of biological and physical processes on hysteresis is not clear for drylands. This study examined the seasonal variation in diel hysteresis and its biological control in a desert-shrub ecosystem in northwest (NW) China. The study was based on continuous measurements of Rs, air temperature (Ta), temperature at the soil surface and below (Tsurf and Ts), volumetric soil water content (SWC), and photosynthesis in a dominant desert shrub (i.e., Artemisia ordosica) over an entire year in 2013. Trends in diel Rs were observed to vary with SWC over the growing season (April to October). Diel variations in Rs were more closely associated with variations in Tsurf than with photosynthesis as SWC increased, leading to Rs being in phase with Tsurf, particularly when SWC > 0.08 m3 m-3 (ratio of SWC to soil porosity = 0.26). However, as SWC decreased below 0.08 m3 m-3, diel variations in Rs were more closely related to variations in photosynthesis, leading to pronounced hysteresis between Rs and Tsurf. Incorporating photosynthesis into a Q10-function eliminated 84.2 % of the observed hysteresis, increasing the overall descriptive capability of the function. Our findings highlight a high degree of control by photosynthesis and SWC in regulating seasonal variation in diel hysteresis between Rs and temperature.

  11. Preservation of Lipid Biomarkers Under Prolonged and Extreme Hyperaridity in Atacama Desert Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilhelm, Mary Beth

    2015-01-01

    Molecular biomarkers are the most direct biosignatures of life on early Earth and a key target in the search for life on Mars. Lipid biomarkers are of particular interest given their ability to survive oxidative degradation and record microbial presence and activity of microorganisms that occurred billions of years ago (Eigenbrode, 2008). Environmental conditions that suspend biotic and abiotic degradative processes prior to lithification can lead to enhanced biomolecular preservation over geological time-scales. The hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile offers a unique environment to investigate lipid biomarker taphonomy under extreme and prolonged dryness. We investigated the accumulation and degree of preservation of lipid biomarkers in million-year-old hyperarid soils where primarily abiotic conditions influence their taphonomy. Soils were extracted and free and membrane bound lipids were analyzed across a vertical profile of 2.5 meters in the Yungay hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert. Due to the extremely low inventory of biomass in Atacama soils, samples were collected by scientists wearing cleanroom suits to minimize anthropogenic contamination during sampling. Fatty acids were found to be well preserved in Yungay soils, and were most abundant in the clay-rich soils at approx.2 m depth (approx.750 ng of fatty acid methyl ester/g of soil). These buried clays layers were fluvially deposited approximately 2 million years ago, and have been excluded from exposure to rainwater and modern surficial processes since their emplacement (Ewing et al., 2008). Monocarboxylic fatty acid, monohydroxy fatty acid, glycerol tetraether, and n-alkane hydrocarbon content was found to change with depth. Lipid biomarker content in deeper soil layers is suggestive of soils having been formed at a time when environmental conditions were capable of supporting active microbial communities and plants. In short, total lipid extracts reveal a remarkable degree of

  12. Preservation of Lipid Biomarkers Under Prolonged and Extreme Hyperaridity in Atacama Desert Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilhelm, M. B.; Davila, A. F.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Parenteau, M. N.; Jahnke, L. L.; Summons, R. E.; Liu, X.; Wray, J. J.; Stamos, B.; O'Reilly, S. S.; Williams, A. J.

    2015-12-01

    Molecular biomarkers are the most direct biosignatures of life on early Earth and a key target in the search for life on Mars. Lipid biomarkers are of particular interest given their ability to survive oxidative degradation and record microbial presence and activity of microorganisms that occurred billions of years ago (Eigenbrode, 2008). Environmental conditions that suspend biotic and abiotic degradative processes prior to lithification can lead to enhanced biomolecular preservation over geological time-scales. The hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile offers a unique environment to investigate lipid biomarker taphonomy under extreme and prolonged dryness. We investigated the accumulation and degree of preservation of lipid biomarkers in million-year-old hyperarid soils where primarily abiotic conditions influence their taphonomy. Soils were extracted and free and membrane bound lipids were analyzed across a vertical profile of 2.5 meters in the Yungay hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert. Due to the extremely low inventory of biomass in Atacama soils, samples were collected by scientists wearing cleanroom suits to minimize anthropogenic contamination during sampling. Fatty acids were found to be well preserved in Yungay soils, and were most abundant in the clay-rich soils at ~2 m depth (~750 ng of fatty acid methyl ester/g of soil). These buried clays layers were fluvially deposited approximately 2 million years ago, and have been excluded from exposure to rainwater and modern surficial processes since their emplacement (Ewing et al., 2008). Monocarboxylic fatty acid, monohydroxy fatty acid, glycerol tetraether, and n-alkane hydrocarbon content was found to change with depth. Lipid biomarker content in deeper soil layers is suggestive of soils having been formed at a time when environmental conditions were capable of supporting active microbial communities and plants. In short, total lipid extracts reveal a remarkable degree of lipid biomarker

  13. Identification of linkages between potential Environmental and Social Impacts of Surface Mining and Ecosystem Services in Thar Coal field, Pakistan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hina, A.

    2017-12-01

    Although Thar coal is recognized to be one of the most abundant fossil fuel that could meet the need to combat energy crisis of Pakistan, but there still remains a challenge to tackle the associated environmental and socio-ecological changes and its linkage to the provision of ecosystem services of the region. The study highlights the importance of considering Ecosystem service assessment to be undertaken in all strategic Environmental and Social Assessments of Thar coal field projects. The three-step approach has been formulated to link the project impacts to the provision of important ecosystem services; 1) Identification of impact indicators and parameters by analyzing the environmental and social impacts of surface mining in Thar Coal field through field investigation, literature review and stakeholder consultations; 2) Ranking of parameters and criteria alternatives using Multi-criteria Decision Analysis(MCDA) tool: (AHP method); 3) Using ranked parameters as a proxy to prioritize important ecosystem services of the region; The ecosystem services that were prioritized because of both high significance of project impact and high project dependence are highlighted as: Water is a key ecosystem service to be addressed and valued due to its high dependency in the area for livestock, human wellbeing, agriculture and other purposes. Crop production related to agricultural services, in association with supply services such as soil quality, fertility, and nutrient recycling and water retention need to be valued. Cultural services affected in terms of land use change and resettlement and rehabilitation factors are recommended to be addressed. The results of the analysis outline a framework of identifying these linkages as key constraints to foster the emergence of green growth and development in Pakistan. The practicality of implementing these assessments requires policy instruments and strategies to support human well-being and social inclusion while minimizing

  14. Impact of environmental factors and biological soil crust types on soil respiration in a desert ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Wei; Zhang, Yuqing; Jia, Xin; Wu, Bin; Zha, Tianshan; Qin, Shugao; Wang, Ben; Shao, Chenxi; Liu, Jiabin; Fa, Keyu

    2014-01-01

    The responses of soil respiration to environmental conditions have been studied extensively in various ecosystems. However, little is known about the impacts of temperature and moisture on soils respiration under biological soil crusts. In this study, CO2 efflux from biologically-crusted soils was measured continuously with an automated chamber system in Ningxia, northwest China, from June to October 2012. The highest soil respiration was observed in lichen-crusted soil (0.93 ± 0.43 µmol m-2 s-1) and the lowest values in algae-crusted soil (0.73 ± 0.31 µmol m-2 s-1). Over the diurnal scale, soil respiration was highest in the morning whereas soil temperature was highest in the midday, which resulted in diurnal hysteresis between the two variables. In addition, the lag time between soil respiration and soil temperature was negatively correlated with the soil volumetric water content and was reduced as soil water content increased. Over the seasonal scale, daily mean nighttime soil respiration was positively correlated with soil temperature when moisture exceeded 0.075 and 0.085 m3 m-3 in lichen- and moss-crusted soil, respectively. However, moisture did not affect on soil respiration in algae-crusted soil during the study period. Daily mean nighttime soil respiration normalized by soil temperature increased with water content in lichen- and moss-crusted soil. Our results indicated that different types of biological soil crusts could affect response of soil respiration to environmental factors. There is a need to consider the spatial distribution of different types of biological soil crusts and their relative contributions to the total C budgets at the ecosystem or landscape level.

  15. Impact of Environmental Factors and Biological Soil Crust Types on Soil Respiration in a Desert Ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Wei; Zhang, Yuqing; Jia, Xin; Wu, Bin; Zha, Tianshan; Qin, Shugao; Wang, Ben; Shao, Chenxi; Liu, Jiabin; Fa, Keyu

    2014-01-01

    The responses of soil respiration to environmental conditions have been studied extensively in various ecosystems. However, little is known about the impacts of temperature and moisture on soils respiration under biological soil crusts. In this study, CO2 efflux from biologically-crusted soils was measured continuously with an automated chamber system in Ningxia, northwest China, from June to October 2012. The highest soil respiration was observed in lichen-crusted soil (0.93±0.43 µmol m−2 s−1) and the lowest values in algae-crusted soil (0.73±0.31 µmol m−2 s−1). Over the diurnal scale, soil respiration was highest in the morning whereas soil temperature was highest in the midday, which resulted in diurnal hysteresis between the two variables. In addition, the lag time between soil respiration and soil temperature was negatively correlated with the soil volumetric water content and was reduced as soil water content increased. Over the seasonal scale, daily mean nighttime soil respiration was positively correlated with soil temperature when moisture exceeded 0.075 and 0.085 m3 m−3 in lichen- and moss-crusted soil, respectively. However, moisture did not affect on soil respiration in algae-crusted soil during the study period. Daily mean nighttime soil respiration normalized by soil temperature increased with water content in lichen- and moss-crusted soil. Our results indicated that different types of biological soil crusts could affect response of soil respiration to environmental factors. There is a need to consider the spatial distribution of different types of biological soil crusts and their relative contributions to the total C budgets at the ecosystem or landscape level. PMID:25050837

  16. Sonoran Desert winter annuals affected by density of red brome and soil nitrogen

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salo, L.F.; McPherson, G.R.; Williams, D.G.

    2005-01-01

    Red brome [Bromus madritensis subsp. rubens (L.) Husn.] is a Mediterranean winter annual grass that has invaded Southwestern USA deserts. This study evaluated interactions among 13 Sonoran Desert annual species at four densities of red brome from 0 to the equivalent of 1200 plants ma??2. We examined these interactions at low (3 I?g) and high (537 I?g NO3a?? g soila??1) nitrogen (N) to evaluate the relative effects of soil N level on survival and growth of native annuals and red brome. Red brome did not affect emergence or survival of native annuals, but significantly reduced growth of natives, raising concerns about effects of this exotic grass on the fecundity of these species. Differences in growth of red brome and of the three dominant non nitrogen-fixing native annuals at the two levels of soil N were similar. Total species biomass of red brome was reduced by 83% at low, compared to high, N levels, whereas that of the three native species was reduced by from 42 to 95%. Mean individual biomass of red brome was reduced by 87% at low, compared to high, N levels, whereas that of the three native species was reduced by from 72 to 89%.

  17. Two millennia of soil dynamics derived from ancient desert terraces using high resolution 3-D data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Filin, Sagi; Arav, Reuma; Avni, Yoav

    2017-04-01

    Large areas in the arid southern Levant are dotted with ancient terrace-based agriculture systems which were irrigated by runoff harvesting techniques. They were constructed and maintained between the 3rd - 9th centuries AD and abandoned in the 10th century AD. During their 600 years of cultivation, these terraces documented the gradual aggradation of alluvial soils, erosion processes within the drainage basins, as well as flashflood damage. From their abandonment and onwards, they documented 1000 years and more of land degradation and soil erosion processes. Examination of these installations presents an opportunity to study natural and anthropogenic induced changes over almost two millennia. On a global scale, such an analysis is unique as it is rare to find intact manifestations of anthropogenic influences over such time-scales because of landscape dynamics. It is also rare to find a near millennia documentation of soil erosion processes. We study in this paper the aggradation processes within intact agriculture plots in the region surrounding the world heritage Roman-Byzantine ancient city of Avdat, Negev Highlands. We follow the complete cycle of the historical desert agriculture, from the configuration pre-dating the first anthropogenic intervention, through the centuries of cultivation, and up to the present erosion phase, which spans over more than a millennium. We use high resolution 3-D laser scans to document the erosion and the environmental dynamics during these two millennia. The high-resolution data is then utilized to compute siltation rates as well as erosion rates. The long-term measures of soil erosion and land degradation we present here significantly improve our understanding of the mechanism of long-term environmental change acting in arid environments. For sustainable desert inhabitation, the study offers insights into better planning of modern agriculture in similar zones as well as insights on strategies needed to protect such historical

  18. Cyanobacterial Diversity in Biological Soil Crusts along a Precipitation Gradient, Northwest Negev Desert, Israel.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagemann, Martin; Henneberg, Manja; Felde, Vincent J M N L; Drahorad, Sylvie L; Berkowicz, Simon M; Felix-Henningsen, Peter; Kaplan, Aaron

    2015-07-01

    Cyanobacteria occur worldwide but play an important role in the formation and primary activity of biological soil crusts (BSCs) in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. The cyanobacterial diversity in BSCs of the northwest Negev desert of Israel was surveyed at three fixed sampling stations situated along a precipitation gradient in the years 2010 to 2012. The three stations also are characterized by marked differences in soil features such as soil carbon, nitrogen, or electrical conductivity. The cyanobacterial biodiversity was analyzed by sequencing inserts of clone libraries harboring partial 16S rRNA gene sequences obtained with cyanobacteria-specific primers. Filamentous, non-diazotrophic strains (subsection III), particularly Microcoleus-like, dominated the cyanobacterial community (30% proportion) in all years. Specific cyanobacterial groups showed increased (e.g., Chroococcidiopsis, Leptolyngbya, and Nostoc strains) or decreased (e.g., unicellular strains belonging to the subsection I and Scytonema strains) abundances with declining water availability at the most arid, southern station, whereas many cyanobacterial strains were frequently found in the soils of all three stations. The cyanobacterial diversity at the three sampling stations appears dependent on the available precipitation, whereas the differences in soil chemistry were of lower importance.

  19. Bacterial Diversity within the Extreme Arid Atacama Desert Soils of the Yungay Region, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Connon, S. A.; Lester, E. D.; Shafaat, H. S.; Obenhuber, D. C.; Ponce, A.

    2006-12-01

    Surface and subsurface soil samples analyzed for this study were collected from the hyper-arid Yungay region of the Atacama Desert, Chile. This is the first report of microbial diversity from DNA extracted directly from these extremely desiccated soils. Our data shows that 94% of the 16S rRNA genes cloned from these soils belong to the Actinobacteria phylum. A 24-hour time course series showed a diurnal water activity (aw) cycle that peaked at 0.52 in the early predawn hours, and ranged from 0.08 0.01 during the day. All measured water activity values were below the level required for microbial growth or enzyme activity. Total organic carbon (TOC) levels in this region were just above the limits of detection and ranged from 220 660 μg/g of soil. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) levels indicated cellular biomass ranging from 2 ×105 to 7 ×106 cell equivalents per gram of soil. The culturable counts were low with most samples showing no growth on standard plates of R2A medium; the highest single count was 47 colony forming units (CFU) per gram.

  20. Using Agricultural Residue Biochar to Improve Soil Quality of Desert Soils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yunhe Zhang

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available A laboratory study was conducted to test the effects of biochars made from different feedstocks on soil quality indicators of arid soils. Biochars were produced from four locally-available agricultural residues: pecan shells, pecan orchard prunings, cotton gin trash, and yard waste, using a lab-scale pyrolyzer operated at 450 °C under a nitrogen environment and slow pyrolysis conditions. Two local arid soils used for crop production, a sandy loam and a clay loam, were amended with these biochars at a rate of 45 Mg·ha−1 and incubated for three weeks in a growth chamber. The soils were analyzed for multiple soil quality indicators including soil organic matter content, pH, electrical conductivity (EC, and available nutrients. Results showed that amendment with cotton gin trash biochar has the greatest impact on both soils, significantly increasing SOM and plant nutrient (P, K, Ca, Mn contents, as well as increasing the electrical conductivity, which creates concerns about soil salinity. Other biochar treatments significantly elevated soil salinity in clay loam soil, except for pecan shell biochar amended soil, which was not statistically different in EC from the control treatment. Generally, the effects of the biochar amendments were minimal for many soil measurements and varied with soil texture. Effects of biochars on soil salinity and pH/nutrient availability will be important considerations for research on biochar application to arid soils.

  1. Diversity and feeding strategies of soil microfauna along elevation gradients in Himalayan cold deserts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miloslav Devetter

    Full Text Available High-elevation cold deserts in Tibet and Himalaya are one of the most extreme environments. One consequence is that the diversity of macrofauna in this environment is often limited, and soil microorganisms have a more influential role in governing key surface and subsurface bioprocesses. High-elevation soil microfauna represent important components of cold ecosystems and dominant consumers of microbial communities. Still little is known about their diversity and distribution on the edge of their reproductive and metabolic abilities. In this study, we disentangle the impact of elevation and soil chemistry on diversity and distribution of rotifers, nematodes and tardigrades and their most frequent feeding strategies (microbial filter-feeders, bacterivores, fungivores, root-fungal feeders, omnivores along two contrasting altitudinal gradients in Indian NW Himalaya (Zanskar transect from 3805 to 4714 m a.s.l. and southwestern Tibet (Tso Moriri transect from 4477 to 6176 m a.s.l., using a combination of multivariate analysis, variation partitioning and generalized additive models. Zanskar transect had higher precipitation, soil moisture, organic matter and available nutrients than dry Tso Moriri transect. In total, 40 species of nematodes, 19 rotifers and 1 tardigrade were discovered. Species richness and total abundance of rotifers and nematodes showed mid-elevation peaks in both investigated transects. The optimum for rotifers was found at higher elevation than for nematodes. Diversity and distribution of soil microfauna was best explained by soil nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter. More fertile soils hosted more diverse and abundant faunal communities. In Tso Moriri, bacterivores represented 60% of all nematodes, fungivores 35%, root-fungal feeders 1% and omnivores 3%. For Zanskar the respective proportions were 21%, 13%, 56% and 9%. Elevational optima of different feeding strategies occurred in Zanskar in one elevation zone (4400-4500 m

  2. Large-scale downy brome treatments alter plant-soil relationships and promote perennial grasses in salt desert shrublands

    Science.gov (United States)

    The interrelationship between invasive annual grass abundance and soil resource availability varies spatially and temporally within ecosystems and may be altered by land treatments. We evaluated these relationships in two salt desert landscapes where the local abundance of Bromus tectorum L. (downy...

  3. Streptomyces asenjonii sp. nov., isolated from arid Atacama Desert soils and emended description of Streptomyces viridosporus Pridham et al. 1958

    Science.gov (United States)

    A polyphasic study was undertaken to establish the taxonomic status of Streptomyces strains isolated from arid Atacama Desert soils. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequences of the isolates showed that they formed a well-defined lineage that was loosely associated with the type strains of several Str...

  4. The role of fire on soil mounds and surface roughness in the Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soulard, Christopher E.; Esque, Todd C.; Bedford, David R.; Bond, Sandra

    2013-01-01

    A fundamental question in arid land management centers on understanding the long-term effects of fire on desert ecosystems. To assess the effects of fire on surface topography, soil roughness, and vegetation, we used terrestrial (ground-based) LiDAR to quantify the differences between burned and unburned surfaces by creating a series of high-resolution vegetation structure and bare-earth surface models for six sample plots in the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona. We find that 11 years following prescribed burns, mound volumes, plant heights, and soil-surface roughness were significantly lower on burned relative to unburned plots. Results also suggest a linkage between vegetation and soil mounds, either through accretion or erosion mechanisms such as wind and/or water erosion. The biogeomorphic implications of fire-induced changes are significant. Reduced plant cover and altered soil surfaces from fire likely influence seed residence times, inhibit seed germination and plant establishment, and affect other ecohydrological processes.

  5. Biological soil crusts are the main contributor to winter soil respiration in a temperate desert ecosystem of China

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, M. Z.

    2012-04-01

    Aims Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. However, most studies carried out to date on carbon (fluxes) in these ecosystems, such as soil respiration (RS), have neglected them. Also, winter RS is reported to be a significant component of annual carbon budget in other ecosystems, however, we have less knowledge about winter RS of BSCs in winter and its contribution to carbon cycle in desert regions. Therefore, the specific objectives of this study were to: (i) quantify the effects of different BSCs types (moss crust, algae crust, physical crust) on the winter RS; (ii) explore relationships of RS against soil temperature and water content for different BSCs, and (iii) assess the relative contribution of BSCs to the annual amount of C released by RS at desert ecosystem level. Methods Site Description The study sites are located at the southeast fringe of the Tengger Desert in the Shapotou region of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region [37°32'N and 105°02'E, at 1340 m above mean sea level (a.m.s.l.)], western China. The mean daily temperature in January is -6.9°C , while it is 24.3°C in July. The mean annual precipitation is 186 mm, approximately 80% of which falls between May and September. The annual potential evaporation is 2800 mm. The landscape of the Shapotou region is characterized by large and dense reticulate barchans chains of sand dunes that migrate south-eastward at a velocity of 3-6 m per year. The soil is loose, infertile and mobile and can thus be classified as orthic sierozem and Aeolian sandy soil. Additionally, the soil has a consistent gravimetric water content that ranges from 3 to 4%. The groundwater in the study area is too deep (>60 m) to support large areas of the native vegetation cover; therefore, precipitation is usually the only source of freshwater. The predominant native plants are Hedysarum scoparium Fisch. and Agriophyllum squarrosum Moq., Psammochloa cillosa Bor, which scattered

  6. Microbial Response to UV Exposure and Nitrogen Limitation in Desert Soil Crusts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fulton, J. M.; Van Mooy, B. A.

    2016-12-01

    Microbiotic soil crusts have diverse biomarker distributions and C and N stable isotopic compositions that covary with soil type. Sparse plant cover and the relative lack of soil disturbance in arid/semi-arid landscapes allows populations of soil cyanobacteria to develop along with fungi and heterotrophic bacteria. Microbial communities in this extreme environment depend in part on the production of scytonemin, a UV protective pigment, by cyanobacteria near the top of the crust. N limitation of microbial growth also affects soil crust population dynamics, increasing the requirement of N2fixation by diazotrophic cyanobacteria. We collected 56 soil crust samples from 27 locations throughout the Great Salt Lake Desert, including four transects spanning high-elevation, erosion-dominated soils to lower elevation soils dominated by silt-accumulation. Erosion-dominated soil surfaces included rounded gravel and cobbles; in the interstices there were poorly-developed microbiotic crusts on sandy loam with low δ15N values near 0‰ that point toward microbial growth dependent on cyanobacterial N2 fixation. Nutrients regenerated by heterotrophic bacteria may have been eroded from the system, providing a positive feedback for N2 fixation. High scytonemin:chlorophyll a ratios suggest that cyanobacteria required enhanced protection from UV damage in these crusts. A similar increase in scytonemin:chlorophyll a ratio during soil crust rehydration experiments also points toward the importance of UV protection. Glycolipid:phospholipid ratios were lowest where N2 fixation was favored, however, suggesting that the cyanobacterial population was relatively small, possibly because of the metabolic cost of N2fixation. Microbiotic crusts on silt loam soils, on the other hand, had higher δ15N values between 3.5 and 7.8‰, consistent with heterotrophic growth and nutrient recycling. Lower scytonemin:chlorophyll a ratios suggest that relatively high photosynthetic activity was supported in

  7. [Nitrogen fixation potential of biological soil crusts in southeast edge of Tengger Desert, Northwest China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Peng; Li, Xin-Rong; Zhang, Zhi-Shan; Pan, Yan-Xia; Liu, Yan-Mei; Su, Jie-Qiong

    2012-08-01

    Taking three typical types of biological soil crusts (BSCs), i.e., cyanobacterial-algal crust, lichen crust, and moss crust, in the southeast fringe of Tengger Desert as test objects, this paper studied their nitrogen fixation potential, seasonal fluctuation, and responses to the environmental factors from June 2010 to May 2011. During the whole study period, the nitrogenase activity (NA) of the cyanobacterial-algal, lichen, and moss crusts had significant difference, being 14-133, 20-101, and 4-28 micromol x m(-2) x h(-1), respectively, which indicated the critical role of the species composition of BSCs in nitrogen fixation. The NA of the three crust types had similar response characteristics to environmental factors. The NA had less correlation with the precipitation during the study period, but was positively correlated to the spring > summer > winter. The high air temperature in summer and the low air temperature (desert zone had nitrogen fixation capacity throughout the year, and the controlling effects of environmental factors on the nitrogen fixation were hierarchical. Water condition was the key factor affecting the nitrogen fixation rate and duration of the crusts, while under the conditions of sufficient water supply and carbon storage, heat condition dominated the crusts nitrogen fixation rate.

  8. Soil water availability and microsite mediate fungal and bacterial phospholipid fatty acid biomarker abundances in Mojave Desert soils exposed to elevated atmospheric CO2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, V. L.; Schaeffer, S. M.; Ziegler, S. E.; Evans, R. D.

    2011-06-01

    Changes in the rates of nitrogen (N) cycling, microbial carbon (C) substrate use, and extracellular enzyme activities in a Mojave Desert ecosystem exposed to elevated atmospheric CO2 suggest shifts in the size and/or functional characteristics of microbial assemblages in two dominant soil microsites: plant interspaces and under the dominant shrub Larrea tridentata. We used ester-linked phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) biomarkers as a proxy for microbial biomass to quantify spatial and temporal differences in soil microbial communities from February 2003 to May 2005. Further, we used the 13C signature of the fossil CO2 source for elevated CO2 plots to trace recent plant C inputs into soil organic matter (SOM) and broad microbial groups using δ13C (‰). Differences between individual δ13CPLFA and δ13CSOM for fungal biomarkers indicated active metabolism of newer C in elevated CO2 soils. Total PLFA-C was greater in shrub microsites compared to plant interspaces, and CO2 treatment differences within microsites increased under higher soil water availability. Total, fungal, and bacterial PLFA-C increased with decreasing soil volumetric water content (VWC) in both microsites, suggesting general adaptations to xeric desert conditions. Increases in fungal-to-bacterial PLFA-C ratio with decreasing VWC reflected functional group-specific responses to changing soil water availability. While temporal and spatial extremes in resource availability in desert ecosystems contribute to the difficulty in identifying common trends or mechanisms driving microbial responses in less extreme environments, we found that soil water availability and soil microsite interacted with elevated CO2 to shift fungal and bacterial biomarker abundances in Mojave Desert soils.

  9. Heterogeneity and loss of soil nutrient elements under aeolian processes in the Otindag Desert, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Danfeng; Wang, Xunming; Lou, Junpeng; Liu, Wenbin; Li, Hui; Ma, Wenyong; Jiao, Linlin

    2018-02-01

    The heterogeneity of the composition of surface soils that are affected by aeolian processes plays important roles in ecological evolution and the occurrence of aeolian desertification in fragile ecological zones, but the associated mechanisms are poorly understood. Using field investigation, wind tunnel experiments, and particle size and element analyses, we discuss the variation in the nutrient elements of surface soils that forms in the presence of aeolian processes of four vegetation species (Caragana microphylla Lam, Artemisia frigida Willd. Sp. Pl., Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel. and Stipa grandis P. Smirn) growing in the Otindag Desert, China. These four vegetation communities correspond to increasing degrees of degradation. A total of 40 macro elements, trace elements, and oxides were measured in the surface soil and in wind-transported samples. The results showed that under the different degradation stages, the compositions and concentrations of nutrients in surface soils differed for the four vegetation species. Aeolian processes may cause higher heterogeneity and higher loss of soil nutrient elements for the communities of Artemisia frigida Willd. Sp. Pl., Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel, and Stipa grandis P. Smirn than for the Caragana microphylla Lam community. There was remarkable variation in the loss of nutrients under different aeolian transportation processes. Over the past several decades, the highest loss of soil elements occurred in the 1970s, whereas the loss from 2011 to the present was generally 4.0% of that in the 1970s. These results indicate that the evident decrease in nutrient loss has played an important role in the rehabilitation that has occurred in the region recently.

  10. Simple Bioremediation Treatments for the Removal of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the Polluted Desert Soil of Kuwait

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Al-Gounaim, Marzooq Yousuf; Abu-Shady, Abdulsatar

    2004-01-01

    A soil microcosm test was designed to evaluate the influence of mixing polluted desert soil with clay soil (which is used as an amendment material and for immobilization of bacterial cells) on the biodegradation of petroleum polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Residual PAHs in this type of polluted soil were quantified by using GC analysis. At the begining of experiment 16 PAHs were resolved, of which the mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds flouranthene and pyrene were more frequent than the otherPAHs (14% and 12.4% respectively). Results of total PAH biodegradation show that mixing this polluted desert soil with clay soil or its water extract stimulated the biodegradation of 85.8%-89.1% of these compounds. This is contrast to 61.7%-75.5% in the absence of clay soil. Moreover when the mixed bacterial culture was immobilized in this clay soil 94.4% of total of total PAHs were degraded. On the other hand, the free cells of mixed culture succeeded to remove only 75.5% of these compounds. In this study the six-ranged PAHs were completely degraded in the presence of clay soil. A particularly notable distinction between the immobilized culture (T3) and other treatment in this biodegradation study is the greater efficiency of the immobilized culture to degrade the individuals of the 16 PAHs, especially the carcinogenic compounds: flouranthene, pyrene, chrysene, benzo(a) pyrene and dibenzo (a,h) anthracene. These results lead to the conclusion that mixing the polluted desert soil with clay soil and/or its water extract seems to be a simple cost effective bioremediation method. (author)

  11. Community Characteristics and Leaf Stoichiometric Traits of Desert Ecosystems Regulated by Precipitation and Soil in an Arid Area of China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guan, Tianyu; Zhou, Jihua; Cai, Wentao; Gao, Nannan; Du, Hui; Jiang, Lianhe; Lai, Liming; Zheng, Yuanrun

    2018-01-01

    Precipitation is a key environmental factor determining plant community structure and function. Knowledge of how community characteristics and leaf stoichiometric traits respond to variation in precipitation is crucial for assessing the effects of global changes on terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, we measured community characteristics, leaf stoichiometric traits, and soil properties along a precipitation gradient (35–209 mm) in a desert ecosystem of Northwest China to explore the drivers of these factors. With increasing precipitation, species richness, aboveground biomass, community coverage, foliage projective cover (FPC), and leaf area index (LAI) all significantly increased, while community height decreased. The hyperarid desert plants were characterized by lower leaf carbon (C) and nitrogen/phosphorus (N/P) levels, and stable N and P, and these parameters did not change significantly with precipitation. The growth of desert plants was limited more by N than P. Soil properties, rather than precipitation, were the main drivers of desert plant leaf stoichiometric traits, whereas precipitation made the biggest contribution to vegetation structure and function. These results test the importance of precipitation in regulating plant community structure and composition together with soil properties, and provide further insights into the adaptive strategy of communities at regional scale in response to global climate change. PMID:29320458

  12. Community Characteristics and Leaf Stoichiometric Traits of Desert Ecosystems Regulated by Precipitation and Soil in an Arid Area of China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Xiaolong; Guan, Tianyu; Zhou, Jihua; Cai, Wentao; Gao, Nannan; Du, Hui; Jiang, Lianhe; Lai, Liming; Zheng, Yuanrun

    2018-01-10

    Precipitation is a key environmental factor determining plant community structure and function. Knowledge of how community characteristics and leaf stoichiometric traits respond to variation in precipitation is crucial for assessing the effects of global changes on terrestrial ecosystems. In this study, we measured community characteristics, leaf stoichiometric traits, and soil properties along a precipitation gradient (35-209 mm) in a desert ecosystem of Northwest China to explore the drivers of these factors. With increasing precipitation, species richness, aboveground biomass, community coverage, foliage projective cover (FPC), and leaf area index (LAI) all significantly increased, while community height decreased. The hyperarid desert plants were characterized by lower leaf carbon (C) and nitrogen/phosphorus (N/P) levels, and stable N and P, and these parameters did not change significantly with precipitation. The growth of desert plants was limited more by N than P. Soil properties, rather than precipitation, were the main drivers of desert plant leaf stoichiometric traits, whereas precipitation made the biggest contribution to vegetation structure and function. These results test the importance of precipitation in regulating plant community structure and composition together with soil properties, and provide further insights into the adaptive strategy of communities at regional scale in response to global climate change.

  13. Soil stabilization by a prokaryotic desert crust: implications for Precambrian land biota.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, S E

    1979-09-01

    A cyanophyte dominated mat, desert crust, forms the ground cover in areas measuring hundreds of square meters in Utah and smaller patches in Colorado. The algal mat shows stromatolitic features such as sediment trapping and accretion, a convoluted surface, and polygonal cracking. Sand and clay particles are immobilized by a dense network of filaments of the two dominating cyanophyte species, Microcoleus vaginatus and M. chthonoplastes, which secrete sheaths to which particles adhere. These microorganisms can tolerate long periods of desiccation and are capable of instant reactivation and migration following wetting. Migration occurs in two events: 1. immediately following wetting of dry mat, trichomes are mechanically expelled from the sheath as it swells during rehydration, and 2. subsequently, trichomes begin a self-propelled gliding motility which is accompanied by further production of sheath. The maximum distance traveled on solid agar by trichomes of Microcoleus vaginatus during a 12 hour period of light was 4.8 cm. This corresponds to approximately 500 times the length of the fastest trichome, and provides a measure of the potential for spreading of the mat in nature via the motility of the trichomes. Dehydration resistence of the sheath modifies the extracellular environment of the trichomes and enables their transition to dormancy. Following prolonged wetting and evaporative drying of the mat in the laboratory, a smooth wafer-like crust is formed by the sheaths of Microcleus trichomes that have migrated to the surface. Calcium carbonate precipitates among the algal filaments under experimental conditions, indicating a potential for mat lithification and fossilization in the form of a caliche crust. It is suggested that limestones containing tubular microfossils may, in part, be of such an origin. The formation of mature Precambrian soils may be attributable to soil accretion, stabilization, and biogenic modification by blue-green algal land mats similar to

  14. Three-dimensional structure and cyanobacterial activity within a desert biological soil crust.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raanan, Hagai; Felde, Vincent J M N L; Peth, Stephan; Drahorad, Sylvie; Ionescu, Danny; Eshkol, Gil; Treves, Haim; Felix-Henningsen, Peter; Berkowicz, Simon M; Keren, Nir; Horn, Rainer; Hagemann, Martin; Kaplan, Aaron

    2016-02-01

    Desert biological soil crusts (BSCs) are formed by adhesion of soil particles to polysaccharides excreted by filamentous cyanobacteria, the pioneers and main producers in this habitat. Biological soil crust destruction is a central factor leading to land degradation and desertification. We study the effect of BSC structure on cyanobacterial activity. Micro-scale structural analysis using X-ray microtomography revealed a vesiculated layer 1.5-2.5 mm beneath the surface in close proximity to the cyanobacterial location. Light profiles showed attenuation with depth of 1%-5% of surface light within 1 mm but also revealed the presence of 'light pockets', coinciding with the vesiculated layer, where the irradiance was 10-fold higher than adjacent crust parts at the same depth. Maximal photosynthetic activity, examined by O2 concentration profiles, was observed 1 mm beneath the surface and another peak in association with the 'light pockets'. Thus, photosynthetic activity may not be visible to currently used remote sensing techniques, suggesting that BSCs' contribution to terrestrial productivity is underestimated. Exposure to irradiance higher than 10% full sunlight diminished chlorophyll fluorescence, whereas O2 evolution and CO2 uptake rose, indicating that fluorescence did not reflect cyanobacterial photosynthetic activity. Our data also indicate that although resistant to high illumination, the BSC-inhabiting cyanobacteria function as 'low-light adapted' organisms. © 2015 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Grazing impact on desert plants and soil seed banks: Implications for seed-eating animals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pol, Rodrigo G.; Sagario, M. Cecilia; Marone, Luis

    2014-02-01

    We assess whether the knowledge of livestock diet helps to link grazing effects with changes in plant cover and soil seed bank size, aiming at inferring the consequences of grazing on seed-eating animals. Specifically, we test whether continuous and heavy grazing reduce the cover, number of reproductive structures and seed reserves of the same grass species whose seeds are selected and preferred by granivorous animals in the central Monte desert, Argentina. Grass cover and the number of grass spikes usually diminished under grazing conditions in the two localities studied (Telteca and Ñacuñán), and soil seed bank was consistently reduced in all three years evaluated owing to a decline of perennial grass and forb seeds. In particular, the abundance of those seeds selected and preferred by birds and ants (in all cases grass species) declined 70-92% in Ñacuñán, and 52-72% in Telteca. Reduction of perennial grass cover and spike number in grazed sites reinforced the causal link between livestock grazing and the decline of grass soil seed reserves throughout failed plant reproduction. Grass seed bank depletion suggests that grazing may trigger a "cascade" of mechanisms that affect the abundance and persistence of valuable fodder species as well as the availability of seed resources for granivorous animals.

  16. Autochthonous bioaugmentation with environmental samples rich in hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria for bench-scale bioremediation of oily seawater and desert soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ali, Nedaa; Dashti, Narjes; Salamah, Samar; Al-Awadhi, Husain; Sorkhoh, Naser; Radwan, Samir

    2016-05-01

    Oil-contaminated seawater and desert soil batches were bioaugmented with suspensions of pea (Pisum sativum) rhizosphere and soil with long history of oil pollution. Oil consumption was measured by gas-liquid chromatography. Hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria in the bioremediation batches were counted using a mineral medium with oil vapor as a sole carbon source and characterized by their 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)-gene sequences. Most of the oil was consumed during the first 2-4 months, and the oil-removal rate decreased or ceased thereafter due to nutrient and oxygen depletion. Supplying the batches with NaNO3 (nitrogen fertilization) at a late phase of bioremediation resulted in reenhanced oil consumption and bacterial growth. In the seawater batches bioaugmented with rhizospheric suspension, the autochthonous rhizospheric bacterial species Microbacterium oxidans and Rhodococcus spp. were established and contributed to oil-removal. The rhizosphere-bioaugmented soil batches selectively favored Arthrobacter nitroguajacolicus, Caulobacter segnis, and Ensifer adherens. In seawater batches bioaugmented with long-contaminated soil, the predominant oil-removing bacterium was the marine species Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus. In soil batches on the other hand, the autochthonous inhabitants of the long-contaminated soil, Pseudomonas and Massilia species were established and contributed to oil removal. It was concluded that the use of rhizospheric bacteria for inoculating seawater and desert soil and of bacteria in long-contaminated soil for inoculating desert soil follows the concept of "autochthonous bioaugmentation." Inoculating seawater with bacteria in long-contaminated soil, on the other hand, merits the designation "allochthonous bioaugmentation."

  17. Aspect as a Driver of Soil Carbon and Water Fluxes in Desert Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, L., Jr.; Barron-Gafford, G.; Sanchez-Canete, E. P.

    2016-12-01

    Within dryland environments, precipitation and incoming energy are the primary determinants of carbon and water cycling. We know aspect can influence how much sun energy reaches the ground surface, but how does this spatial feature of the landscape propagate into temporal moisture and carbon flux dynamics? We made parallel measurements across north and south-facing slopes to examine the effects of aspect on soil temperature and moisture and the resulting soil carbon and water flux rates within a low elevation, desert site in the Santa Catalina-Jemez Critical Zone Observatory. We coupled spatially distributed measurements at a single point in time with diel patterns of soil fluxes at singular point and in response to punctuated rain events. Reponses concerning aspect after spring El Niño rainfall events were complex, with higher cumulative carbon flux on the south-facing slope two weeks post rain, despite higher daily flux values starting on the north-facing slope ten days after the rain. Additional summer monsoon rain events and dry season measurements will give further insights into patterns under hotter conditions of periodic inter-storm drought. We will complete a year-round carbon and water flux budget of this site by measuring throughout the winter rainfall months. Ultimately, our work will illustrate the interactive effects of a range of physical factors on soil fluxes. Critical zone soil dynamics, especially within dryland environments, are very complex, but capturing the uncertainty around these flux is necessary to understand concerning vertical carbon and water exchange and storage.

  18. Spatial variation in soil active-layer geochemistry across hydrologic margins in polar desert ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. E. Barrett

    2009-12-01

    Full Text Available Polar deserts are characterized by severe spatial-temporal limitations of liquid water. In soil active layers of the Antarctic Dry Valleys, liquid water is infrequently available over most of the arid terrestrial landscape. However, soils on the margins of glacial melt-water streams and lakes are visibly wet during the brief Austral summer when temperatures permit the existence of liquid water. We examined the role of these hydrologic margins as preferential zones for the transformation and transport of nutrient elements and solutes in an environment where geochemical weathering and biological activity is strictly limited by the dearth of liquid water. We report on hydropedological investigations of aquatic-terrestrial transition zones adjacent to 11 stream and lake systems in the Antarctic Dry Valleys. Our results show that wetted zones extended 1–11 m from the edges of lotic and lentic systems. While capillary demand and surface evaporation drive a one-way flux of water through these zones, the scale of these transition zones is determined by the topography and physical characteristics of the surrounding soils. Nutrient concentrations and fluxes appear to be influenced by both the hydrology and microbial-mediated biogeochemical processes. Salt concentrations are enriched near the distal boundary of the wetted fronts due to evapo-concentration of pore water in lake margin soils, while organic matter, ammonium and phosphate concentrations are highest in stream channel sediments where potential for biological activity is greatest. Thus, in the Antarctic Dry Valleys, intermittently wet soils on the margins of streams and lakes are important zones of both geochemical cycling and biological activity.

  19. Experimental and numerical investigations of soil water balance at the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert for groundwater recharge estimation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, Lizhu; Wang, Xu-Sheng; Hu, Bill X.; Shang, Jie; Wan, Li

    2016-09-01

    Quantification of groundwater recharge from precipitation in the huge sand dunes is an issue in accounting for regional water balance in the Badain Jaran Desert (BJD) where about 100 lakes exist between dunes. In this study, field observations were conducted on a sand dune near a large saline lake in the BJD to investigate soil water movement through a thick vadose zone for groundwater estimation. The hydraulic properties of the soils at the site were determined using in situ experiments and laboratory measurements. A HYDRUS-1D model was built up for simulating the coupling processes of vertical water-vapor movement and heat transport in the desert soil. The model was well calibrated and validated using the site measurements of the soil water and temperature at various depths. Then, the model was applied to simulate the vertical flow across a 3-m-depth soil during a 53-year period under variable climate conditions. The simulated flow rate at the depth is an approximate estimation of groundwater recharge from the precipitation in the desert. It was found that the annual groundwater recharge would be 11-30 mm during 1983-2012, while the annual precipitation varied from 68 to 172 mm in the same period. The recharge rates are significantly higher than those estimated from the previous studies using chemical information. The modeling results highlight the role of the local precipitation as an essential source of groundwater in the BJD.

  20. Diurnal Freeze-Thaw Cycles Modify Winter Soil Respiration in a Desert Shrub-Land Ecosystem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peng Liu

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Winter soil respiration (Rs is becoming a significant component of annual carbon budgets with more warming in winter than summer. However, little is known about the controlling mechanisms of winter Rs in dryland. We made continuous measurements of Rs in four microsites (non-crust (BS, lichen (LC, moss (MC, and a mixture of moss and lichen (ML in a desert shrub-land ecosystem northern China, to investigate the causes of Rs dynamics in winter. The mean winter Rs ranged from 0.10 to 0.17 µmol CO2 m−2·s−1 across microsites, with the highest value in BS. Winter Q10 (known as the increase in respiration rate per 10 °C increase in temperature values (2.8–19 were much higher than those from the growing season (1.5. Rs and Q10 were greatly enhanced in freeze-thaw cycles compared to frozen days. Diurnal patterns of Rs between freeze-thaw and frozen days differed. Although the freeze-thaw period was relatively short, its cumulative Rs contributed significantly to winter Rs. The presence of biocrust might induce lower temperature, thus having fewer freeze-thaw cycles relative to bare soil, leading to the lower Rs for microsites with biocrusts. In conclusion, winter Rs in drylands was sensitive to soil temperature (Ts and Ts-induced freeze-thaw cycles. The temperature impact on Rs varied among soil cover types. Winter Rs in drylands may become more important as the climate is continuously getting warmer.

  1. EDTA addition enhances bacterial respiration activities and hydrocarbon degradation in bioaugmented and non-bioaugmented oil-contaminated desert soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al Kharusi, Samiha; Abed, Raeid M M; Dobretsov, Sergey

    2016-03-01

    The low number and activity of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and the low solubility and availability of hydrocarbons hamper bioremediation of oil-contaminated soils in arid deserts, thus bioremediation treatments that circumvent these limitations are required. We tested the effect of Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) addition, at different concentrations (i.e. 0.1, 1 and 10 mM), on bacterial respiration and biodegradation of Arabian light oil in bioaugmented (i.e. with the addition of exogenous alkane-degrading consortium) and non-bioaugmented oil-contaminated desert soils. Post-treatment shifts in the soils' bacterial community structure were monitored using MiSeq sequencing. Bacterial respiration, indicated by the amount of evolved CO2, was highest at 10 mM EDTA in bioaugmented and non-bioaugmented soils, reaching an amount of 2.2 ± 0.08 and 1.6 ± 0.02 mg-CO2 g(-1) after 14 days of incubation, respectively. GC-MS revealed that 91.5% of the C14-C30 alkanes were degraded after 42 days when 10 mM EDTA and the bacterial consortium were added together. MiSeq sequencing showed that 78-91% of retrieved sequences in the original soil belonged to Deinococci, Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteia and Bacilli. The same bacterial classes were detected in the 10 mM EDTA-treated soils, however with slight differences in their relative abundances. In the bioaugmented soils, only Alcanivorax sp. MH3 and Parvibaculum sp. MH21 from the exogenous bacterial consortium could survive until the end of the experiment. We conclude that the addition of EDTA at appropriate concentrations could facilitate biodegradation processes by increasing hydrocarbon availability to microbes. The addition of exogenous oil-degrading bacteria along with EDTA could serve as an ideal solution for the decontamination of oil-contaminated desert soils. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Life at the hyperarid margin: novel bacterial diversity in arid soils of the Atacama Desert, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neilson, Julia W.; Quade, Jay; Ortiz, Marianyoly; Nelson, William M.; Legatzki, Antje; Tian, Fei; LaComb, Michelle; Betancourt, Julio L.; Wing, Rod A.; Soderlund, Carol A.; Maier, Raina M.

    2012-01-01

    Nearly half the earth's surface is occupied by dryland ecosystems, regions susceptible to reduced states of biological productivity caused by climate fluctuations. Of these regions, arid zones located at the interface between vegetated semiarid regions and biologically unproductive hyperarid zones are considered most vulnerable. The objective of this study was to conduct a deep diversity analysis of bacterial communities in unvegetated arid soils of the Atacama Desert, to characterize community structure and infer the functional potential of these communities based on observed phylogenetic associations. A 454-pyrotag analysis was conducted of three unvegetated arid sites located at the hyperarid-arid margin. The analysis revealed communities with unique bacterial diversity marked by high abundances of novel Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi and low levels of Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria, phyla that are dominant in many biomes. A 16S rRNA gene library of one site revealed the presence of clones with phylogenetic associations to chemoautotrophic taxa able to obtain energy through oxidation of nitrite, carbon monoxide, iron, or sulfur. Thus, soils at the hyperarid margin were found to harbor a wealth of novel bacteria and to support potentially viable communities with phylogenetic associations to non-phototrophic primary producers and bacteria capable of biogeochemical cycling.

  3. Corrosion of Uranium in Desert Soil, with Application to GCD Source Term Models

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    ANDERSON, HOWARD L.; BACA, JULIANNE; KRUMHANSL, JAMES L.; STOCKMAN, HARLAN W.; THOMPSON, MOLLIE E.

    1999-01-01

    Uranium fragments from the Sandia Sled Track were studied as analogues for weapons components and depleted uranium buried at the Greater Confinement Disposal (GCD) site in Nevada. The Sled Track uranium fragments originated as weapons mockups and counterweights impacted on concrete and soil barriers, and experienced heating and fragmentation similar to processes thought to affect the Nuclear Weapons Accident Residues (NWAR) at GCD. Furthermore, the Sandia uranium was buried in unsaturated desert soils for 10 to 40 years, and has undergone weathering processes expected to affect the GCD wastes. Scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and microprobe analyses of the fragments show rapid alteration from metals to dominantly VI-valent oxy-hydroxides. Leaching studies of the samples give results consistent with published U-oxide dissolution rates, and suggest longer experimental periods (ca. 1 year) would be required to reach equilibrium solution concentrations. Thermochemical modeling with the EQ3/6 code indicates that the uranium concentrations in solutions saturated with becquerelite could increase as the pore waters evaporate, due to changes in carbonate equilibria and increased ionic strength

  4. Corrosion of Uranium in Desert Soil, with Application to GCD Source Term M

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    ANDERSON, HOWARD L.; BACA, JULIANNE; KRUMHANSL, JAMES L.; STOCKMAN, HARLAN W.; THOMPSON, MOLLIE E.

    1999-09-01

    Uranium fragments from the Sandia Sled Track were studied as analogues for weapons components and depleted uranium buried at the Greater Confinement Disposal (GCD) site in Nevada. The Sled Track uranium fragments originated as weapons mockups and counterweights impacted on concrete and soil barriers, and experienced heating and fragmentation similar to processes thought to affect the Nuclear Weapons Accident Residues (NWAR) at GCD. Furthermore, the Sandia uranium was buried in unsaturated desert soils for 10 to 40 years, and has undergone weathering processes expected to affect the GCD wastes. Scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and microprobe analyses of the fragments show rapid alteration from metals to dominantly VI-valent oxy-hydroxides. Leaching studies of the samples give results consistent with published U-oxide dissolution rates, and suggest longer experimental periods (ca. 1 year) would be required to reach equilibrium solution concentrations. Thermochemical modeling with the EQ3/6 code indicates that the uranium concentrations in solutions saturated with becquerelite could increase as the pore waters evaporate, due to changes in carbonate equilibria and increased ionic strength.

  5. Life at the hyperarid margin: novel bacterial diversity in arid soils of the Atacama Desert, Chile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neilson, Julia W; Quade, Jay; Ortiz, Marianyoly; Nelson, William M; Legatzki, Antje; Tian, Fei; LaComb, Michelle; Betancourt, Julio L; Wing, Rod A; Soderlund, Carol A; Maier, Raina M

    2012-05-01

    Nearly half the earth's surface is occupied by dryland ecosystems, regions susceptible to reduced states of biological productivity caused by climate fluctuations. Of these regions, arid zones located at the interface between vegetated semiarid regions and biologically unproductive hyperarid zones are considered most vulnerable. The objective of this study was to conduct a deep diversity analysis of bacterial communities in unvegetated arid soils of the Atacama Desert, to characterize community structure and infer the functional potential of these communities based on observed phylogenetic associations. A 454-pyrotag analysis was conducted of three unvegetated arid sites located at the hyperarid-arid margin. The analysis revealed communities with unique bacterial diversity marked by high abundances of novel Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi and low levels of Acidobacteria and Proteobacteria, phyla that are dominant in many biomes. A 16S rRNA gene library of one site revealed the presence of clones with phylogenetic associations to chemoautotrophic taxa able to obtain energy through oxidation of nitrite, carbon monoxide, iron, or sulfur. Thus, soils at the hyperarid margin were found to harbor a wealth of novel bacteria and to support potentially viable communities with phylogenetic associations to non-phototrophic primary producers and bacteria capable of biogeochemical cycling.

  6. Relationship between climate and vegetation and the stable carbon isotope chemistry of soils in the eastern Mojave Desert, Nevada

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Amundson, R.G.; Chadwick, O.A.; Sowers, J.M.; Doner, H.E.

    1988-01-01

    The relationship between the stable C-isotope composition of the soil environment and modern climate and vegetation was determined empirically along a present-day climatic transect in the eastern Mojave Desert. The δ 13 C of the soil CO 2 and carbonates decreased with increasing elevation and plant density, even though plant assemblages at all elevations were isotopically similar. Several factors, including differences in the ratios of pedogenic of limestone calcite and differences in past vegetation, were considered as explanations of this trend, However, it appears that in the sparsely vegetated Mojave Desert, the δ 13 C of pedogenic carbonate is controlled by differences in plant density and biological activity. This relationship may provide a tool for assessing past vegetational densities, as long as the vegetation is isotopically homogeneous. (author)

  7. Xeropreservation of Functionalized Lipid Biomarkers in Hyperarid Soils in the Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Davila, Alfonso F.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Parenteau, Mary N.; Jahnke, Linda L.; Liu, Xiao-Lei; Summons, Roger E.; Wray, James J.; Stamos, Brian N.; O'Reilly, Shane S.; hide

    2016-01-01

    Our understanding of long-term organic matter preservation comes mostly from studies in aquatic systems. In contrast, taphonomic processes in extremely dry environments are relatively understudied and are poorly understood. We investigated the accumulation and preservation of lipid biomarkers in hyperarid soils in the Yungay region of the Atacama Desert. Lipids from seven soil horizons in a 2.5 meter vertical profile were extracted and analyzed using GC-MS ( Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry) and LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry). Diagnostic functionalized lipids and geolipids were detected and increased in abundance and diversity with depth. Deeper clay units contain fossil organic matter (radiocarbon dead) that has been protected from rainwater since the onset of hyperaridity. We show that these clay units contain lipids in an excellent state of structural preservation with functional groups and unsaturated bonds in carbon chains. This indicates that minimal degradation of lipids has occurred in these soils since the time of their deposition between more than 40,000 and up to 2 million years ago. The exceptional structural preservation of biomarkers is likely due to the long-term hyperaridity that has minimized microbial and enzymatic activity, a taphonomic process we term xeropreservation (i.e. preservation by drying). The degree of biomarker preservation allowed us to reconstruct major changes in ecology in the Yungay region that reflect a shift in hydrological regime from wet to dry since the early Quaternary. Our results suggest that hyperarid environments, which comprise 7.5 percent of the continental landmass, could represent a rich and relatively unexplored source of paleobiological information on Earth.

  8. Dynamics of bacterial populations during bench-scale bioremediation of oily seawater and desert soil bioaugmented with coastal microbial mats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ali, Nidaa; Dashti, Narjes; Salamah, Samar; Sorkhoh, Naser; Al-Awadhi, Husain; Radwan, Samir

    2016-03-01

    This study describes a bench-scale attempt to bioremediate Kuwaiti, oily water and soil samples through bioaugmentation with coastal microbial mats rich in hydrocarbonoclastic bacterioflora. Seawater and desert soil samples were artificially polluted with 1% weathered oil, and bioaugmented with microbial mat suspensions. Oil removal and microbial community dynamics were monitored. In batch cultures, oil removal was more effective in soil than in seawater. Hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria associated with mat samples colonized soil more readily than seawater. The predominant oil degrading bacterium in seawater batches was the autochthonous seawater species Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus. The main oil degraders in the inoculated soil samples, on the other hand, were a mixture of the autochthonous mat and desert soil bacteria; Xanthobacter tagetidis, Pseudomonas geniculata, Olivibacter ginsengisoli and others. More bacterial diversity prevailed in seawater during continuous than batch bioremediation. Out of seven hydrocarbonoclastic bacterial species isolated from those cultures, only one, Mycobacterium chlorophenolicum, was of mat origin. This result too confirms that most of the autochthonous mat bacteria failed to colonize seawater. Also culture-independent analysis of seawater from continuous cultures revealed high-bacterial diversity. Many of the bacteria belonged to the Alphaproteobacteria, Flavobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, and were hydrocarbonoclastic. Optimal biostimulation practices for continuous culture bioremediation of seawater via mat bioaugmentation were adding the highest possible oil concentration as one lot in the beginning of bioremediation, addition of vitamins, and slowing down the seawater flow rate. © 2016 The Author. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.

  9. Methanogens at the top of the world: occurrence and potential activity of methanogens in newly deglaciated soils in high-altitude cold deserts in the Western Himalayas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katrin eAschenbach

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Methanogens typically occur in reduced anoxic environments. However, in recent studies it has been shown that many aerated upland soils, including desert soils also host active methanogens. Here we show that soil samples from high–altitude cold deserts in the western Himalayas (Ladakh, India produce CH4 after incubation as slurry under anoxic conditions at rates comparable to those of hot desert soils. Samples of matured soil from three different vegetation belts (arid, steppe, and subnival were compared with younger soils originating from frontal and lateral moraines of receding glaciers. While methanogenic rates were higher in the samples from matured soils, CH4 was also produced in the samples from the recently deglaciated moraines. In both young and matured soils, those covered by a biological soil crust (biocrust were more active than their bare counterparts. Isotopic analysis showed that in both cases CH4 was initially produced from H2/CO2 but later mostly from acetate. Analysis of the archaeal community in the in situ soil samples revealed a clear dominance of sequences related to Thaumarchaeota, while the methanogenic community comprised only a minor fraction of the archaeal community. Similar to other aerated soils, the methanogenic community was comprised almost solely of the genera Methanosarcina and Methanocella, and possibly also Methanobacterium in some cases. Nevertheless, approximately 103 gdw-1 soil methanogens were already present in the young moraine soil together with cyanobacteria. Our results demonstrate that Methanosarcina and Methanocella not only tolerate atmospheric oxygen but are also able to survive in these harsh cold environments. Their occurrence in newly deglaciated soils shows that they are early colonisers of desert soils, similar to cyanobacteria, and may play a role in the development of desert biocrusts.

  10. Comparison of diurnal dynamics in evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil within a revegetated desert ecosystem of northwestern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Ya-Feng; Wang, Xin-Ping; Pan, Yan-Xia; Hu, Rui

    2016-02-01

    Effects of biological soil crusts (BSCs) on soil evaporation is quite controversial in literature, being either facilitative or inhibitive, and therein few studies have actually conducted direct evaporation measurements. Continuous field measurements of soil water evaporation were conducted on two microlysimeters, i.e., one with sand soil collected from bare sand dune area and the other with moss-crusted soil collected from an area that was revegetated in 1956, from field capacity to dry, at the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert. We mainly aimed to quantify the diurnal variations of evaporation rate from two soils, and further comparatively discuss the effects of BSCs on soil evaporation after revegetation. Results showed that in clear days with high soil water content (Day 1 and 2), the diurnal variation of soil evaporation rate followed the typical convex upward parabolic curve, reaching its peak around mid-day. Diurnal evaporation rate and the accumulated evaporation amount of moss-crusted soil were lower (an average of 0.90 times) than that of sand soil in this stage. However, as soil water content decreased to a moderately low level (Day 3 and 4), the diurnal evaporation rate from moss-crusted soil was pronouncedly higher (an average of 3.91 times) than that of sand soil, prolonging the duration of this higher evaporation rate stage; it was slightly higher in the final stage (Day 5 and 6) when soil moisture was very low. We conclude that the effects of moss crusts on soil evaporation vary with different evaporation stages, which is closely related to soil water content, and the variation and transition of evaporation rate between bare soil and moss-crusted soil are expected to be predicted by soil water content.

  11. The Effects of Rainfall Pulses on Soil Nitrogen Availability in a Chihuahuan Desert Grassland During the Summer Monsoon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, R. F.; Collins, S. L.; White, C. S.; Sinsabaugh, R. L.

    2015-12-01

    Nitrogen (N) is an essential but limiting nutrient in most terrestrial environments. While numerous studies have demonstrated a tight coupling between soil N availability and soil volumetric water content, this relationship is not well understood in desert ecosystems where rain events create pulses of biological activity, such as microbial secretion of extracellular enzymes that enable nutrient acquisition. Moreover, climate models are projecting shifts in the size and frequency of rain events across semi-arid ecosystems as a result of anthropogenic activities; therefore these changes are expected to have consequences for soil N availability in these regions. The goals of this study were to determine (1) if soil N availability pulses in response to monsoon rain events of differing size and frequency, and (2) how soil N availability varies over the course of a monsoon season in a semi-arid grassland. To answer these questions, we analyzed soils collected from a northern Chihuahuan Desert grassland during the 2014 summer monsoon. Soils were collected monthly over a period of eight days in conjunction with experimentally manipulated irrigation treatments that varied in both size (small=5mm and large=20mm) and frequency (small=weekly (n=12) and large=monthly (n=3)). Using KCl extraction, soils were processed for their inorganic plant-available nitrogen content (NH4+-N and NO3--N). We found that while soil N availability increased over the monsoon season across all treatment types, large events appeared to saturate soils, creating anaerobic conditions that stimulated nitrogen loss most likely through the denitrification pathway. Soils were also assayed for nitrogen specific extracellular enzyme activities, specifically leucine aminopeptidase (LAP), which breaks down the bond in leucine amino acids to mobilize nitrogen, and N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAG), which breaks down amino sugars in microbial cell walls. Preliminary results suggest that by mid-monsoon, LAP activity

  12. Dynamic cyanobacterial response to hydration and dehydration in a desert biological soil crust.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rajeev, Lara; da Rocha, Ulisses Nunes; Klitgord, Niels; Luning, Eric G; Fortney, Julian; Axen, Seth D; Shih, Patrick M; Bouskill, Nicholas J; Bowen, Benjamin P; Kerfeld, Cheryl A; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran; Brodie, Eoin L; Northen, Trent R; Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila

    2013-11-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) cover extensive portions of the earth's deserts. In order to survive desiccation cycles and utilize short periods of activity during infrequent precipitation, crust microorganisms must rely on the unique capabilities of vegetative cells to enter a dormant state and be poised for rapid resuscitation upon wetting. To elucidate the key events involved in the exit from dormancy, we performed a wetting experiment of a BSC and followed the response of the dominant cyanobacterium, Microcoleus vaginatus, in situ using a whole-genome transcriptional time course that included two diel cycles. Immediate, but transient, induction of DNA repair and regulatory genes signaled the hydration event. Recovery of photosynthesis occurred within 1 h, accompanied by upregulation of anabolic pathways. Onset of desiccation was characterized by the induction of genes for oxidative and photo-oxidative stress responses, osmotic stress response and the synthesis of C and N storage polymers. Early expression of genes for the production of exopolysaccharides, additional storage molecules and genes for membrane unsaturation occurred before drying and hints at preparedness for desiccation. We also observed signatures of preparation for future precipitation, notably the expression of genes for anaplerotic reactions in drying crusts, and the stable maintenance of mRNA through dormancy. These data shed light on possible synchronization between this cyanobacterium and its environment, and provides key mechanistic insights into its metabolism in situ that may be used to predict its response to climate, and or, land-use driven perturbations.

  13. Soil Nematodes and Their Prokaryotic Prey Along an Elevation Gradient in The Mojave Desert (Death Valley National Park, California, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alyxandra Pikus

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available We characterized soil communities in the Mojave Desert across an elevation gradient. Our goal was to test the hypothesis that as soil quality improved with increasing elevation (due to increased productivity, the diversity of soil prokaryotes and nematodes would also increase. Soil organic matter and soil moisture content increased with elevation as predicted. Soil salinity did not correlate to elevation, but was highest at a mid-gradient, alluvial site. Soil nematode density, community trophic structure, and diversity did not show patterns related to elevation. Similar results were obtained for diversity of bacteria and archaea. Relationships between soil properties, nematode communities, and prokaryotic diversity were site-specific. For example, at the lowest elevation site, nematode communities contained a high proportion of fungal-feeding species and diversity of bacteria was lowest. At a high-salinity site, nematode density was highest, and overall, nematode density showed an unexpected, positive correlation to salinity. At the highest elevation site, nematode density and species richness were attenuated, despite relatively high moisture and organic matter content for the soils. Our results support emerging evidence for the lack of a relationship between productivity and the diversity of soil nematodes and prokaryotes.

  14. Development of bacterial communities in biological soil crusts along a revegetation chronosequence in the Tengger Desert, northwest China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Lichao; Liu, Yubing; Zhang, Peng; Song, Guang; Hui, Rong; Wang, Zengru; Wang, Jin

    2017-08-01

    Knowledge of structure and function of microbial communities in different successional stages of biological soil crusts (BSCs) is still scarce for desert areas. In this study, Illumina MiSeq sequencing was used to assess the compositional changes of bacterial communities in different ages of BSCs in the revegetation of Shapotou in the Tengger Desert. The most dominant phyla of bacterial communities shifted with the changed types of BSCs in the successional stages, from Firmicutes in mobile sand and physical crusts to Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria in BSCs, and the most dominant genera shifted from Bacillus, Enterococcus and Lactococcus to RB41_norank and JG34-KF-361_norank. Alpha diversity and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis indicated that bacterial richness and abundance reached their highest levels after 15 years of BSC development. Redundancy analysis showed that silt + clay content and total K were the prime determinants of the bacterial communities of BSCs. The results suggested that bacterial communities of BSCs recovered quickly with the improved soil physicochemical properties in the early stages of BSC succession. Changes in the bacterial community structure may be an important indicator in the biogeochemical cycling and nutrient storage in early successional stages of BSCs in desert ecosystems.

  15. Soil Susceptibility to Macropore Flow Across a Desert-Oasis Ecotone of the Hexi Corridor, Northwest China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yongyong; Zhao, Wenzhi; He, Jianhua; Fu, Li

    2018-02-01

    Macropore flow not only provides a fast pathway for water and solute transport and increases the risks of water and nutrient loss but also enhances soil aeration and groundwater recharge. However, macropore flow characteristics in irrigated oasis soils subject to continuous crop cultivation are poorly understood. This study was to investigate the effect of continuous cultivation on soil properties and macropore flow and to quantify the changes in macropore flow characteristics in an old oasis field (>50 years of cultivation, OOF), young oasis field (20 years, YOF), and adjacent uncultivated sandy area (0 year, USL) in Northwest China. Triplicate soil samples were collected from each site to investigate soil properties. Dye tracer experiments with also three replicates were conducted at each site. The degree of macropore flow (i.e., parameters of macropore flow) was highest at the OOF, intermediate at the YOF, and minimal at the USL. The macropore flow fraction (i.e., fraction of total infiltration flows through macropore flow pathways) at the OOF was 3.4 times greater than at the USL. The heterogeneous infiltration pattern at the OOF was dominated by macropore flow, while funnel flow was predominant at the USL. Long-term irrigation with silt-laden river water has increased silt + clay contents of the oasis soils. Irrigation and high-input crop cultivation also increased organic matter. These changes in soil properties contributed to the interaggregate voids formation. The conversion of native desert soils to irrigated croplands increases the degree of macropore flow, which might enhance groundwater recharge in the desert-oasis ecotone.

  16. The role of water tracks in altering biotic and abiotic soil properties and processes in a polar desert in Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ball, Becky A.; Levy, Joseph

    2015-02-01

    Groundwater discharge via water tracks is a largely unexplored passageway routing salts and moisture from high elevations to valley floors in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica. Given the influence that water tracks have on the distribution of liquid water in seasonally thawed Antarctic soils, it is surprising how little is known about their role in structuring biotic and abiotic processes this cold desert ecosystem. Particularly, it is unclear how soil biota will respond to the activation of new water tracks resulting from enhanced active layer thickening or enhanced regional snowmelt. In the MDV, water tracks are both wetter and more saline than the surrounding soils, constituting a change in soil habitat suitability for soil biology and therefore the ecological processes they carry out. To investigate the net impact that water tracks have on Dry Valley soil biology, and therefore the ecosystem processes for which they are responsible, we analyzed microbial biomass and activity in soils inside and outside of three water tracks and relate this to the physical soil characteristics. Overall, our results suggest that water tracks can significantly influence soil properties, which can further impact biological biovolume and both biotic and abiotic fluxes of CO2. However, the nature of its impact differs with water track, further suggesting that not all water tracks can be regarded the same.

  17. Effects of nitrogen addition on soil microbes and their implications for soil C emission in the Gurbantunggut Desert, center of the Eurasian Continent.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Gang; Cao, Yan Feng; Wang, Bin; Li, Yan

    2015-05-15

    Nitrogen (N) deposition can influence carbon cycling of terrestrial ecosystems. However, a general recognition of how soil microorganisms respond to increasing N deposition is not yet reached. We explored soil microbial responses to two levels of N addition (2.5 and 5 gN m(-2) yr(-1)) in interplant soil and beneath shrubs of Haloxylon ammodendron and their consequences to soil respiration in the Gurbantunggut Desert, northwestern China from 2011 to 2013. Microbial biomass and respiration were significantly higher beneath H. ammodendron than in interplant soil. The responses of microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and microbial respiration (MR) showed opposite responses to N addition in interplant and beneath H. ammodendron. N addition slightly increased MBC and MR in interplant soil and decreased them beneath H. ammodendron, with a significant inhibition only in 2012. N addition had no impacts on the total microbial physiological activity, but N addition decreased the labile carbon substrate utilization beneath H. ammodendron when N addition level was high. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis showed that N addition did not alter the soil microbial community structure as evidenced by the similar ratios of fungal to bacterial PLFAs and gram-negative to gram-positive bacterial PLFAs. Microbial biomass and respiration showed close correlations with soil water content and dissolved carbon, and they were independent of soil inorganic nitrogen across three years. Our study suggests that N addition effects on soil microorganisms and carbon emission are dependent on the respiratory substrates and water availability in the desert ecosystem. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Effects of Simulated Nitrogen Deposition on Soil Respiration in a Populus euphratica Community in the Ebinur Lake Area, a Desert Ecosystem of Northwestern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Xuemin; Lv, Guanghui; Qin, Lu; Chang, Shunli; Yang, Min; Yang, Jianjun; Yang, Xiaodong

    2015-01-01

    One of the primary limiting factors for biological activities in desert ecosystems is nitrogen (N). This study therefore examined the effects of N and investigated the responses of an arid ecosystem to global change. We selected the typical desert plant Populus euphratica in a desert ecosystem in the Ebinur Lake area to evaluate the effects of N deposition on desert soil respiration. Three levels of N deposition (0, 37.5 and 112.5 kg·N·ha-1·yr-1) were randomly artificially provided to simulate natural N deposition. Changes in the soil respiration rates were measured from July to September in both 2010 and 2013, after N deposition in April 2010. The different levels of N deposition affected the total soil N, soil organic matter, soil C/N ratio, microorganism number, and microbial community structure and function. However, variable effects were observed over time in relation to changes in the magnitude of N deposition. Simulated high N deposition significantly reduced the soil respiration rate by approximately 23.6±2.5% (Pdesert ecosystem of the Ebinur Lake area, N deposition indirectly changes the soil respiration rate by altering soil properties.

  19. Effects of Simulated Nitrogen Deposition on Soil Respiration in a Populus euphratica Community in the Ebinur Lake Area, a Desert Ecosystem of Northwestern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Xuemin; Lv, Guanghui; Qin, Lu; Chang, Shunli; Yang, Min; Yang, Jianjun; Yang, Xiaodong

    2015-01-01

    One of the primary limiting factors for biological activities in desert ecosystems is nitrogen (N). This study therefore examined the effects of N and investigated the responses of an arid ecosystem to global change. We selected the typical desert plant Populus euphratica in a desert ecosystem in the Ebinur Lake area to evaluate the effects of N deposition on desert soil respiration. Three levels of N deposition (0, 37.5 and 112.5 kg·N·ha-1·yr-1) were randomly artificially provided to simulate natural N deposition. Changes in the soil respiration rates were measured from July to September in both 2010 and 2013, after N deposition in April 2010. The different levels of N deposition affected the total soil N, soil organic matter, soil C/N ratio, microorganism number, and microbial community structure and function. However, variable effects were observed over time in relation to changes in the magnitude of N deposition. Simulated high N deposition significantly reduced the soil respiration rate by approximately 23.6±2.5% (Psoil respiration rate by approximately 66.7±2.7% (Psoil moisture, whereas N deposition significantly increased the soil temperature in the 0–5 cm layer (Psoil respiration rate by altering soil properties. PMID:26379186

  20. Effects of Simulated Nitrogen Deposition on Soil Respiration in a Populus euphratica Community in the Ebinur Lake Area, a Desert Ecosystem of Northwestern China.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xuemin He

    Full Text Available One of the primary limiting factors for biological activities in desert ecosystems is nitrogen (N. This study therefore examined the effects of N and investigated the responses of an arid ecosystem to global change. We selected the typical desert plant Populus euphratica in a desert ecosystem in the Ebinur Lake area to evaluate the effects of N deposition on desert soil respiration. Three levels of N deposition (0, 37.5 and 112.5 kg·N·ha-1·yr-1 were randomly artificially provided to simulate natural N deposition. Changes in the soil respiration rates were measured from July to September in both 2010 and 2013, after N deposition in April 2010. The different levels of N deposition affected the total soil N, soil organic matter, soil C/N ratio, microorganism number, and microbial community structure and function. However, variable effects were observed over time in relation to changes in the magnitude of N deposition. Simulated high N deposition significantly reduced the soil respiration rate by approximately 23.6±2.5% (P<0.05, whereas low N deposition significantly increased the soil respiration rate by approximately 66.7±2.7% (P<0.05. These differences were clearer in the final growth stage (September. The different levels of N deposition had little effect on soil moisture, whereas N deposition significantly increased the soil temperature in the 0-5 cm layer (P<0.05. These results suggest that in the desert ecosystem of the Ebinur Lake area, N deposition indirectly changes the soil respiration rate by altering soil properties.

  1. The effects of extreme rainfall events on carbon release from Biological Soil Crusts covered soil in fixed sand dunes in the Tengger Desert, northern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Yang; Li, Xinrong; Pan, Yanxia; Hui, Rong

    2016-04-01

    How soil cover types and extreme rainfall event influence carbon (C) release in temperate desert ecosystems has largely been unexplored. We assessed the effects of extreme rainfall (quantity and intensity) events on the carbon release from soils covered by different types of biological soil crusts (BSCs) in fixed sand dunes in the Tengger Desert, Shapotou regionof northern China. We removed intact crusts down to 10 cm and measured them in PVC mesocosms. A Li-6400-09 Soil Chamber was used to measure the respiration rates of the BSCs immediately after the rainfall stopped, and continued until the respiration rates of the BSCs returned to the pre-rainfall basal rate. Our results showed that almost immediately after extreme rainfall events the respiration rates of algae crust and mixed crust were significantly inhibited, but moss crust was not significantly affected. The respiration rates of algae crust, mixed crust, and moss crust in extreme rainfall quantity and intensity events were, respectively, 0.12 and 0.41 μmolCO2/(m2•s), 0.10 and 0.45 μmolCO2/(m2•s), 0.83 and 1.69 μmolCO2/(m2•s). Our study indicated that moss crust in the advanced succession stage can well adapt to extreme rainfall events in the short term. Keywords: carbon release; extreme rainfall events; biological soil crust

  2. Streptomyces jeddahensis sp. nov., an oleaginous bacterium isolated from desert soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Röttig, Annika; Atasayar, Ewelina; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan Philipp; Spröer, Cathrin; Schumann, Peter; Schauer, Jennifer; Steinbüchel, Alexander

    2017-06-01

    A novel strain, G25T, was isolated from desert soil collected near Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The strain could accumulate nearly 65 % of its cell dry weight as fatty acids, grow on a broad range of carbon sources and tolerate temperatures of up to 50 °C. With respect to to its 16S rRNA gene sequence, G25T is most closely related to Streptomyces massasporeus DSM 40035T, Streptomyces hawaiiensis DSM 40042T, Streptomyces indiaensis DSM 43803T, Streptomyces luteogriseus DSM 40483T and Streptomyces purpurascens DSM 40310T. Conventional DNA-DNA hybridization (DDH) values ranged from 18.7 to 46.9 % when G25T was compared with these reference strains. Furthermore, digital DDH values between the draft genome sequence of G25T and the genome sequences of other species of the genus Streptomyces were also significantly below the threshold of 70 %. The DNA G+C content of the draft genome sequence, consisting of 8.46 Mbp, was 70.3 %. The prevalent cellular fatty acids of G25T comprised anteiso-C15 : 0, iso-C15 : 0, C16 : 0 and iso-C16 : 0. The predominant menaquinones were MK-9(H6), MK-9(H8) and MK-9(H4). The polar lipids profile contained diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylglycerol and phosphatidylinositol mannosides as well as unidentified phospholipids and phosphoaminolipids. The cell wall contained ll-diaminopimelic acid. Whole-cell sugars were predominantly glucose with small traces of ribose and mannose. The results of the polyphasic approach confirmed that this isolate represents a novel species of the genus Streptomyces, for which the name Streptomyces jeddahensis sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain of this species is G25T (=DSM 101878T =LMG 29545T =NCCB 100603T).

  3. Preferential flow in fissured sediments in desert soils related to radioactive waste disposal

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Scanlon, B.R.; Raney, J.A.

    1992-01-01

    Unsaturated flow in fissured sediments in the Chihuahuan Desert of Texas was examined to determine if these features act as preferred pathways for water and solute transport. Fissures are surface features, or gulleys, that are underlain by fractures filled with sediment derived from surrounding areas. Hydraulic and chemical approaches were used to investigate unsaturated flow processes beneath and adjacent to fissures, and the results were compared with data from surrounding geomorphic systems such as arroyos, ephemeral streams, and interstreams. Typically, high water potentials in surficial sediments result from infiltration of recent precipitation. Below this surficial zone of high water potentials lies a zone of low water potentials that is much thinner beneath the fissure than in adjacent sediments or in sediments beneath ephemeral streams and interstreams. Maximum chloride concentrations in profiles in the near-surface fissured sediments were much lower than those measured in all other geomorphic systems. The corresponding moisture velocities in the fissured sediments ranged from 10 to 70 mm/yr. A tracer experiment demonstrated higher downward water and solute transport in the fracture fill beneath the fissure relative to adjacent sediments. Numerical simulations of the tracer experiment with the computer code TRACR3D reproduced the overall shape of the tracer plume. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that the tracer plume is most sensitive to spatial variability in soil texture and the corresponding hydraulic parameters. The results from this study suggest that sediments in the fissured area act as preferred pathways in the shallow subsurface because surface runoff is concentrated in the fissures and because underlying fractures and cavities provide avenues for moisture and solute transport

  4. Soil Fertility, Salinity and Nematode Diversity Influenced by Tamarix ramosissima in Different Habitats in an Arid Desert Oasis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yong-zhong, Su; Xue-fen, Wang; Rong, Yang; Xiao, Yang; Wen-jie, Liu

    2012-08-01

    The aim of this paper was to assess the influence of tamarisk shrubs on soil fertility, salinity and nematode communities in various habitats located in an arid desert-oasis region in northwest China. Three habitats were studied: sand dune, riparian zone and saline meadow, where tamarisk shrubs have been established in recent decades in order to vegetation restoration used as desertification control and saline land rehabilitation projects and become the dominant plant community. The parameters measured include soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen, available phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), pH, salt component, and nematode community characteristics. Enrichment ratios (a comparison of the soil measurements between soils under canopy and in the open interspaces) for soil nutrients and salinity were used to evaluate fertility and salinity islands underneath the tamarisk shrubs. The soil nematode community was used as a biological indicator of soil condition. SOC and available P and K were higher beneath the plant canopy than in the open interspaces outside that canopy. The enrichment ratios for SOC and nutrients were highest for the sand dune habitat and tamarisk shrubs clearly created islands of greater salinity under the canopies. Nematode abundance per 100 g dry soil varied considerably between the locations and habitats, with the highest abundance found in sand dune and the lowest in saline meadow. A significantly higher nematode abundance and a lower trophic diversity were found in soils under the canopy compared to the soils in the open interspaces. With the exception of saline meadow, the abundance of bacterivores increased and fungivores decreased under the canopy relative to the open interspaces, and bacterivores dominated under the canopies in the sand dune and riparian habitats. The enrichment ratios for salinity were higher than for fertility, suggesting that improved soil fertility can not limit the impact of salinization beneath tamarisk shrubs. The

  5. Analysing the mechanisms of soil water and vapour transport in the desert vadose zone of the extremely arid region of northern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Du, Chaoyang; Yu, Jingjie; Wang, Ping; Zhang, Yichi

    2018-03-01

    The transport of water and vapour in the desert vadose zone plays a critical role in the overall water and energy balances of near-surface environments in arid regions. However, field measurements in extremely dry environments face many difficulties and challenges, so few studies have examined water and vapour transport processes in the desert vadose zone. The main objective of this study is to analyse the mechanisms of soil water and vapour transport in the desert vadose zone (depth of ∼350 cm) by using measured and modelled data in an extremely arid environment. The field experiments are implemented in an area of the Gobi desert in northwestern China to measure the soil properties, daily soil moisture and temperature, daily water-table depth and temperature, and daily meteorological records from DOYs (Days of Year) 114-212 in 2014 (growing season). The Hydrus-1D model, which simulates the coupled transport of water, vapour and heat in the vadose zone, is employed to simulate the layered soil moisture and temperature regimes and analyse the transport processes of soil water and vapour. The measured results show that the soil water and temperatures near the land surface have visible daily fluctuations across the entire soil profile. Thermal vapour movement is the most important component of the total water flux and the soil temperature gradient is the major driving factor that affects vapour transport in the desert vadose zone. The most active water and heat exchange occurs in the upper soil layer (depths of 0-25 cm). The matric potential change from the precipitation mainly re-draws the spatio-temporal distribution of the isothermal liquid water in the soil near the land surface. The matric potential has little effect on the isothermal vapour and thermal liquid water flux. These findings offer new insights into the liquid water and vapour movement processes in the extremely arid environment.

  6. Surface biosolids application: effects on infiltration, erosion, and soil organic carbon in Chihuahuan Desert grasslands and shrublands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moffet, C A; Zartman, R E; Wester, D B; Sosebee, R E

    2005-01-01

    Land application of biosolids is a beneficial-use practice whose ecological effects depend in part on hydrological effects. Biosolids were surface-applied to square 0.5-m2 plots at four rates (0, 7, 34, and 90 dry Mg ha(-1)) on each of three soil-cover combinations in Chihuahuan Desert grassland and shrubland. Infiltration and erosion were measured during two seasons for three biosolids post-application ages. Infiltration was measured during eight periods of a 30-min simulated rain. Biosolids application affected infiltration rate, cumulative infiltration, and erosion. Infiltration increased with increasing biosolids application rate. Application of biosolids at 90 dry Mg ha(-1) increased steady-state infiltration rate by 1.9 to 7.9 cm h(-1). Most of the measured differences in runoff among biosolids application rates were too large to be the result of interception losses and/or increased hydraulic gradient due to increased roughness. Soil erosion was reduced by the application of biosolids; however, the extent of reduction in erosion depended on the initial erodibility of the site. Typically, the greatest marginal reductions in erosion were achieved at the lower biosolids application rates (7 and 34 dry Mg ha(-1)); the difference in erosion between 34 and 90 dry Mg ha(-1) biosolids application rates was not significant. Surface application of biosolids has important hydrological consequences on runoff and soil erosion in desert grasslands that depend on the rate of biosolids applied, and the site and biosolids characteristics.

  7. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with vegetation and soil parameters under rest grazing management in a desert steppe ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bai, Gegenbaoleer; Bao, Yuying; Du, Guoxin; Qi, Yunlong

    2013-05-01

    The impact of rest grazing on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and the interactions of AMF with vegetation and soil parameters under rest grazing condition were investigated between spring and late summer in a desert steppe ecosystem with different grazing managements (rest grazing with different lengths of resting period, banned or continuous grazing) in Inner Mongolia, China. AMF diversity and colonization, vegetation biomass, soil properties and soil phosphatase activity were examined. In rest grazing areas of 60 days, AMF spore number and diversity index at a 0-10 cm soil depth as well as vesicular and hyphal colonization rates were higher compared with other grazing treatments. In addition, soil organic matter and total N contents were highest and soil alkaline phosphatase was most active under 60-day rest grazing. In August and September, these areas also had the highest amount of aboveground vegetation. The results indicated that resting grazing for an appropriate period of time in spring has a positive effect on AMF sporulation, colonization and diversity, and that under rest grazing conditions, AMF parameters are positively correlated with some soil characteristics.

  8. Localization and Speciation of Arsenic in Soil and Desert Plant Parkinsonia florida using μXRF and μXANES

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castillo-Michel, Hiram; Hernandez-Viezcas, Jose; Dokken, Kenneth M.; Marcus, Matthew A.; Peralta-Videa, Jose R.; Gardea-Torresdey, Jorge L.

    2011-01-01

    Parkinsonia florida is a plant species native to the semi-desert regions of North America. The cultivation characteristics of this shrub/tree suggest that it could be used for phytoremediation purposes in semiarid regions. This work describes, through the use of synchrotron μXRF and μXANES techniques and ICP-OES, the arsenic (As) accumulation and distribution in P. florida plants grown in two soils spiked with As at 20 mg kg-1. Plants grown in a sandy soil accumulated at least twice more As in the roots compared to plants grown in a loamy soil. The lower As accumulation in plants grown in the loamy soil corresponded to a lower concentration of As in the water soluble fraction (WSF) of this soil. LC-ICP-MS speciation analysis showed only As(V) in the WSF from all treatments. In contrast, linear combination XANES speciation analysis from the root tissues showed As mainly present in the reduced As(III) form. Moreover, a fraction of the reduced As was found coordinating to S in a form consistent with As-Cys3. The percentage of As coordinated to sulfur was smaller for plants grown in the loamy soil when compared to the sandy soil. PMID:21842861

  9. Effects of land use change on soil carbon storage and water consumption in an oasis-desert ecotone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lü, Yihe; Ma, Zhimin; Zhao, Zhijiang; Sun, Feixiang; Fu, Bojie

    2014-06-01

    Land use and ecosystem services need to be assessed simultaneously to better understand the relevant factors in sustainable land management. This paper analyzed land use changes in the middle reach of the arid Heihe River Basin in northwest China over the last two decades and their impacts on water resources and soil organic carbon (SOC) storage. The results indicated that from 1986 to 2007: (1) cropland and human settlements expanded by 45.0 and 17.6%, respectively, at the expense of 70.1, 35.7, and 4.1% shrinkage on woodland, grassland, and semi-shrubby desert; (2) irrigation water use was dominant and increased (with fluctuations) at an average rate of 8.2%, while basic human water consumption increased monotonically over a longer period from 1981 to 2011 at a rate of 58%; and (3) cropland expansion or continuous cultivation led to a significant reduction of SOC, while the land use transition from grassland to semi-shrubby desert and the progressive succession of natural ecosystems such as semi-shrubby desert and grassland, in contrast, can bring about significant carbon sequestration benefits. The increased water consumption and decreased SOC pool associated with some observed land use changes may induce and aggravate potential ecological risks for both local and downstream ecosystems, including water resource shortages, soil quality declines, and degeneration of natural vegetation. Therefore, it is necessary to balance socioeconomic wellbeing and ecosystem services in land use planning and management for the sustainability of socio-ecological systems across spatiotemporal scales, especially in resource-poor arid environments.

  10. Effects of Land Use Change on Soil Carbon Storage and Water Consumption in an Oasis-Desert Ecotone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lü, Yihe; Ma, Zhimin; Zhao, Zhijiang; Sun, Feixiang; Fu, Bojie

    2014-06-01

    Land use and ecosystem services need to be assessed simultaneously to better understand the relevant factors in sustainable land management. This paper analyzed land use changes in the middle reach of the arid Heihe River Basin in northwest China over the last two decades and their impacts on water resources and soil organic carbon (SOC) storage. The results indicated that from 1986 to 2007: (1) cropland and human settlements expanded by 45.0 and 17.6 %, respectively, at the expense of 70.1, 35.7, and 4.1 % shrinkage on woodland, grassland, and semi-shrubby desert; (2) irrigation water use was dominant and increased (with fluctuations) at an average rate of 8.2 %, while basic human water consumption increased monotonically over a longer period from 1981 to 2011 at a rate of 58 %; and (3) cropland expansion or continuous cultivation led to a significant reduction of SOC, while the land use transition from grassland to semi-shrubby desert and the progressive succession of natural ecosystems such as semi-shrubby desert and grassland, in contrast, can bring about significant carbon sequestration benefits. The increased water consumption and decreased SOC pool associated with some observed land use changes may induce and aggravate potential ecological risks for both local and downstream ecosystems, including water resource shortages, soil quality declines, and degeneration of natural vegetation. Therefore, it is necessary to balance socioeconomic wellbeing and ecosystem services in land use planning and management for the sustainability of socio-ecological systems across spatiotemporal scales, especially in resource-poor arid environments.

  11. Properties of Subsurface Soil Cores from Four Geologic Provinces Surrounding Mars Desert Research Station, Utah: Characterizing Analog Martian Soil in a Human Exploration Scenario

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, C. R.; Clarke, J. D. A.; Direito, S.; Foing, B.

    2011-01-01

    The DOMEX program is a NASA-MMAMA funded project featuring simulations of human crews on Mars focused on science activities that involve collecting samples from the subsurface using both manual and robotic equipment methods and analyzing them in the field and post mission. A crew simulating a human mission to Mars performed activities focused on subsurface science for 2 weeks in November 2009 at Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah --an important chemical and morphological Mars analog site. Activities performed included 1) survey of the area to identify geologic provinces, 2) obtaining soil and rock samples from each province and characterizing their mineralogy, chemistry, and biology; 3) site selection and reconnaissance for a future drilling mission; 4) deployment and testing of Mars Underground Mole, a percussive robotic soil sampling device; and 5) recording and analyzing how crew time was used to accomplish these tasks. This paper summarizes results from analysis of soil cores

  12. Analysis and optimization of triacylglycerol synthesis in novel oleaginous Rhodococcus and Streptomyces strains isolated from desert soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Röttig, Annika; Hauschild, Philippa; Madkour, Mohamed H; Al-Ansari, Ahmed M; Almakishah, Naief H; Steinbüchel, Alexander

    2016-05-10

    As oleaginous microorganisms represent an upcoming novel feedstock for the biotechnological production of lipids or lipid-derived biofuels, we searched for novel, lipid-producing strains in desert soil. This was encouraged by the hypothesis that neutral lipids represent an ideal storage compound, especially under arid conditions, as several animals are known to outlast long periods in absence of drinking water by metabolizing their body fat. Ten lipid-accumulating bacterial strains, affiliated to the genera Bacillus, Cupriavidus, Nocardia, Rhodococcus and Streptomyces, were isolated from arid desert soil due to their ability to synthesize poly(β-hydroxybutyrate), triacylglycerols or wax esters. Particularly two Streptomyces sp. strains and one Rhodococcus sp. strain accumulate significant amounts of TAG under storage conditions under optimized cultivation conditions. Rhodococcus sp. A27 and Streptomyces sp. G49 synthesized approx. 30% (w/w) fatty acids from fructose or cellobiose, respectively, while Streptomyces isolate G25 reached a cellular fatty acid content of nearly 50% (w/w) when cultivated with cellobiose. The stored triacylglycerols were composed of 30-40% branched fatty acids, such as anteiso-pentadecanoic or iso-hexadecanoic acid. To date, this represents by far the highest lipid content described for streptomycetes. A biotechnological production of such lipids using (hemi)cellulose-derived raw material could be used to obtain sustainable biodiesel with a high proportion of branched-chain fatty acids to improve its cold-flow properties and oxidative stability. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Simulation study on 137Cs distribution in the each component of irrigation-farmed gray-brown desert soil humus

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Aikebaier Yilahong; Jia Hongtao; Tuerxun Tuerhong; Karpuhin, A.I.; Torshin, S.P.

    2011-01-01

    The components and characters of humus in irrigation-farmed gray-brown desert soil were studied and gel filtration method is used at indoor experiment to study the bond properties of the foreign source 137 Cs and soil humus' components. Results show that the bonding rate of 137 Cs was the highest in clay mineral, 78.37% of total. 21.63% of 137 Cs was accumulated in the humus, the bonding rate of 137 Cs with humic acid, fulvic acid, and humin were 5.78%, 6.60% and 9.25%, respectively. The humic acid and 137 Cs formed four low weight complex molecules, their average molecular weights are > 700, 392, 168 and 137 Cs can not only be bonded into the stable organic-inorganic composite, but also into humus-metal ion complex with very high stability. (authors)

  14. [Effects of the grain size and thickness of dust deposits on soil water and salt movement in the hinterland of the Taklimakan Desert].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Yan-Wei; Li, Sheng-Yu; Xu, Xin-Wen; Zhang, Jian-Guo; Li, Ying

    2009-08-01

    By using mcirolysimeter, a laboratory simulation experiment was conducted to study the effects of the grain size and thickness of dust deposits on the soil water evaporation and salt movement in the hinterland of the Taklimakan Desert. Under the same initial soil water content and deposition thickness condition, finer-textured (grain size of dust deposits on soil water evaporation had an inflection point at the grain size 0.20 mm, i. e., increased with increasing grain size when the grain size was 0.063-0.20 mm but decreased with increasing grain size when the grain size was > 0.20 mm. With the increasing thickness of dust deposits, its inhibition effect on soil water evaporation increased, and there existed a logarithmic relationship between the dust deposits thickness and water evaporation. Surface soil salt accumulation had a negative correlation with dust deposits thickness. In sum, the dust deposits in study area could affect the stability of arid desert ecosystem.

  15. Ecological restoration and recovery in the wind-blown sand hazard areas of northern China: relationship between soil water and carrying capacity for vegetation in the Tengger Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, XingRong; Zhang, ZhiShan; Tan, HuiJuan; Gao, YanHong; Liu, LiChao; Wang, XingPing

    2014-05-01

    The main prevention and control area for wind-blown sand hazards in northern China is about 320000 km(2) in size and includes sandlands to the east of the Helan Mountain and sandy deserts and desert-steppe transitional regions to the west of the Helan Mountain. Vegetation recovery and restoration is an important and effective approach for constraining wind-blown sand hazards in these areas. After more than 50 years of long-term ecological studies in the Shapotou region of the Tengger Desert, we found that revegetation changed the hydrological processes of the original sand dune system through the utilization and space-time redistribution of soil water. The spatiotemporal dynamics of soil water was significantly related to the dynamics of the replanted vegetation for a given regional precipitation condition. The long-term changes in hydrological processes in desert areas also drive replanted vegetation succession. The soil water carrying capacity of vegetation and the model for sand fixation by revegetation in aeolian desert areas where precipitation levels are less than 200 mm are also discussed.

  16. Pedological and geological relationships with soil lichen and moss distribution in the eastern Mojave Desert, CA, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Miller, David M.; Bedford, David R.; Phillips, Susan L.

    2014-01-01

    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are ubiquitous in drylands globally. Lichens and mosses are essential biocrust components and provide a variety of ecosystem services, making their conservation and management of interest. Accordingly, understanding what factors are correlated with their distribution is important to land managers. We hypothesized that cover would be related to geologic and pedologic factors. We sampled 32 sites throughout the eastern Mojave Desert, stratifying by parent material and the age of the geomorphic surfaces. The cover of lichens and mosses on ‘available ground’ (L + Mav; available ground excludes ground covered by rocks or plant stems) was higher on limestone and quartzite-derived soils than granite-derived soils. Cover was also higher on moderately younger-aged geomorphic surfaces (Qya2, Qya3, Qya4) and cutbanks than on very young (Qya1), older-aged surfaces (Qia1, Qia2), or soils associated with coppice mounds or animal burrowing under Larrea tridentata. When all sites and parent materials were combined, soil texture was the most important factor predicting the occurrence of L + Mav, with cover positively associated with higher silt, very fine sand, and fine sand fractions and negatively associated with the very coarse sand fraction. When parent materials were examined separately, nutrients such as available potassium, iron, and calcium became the most important predictors of L + Mav cover.

  17. Soil, Vegetation, and Seed Bank of a Sonoran Desert Ecosystem Along an Exotic Plant ( Pennisetum ciliare) Treatment Gradient

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abella, Scott R.; Chiquoine, Lindsay P.; Backer, Dana M.

    2013-10-01

    Ecological conditions following removal of exotic plants are a key part of comprehensive environmental management strategies to combat exotic plant invasions. We examined ecological conditions following removal of the management-priority buffelgrass ( Pennisetum ciliare) in Saguaro National Park of the North American Sonoran Desert. We assessed soil, vegetation, and soil seed banks on seven buffelgrass site types: five different frequencies of buffelgrass herbicide plus hand removal treatments (ranging from 5 years of annual treatment to a single year of treatment), untreated sites, and non-invaded sites, with three replicates for each of the seven site types. The 22 measured soil properties (e.g., pH) differed little among sites. Regarding vegetation, buffelgrass cover was low (≤1 % median cover), or absent, across all treated sites but was high (10-70 %) in untreated sites. Native vegetation cover, diversity, and composition were indistinguishable across site types. Species composition was dominated by native species (>93 % relative cover) across all sites except untreated buffelgrass sites. Most (38 species, 93 %) of the 41 species detected in soil seed banks were native, and native seed density did not differ significantly across sites. Results suggest that: (1) buffelgrass cover was minimal across treated sites; (2) aside from high buffelgrass cover in untreated sites, ecological conditions were largely indistinguishable across sites; (3) soil seed banks harbored ≥12 species that were frequent in the aboveground vegetation; and (4) native species dominated post-treatment vegetation composition, and removing buffelgrass did not result in replacement by other exotic species.

  18. Structural degradation of Thar lignite using MW1 fungal isolate: optimization studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haider, Rizwan; Ghauri, Muhammad A.; Jones, Elizabeth J.; Orem, William H.; SanFilipo, John R.

    2015-01-01

    Biological degradation of low-rank coals, particularly degradation mediated by fungi, can play an important role in helping us to utilize neglected lignite resources for both fuel and non-fuel applications. Fungal degradation of low-rank coals has already been investigated for the extraction of soil-conditioning agents and the substrates, which could be subjected to subsequent processing for the generation of alternative fuel options, like methane. However, to achieve an efficient degradation process, the fungal isolates must originate from an appropriate coal environment and the degradation process must be optimized. With this in mind, a representative sample from the Thar coalfield (the largest lignite resource of Pakistan) was treated with a fungal strain, MW1, which was previously isolated from a drilled core coal sample. The treatment caused the liberation of organic fractions from the structural matrix of coal. Fungal degradation was optimized, and it showed significant release of organics, with 0.1% glucose concentration and 1% coal loading ratio after an incubation time of 7 days. Analytical investigations revealed the release of complex organic moieties, pertaining to polyaromatic hydrocarbons, and it also helped in predicting structural units present within structure of coal. Such isolates, with enhanced degradation capabilities, can definitely help in exploiting the chemical-feedstock-status of coal.

  19. Micrometeorological, evapotranspiration, and soil-moisture data at the Amargosa Desert Research site in Nye County near Beatty, Nevada, 2006-11

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arthur, Jonathan M.; Johnson, Michael J.; Mayers, C. Justin; Andraski, Brian J.

    2012-01-01

    This report describes micrometeorological, evapotranspiration, and soil-moisture data collected since 2006 at the Amargosa Desert Research Site adjacent to a low-level radio-active waste and hazardous chemical waste facility near Beatty, Nevada. Micrometeorological data include precipitation, solar radiation, net radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, saturated and ambient vapor pressure, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, near-surface soil temperature, soil-heat flux, and soil-water content. Evapotranspiration (ET) data include latent-heat flux, sensible-heat flux, net radiation, soil-heat flux, soil temperature, air temperature, vapor pressure, and other principal energy-budget data. Soil-moisture data include periodic measurements of volumetric water-content at experimental sites that represent vegetated native soil, devegetated native soil, and simulated waste disposal trenches - maximum measurement depths range from 5.25 to 29.25 meters. All data are compiled in electronic spreadsheets that are included with this report.

  20. Soil wind erosion in ecological olive trees in the Tabernas desert (southeastern Spain): a wind tunnel experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asensio, Carlos; Lozano, Francisco Javier; Gallardo, Pedro; Giménez, Antonio

    2016-08-01

    Wind erosion is a key component of the soil degradation processes. The purpose of this study is to find out the influence of material loss from wind on soil properties for different soil types and changes in soil properties in olive groves when they are tilled. The study area is located in the north of the Tabernas Desert, in the province of Almería, southeastern Spain. It is one of the driest areas in Europe, with a semiarid thermo-Mediterranean type of climate. We used a new wind tunnel model over three different soil types (olive-cropped Calcisol, Cambisol and Luvisol) and studied micro-plot losses and deposits detected by an integrated laser scanner. We also studied the image processing possibilities for examining the particles attached to collector plates located at the end of the tunnel to determine their characteristics and whether they were applicable to the setup. Samples collected in the traps at the end of the tunnel were analyzed. We paid special attention to the influence of organic carbon, carbonate and clay contents because of their special impact on soil crusting and the wind-erodible fraction. A principal components analysis (PCA) was carried out to find any relations on generated dust properties and the intensity and behavior of those relationships. Component 1 separated data with high N and OC contents from samples high in fine silt, CO3= and available K content. Component 2 separated data with high coarse silt and clay contents from data with high fine sand content. Component 3 was an indicator of available P2O5 content. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was carried out to analyze the effect of soil type and sampling height on different properties of trapped dust. Calculations based on tunnel data showed overestimation of erosion in soil types and calculation of the fraction of soil erodible by wind done by other authors for Spanish soils. As the highest loss was found in Cambisols, mainly due to the effect on soil crusting and the wind

  1. Mineralogical, chemical, organic and microbial properties of subsurface soil cores from Mars Desert Research Station (Utah, USA): Phyllosilicate and sulfate analogues to Mars mission landing sites

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stoker, C.R.; Clarke, J.; Oliveira Lebre Direito, M.S.; Martin, K.; Zavaleta, J.; Blake, D.; Foing, B.H.

    2011-01-01

    We collected and analysed soil cores from four geologic units surrounding Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Utah, USA, including Mancos Shale, Dakota Sandstone, Morrison formation (Brushy Basin member) and Summerville formation. The area is an important geochemical and morphological analogue to

  2. Draft Genome Sequence of Hymenobacter sp. Strain AT01-02, Isolated from a Surface Soil Sample in the Atacama Desert, Chile

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Anders Cai Holm; Paulino-Lima, Ivan Glaucio; Fujishima, Kosuke

    2016-01-01

    Here, we report the 5.09-Mb draft genome sequence of Hymenobacter sp. strain AT01-02, which was isolated from a surface soil sample in the Atacama Desert, Chile. The isolate is extremely resistant to UV-C radiation and is able to accumulate high intracellular levels of Mn/Fe....

  3. Degradation of seed mucilage by soil microflora promotes early seedling growth of a desert sand dune plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Xuejun; Baskin, Carol C; Baskin, Jerry M; Zhang, Wenhao; Huang, Zhenying

    2012-05-01

    In contrast to the extensive understanding of seed mucilage biosynthesis, much less is known about how mucilage is biodegraded and what role it plays in the soil where seeds germinate. We studied seed mucilage biodegradation by a natural microbial community. High-performance anion-exchange chromatography (HPAEC) was used to determine monosaccharide composition in achene mucilage of Artemisia sphaerocephala. Mucilage degradation by the soil microbial community from natural habitats was examined by monosaccharide utilization tests using Biolog plates, chemical assays and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. Glucose (29.4%), mannose (20.3%) and arabinose (19.5%) were found to be the main components of achene mucilage. The mucilage was biodegraded to CO(2) and soluble sugars, and an increase in soil microbial biomass was observed during biodegradation. Fluorescence microscopy showed the presence of mucilage (or its derivatives) in seedling tissues after growth with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled mucilage. The biodegradation also promoted early seedling growth in barren sand dunes, which was associated with a large soil microbial community that supplies substances promoting seedling establishment. We conclude that biodegradation of seed mucilage can play an ecologically important role in the life cycles of plants especially in harsh desert environments to which A. sphaerocephala is well-adapted. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  4. Don’t bust the biological soil crust: Preserving and restoring an important desert resource

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sue Miller; Steve Warren; Larry St. Clair

    2017-01-01

    Biological soil crusts are a complex of microscopic organisms growing on the soil surface in many arid and semi-arid ecosystems. These crusts perform the important role of stabilizing soil and reducing or eliminating water and wind erosion. One of the largest threats to biological soil crusts in the arid and semi-arid areas of the western United States is mechanical...

  5. Numerical modeling studies on the alternately pulsed infiltration and subsequent evaporation of water in a dry high desert alluvial soil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cawlfield, D.E.; Lindstrom, F.T.; Weaver, H.

    1993-01-01

    The concept of no liquid-phase migration of low-level radionuclides is extremely important for the U.S. Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office (USDOE/NV) Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Sites (RWMS) in Areas 3 and 5 of the Nevada Test Site (NTS). Each site location is situated in an area known for its dry conditions. A series of computer modeling problems were set up to study the effects of pulsing the desert surface with large amounts of water, followed by intense evaporative conditions. The pulsed-water scenarios were run using an in-house model, named open-quotes ODRECHB,close quotes which is briefly described. ODRECHB is particularly adapted to model the dry desert alluvium and extreme evaporative conditions found at NTS. Comparable results were obtained using the well known Battelle NW code open-quotes UNSAT-H 2.0,close quotes by Fayer and Jones. The realistic-to-overly conservative water applications to a bare soil surface did not cause water to infiltrate below ten meters. The results are shown on the accompanying video tape

  6. Heterogeneity of Soil and Vegetation in the Urban Habitats of New Industrial Cities in the Desert Landscape of Egypt

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Monier Abd EL-GHANI

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The relationship between vegetation and soil supporting the habitats in 4 new industrial cities were assessed. Five main habitats were distinguished from inner city toward outskirts: lawns, home gardens, public gardens, waste lands and desert outskirts. After application of Twinspan, 26 vegetation groups were identified in the 5 recognized habitats, demonstrating that some groups are chatracteristic of a certain city, e.g. Asphodelus aestivus - Deverra tortuosa - Thymelaea hirsuta group was confined to the desert habitat of Burg El-Arab city; Thymelaea hirsuta - Linaria albifrons and Atriplex halimus - Atriplex lindleyi subsp. inflata - Suaeda vermiculata - Typha domingensis groups were found in the waste lands of Burg El-Arab city; Conyza bonariensis - Cynodon dactylon - Sonchus oleraceus group in the home garden habitat of 10th Ranadan city; Cynodon dactylon group in the lawns of Burg El-Arab city; Bassia indica - Plantago major group in the public gardens of Burg El-Arab city; Oxalis corniculata - Plantago lagopus group in the public gardens of 10th Ramadan city; Sonchus oleraceus - Cynodon dactylon and Dactyloctenium aegyptium - Leptochloa fusca - Phragmites australis groups in the public gardens of 6th October city. Silt, clay, organic matter, carbonates and carbon contents showed significant diffrences among the 5 habitats.

  7. Thermophilic bacteria in Moroccan hot springs, salt marshes and desert soils

    OpenAIRE

    Aanniz,Tarik; Ouadghiri,Mouna; Melloul,Marouane; Swings,Jean; Elfahime,Elmostafa; Ibijbijen,Jamal; Ismaili,Mohamed; Amar,Mohamed

    2015-01-01

    The diversity of thermophilic bacteria was investigated in four hot springs, three salt marshes and 12 desert sites in Morocco. Two hundred and forty (240) thermophilic bacteria were recovered, identified and characterized. All isolates were Gram positive, rod-shaped, spore forming and halotolerant. Based on BOXA1R-PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the recovered isolates were dominated by the genus Bacillus (97.5%) represented by B. licheniformis (119), B. aerius (44), B. sonorensis (33), B. ...

  8. Spatial-temporal variability of soil water content in a cropland-shelterbelt-desert site in an arid inland river basin of Northwest China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shen, Qin; Gao, Guangyao; Hu, Wei; Fu, Bojie

    2016-09-01

    Knowledge of the spatial-temporal variability of soil water content (SWC) is critical for understanding a range of hydrological processes. In this study, the spatial variance and temporal stability of SWC were investigated in a cropland-shelterbelt-desert site at the oasis-desert ecotone in the middle of the Heihe River Basin, China. The SWC was measured on 65 occasions to a depth of 2.8 m at 45 locations during two growing seasons from 2012 to 2013. The standard deviation of the SWC versus the mean SWC exhibited a convex upward relationship in the shelterbelt with the greatest spatial variation at the SWC of around 22.0%, whereas a linearly increasing relationship was observed for the cropland, desert, and land use pattern. The standard deviation of the relative difference was positively linearly correlated with the SWC (p < 0.05) for the land use pattern, whereas such a relationship was not found in the three land use types. The spatial pattern of the SWC was more time stable for the land use pattern, followed by desert, shelterbelt, and cropland. The spatial pattern of SWC changed dramatically among different soil layers. The locations representing the mean SWC varied with the depth, and no location could represent the whole soil profile due to different soil texture, root distribution and irrigation management. The representative locations of each soil layer could be used to estimate the mean SWC well. The statistics of temporal stability of the SWC could be presented equally well with a low frequency of observation (30-day interval) as with a high frequency (5-day interval). Sampling frequency had little effect on the selection of the representative locations of the field mean SWC. This study provides useful information for designing the optimal strategy for sampling SWC at the oasis-desert ecotone in the arid inland river basin.

  9. Diversity and Abundance of Soil Animals as Influenced by Long-Term Fertilization in Grey Desert Soil, China

    OpenAIRE

    Maibo Jiang; Xihe Wang; Yunhao Liusui; Xueqing Sun; Chengyi Zhao; Hua Liu

    2015-01-01

    The relationship between soil fauna and different fertilizer management practices is of growing concern. The aim of this research was to investigate the response of soil fauna to fertilization regimes, to explore the relationships among the community of soil animals, soil moisture and crop yields. The application of organic fertilizers (i.e., sheep manure or crop residues) increased crop yields and promoted the number of individuals and species of soil fauna owing to the exogenous organic mat...

  10. Biological soil crust as a bio-mediator alters hydrological processes in stabilized dune system of the Tengger Desert, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xinrong

    2016-04-01

    Biological soil crust (BSC) is a vital component in the stabilized sand dunes with a living cover up to more than 70% of the total, which has been considered as a bio-mediator that directly influences and regulates the sand dune ecosystem processes. However, its influences on soil hydrological processes have been long neglected in Chinese deserts. In this study, BSCs of different successional stages were chose to test their influence on the hydrological processes of stabilized dune, where the groundwater deep exceeds 30m, further to explore why occur the sand-binding vegetation replacement between shrubs and herbs. Our long-term observation (60 years) shows that cyanobacteria crust has been colonized and developed after 3 years since the sand-binding vegetation has been established and dune fixation using planted xerophytic shrubs and made sand barrier (straw-checkerboard) on shifting dune surface, lichen and moss crust occurred after 20 years, and the cover of moss dominated crust could reach 70 % after 50 years. The colonization and development of BSC altered the initial soil water balance of revegetated areas by influencing rainfall infiltration, soil evaporation and dew water entrapment. The results show that BSC obviously reduced the infiltration that occurred during most rainfall events (80%), when rainfall was greater than 5 mm or less than 20 mm. The presence of BSC reduced evaporation of topsoil after small rainfall (<5 mm) because its high proportion of finer particles slowed the evaporation rate, thus keeping the water in the soil surface longer, and crust facilitated topsoil evaporation when rainfall reached 10 mm. The amount of dew entrapment increases with the succession of BSC. Moreover, the effect of the later successional BSC to dew entrapment, rainfall infiltration and evaporation was more obvious than the early successional BSC on stabilized dunes. In general, BSC reduced the amount of rainfall water that reached deeper soil (0.4-3m), which is

  11. Corrosion of bare carbon steel as a passive sensor to assess moisture availability for biological activity in Atacama Desert soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cáceres, Luis; Davila, Alfonso F; Soliz, Alvaro; Saldivia, Jessica

    2018-02-28

    Here we consider that the corrosion of polished bared metal coupons can be used as a passive sensor to detect or identify the lower limit of water availability suitable for biological activity in Atacama Desert soils or solid substrates. For this purpose, carbon steel coupons were deposited at selected sites along a west-east transect and removed at predetermined times for morphological inspection. The advantage of this procedure is that the attributes of the oxide layer (corrosion extent, morphology and oxide phases) can be considered as a fingerprint of the atmospheric moisture history at a given time interval. Two types of coupons were used, long rectangular shaped ones that were half-buried in a vertical position, and square shaped ones that were deposited on the soil surface. The morphological attributes observed by SEM inspection were found to correlate to the so-called humectation time which is determined from local meteorological parameters. The main finding was that the decreasing trend of atmospheric moisture along the transect was closely related to corrosion behaviour and water soil penetration. For instance, at the coastal site oxide phases formed on the coupon surface rapidly evolve into well-crystallized species, while at the driest inland site Lomas Bayas only amorphous oxide was observed on the coupons.

  12. Germination, survival and growth of three vascular plants on biological soil crusts from a Mexican tropical desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godínez-Alvarez, H; Morín, C; Rivera-Aguilar, V

    2012-01-01

    Information about the effects of biological soil crusts (BSC) on germination, seedling survival and growth of vascular plants is controversial because they can have positive, neutral or negative effects. This controversy may be because most studies conducted until now have just analysed one or two recruitment stages independently. To understand the BSC effects on vascular plants, it is necessary to consider each stage of the recruitment process and synthesise all this information. The goal of this study was twofold. First, we analyse germination, seedling survival and growth of three vascular plants (Agave marmorata, Prosopis laevigata and Neobuxbaumia tetetzo) on BSC (cyanobacteria and mixed crust) from a tropical desert region of south-central México. Second, we synthesise the information to determine the total effect of BSC on plant species performance. We conducted experiments under controlled conditions to evaluate the proportion of germinated seeds, proportion of surviving seedlings and seedling dry weight in BSC and bare soil. Results showed that BSC have different effects on germination, seedling survival and growth of plant species. Plant species performance was qualitatively higher on BSC than bare soil. The highest performance of A. marmorata and P. laevigata was observed on cyanobacteria and mixed crusts, respectively. The highest performance of N. tetetzo was on both crust types. © 2011 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  13. Corrosion of Bare Carbon Steel as a Passive Sensor to Assess Moisture Availability for Biological Activity in Atacama Desert Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caceres, Luis; Davila, Alfonso F.; Soliz, Alvaro; Saldivia, Jessica

    2018-01-01

    In this work we suggest the corrosion of polished bared metal coupons as a passive sensor to detect or identify the lower limit of water availability that could be suitable for biological activity in the Atacama Desert on soil or solid substrates. For this purpose, carbon steel coupons were deposited in selected sites along a west-east transect and removed at predetermined times for morphological inspection. The advantage of this procedure is that the attributes of the oxide layer (corrosion extent, morphology and oxide phases) can be considered as a fingerprint of the atmospheric moisture history at a given time interval. Two types of coupons were used, a long rectangular shape that are half-buried in a vertical position, and square shape that are deposited on the soil surface. The morphological attributes observed by SEM inspection is correlated to the so-called humectation time which is determined from local meteorological parameters. The main result is that the decreasing trend of atmospheric moisture along the transect is closely related to corrosion behavior and water soil penetration. For instance, while in the coastal site oxide phases formed on the coupon surface rapidly evolve to well- crystallized species, in the driest inland site Lomas Bayas only amorphous oxide is observed.

  14. Diversity and Abundance of Soil Animals as Influenced by Long-Term Fertilization in Grey Desert Soil, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maibo Jiang

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available The relationship between soil fauna and different fertilizer management practices is of growing concern. The aim of this research was to investigate the response of soil fauna to fertilization regimes, to explore the relationships among the community of soil animals, soil moisture and crop yields. The application of organic fertilizers (i.e., sheep manure or crop residues increased crop yields and promoted the number of individuals and species of soil fauna owing to the exogenous organic matter that fertilizers provided for the survival and development of soil fauna. Furthermore, the treatments that applied sheep manure (i.e., sheep manure only or nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sheep manure plus were significantly beneficial for increasing crop yields and diversity of soil fauna compared to treatments with crop residues returned (i.e., crop residues returned only or nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and crop residues returned to the field (p < 0.05 due to the response of soil fauna to diverse exogenous nutrients and the effect of soil fertility. Therefore, the finding that soil fauna abundance is significantly positively correlated with soil moisture and crop yield may mean the effects of fertilizer applications on soil animals were partly masked by the soil moisture and crop yield.

  15. Seasonal reversal of temperature-moisture response of net carbon exchange of biocrusted soils in a cool desert ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tucker, C.; Reed, S.; Howell, A.

    2017-12-01

    Carbon cycling associated with biological soil crusts, which occur in interspaces between vascular plants in drylands globally, may be an important part of the coupled climate-carbon cycle of the Earth system. A major challenge to understanding CO2 fluxes in these systems is that much of the biotic and biogeochemical activity occurs in the upper few mm of the soil surface layer (i.e., the `mantle of fertility'), which exhibits highly dynamic and difficult to measure temperature and moisture fluctuations. Here, we report data collected in a cool desert ecosystem over one year using a multi-sensor approach to simultaneously measuring temperature and moisture of the biocrust surface layer (0-2 mm), and the deeper soil profile (5-20 cm), concurrent with automated measurement of surface soil CO2 effluxes. Our results illuminate robust relationships between microclimate and field CO2 pulses that have previously been difficult to detect and explain. The temperature of the biocrust surface layer was highly variable, ranging from minimum of -9 °C in winter to maximum of 77 °C in summer with a maximum diurnal range of 61 °C. Temperature cycles were muted deeper in the soil profile. During summer, biocrust and soils were usually hot and dry and CO2 fluxes were tightly coupled to pulse wetting events experienced at the biocrust surface, which consistently resulted in net CO2 efflux (i.e., respiration). In contrast, during the winter, biocrust and soils were usually cold and moist, and there was sustained net CO2 uptake via photosynthesis by biocrust organisms, although during cold dry periods CO2 fluxes were minimal. During the milder spring and fall seasons, short wetting events drove CO2 loss, while sustained wetting events resulted in net CO2 uptake. Thus, the upper and lower bounds of net CO2 exchange at a point in time were functions of the seasonal temperature regime, while the actual flux within those bounds was determined by the magnitude and duration of biocrust

  16. Infrared Spectroscopic Analyses of Sulfate, Nitrate, and Carbonate-bearing Atacama Desert Soils: Analogs for the Interpretation of Infrared Spectra from the Martian Surface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalton, J. B.; Dalton, J. B.; Ewing, S. A.; Amundson, R.; McKay, C. P.

    2005-01-01

    The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is the driest desert on Earth, receiving only a few mm of rain per decade. The Mars climate may, in the past, have been punctuated by short-lived episodes of aqueous activity. The paleo-Martian environment may have had aqueous conditions similar to the current conditions that exist in the Atacama, and Mars soils may have formed with soil chemistry and mineralogy similar to those found in the Atacama. Remote and in-situ analysis of the Martian surface using infrared technology has a long heritage. Future investigations of the subsurface mineralogy are likely to build upon this heritage, and will benefit from real life lessons to be learned from terrestrial analog studies. To that end, preliminary results from a near- and mid-infrared spectroscopic study of Atacama soil profiled at a range of depths are presented.

  17. Bacterial diversity and community along the succession of biological soil crusts in the Gurbantunggut Desert, Northern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Bingchang; Kong, Weidong; Wu, Nan; Zhang, Yuanming

    2016-06-01

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are common and play critical roles in semi-arid and arid ecosystems. Bacteria, as an important community in BSCs, play critical roles in biochemical processes. However, how bacterial diversity and community change in different successional stages of BSCs is still unknown. We used 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA to investigate the bacterial composition and community, and the relationships between bacterial composition and environmental factors were also explored. In different successional stages of BSCs, the number of bacteria operational taxonomic units (OTUs) detected in each sample ranged from 2572 to 3157. Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Bacteroidetes were dominant in BSCs, followed by Firmicutes, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria. At the successional stages of BSCs, bacterial communities, OTU composition and their relative abundance notably differentiated, and Cyanobacteria, especially Microcoleus vaginatus, dominated algal crust and lichen crust, and were the main C-fixing bacteria in BSCs. Proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes increased with the development of BSCs. OTUs related to Planomicrobium Chinese, Desulfobulbus sp., Desulfomicrobium sp., Arthrobacter sp., and Ahhaerbacter sp. showed higher relative abundance in bare sand than other successional stages of BSCs, while relative abundance of Sphingomonas sp. Niastella sp., Pedobacter, Candidatus solobacter, and Streptophyta increased with the development of BSCs. In successional stages of BSCs, bacterial OTUs composition demonstrated strong correlations with soil nutrients, soil salts, and soil enzymes. Additionally, variation of bacterial composition led to different ecological function. In bare sand, some species were related with mineral metabolism or promoting plant growth, and in algal crust and lichen crust, C-fixing bacteria increased and accumulated C to the desert soil. In later developed stage of BSCs, bacteria related with decomposition of organic matter, such as

  18. Seasonal microbial and nutrient responses during a 5-year reduction in the daily temperature range of soil in a Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Gestel, Natasja C; Dhungana, Nirmala; Tissue, David T; Zak, John C

    2016-01-01

    High daily temperature range of soil (DTRsoil) negatively affects soil microbial biomass and activity, but its interaction with seasonal soil moisture in regulating ecosystem function remains unclear. For our 5-year field study in the Chihuahuan Desert, we suspended shade cloth 15 cm above the soil surface to reduce daytime temperature and increase nighttime soil temperature compared to unshaded plots, thereby reducing DTRsoil (by 5 ºC at 0.2 cm depth) without altering mean temperatures. Microbial biomass production was primarily regulated by seasonal precipitation with the magnitude of the response dependent on DTRsoil. Reduced DTRsoil more consistently increased microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN; +38%) than microbial biomass carbon (MBC) with treatment responses being similar in spring and summer. Soil respiration depended primarily on soil moisture with responses to reduced DTRsoil evident only in wetter summer soils (+53%) and not in dry spring soils. Reduced DTRsoil had no effect on concentrations of dissolved organic C, soil organic matter (SOM), nor soil inorganic N (extractable NO3 (-)-N + NH4 (+)-N). Higher MBN without changes in soil inorganic N suggests faster N cycling rates or alternate sources of N. If N cycling rates increased without a change to external N inputs (atmospheric N deposition or N fixation), then productivity in this desert system, which is N-poor and low in SOM, could be negatively impacted with continued decreases in daily temperature range. Thus, the future N balance in arid ecosystems, under conditions of lower DTR, seems linked to future precipitation regimes through N deposition and regulation of soil heat load dynamics.

  19. Geoinformatics for the Mapping of Nexus Between Poverty and Land Degradation in Drylands of Thar Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaur, Mahesh

    2012-07-01

    Poverty and land degradation are major problems in majority of world dry lands, where meagre vegetative coverage (of forests and trees) contribute significantly to rural livelihoods. In order to eradicate poverty in the dry lands, it is important to protect the land from deforestation, fragmentation, degradation, drought and sometimes flash floods. Satellite remote sensing is a critical need for India - for spatial and temporal inter-linking of poverty and land degradation nexus and its prioritization. Remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS) is often used to generate and apply knowledge in the complex local context. Connecting natural resources and ecosystem services with attributes of poverty is amenable through Remote Sensing and GIS. Such linkages in a typical local context are important to recognize while building rural assets and natural resources conservation leading to poverty alleviation. A large proportion of the poor in the Rajasthan state live in resource poor western region who lack productive assets (especially land) and also lack adequate livelihoods skills or capacities due to illiteracy. People are inadequately organized to assert their rights and utilize available resources and services. The state also continues to be plagued by high levels of gender and caste discrimination (World Bank, 2007). Incidence of Poverty: The number of population below poverty line in Rajasthan in 2004-05 were 22.1 percent. The corresponding figures for rural areas are 18.7 percent. In urban areas, the number of poor people are 32.9 percent. Rural poverty situation is significantly better than urban poverty. (HDR, 2008) Despite the fact that poverty rates in Rajasthan are lower than the national average, the incidence of poverty in Western Rajasthan is nevertheless high. The incidence of poverty varies between 11.2% in Jodhpur to as much as 35.2% in Jalore. The poor households suffer from both lack of resources and the means to access them, which contributes to the relatively low Human Development Index (HDI) indicators. Besides the extreme deprivations in the normal course of life, the poor become particularly vulnerable at the time of recurrent drought induced crisis. (MPOWER, 2010) The present study demonstrates application of earth observations for the mapping of nexus between poverty and land degradation. The empirical study carried out by the investigator in the Pali district highlights that such technological inputs could be applied in support of the poor and marginal farming community in the different parts of State and the country at cadastral level.

  20. Groundwater problems studies in the Thar desert, India, using isotope techniques

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Navada, S.V.

    1999-01-01

    In groundwater management, particularly in arid regions like western Rajasthan, it is important to know the presence of modern recharge and to estimate the recharge rate to avoid over-exploitation of the groundwater resource. Isotopes can help to identify modern recharge and to estimate recharge rate to the aquifer. If modern recharge is absent, groundwater dating using radiocarbon could help to identify old groundwater or paleowaters. A number of isotope studies carried out in arid zones (particularly in the Sahara) have shown that the deep groundwater is generally very old. From these studies it was concluded that episodic large scale recharge corresponding to humid phases or pluvials occurred in these arid areas. The paper reviews our experiences on the application of isotope techniques in understanding groundwater recharge process in and western Rajasthan

  1. High bacterial diversity of biological soil crusts in water tracks over permafrost in the high arctic polar desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven, Blaire; Lionard, Marie; Kuske, Cheryl R; Vincent, Warwick F

    2013-01-01

    In this study we report the bacterial diversity of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) inhabiting polar desert soils at the northern land limit of the Arctic polar region (83° 05 N). Employing pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes this study demonstrated that these biocrusts harbor diverse bacterial communities, often as diverse as temperate latitude communities. The effect of wetting pulses on the composition of communities was also determined by collecting samples from soils outside and inside of permafrost water tracks, hill slope flow paths that drain permafrost-affected soils. The intermittent flow regime in the water tracks was correlated with altered relative abundance of phylum level taxonomic bins in the bacterial communities, but the alterations varied between individual sampling sites. Bacteria related to the Cyanobacteria and Acidobacteria demonstrated shifts in relative abundance based on their location either inside or outside of the water tracks. Among cyanobacterial sequences, the proportion of sequences belonging to the family Oscillatoriales consistently increased in relative abundance in the samples from inside the water tracks compared to those outside. Acidobacteria showed responses to wetting pulses in the water tracks, increasing in abundance at one site and decreasing at the other two sites. Subdivision 4 acidobacterial sequences tended to follow the trends in the total Acidobacteria relative abundance, suggesting these organisms were largely responsible for the changes observed in the Acidobacteria. Taken together, these data suggest that the bacterial communities of these high latitude polar biocrusts are diverse but do not show a consensus response to intermittent flow in water tracks over high Arctic permafrost.

  2. Hydrologic characterization of desert soils with varying degrees of pedogenesis: 1. field experiments evaluating plant-relevant soil water behavior

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nimmo, J.R.; Perkins, K.S.; Schmidt, K.M.; Miller, D.M.; Stock, J.D.; Singha, K.

    2009-01-01

    To assess the eff ect of pedogenesis on the soil moisture dynamics infl uencing the character and quality of ecological habitat, we conducted infi ltration and redistribution experiments on three alluvial deposits in the Mojave National Preserve: (i) recently deposited active wash sediments, (ii) a soil of early Holocene age, and (iii) a highly developed soil of late Pleistocene age. At each, we ponded water in a 1-m-diameter infi ltration ring for 2.3 h and monitored soil water content and matric pressure during and atier infi ltration, using probes and electrical resistivity imaging (ERI). Infi ltration and downward fl ow rates were greater in younger material, favoring deep-rooted species. Deep-rooted species tend to colonize the margins of washes, where they are unaff ected by sediment transport that inhibits colonization. The ERI results support important generalizations, for example that shallower than 0.5 m, infi ltrated water persists longer in highly developed soil, favoring shallow-rooted species. Soil moisture data for the two youngest soils suggested that saturation overshoot, which may have signifi cant but unexplored hydroecologic and pedogenic eff ects, occurred at the horizontally advancing weting front. Spatial heterogeneity of soil properties generally increased with pedogenic development. Evidence suggested that some early-stage developmental processes may promote uniformity; the intermediate- age soil appeared to have the least heterogeneity in terms of textural variation with depth, and also the least anisotropy. Lateral heterogeneity was pronounced in older soil, having a multitude of eff ects on the distribution and retention of soil water, and may facilitate certain water-conserving strategies of plants over what would be possible in a laterally homogeneous soil. ?? Soil Science Society of America.

  3. Effects of sand burial on dew deposition on moss soil crust in a revegetated area of the Tennger Desert, Northern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jia, Rong-liang; Li, Xin-rong; Liu, Li-chao; Pan, Yan-xia; Gao, Yan-hong; Wei, Yong-ping

    2014-11-01

    Sand burial and dew deposition are two fundamental phenomena profoundly influencing biological soil crusts in desert areas. However, little information is available regarding the effects of sand burial on dew deposition on biological soil crusts in desert ecosystems. In this study, we evaluated the effects of sand burial at depths of 0 (control), 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 mm on dew formation and evaporation of three dominant moss crusts in a revegetated area of the Tengger Desert (Northern China) in 2010. The results revealed that sand burial significantly decreased the amount of dew deposited on the three moss crust types by acting as a semi-insulator retarding the dew formation and evaporation rates. The changes in surface temperature cannot fully explain the variations of the formation and evaporation rates of dew by moss crusts buried by sand. The extension of dew retention time was reflected by the higher dew ratios (the ratio of dew amount at a certain time to the maximum value in a daily course) in the daytime, and may to some extent have acted as compensatory mechanisms that diminished the negative effects of the reduction of dew amount induced by sand burial of moss crusts. The resistances to reduction of dewfall caused by sand burial among the three moss crusts were also compared and it was found that Bryum argenteum crust showed the highest tolerance, followed by crusts dominated by Didymodon vinealis and Syntrichia caninervis. This sequence corresponds well with the successional order of the three moss crusts in the revegetated area, thereby suggesting that resistance to reduction of dewfall may act as one mechanism by which sand burial drives the succession of moss crusts in desert ecosystems. This side effect of dew reduction induced by sand burial on biological soil crusts should be considered in future ecosystem construction and management of desert area.

  4. Effects of sand burial and wind disturbances on moss soil crusts in a revegetated area of the Tennger Desert, Northern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jia, R. L.; Li, X. R.; Liu, L. C.; Gao, Y. H.

    2012-04-01

    Sand burial and wind are two predominant natural disturbances in the desert ecosystems worldwide. However, the effects of sand burial and wind disturbances on moss soil crusts are still largely unexplored. In this study, two sets of experiments were conducted separately to evaluated the effects of sand burial (sand depth of 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 mm) and wind blowing (wind speed of 0.2, 3, 6 and 9ms-1) on ecophysiological variables of two moss soil crusts collected from a revegetated area of the Tengger Desert, Northern China. Firstly, the results from the sand burial experiment revealed that respiration rate was significantly decreased and that moss shoot elongation was significantly increased after burial. In addition, Bryum argenteum crust showed the fastest speed of emergence and highest tolerance index, followed by Didymodon vinealis crust. This sequence was consistent with the successional order of the two moss crusts that happened in our study area, indicating that differential sand burial tolerance explains their succession sequence. Secondly, the results from the wind experiment showed that CO2 exchange, PSII photochemical efficiency, photosynthetic pigments, shoot upgrowth, productivity and regeneration potential of the two moss soil crust mentioned above were all substantially depressed. Furthermore, D. vinealis crust exhibited stronger wind resistance than B. argenteum crust from all aspects mentioned above. And this is comparison was identical with their contrasting microhabitats with B. argenteum crust being excluded from higher wind speed microsites in the windward slopes, suggesting that the differential wind resistance of moss soil crusts explains their microdistribution pattern. In conclusion, the ecogeomorphological processes of moss soil crusts in desert ecosystems can be largely determined by natural disturbances caused by sand burial and wind blowing in desert ecosystems.

  5. Cyanobacterial populations in biological soil crusts of the northwest Negev Desert, Israel - effects of local conditions and disturbance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagemann, Martin; Henneberg, Manja; Felde, Vincent J M N L; Berkowicz, Simon M; Raanan, Hagai; Pade, Nadin; Felix-Henningsen, Peter; Kaplan, Aaron

    2016-11-02

    Biological soil crusts (BSCs) fulfill numerous ecological functions in arid and semiarid areas. Cyanobacteria are important BSC organisms, which are responsible for carbon fixation, N 2 -fixation, and binding of soil via extracellular polysaccharides. The cyanobacterial populations were characterized in different sampling plots established in three experimental stations along a rainfall gradient within NW Negev Desert, Israel. Cyanobacterial crust thickness and osmolyte accumulation therein decreased in plots with lower moisture. The cyanobacterial population structure also changed in different plots. We observed an increase of subsection III cyanobacteria such as Microcoleus spp. and Leptolyngbya sp. and a decreasing proportion of strains belonging to subsections I and IV in drier areas on the rainfall gradient. This population shift was also observed in the sampling plots, which were situated at various relief positions within the sand dune experimental sites. We also characterized the cyanobacterial populations within mechanically disturbed plots. After four years, they reached between 80 and 50% of the control populations in the northern-most and southern stations, respectively. Our results suggest that the cyanobacterial population is sensitive not only to macroscale factors but may also be subject to local climate variations and that four years were insufficient for complete recovery of the cyanobacterial population. © FEMS 2016. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  6. Continuous measurement of soil evaporation in a drip-irrigated wine vineyard in a desert area

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evaporation from the soil surface (E) can be a significant source of water loss in arid areas. In sparsely vegetated systems, E is expected to be a function of soil, climate, irrigation regime, precipitation patterns, and plant canopy development, and will therefore change dynamically at both daily ...

  7. Few apparent short-term effects of elevated soil temperature and increased frequency of summer precipitation on the abundance and taxonomic diversity of desert soil micro- and meso-fauna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Darby, B.J.; Neher, D.A.; Housman, D.C.; Belnap, J.

    2011-01-01

    Frequent hydration and drying of soils in arid systems can accelerate desert carbon and nitrogen mobilization due to respiration, microbial death, and release of intracellular solutes. Because desert microinvertebrates can mediate nutrient cycling, and the autotrophic components of crusts are known to be sensitive to rapid desiccation due to elevated temperatures after wetting events, we studied whether altered soil temperature and frequency of summer precipitation can also affect the composition of food web consumer functional groups. We conducted a two-year field study with experimentally-elevated temperature and frequency of summer precipitation in the Colorado Plateau desert, measuring the change in abundance of nematodes, protozoans, and microarthropods. We hypothesized that microfauna would be more adversely affected by the combination of elevated temperature and frequency of summer precipitation than either effect alone, as found previously for phototrophic crust biota. Microfauna experienced normal seasonal fluctuations in abundance, but the effect of elevated temperature and frequency of summer precipitation was statistically non-significant for most microfaunal groups, except amoebae. The seasonal increase in abundance of amoebae was reduced with combined elevated temperature and increased frequency of summer precipitation compared to either treatment alone, but comparable with control (untreated) plots. Based on our findings, we suggest that desert soil microfauna are relatively more tolerant to increases in ambient temperature and frequency of summer precipitation than the autotrophic components of biological soil crust at the surface.

  8. Implications of meltwater pulse events for soil biology and biogeochemical cycling in a polar desert

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Becky A. Ball

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The McMurdo Dry Valleys are one of the most arid environments on Earth. Over the soil landscape for the majority of the year, biological and ecosystem processes in the dry valleys are constrained by the low temperatures and limited availability of water. The prevalence of these physical limitations in controlling biological and ecosystem processes makes the dry valleys a climate-sensitive system, poised to experience substantial changes following projected future warming. Short-duration increases in summer temperatures are associated with pulses of water from melting ice reserves, including glaciers, snow and permafrost. Such pulses alter soil geochemistry by mobilizing and redistributing soil salts (via enhanced weathering, solubility and mobility, which can alter habitat suitability for soil organisms. Resulting changes in soil community composition or distribution may alter the biogeochemical processes in which they take part. Here, we review the potential impacts of meltwater pulses and present new field data documenting instances of meltwater pulse events that result from different water sources and hydrological patterns, and discuss their potential influence on soil biology and biogeochemistry. We use these examples to discuss the potential impacts of future climate change on the McMurdo Dry Valley soil ecosystem.

  9. Heat transfer Effect by soil temperature changes under shallow groundwater in the Mu Us desert, Northern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qiao, X.; Lu, R.; Donghui, C.

    2015-12-01

    Soil temperature change is principle elements to biological growth, soil freeze or thawing process. A situ field was conducted in the Mu Us desert of Wushen Qi County, Inner Mongolia, to mainly monitor soil temperature, moisture content and groundwater level. The unconfined aquifer constituted by Quaternary fine eolian sand, groundwater level is 125cm. This paper, choosing date from May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014, soil day temperature is conducted by 3:00, 6:00,till 24:00, vertical spacing including 2cm,5 cm、10 cm、15 cm、20 cm, 75cm,125cm,which its symbol is T10, T15, T20, T75, T125 respectively. Here, surface layer temperature TS calculated by soil temperature of 2-5cm depth. Due to only 5 minutes interval, this state was taken as a state one. (1) soil temperature has mixture change on surface layer and its temperature different is over 35 ℃. (2) Surface layer temperature changes of every month have three stages and its conducted heat, which calculated between TS and T10. Since TS exceeds T10 and heat transfer direction is from surface to underground in May, June and July 2013, even heat transfer amounts reduced by participation in July. However, TS is inferior to T10 and conduced heat direction reverse in August till to February 2014.Continually conduced heat start to next circulation and then it's heat direction from surface to underground due to TS exceeds T10 again in March and April 2014. (3) Temperature changes of phreatic water table every month have also three stages and its conducted heat which calculated between T75 and T125, heat transfer direction from unsaturated zone to saturated zone due to T75 exceeds T125 from May till middle September 2013. However, T75 is inferior to T125 and heat direction reverse from late September 2013 till May 2014, but conduced heat direction starts to change from unsaturated zone to saturated zone again in early April 2014.The result can imply shallow gruondwater has some contribution to surface layer temperature in

  10. Effect of Biostimulation Using Sewage Sludge, Soybean Meal, and Wheat Straw on Oil Degradation and Bacterial Community Composition in a Contaminated Desert Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Al-Kindi, Sumaiya; Abed, Raeid M. M.

    2016-01-01

    Waste materials have a strong potential in the bioremediation of oil-contaminated sites, because of their richness in nutrients and their economical feasibility. We used sewage sludge, soybean meal, and wheat straw to biostimulate oil degradation in a heavily contaminated desert soil. While oil degradation was assessed by following the produced CO2 and by using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), shifts in bacterial community composition were monitored using illumina MiSeq. The addition of sewage sludge and wheat straw to the desert soil stimulated the respiration activities to reach 3.2–3.4 times higher than in the untreated soil, whereas the addition of soybean meal resulted in an insignificant change in the produced CO2, given the high respiration activities of the soybean meal alone. GC–MS analysis revealed that the addition of sewage sludge and wheat straw resulted in 1.7–1.8 fold increase in the degraded C14 to C30 alkanes, compared to only 1.3 fold increase in the case of soybean meal addition. The degradation of ≥90% of the C14 to C30 alkanes was measured in the soils treated with sewage sludge and wheat straw. MiSeq sequencing revealed that the majority (76.5–86.4% of total sequences) of acquired sequences from the untreated soil belonged to Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Firmicutes. Multivariate analysis of operational taxonomic units placed the bacterial communities of the soils after the treatments in separate clusters (ANOSIM R = 0.66, P = 0.0001). The most remarkable shift in bacterial communities was in the wheat straw treatment, where 95–98% of the total sequences were affiliated to Bacilli. We conclude that sewage sludge and wheat straw are useful biostimulating agents for the cleanup of oil-contaminated desert soils. PMID:26973618

  11. Morphology of calcite crystals in clast coatings from four soils in the Mojave desert region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chadwick, Oliver A.; Sowers, Janet M.; Amundson, Ronald G.

    1989-01-01

    Pedogenic calcite-crystal coatings on clasts were examined in four soils along an altitudinal gradient on Kyle Canyon alluvium in southern Nevada. Clast coatings were studied rather than matrix carbonate to avoid the effects of soil matrix on crystallization. Six crystal sizes and shapes were recognized and distinguished. Equant micrite was the dominant crystal form with similar abundance at all elevations. The distributions of five categories of spar and microspar appear to be influenced by altitudinally induced changes in effective moisture. In the drier, lower elevation soils, crystals were equant or parallel prismatic with irregular, interlocking boundaries while in the more moist, higher elevation soils they were randomly oriented, euhedral, prismatic, and fibrous. There was little support for the supposition that Mg(+2) substitution or increased (Mg + Ca)/HCO3 ratios in the precipitating solution produced crystal elongation.

  12. Changes in the soil C cycle at the arid-hyperarid transition in the Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ewing, S.A.; Macalady, J.L.; Warren-Rhodes, K.; McKay, C.P.; Amundson, Ronald

    2008-01-01

    We examined soil organic C (OC) turnover and transport across the rainfall transition from a biotic, arid site to a largely abiotic, hyperarid site. With this transition, OC concentrations decrease, and C cycling slows precipitously, both in surface horizons and below ground. The concentration and isotopic character of soil OC across this transition reflect decreasing rates of inputs, decomposition, and downward transport. OC concentrations in the arid soil increase slightly with depth in the upper meter, but are generally low and variable (???0.05%; total inventory of 1.82 kg m-2); OC-??14C values decrease from modern (+7???) to very 14C-depleted (-966???) with depth; and OC-??13C values are variable (-23.7??? to -14.1???). Using a transport model, we show that these trends reflect relatively rapid cycling in the upper few centimeters, and spatially variable preservation of belowground OC from root inputs, possibly during a previous, wetter climate supporting higher soil OC concentrations. In the driest soil, the OC inventory is the lowest among the sites (0.19 kg m-2), and radiocarbon values are 14C-depleted (-365??? to -696???) but show no trend with depth, indicating belowground OC inputs and long OC residence times throughout the upper meter (104 y). A distinct depth trend in ??13C values and OC/ON values within the upper 40 cm at the driest site may reflect photochemical alteration of organic matter at the soil surface, combined with limited subsurface decomposition and downward transport. We argue that while root inputs are preserved at the wetter sites, C cycling in the most hyperarid soil occurs through infrequent, rapid dissolved transport of highly photodegraded organic matter during rare rain events, each followed by a pulse of decomposition and subsequent prolonged drought. These belowground inputs are likely a primary control on the character, activity, and depth distribution of small microbial populations. While the lack of water is the dominant

  13. Effect of biostimulation using sewage sludge, soybean meal and wheat straw on oil degradation and bacterial community composition in a contaminated desert soil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sumaiya eAl-Kindi

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Waste materials have a strong potential in the bioremediation of oil-contaminated sites, because of their richness in nutrients and their economical feasibility. We used sewage sludge, soybean meal and wheat straw to biostimulate oil degradation in a heavily contaminated desert soil. While oil degradation was assessed by following the produced CO2 and by using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS, shifts in bacterial community composition were monitored using illumina MiSeq. The addition of sewage sludge and wheat straw to the desert soil stimulated the respiration activities more than the addition of soybean meal. GC-MS analysis revealed that the addition of addition of sewage sludge and wheat straw resulted in 1.7 to 1.8 fold increase in the degraded C14 to C30 alkanes, compared to only 1.3 fold increase in the case of soybean meal addition. The degradation of ≥ 90% of the C14 to C30 alkanes were measured in the soils treated with sewage sludge and wheat straw. MiSeq sequencing revealed that the majority (76.5-86.4% of total sequences of acquired sequences from the original soil belonged to Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria and Firmicutes. Multivariate analysis of operational taxonomic units (OTUs placed the bacterial communities of the soils after the treatments in separate clusters (ANOSIM R=0.66, P=0.0001. The most remarkable shift in bacterial communities was in the wheat straw treatment, where 95-98% of the total sequences belonging to Bacilli. We conclude that sewage sludge and wheat straw are useful biostimulating agents for the cleanup of oil-contaminated desert soils.

  14. Thermophilic bacteria in Moroccan hot springs, salt marshes and desert soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aanniz, Tarik; Ouadghiri, Mouna; Melloul, Marouane; Swings, Jean; Elfahime, Elmostafa; Ibijbijen, Jamal; Ismaili, Mohamed; Amar, Mohamed

    2015-06-01

    The diversity of thermophilic bacteria was investigated in four hot springs, three salt marshes and 12 desert sites in Morocco. Two hundred and forty (240) thermophilic bacteria were recovered, identified and characterized. All isolates were Gram positive, rod-shaped, spore forming and halotolerant. Based on BOXA1R-PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the recovered isolates were dominated by the genus Bacillus (97.5%) represented by B. licheniformis (119), B. aerius (44), B. sonorensis (33), B. subtilis (subsp. spizizenii (2) and subsp. inaquosurum (6)), B. amyloliquefaciens (subsp. amyloliquefaciens (4) and subsp. plantarum (4)), B. tequilensis (3), B. pumilus (3) and Bacillus sp. (19). Only six isolates (2.5%) belonged to the genus Aeribacillus represented by A. pallidus (4) and Aeribacillus sp. (2). In this study, B. aerius and B. tequilensis are described for the first time as thermophilic bacteria. Moreover, 71.25%, 50.41% and 5.41% of total strains exhibited high amylolytic, proteolytic or cellulolytic activity respectively.

  15. Thermophilic bacteria in Moroccan hot springs, salt marshes and desert soils

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tarik Aanniz

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available The diversity of thermophilic bacteria was investigated in four hot springs, three salt marshes and 12 desert sites in Morocco. Two hundred and forty (240 thermophilic bacteria were recovered, identified and characterized. All isolates were Gram positive, rod-shaped, spore forming and halotolerant. Based on BOXA1R-PCR and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the recovered isolates were dominated by the genus Bacillus (97.5% represented by B. licheniformis (119, B. aerius (44, B. sonorensis (33, B. subtilis (subsp. spizizenii (2 and subsp. inaquosurum (6, B. amyloliquefaciens (subsp. amyloliquefaciens (4 and subsp. plantarum (4, B. tequilensis (3, B. pumilus (3 and Bacillus sp. (19. Only six isolates (2.5% belonged to the genus Aeribacillus represented by A. pallidus (4 and Aeribacillus sp. (2. In this study, B. aerius and B. tequilensis are described for the first time as thermophilic bacteria. Moreover, 71.25%, 50.41% and 5.41% of total strains exhibited high amylolytic, proteolytic or cellulolytic activity respectively.

  16. Isolation of a significant fraction of non-phototroph diversity from a desert Biological Soil Crust

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ulisses eNunes da Rocha

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs are organosedimentary assemblages comprised of microbes and minerals in topsoil of terrestrial environments. BSCs strongly impact soil quality in dryland ecosystems (e.g., soil structure and nutrient yields due to pioneer species such as Microcoleus vaginatus; phototrophs that produce filaments that bind the soil together, and support an array of heterotrophic microorganisms. These microorganisms in turn contribute to soil stability and biogeochemistry of BSCs. Non-cyanobacterial populations of BSCs are less well known than cyanobacterial populations. Therefore, we attempted to isolate a broad range of numerically significant and phylogenetically representative BSC aerobic heterotrophs. Combining simple pre-treatments (hydration of BSCs under dark and light and isolation strategies (media with varying nutrient availability and protection from oxidative stress we recovered 402 bacterial and one fungal isolate in axenic culture, which comprised 116 phylotypes (at 97% 16S rRNA gene sequence homology, 115 bacterial and one fungal. Each medium enriched a mostly distinct subset of phylotypes, and cultivated phylotypes varied due to the BSC pre-treatment. The fraction of the total phylotype diversity isolated, weighted by relative abundance in the community, was determined by the overlap between isolate sequences and OTUs reconstructed from metagenome or metatranscriptome reads. Together, more than 8% of relative abundance of OTUs in the metagenome was represented by our isolates, a cultivation efficiency much larger than typically expected from most soils. We conclude that simple cultivation procedures combined with specific pre-treatment of samples afford a significant reduction in the culturability gap, enabling physiological and metabolic assays that rely on ecologically relevant axenic cultures.

  17. Who's hot, who's not? Effects of concentrating solar power heliostats on soil temperature at Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, Mojave Desert, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grodsky, S.; Hernandez, R. R.

    2017-12-01

    Solar energy development may function as a contemporary, anthropogenic driver of disturbance when sited in natural ecosystems. Orientation and density of solar modules, including heliostats at concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities, may affect soils via shading and altered surface-water flow. Meanwhile, soil attributes like temperature and moisture may affect nutrient cycling, plant germination and growth, and soil biota. We tested effects of CSP heliostats on soil temperature at Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in the Mojave Desert, USA. We implemented experimental treatments based on preconstruction rare plant [e.g., Mojave milkweed (Asclepias nyctaginifolia)] protection areas (hereafter "halos"), site preparation activities, and heliostat density throughout three, replicated CSP blocks (i.e., tower and associated heliostats), including: (1) No Halos (Bladed) - high site preparation intensity, high heliostat density immediately surrounding towers; (2) No Halos (Mowed) - moderate site preparation intensity, moderate to low heliostat density as distance increases from towers; and (3) Halos - no site preparation, no heliostats. We also established control sites within 1,600 km of ISEGS in undisturbed desert. We observed significant differences in soil temperature across treatments. We recorded significantly lower soil temperatures in the No Halos (Bladed) treatments (26.7°C) and No Halos (Mowed) treatments (29.9°C) than in the Halos treatments (32.9°C) and controls (32.1°C). We also determined that soil temperatures in the Halos treatments and controls did not significantly differ. Our results indicated that shading from high-density heliostat configuration significantly reduced soil temperature relative to low-density heliostat configuration and areas without CSP. Shading from heliostats and consequential fluctuation in soil temperatures may affect local-scale distribution of flora and fauna, leading to altered "bottom-up" ecological

  18. Monitoring of some Wild Plant Species Grown on Natural Radioactive Soils, Wadi EI -Gemal Area, Southeastern Desert, Egypt

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morsy, A.M.A.; Afifi, S.Y.

    2008-01-01

    Fore long time ago, human kind has relied on natural products of plants as a primary source for medicine. Herbs, flora, molt and even leeches were employed to bring up relief to the sick and infirmly. As a part of ongoing investigations for the effect of natural radionuclide radiations on biochemical constituents of plants, .two native species (Salvadora persica and Balanites aegyptiaca). grown on virgin radionuclide soils along with Wadi EI-Gemal area, Southeastern Desert, Egypt were collected. This study dealt with amounts of radionuclide taken by plants and their effects on their biochemical constituents, beneficiation uses on remedy of contaminated and even polluted soils and sick treatments as well as exploration of radioactive materials. These plant samples were subjected to certain analysis techniques for the amounts of uranium that were followed by determining carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. The results indicated that both plants uptake uranium but with different amounts. Uranium has a passive effect on the total soluble suger (T.S.S.) of Balanties aegyptiaca plant, while no clear trend appears on T.S.S. of Snlvndora persica root samples. No clear trend appeared for effect of uranium on both fatty acids and amino acids of the investigated plants. Meanwhile uranium has a passive effect on saponin in both plant species, alkaloid in S. persica root and flavonoids in B. aegyptiaca fruits, while showed a positive effect on alkaloids in B. aegyptiaca and no clear trend appeared for flavonoids in S. persica. As for diosgenin uranium has passive effect on its amount in B. aegyptiaca

  19. Microbial Community and Biochemical Dynamics of Biological Soil Crusts across a Gradient of Surface Coverage in the Central Mojave Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mogul, Rakesh; Vaishampayan, Parag; Bashir, Mina; McKay, Chris P; Schubert, Keith; Bornaccorsi, Rosalba; Gomez, Ernesto; Tharayil, Sneha; Payton, Geoffrey; Capra, Juliana; Andaya, Jessica; Bacon, Leonard; Bargoma, Emily; Black, David; Boos, Katie; Brant, Michaela; Chabot, Michael; Chau, Danny; Cisneros, Jessica; Chu, Geoff; Curnutt, Jane; DiMizio, Jessica; Engelbrecht, Christian; Gott, Caroline; Harnoto, Raechel; Hovanesian, Ruben; Johnson, Shane; Lavergne, Britne; Martinez, Gabriel; Mans, Paul; Morales, Ernesto; Oei, Alex; Peplow, Gary; Piaget, Ryan; Ponce, Nicole; Renteria, Eduardo; Rodriguez, Veronica; Rodriguez, Joseph; Santander, Monica; Sarmiento, Khamille; Scheppelmann, Allison; Schroter, Gavin; Sexton, Devan; Stephenson, Jenin; Symer, Kristin; Russo-Tait, Tatiane; Weigel, Bill; Wilhelm, Mary B

    2017-01-01

    In this study, we expand upon the biogeography of biological soil crusts (BSCs) and provide molecular insights into the microbial community and biochemical dynamics along the vertical BSC column structure, and across a transect of increasing BSC surface coverage in the central Mojave Desert, CA, United States. Next generation sequencing reveals a bacterial community profile that is distinct among BSCs in the southwestern United States. Distribution of major phyla in the BSC topsoils included Cyanobacteria (33 ± 8%), Proteobacteria (26 ± 6%), and Chloroflexi (12 ± 4%), with Phormidium being the numerically dominant genus. Furthermore, BSC subsurfaces contained Proteobacteria (23 ± 5%), Actinobacteria (20 ± 5%), and Chloroflexi (18 ± 3%), with an unidentified genus from Chloroflexi (AKIW781, order) being numerically dominant. Across the transect, changes in distribution at the phylum ( p < 0.0439) and genus ( p < 0.006) levels, including multiple biochemical and geochemical trends ( p < 0.05), positively correlated with increasing BSC surface coverage. This included increases in (a) Chloroflexi abundance, (b) abundance and diversity of Cyanobacteria, (b) OTU-level diversity in the topsoil, (c) OTU-level differentiation between the topsoil and subsurface, (d) intracellular ATP abundances and catalase activities, and (e) enrichments in clay, silt, and varying elements, including S, Mn, Co, As, and Pb, in the BSC topsoils. In sum, these studies suggest that BSCs from regions of differing surface coverage represent early successional stages, which exhibit increasing bacterial diversity, metabolic activities, and capacity to restructure the soil. Further, these trends suggest that BSC successional maturation and colonization across the transect are inhibited by metals/metalloids such as B, Ca, Ti, Mn, Co, Ni, Mo, and Pb.

  20. Microbial Community and Biochemical Dynamics of Biological Soil Crusts across a Gradient of Surface Coverage in the Central Mojave Desert

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rakesh Mogul

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available In this study, we expand upon the biogeography of biological soil crusts (BSCs and provide molecular insights into the microbial community and biochemical dynamics along the vertical BSC column structure, and across a transect of increasing BSC surface coverage in the central Mojave Desert, CA, United States. Next generation sequencing reveals a bacterial community profile that is distinct among BSCs in the southwestern United States. Distribution of major phyla in the BSC topsoils included Cyanobacteria (33 ± 8%, Proteobacteria (26 ± 6%, and Chloroflexi (12 ± 4%, with Phormidium being the numerically dominant genus. Furthermore, BSC subsurfaces contained Proteobacteria (23 ± 5%, Actinobacteria (20 ± 5%, and Chloroflexi (18 ± 3%, with an unidentified genus from Chloroflexi (AKIW781, order being numerically dominant. Across the transect, changes in distribution at the phylum (p < 0.0439 and genus (p < 0.006 levels, including multiple biochemical and geochemical trends (p < 0.05, positively correlated with increasing BSC surface coverage. This included increases in (a Chloroflexi abundance, (b abundance and diversity of Cyanobacteria, (b OTU-level diversity in the topsoil, (c OTU-level differentiation between the topsoil and subsurface, (d intracellular ATP abundances and catalase activities, and (e enrichments in clay, silt, and varying elements, including S, Mn, Co, As, and Pb, in the BSC topsoils. In sum, these studies suggest that BSCs from regions of differing surface coverage represent early successional stages, which exhibit increasing bacterial diversity, metabolic activities, and capacity to restructure the soil. Further, these trends suggest that BSC successional maturation and colonization across the transect are inhibited by metals/metalloids such as B, Ca, Ti, Mn, Co, Ni, Mo, and Pb.

  1. Electrical Resistance Imaging for Evaluation of Soil-Water Behavior in Desert Ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nimmo, J. R.; Perkins, K. S.; Schmidt, K. M.; Miller, D. M.; Stock, J. D.; Singha, K.

    2009-05-01

    As part of an effort to evaluate habitat types in the Mojave National Preserve, we conducted infiltration/redistribution experiments to investigate unsaturated hydraulic properties and soil-water dynamics. Two investigated locations contrasted sharply in degree of pedogenic development: (1) recently deposited sediments in an active wash and (2) a highly developed soil of late Pleistocene age. Water flow through these materials may be strongly influenced by such features as biotic crusts, vesicular horizons, textural variations, calcic horizons, preferential flow paths, and other forms of vertical and lateral spatial variability. In each location we ponded water in a 1-m-diameter infiltration ring for 2.3 h, generating 1.93 m of infiltration in the active wash and 0.52 m in the Pleistocene soil. Combining input flux data with quantitative knowledge of water content and soil water pressure over space and time provides a basis for estimating soil hydraulic properties. TDR probes and tensiometers, placed outside but within a few m of the infiltration pond at depths to 1.5 m, provided subsurface hydraulic data. In addition to probe measurements, we conducted electrical resistance imaging (ERI) measurements during the infiltration period and for six days of redistribution. Electrodes were in two crossed lines at the surface, 24 in each, at 0.5 m spacing. On each line data were collected over an eight- minute period using a hybrid geometry, with 0 to 6 electrodes skipped between those used for the measurement. Relative change in the inverted resistivities relates to relative change in soil water content. Spatially exhaustive and minimally invasive characterization is valuable because of the extreme difficulty of quantifying soil-moisture distribution over a broad heterogeneous area using a set of individual probes. Soil moisture data directly under the ponded area are especially important, and ERI was our only means for such measurements because probe installation would

  2. Temporal variation in community composition, pigmentation, and Fv/Fm of desert cyanobacterial soil crusts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowker, M.A.; Reed, S.C.; Belnap, J.; Phillips, S.L.

    2002-01-01

    Summers on the Colorado Plateau (USA) are typified by harsh conditions such as high temperatures, brief soil hydration periods, and high UV and visible radiation. We investigated whether community composition, physiological status, and pigmentation might vary in biological soil crusts as a result of such conditions. Representative surface cores were sampled at the ENE, WSW, and top microaspects of 20 individual soil crust pedicels at a single site in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, in spring and fall of 1999. Frequency of cyanobacterial taxa, pigment concentrations, and dark adapted quantum yield (Fv/Fm) were measured for each core. The frequency of major cyanobacterial taxa was lower in the fall compared to spring. The less-pigmented cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatus showed significant mortality when not in the presence of Nostoc spp. and Scytonema myochrous (Dillw.) Agardh. (both synthesizers of UV radiation-linked pigments) but had little or no mortality when these species were abundant. We hypothesize that the sunscreen pigments produced by Nostoc and Scytonema in the surface of crusts protect other, less-pigmented taxa. When fall and spring samples were compared, overall cyanobacterial frequency was lower in fall, while sunscreen pigment concentrations, chlorophyll a concentration, and Fv/Fm were higher in fall. The ratio of cyanobacterial frequency/chlorophyll a concentrations was 2-3 times lower in fall than spring. Because chlorophyll a is commonly used as a surrogate measure of soil cyanobacterial biomass, these results indicate that seasonality needs to be taken into consideration. In the fall sample, most pigments associated with UV radiation protection or repair were at their highest concentrations on pedicel tops and WSW microaspects, and at their lowest concentrations on ENE microaspects. We suggest that differential pigment concentrations between microaspects are induced by varying UV radiation dosage at the soil surface on these different

  3. Polyphasic characterization of Trichocoleus desertorum sp. nov. (Pseudanabaenales, Cyanobacteria) from desert soils and phylogenetic placement of the genus Trichocoleus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Radka Muhlsteinova; Jeffrey R. Johansen; Nicole Pietrasiak; Michael P. Martin; Karina Osorio-Santos; Steven D. Warren

    2014-01-01

    Little is known about the taxonomic diversity of cyanobacteria in deserts, despite their important ecological roles in these ecosystems. In this study, cyanobacterial strains from the Atacama, Colorado, and Mojave Deserts were isolated and characterized using molecular, morphological, and ecological information. Phylogenetic placement of these strains was revealed...

  4. Bioremediation of contaminated mixtures of desert mining soil and sawdust with fuel oil by aerated in-vessel composting in the Atacama Region (Chile)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Godoy-Faundez, Alex; Antizar-Ladislao, Blanca; Reyes-Bozo, Lorenzo; Camano, Andres; Saez-Navarrete, Cesar

    2008-01-01

    Since early 1900s, with the beginning of mining operations and especially in the last decade, small, although repetitive spills of fuel oil had occurred frequently in the Chilean mining desert industry during reparation and maintenance of machinery, as well as casual accidents. Normally, soils and sawdust had been used as cheap readily available sorbent materials of spills of fuel oil, consisting of complex mixtures of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. Chilean legislation considers these fuel oil contaminated mixtures of soil and sawdust as hazardous wastes, and thus they must be contained. It remains unknown whether it would be feasible to clean-up Chilean desert soils with high salinity and metal content, historically polluted with different commercial fuel oil, and contained during years. Thus, this study evaluated the feasibility of aerated in-vessel composting at a laboratory scale as a bioremediation technology to clean-up contaminated desert mining soils (fuel concentration > 50,000 mg kg -1 ) and sawdust (fuel concentration > 225,000 mg kg -1 ) in the Atacama Region. The composting reactors were operated using five soil to sawdust ratios (S:SD, 1:0, 3:1, 1:1, 1:3, 0:1, on a dry weight basis) under mesophilic temperatures (30-40 deg. C), constant moisture content (MC, 50%) and continuous aeration (16 l min -1 ) during 56 days. Fuel oil concentration and physico-chemical changes in the composting reactors were monitored following standard procedures. The highest (59%) and the lowest (35%) contaminant removals were observed in the contaminated sawdust and contaminated soil reactors after 56 days of treatment, respectively. The S:SD ratio, time of treatment and interaction between both factors had a significant effect (p < 0.050) on the contaminant removal. The results of this research indicate that bioremediation of an aged contaminated mixture of desert mining soil and sawdust with fuel oil is feasible. This study recommends a S:SD ratio 1:3 and a correct

  5. Bioremediation of contaminated mixtures of desert mining soil and sawdust with fuel oil by aerated in-vessel composting in the Atacama Region (Chile).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godoy-Faúndez, Alex; Antizar-Ladislao, Blanca; Reyes-Bozo, Lorenzo; Camaño, Andrés; Sáez-Navarrete, César

    2008-03-01

    Since early 1900s, with the beginning of mining operations and especially in the last decade, small, although repetitive spills of fuel oil had occurred frequently in the Chilean mining desert industry during reparation and maintenance of machinery, as well as casual accidents. Normally, soils and sawdust had been used as cheap readily available sorbent materials of spills of fuel oil, consisting of complex mixtures of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons. Chilean legislation considers these fuel oil contaminated mixtures of soil and sawdust as hazardous wastes, and thus they must be contained. It remains unknown whether it would be feasible to clean-up Chilean desert soils with high salinity and metal content, historically polluted with different commercial fuel oil, and contained during years. Thus, this study evaluated the feasibility of aerated in-vessel composting at a laboratory scale as a bioremediation technology to clean-up contaminated desert mining soils (fuel concentration>50,000 mg kg(-1)) and sawdust (fuel concentration>225,000 mg kg(-1)) in the Atacama Region. The composting reactors were operated using five soil to sawdust ratios (S:SD, 1:0, 3:1, 1:1, 1:3, 0:1, on a dry weight basis) under mesophilic temperatures (30-40 degrees C), constant moisture content (MC, 50%) and continuous aeration (16 l min(-1)) during 56 days. Fuel oil concentration and physico-chemical changes in the composting reactors were monitored following standard procedures. The highest (59%) and the lowest (35%) contaminant removals were observed in the contaminated sawdust and contaminated soil reactors after 56 days of treatment, respectively. The S:SD ratio, time of treatment and interaction between both factors had a significant effect (pcontaminant removal. The results of this research indicate that bioremediation of an aged contaminated mixture of desert mining soil and sawdust with fuel oil is feasible. This study recommends a S:SD ratio 1:3 and a correct nutrient balance

  6. Soil developments in polar deserts: Implications for exobiology and future Mars missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    Chemical alterations, weathering, and diagenesis of soil profiles from the dry valleys of Antarctica were studied as analogs of regolith development for the Martian regolith. Chemical weathering processes play an important part in soil development within the dry valleys of Antarctica. A suite of core samples were studied which were taken within the valley floors in addition to samples taken in the vicinity of evaporite and brine ponds. Analysis of water soluable cations and anions from core samples were performed along with petrographic analysis of selected samples. It was shown that ionic transport processes operate primarily above the permafrost zone. Abundances of the water soluable ions reflect the nature of secondary minerals produced by evaporation and weathering. Chloride, calcium, and sodium abundances for soils from the cores within the North and South Forks of Wright Valley, reflect the secondary mineralogy of the soil columns. Calculations for Na, Ca, and Cl abundances reflect the appearance of halite and antarcticite. In areas where excess Ca is present, X-ray diffraction studies show the presence of gypsum. It is well known that the Martian surface conditions may be favorable for chemical weathering. Primary silicates would be expected to be reactive with any ground water. It seems likely that Martian subsurface water is available to assist in the weathering of the primary minerals. Such weathering could result in the formation of clays, sulfates, carbonates, hydrates, halides, and zeolites. The dry valley cores have shown that they maybe excellent analogs to weathering processes on the near-surface of Mars. Since movement of water within the near-surface region clearly results in chemical weathering, leaching, and salt formation in the dry valleys, similar processes are probably operating within the Martian regolith.

  7. Predicting available water of soil from particle-size distribution and bulk density in an oasis-desert transect in northwestern China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Danfeng; Gao, Guangyao; Shao, Ming'an; Fu, Bojie

    2016-07-01

    A detailed understanding of soil hydraulic properties, particularly the available water content of soil, (AW, cm3 cm-3), is required for optimal water management. Direct measurement of soil hydraulic properties is impractical for large scale application, but routinely available soil particle-size distribution (PSD) and bulk density can be used as proxies to develop various prediction functions. In this study, we compared the performance of the Arya and Paris (AP) model, Mohammadi and Vanclooster (MV) model, Arya and Heitman (AH) model, and Rosetta program in predicting the soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) at 34 points with experimental SWCC data in an oasis-desert transect (20 × 5 km) in the middle reaches of the Heihe River basin, northwestern China. The idea of the three models emerges from the similarity of the shapes of the PSD and SWCC. The AP model, MV model, and Rosetta program performed better in predicting the SWCC than the AH model. The AW determined from the SWCCs predicted by the MV model agreed better with the experimental values than those derived from the AP model and Rosetta program. The fine-textured soils were characterized by higher AW values, while the sandy soils had lower AW values. The MV model has the advantages of having robust physical basis, being independent of database-related parameters, and involving subclasses of texture data. These features make it promising in predicting soil water retention at regional scales, serving for the application of hydrological models and the optimization of soil water management.

  8. Study of potential impacts of using sewage sludge in the amendment of desert reclaimed soil on wheat and jews mallow plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ahmed Mazen

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available This investigation was conducted to study the impacts of using sewage sludge at different concentrations (0, 10, 25, 50, 75% in amendment of desert reclaimed soil properties and some physiological aspects in wheat and jews mallow plants. Generally adding sewage sludge to desert soil improved the soil texture, raised the organic matter contents, water holding capacity and lowered pH value. The contents of NPK gradually increased as the ratio of sewage sludge increased. The fresh and dry weights and biosyntheses of pigment contents of the variously treated test plants were increased by increasing the sewage sludge levels in the soil. Also, total carbohydrate and protein contents of sewage sludge-treated test plants were positively affected. With respect to the proline content and total free amino acids, in most cases, it decreased significantly, expect at 75% sewage sludge, which was higher than that of other concentrations. Also, the accumulation of metal was generally higher, especially in the root than that in the shoot system in the test plant tissues.

  9. [Three-dimension temporal and spatial dynamics of soil water for the artificial vegetation in the center of Taklimakan desert under saline water drip-irrigation].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ding, Xin-yuan; Zhou, Zhi-bin; Xu, Xin-wen; Lei, Jia-qiang; Lu, Jing-jing; Ma, Xue-xi; Feng, Xiao

    2015-09-01

    Three-dimension temporal and spatial dynamics of the soil water characteristics during four irrigating cycles of months from April to July for the artificial vegetation in the center of Taklimakan Desert under saline water drip-irrigation had been analyzed by timely measuring the soil water content in horizontal and vertical distances 60 cm and 120 cm away from the irrigating drips, respectively. Periodic spatial and temporal variations of soil water content were observed. When the precipitation effect was not considered, there were no significant differences in the characteristics of soil water among the irrigation intervals in different months, while discrepancies were obvious in the temporal and spatial changes of soil moisture content under the conditions of rainfall and non-rainfall. When it referred to the temporal changes of soil water, it was a little higher in April but a bit lower in July, and the soil water content in June was the highest among four months because some remarkable events of precipitation happened in this month. However, as a whole, the content of soil moisture was reduced as months (from April to July) went on and it took a decreasing tendency along with days (1-15 d) following a power function. Meanwhile, the characteristics of soil water content displayed three changeable stages in an irrigation interval. When it referred to the spatial distributions of soil water, the average content of soil moisture was reduced along with the horizontal distance following a linear regression function, and varied with double peaks along with the vertical distance. In addition, the spatial distribution characteristics of the soil water were not influenced by the factors of precipitation and irrigating time but the physical properties of soil.

  10. Cyanobacteria inhabiting biological soil crusts of a polar desert: Sør Rondane Mountains, Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pushkareva, Ekaterina; Pessi, Igor S; Namsaraev, Zorigto; Mano, Marie-Jose; Elster, Josef; Wilmotte, Annick

    2018-02-07

    Molecular and morphological methods were applied to study cyanobacterial community composition in biological soil crusts (BSCs) from four areas (two nunataks and two ridges) in the Sør Rondane Mountains, Antarctica. The sampling sites serve as control areas for open top chambers (OTCs) that were put in place in 2010 at the time of sample collection and will be compared with BSC samples taken from the OTCs in the future. Cyanobacterial cell biovolume was estimated using epifluorescence microscopy, which revealed the dominance of filamentous cyanobacteria in all studied sites except the Utsteinen ridge, where unicellular cyanobacteria were the most abundant. Cyanobacterial diversity was studied by a combination of molecular fingerprinting methods based on the 16S rRNA gene (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and 454 pyrosequencing) using cyanobacteria-specific primers. The number of DGGE sequences obtained per site was variable and, therefore, a high-throughput method was subsequently employed to improve the diversity coverage. Consistent with previous surveys in Antarctica, both methods showed that filamentous cyanobacteria, such as Leptolyngbya sp., Phormidium sp. and Microcoleus sp., were dominant in the studied sites. In addition, the studied localities differed in substrate type, climatic conditions and soil parameters, which probably resulted in differences in cyanobacterial community composition. Furthermore, the BSC growing on gneiss pebbles had lower cyanobacterial abundances than BSCs associated with granitic substrates. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  11. The effect of lichen-dominated biological soil crusts on growth and physiological characteristics of three plant species in a temperate desert of northwest China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhuang, W W; Serpe, M; Zhang, Y M

    2015-11-01

    Biocrusts (biological soil crusts) cover open spaces between vascular plants in most arid and semi-arid areas. Information on effects of biocrusts on seedling growth is controversial, and there is little information on their effects on plant growth and physiology. We examined impacts of biocrusts on growth and physiological characteristics of three habitat-typical plants, Erodium oxyrhynchum, Alyssum linifolium and Hyalea pulchella, growing in the Gurbantunggut Desert, northwest China. The influence of biocrusts on plant biomass, leaf area, leaf relative water content, photosynthesis, maximum quantum efficiency of PSII (F(v)/F(m)), chlorophyll, osmotic solutes (soluble sugars, protein, proline) and antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, catalase, peroxidase) was investigated on sites with or without biocrust cover. Biomass, leaf area, leaf water content, photosynthesis, F(v)/F(m) and chlorophyll content in crusted soils were higher than in uncrusted soils during early growth and lower later in the growth period. Soluble sugars, proline and antioxidant enzyme activity were always higher in crusted than in uncrusted soils, while soluble protein content was always lower. These findings indicate that biocrusts have different effects on these three ephemeral species during growth in this desert, primarily via effects on soil moisture, and possibly on soil nutrients. The influence of biocrusts changes during plant development: in early plant growth, biocrusts had either positive or no effect on growth and physiological parameters. However, biocrusts tended to negatively influence plants during later growth. Our results provide insights to explain why previous studies have found different effects of biocrusts on vascular plant growth. © 2015 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  12. Thar Coalfield: Sustainable Development and an Open Sesame to the Energy Security of Pakistan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masih, Adven

    2018-04-01

    The paper discusses the role of Thar-coalfield, a 175 Billion tones reserve in enhancing the energy and combating global environmental change from the local and regional aspects. Pakistan’s energy requirements are potentially huge. Being the sixth largest country in the world, with its growing population exceeded 190m by 2015. Rising population, improved living standards, increased per capita energy use, and industrialization has led to a high energy demand growth. According to latest reports the gap between the demand and supply of electricity is around 6,000MW. To meet the projected demand exploiting indigenous resources, such as Thar coalfield, a 100,000MW generation capacity reserve, could be the possible answer. Due to sustainable techniques in energy sector, 1) Coal mining is moving towards sustainable development; 2) circular economy has proven useful concept for promoting sustainable development; 3) coal industry can minimize its environmental impact from local to global level. Besides energy goals, environmental degradation associated with the mining activity poses a serious threat to the region. Therefore, some challenges need to be addressed, e.g., discharge management issues, concerns regarding pollution control, lack of technology needed to replenish solid waste; and, increased socioeconomic and environmental pressure on the coal industry. The study discusses how sustainable development measures in Thar coalfield can run the engines of economic growth without hurting the natural environment promoting prosperity in Pakistan.

  13. The role of non-rainfall water on physiological activation in desert biological soil crusts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zheng, Jiaoli; Peng, Chengrong; Li, Hua; Li, Shuangshuang; Huang, Shun; Hu, Yao; Zhang, Jinli; Li, Dunhai

    2018-01-01

    Non-rainfall water (NRW, e.g. fog and dew), in addition to rainfall and snowfall, are considered important water inputs to drylands. At the same time, biological soil crusts (BSCs) are important components of drylands. However, little information is available regarding the effect of NRW inputs on BSC activation. In this study, the effects of NRW on physiological activation in three BSC successional stages, including the cyanobacteria crust stage (Crust-C), moss colonization stage (Crust-CM), and moss crust stage (Crust-M), were studied in situ. Results suggest NRW inputs hydrated and activated physiological activity (Fv/Fm, carbon exchange, and nitrogen fixation) in BSCs but led to a negative carbon balance and low rates of nitrogen fixation in BSCs. One effective NRW event could hydrate BSCs for 7 h. Following simulated rainfall, the physiological activities recovered within 3 h, and net carbon gain occurred until 3 h after hydration, whereas NRW-induced physiological recovery processes were slower and exhibited lower activities, leading to a negative carbon balance. There were significant positive correlations between NRW amounts and the recovered values of Fv/Fm in all the three BSC stages (p < .001). The thresholds for Fv/Fm activation decreased with BSC succession, and the annual effective NRW events increased with BSC succession, with values of 29.8, 89.2, and 110.7 in Crust-C, Crust-CM and Crust-M, respectively. The results suggest that moss crust and moss-cyanobacteria crust use NRW to prolong metabolic activity and reduce drought stress more efficiently than cyanobacteria crusts. Therefore, these results suggest that BSCs utilize NRW to sustain life while growth and biomass accumulation require precipitation (rainfall) events over a certain threshold.

  14. Mineralogical, chemical, organic and microbial properties of subsurface soil cores from Mars Desert Research Station (Utah, USA): Phyllosilicate and sulfate analogues to Mars mission landing sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, Carol R.; Clarke, Jonathan; Direito, Susana O. L.; Blake, David; Martin, Kevin R.; Zavaleta, Jhony; Foing, Bernard

    2011-07-01

    We collected and analysed soil cores from four geologic units surrounding Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Utah, USA, including Mancos Shale, Dakota Sandstone, Morrison formation (Brushy Basin member) and Summerville formation. The area is an important geochemical and morphological analogue to terrains on Mars. Soils were analysed for mineralogy by a Terra X-ray diffractometer (XRD), a field version of the CheMin instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission (2012 landing). Soluble ion chemistry, total organic content and identity and distribution of microbial populations were also determined. The Terra data reveal that Mancos and Morrison soils are rich in phyllosilicates similar to those observed on Mars from orbital measurements (montmorillonite, nontronite and illite). Evaporite minerals observed include gypsum, thenardite, polyhalite and calcite. Soil chemical analysis shows sulfate the dominant anion in all soils and SO4>>CO3, as on Mars. The cation pattern Na>Ca>Mg is seen in all soils except for the Summerville where Ca>Na. In all soils, SO4 correlates with Na, suggesting sodium sulfates are the dominant phase. Oxidizable organics are low in all soils and range from a high of 0.7% in the Mancos samples to undetectable at a detection limit of 0.1% in the Morrison soils. Minerals rich in chromium and vanadium were identified in Morrison soils that result from diagenetic replacement of organic compounds. Depositional environment, geologic history and mineralogy all affect the ability to preserve and detect organic compounds. Subsurface biosphere populations were revealed to contain organisms from all three domains (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya) with cell density between 3.0×106 and 1.8×107 cells ml-1 at the deepest depth. These measurements are analogous to data that could be obtained on future robotic or human Mars missions and results are relevant to the MSL mission that will investigate phyllosilicates on Mars.

  15. [Storages and distributed patterns of soil organic carbon and total nitrogen during the succession of artificial sand-binding vegetation in arid desert ecosystem].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jia, Xiao-Hong; Li, Xin-Rong; Zhou, Yu-Yan; Li, Yuan-Shou

    2012-03-01

    Soil carbon pool acts as the largest one of carbon pools in the terrestrial ecosystem. The storages and distributed patterns of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) evaluated accurately are helpful to predict the feedback between the terrestrial ecosystem and climate changes. Based on the data about bulk density, content of SOC and TN at 0-100 cm soil profile, the density of SOC and TN at the temporal (chronosequence of artificial vegetation) and spatial (vertical) distributed patterns have been estimated. The results indicated that storages of SOC and TN at 0-100 cm depth increased with the chronosequence of artificial vegetation. The storages of SOC and TN showed the same tendency with the succession time of artificial vegetation. Storages of SOC and TN significantly increased at the early stage of banding sand by artificially vegetation ( 25 a). The variation of storages mainly occurred in the 0-20 cm depth. The storages decreased with the soil vertical depth. At the early stage of banding sand, increase in storage included every depth (0-100 cm). Whereas, at the later stage, increase in storage at 0-20 cm depth was main, and increase in the 20-100 cm was inconspicuous. The accumulation of storage at the shallow soil depth was more notability with the succession of artificial vegetation. The distributed pattern of storage in SOC and TN has been confirmed in arid desert regions below 200 mm annual precipitation. This was beneficial to understand the carbon cycle and to predict the feedback relationship between desert ecosystem and climate changes.

  16. Spectra of Th/Ar and U/Ne hollow cathode lamps for spectrograph calibration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nave, Gillian; Shlosberg, Ariel; Kerber, Florian; Den Hartog, Elizabeth; Neureiter, Bianca

    2018-01-01

    Low-current Th/Ar hollow cathode lamps have long been used for calibration of astronomical spectrographs on ground-based telescopes. Thorium is an attractive element for calibration as it has a single isotope, has narrow spectral lines, and has a dense spectrum covering the whole of the visible region. However, the high density of the spectrum that makes it attractive for calibrating high-resolution spectrographs is a detriment for lower resolution spectrographs and this is not obvious by examination of existing linelists. In addition, recent changes in regulations regarding the handling of thorium have led to a degradation in the quality of Th/Ar calibration lamps, with contamination by molecular ThO lines that are strong enough to obscure the calibration lines of interest.We are pursuing two approaches to these problems. First, we have expanded and improved the NIST Standard Reference Database 161, "Spectrum of Th-Ar Hollow Cathode Lamps" to cover the region 272 nm to 5500 nm. Spectra of hollow cathode lamps at up to 3 different currents can now be displayed simultaneously. Interactive zooming and the ability to convolve any of the spectra with a Gaussian or uploaded instrument profile enable the user to see immediately what the spectrum would look like at the particular resolution of their spectrograph. Second, we have measured the spectrum of a recent, contaminated Th/Ar hollow cathode lamp using a high-resolution Echelle spectrograph (Madison Wisconsin) at a resolving power (R~ 250,000). This significantly exceeds the resolving power of most astronomical spectrographs and resolves many of the molecular lines of ThO. With these spectra we are measuring and calibrating the positions of these molecular lines in order to make them suitable for spectrograph calibration.In the near infrared region, U/Ne hollow cathode lamps give a higher density of calibration lines than Th/Ar lamps and will be implemented on the upgraded CRIRES+ spectrograph on ESO’s Very Large

  17. Minerals in deserts

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Smith, G.I.

    1982-01-01

    Almost any kind of mineral deposit can occur in desert areas, and the lack of vegetation and soil cover makes finding them easier. Some kinds of deposits, though, are more likely to occur in deserts than elsewhere. Some of these result from processes genetically related to the present desert climate that improved lower grade deposits of ore. One such process, termed secondary enrichment, is most effective in areas with deep water tables, and many low-grade copper, silver, and uranium deposits have been converted into mineable ore by the downward migration and redeposition of soluble metals. In a desert terrane, placer processes are effective whenever running water flowing over steep slopes erodes outcropping ore bodies and transports and concentrates the heavier ore minerals at lower levels, thus converting low-grade or hard-to-mine bedrock deposits into economically workable concentrations. Other kinds of deposits are better preserved in deserts because the lower rainfall at the surface, and the lower volume of flow and the greater depths to groundwater, result in less destruction of soluble ores; deposits of salines and phosphates are the most notable ores affected by these factors. Still other ore deposits are created as a consequence of the arid climate, mostly because the high evaporation rates operating on standing bodies of water produce brines that can lead directly to concentrations of salts and indirectly to secondary minerals, such as zeolites, that are produced by reaction of silicate minerals with saline waters

  18. Weaving Ecosystem Service Assessment into Environmental Impact Assessments of Thar Coal Field: Impact of Coal Mining on Socio-Ecological Systems of Rural Communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hina, A.

    2016-12-01

    The Research takes into account Block II Mining and Power Plant Project of Thar Coal field in Pakistan by carrying out ecosystem service assessment of the region to identify the impact on important ecosystem service losses and the contribution of mining companies to mitigate the socio-economic problems as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The study area includes 7 rural settlements, around 921 households and 7000 individuals, dependent on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods. Currently, the project has adopted the methods of strip mining (also called open-cut mining, open-cast mining, and stripping), undergoing removing the overburden in strips to enable excavation of the coal seams. Since the consequences of mine development can easily spill across community and ecological boundaries, the rising scarcity of some ecosystem services makes the case to examine both project impact and dependence on ecosystem services. A preliminary Ecosystem Service review of Thar Coal Field identifies key ecosystems services owing to both high significance of project impact and high project dependence are highlighted as: the hydrogeological study results indicate the presence of at least three aquifer zones: one above the coal zone (the top aquifer), one within the coal and the third below the coal zone. Hence, Water is identified as a key ecosystem service to be addressed and valued due to its high dependency in the area for livestock, human wellbeing, agriculture and other purposes. Crop production related to agricultural services, in association with supply services such as soil quality, fertility, and nutrient recycling and water retention need to be valued. Cultural services affected in terms of land use change and resettlement and rehabilitation factors are recommended to be addressed.

  19. Leaf gas exchange and water status responses of a native and non-native grass to precipitation across contrasting soil surfaces in the Sonoran Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ignace, Danielle D; Huxman, Travis E; Weltzin, Jake F; Williams, David G

    2007-06-01

    Arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the southwestern US are undergoing changes in vegetation composition and are predicted to experience shifts in climate. To understand implications of these current and predicted changes, we conducted a precipitation manipulation experiment on the Santa Rita Experimental Range in southeastern Arizona. The objectives of our study were to determine how soil surface and seasonal timing of rainfall events mediate the dynamics of leaf-level photosynthesis and plant water status of a native and non-native grass species in response to precipitation pulse events. We followed a simulated precipitation event (pulse) that occurred prior to the onset of the North American monsoon (in June) and at the peak of the monsoon (in August) for 2002 and 2003. We measured responses of pre-dawn water potential, photosynthetic rate, and stomatal conductance of native (Heteropogon contortus) and non-native (Eragrostis lehmanniana) C(4) bunchgrasses on sandy and clay-rich soil surfaces. Soil surface did not always amplify differences in plant response to a pulse event. A June pulse event lead to an increase in plant water status and photosynthesis. Whereas the August pulse did not lead to an increase in plant water status and photosynthesis, due to favorable soil moisture conditions facilitating high plant performance during this period. E. lehmanniana did not demonstrate heightened photosynthetic performance over the native species in response to pulses across both soil surfaces. Overall accumulated leaf-level CO(2) response to a pulse event was dependent on antecedent soil moisture during the August pulse event, but not during the June pulse event. This work highlights the need to understand how desert species respond to pulse events across contrasting soil surfaces in water-limited systems that are predicted to experience changes in climate.

  20. Groundwater discharge by evapotranspiration, flow of water in unsaturated soil, and stable isotope water sourcing in areas of sparse vegetation, Amargosa Desert, Nye County, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreo, Michael T.; Andraski, Brian J.; Garcia, C. Amanda

    2017-08-29

    This report documents methodology and results of a study to evaluate groundwater discharge by evapotranspiration (GWET) in sparsely vegetated areas of Amargosa Desert and improve understanding of hydrologic-continuum processes controlling groundwater discharge. Evapotranspiration and GWET rates were computed and characterized at three sites over 2 years using a combination of micrometeorological, unsaturated zone, and stable-isotope measurements. One site (Amargosa Flat Shallow [AFS]) was in a sparse and isolated area of saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) where the depth to groundwater was 3.8 meters (m). The second site (Amargosa Flat Deep [AFD]) was in a sparse cover of predominantly shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia) where the depth to groundwater was 5.3 m. The third site (Amargosa Desert Research Site [ADRS]), selected as a control site where GWET is assumed to be zero, was located in sparse vegetation dominated by creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) where the depth to groundwater was 110 m.Results indicated that capillary rise brought groundwater to within 0.9 m (at AFS) and 3 m (at AFD) of land surface, and that GWET rates were largely controlled by the slow but relatively persistent upward flow of water through the unsaturated zone in response to atmospheric-evaporative demands. Greater GWET at AFS (50 ± 20 millimeters per year [mm/yr]) than at AFD (16 ± 15 mm/yr) corresponded with its shallower depth to the capillary fringe and constantly higher soil-water content. The stable-isotope dataset for hydrogen (δ2H) and oxygen (δ18O) illustrated a broad range of plant-water-uptake scenarios. The AFS saltgrass and AFD shadscale responded to changing environmental conditions and their opportunistic water use included the time- and depth-variable uptake of unsaturated-zone water derived from a combination of groundwater and precipitation. These results can be used to estimate GWET in other areas of Amargosa Desert where hydrologic conditions are similar.

  1. [Effects of thinning on Calligonum arborescens growth and soil water-salt distribution in Tarim Desert Highway shelterbelt, Xinjiang of Northwest China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Jian-Guo; Li, Ying-Gang; Xu, Xin-Wen; Lei, Jia-Qiang; Li, Sheng-Yu

    2012-09-01

    In order to understand the effects of thinning on the growth of Calligonum arborescens and the soil water-salt distribution in Tarim Desert Highway shelterbelt, a thinning experiment was conducted on an aged and declined C. arborescens woodland in a demonstration section of the shelterbelt, with the growth of C. arborescens and the soil water-salt distribution monitored. Thinning had no effects on the phenophase of C. arborescens, but after thinning, the growth of the current year plant height, crown width, ground diameter, and new branch length of reserved trees was larger than that of the control, and the increment was in the order of planting space 2 mx 1 m > 1 m x 1 m > the control, with significant differences among the treatments. The assimilation branch surface area in treatments 2 mx 1 m and 1 m x 1 m were 5.97 m2 and 5.22 m2 per plant, respectively, being significantly larger than the control (3.1 m2 per plant). The soil moisture content in 0-160 cm layer was significantly higher in treatments 2 m x 1 m and 1 mx 1 m than in the control, and increased obviously with thinning intensity. The soil salt content was in the order of control > planting space 1 m x 1 m > 2 m x 1 m, and the differences among the treatments were significant. It was suggested that the best reserved plant density after thinning was planting space 2 m x 1 m.

  2. Development and Assessment of the Sand Dust Prediction Model by Utilizing Microwave-Based Satellite Soil Moisture and Reanalysis Datasets in East Asian Desert Areas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hyunglok Kim

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available For several decades, satellite-based microwave sensors have provided valuable soil moisture monitoring in various surface conditions. We have first developed a modeled aerosol optical depth (AOD dataset by utilizing Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS, Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2, and the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS soil moisture datasets in order to estimate dust outbreaks over desert areas of East Asia. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer- (MODIS- based AOD products were used as reference datasets to validate the modeled AOD (MA. The SMOS-based MA (SMOS-MA dataset showed good correspondence with observed AOD (R-value: 0.56 compared to AMSR2- and GLDAS-based MA datasets, and it overestimated AOD compared to observed AOD. The AMSR2-based MA dataset was found to underestimate AOD, and it showed a relatively low R-value (0.35 with respect to observed AOD. Furthermore, SMOS-MA products were able to simulate the short-term AOD trends, having a high R-value (0.65. The results of this study may allow us to acknowledge the utilization of microwave-based soil moisture datasets for investigation of near-real time dust outbreak predictions and short-term dust outbreak trend analysis.

  3. Seed banks in a degraded desert shrubland: Influence of soil surface condition and harvester ant activity on seed abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeFalco, L.A.; Esque, T.C.; Kane, J.M.; Nicklas, M.B.

    2009-01-01

    We compared seed banks between two contrasting anthropogenic surface disturbances (compacted, trenched) and adjacent undisturbed controls to determine whether site condition influences viable seed densities of perennial and annual Mojave Desert species. Viable seeds of perennials were rare in undisturbed areas (3-4 seeds/m2) and declined to importance of litter as an indicator of site degradation and recovery potential in arid lands.

  4. An approach to locate and map swelling soils around Sohag – Safaga road, Eastern Desert, Egypt using remote sensing techniques for urban development

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Salwa F. Elbeih

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available The detrimental consequences of swelling soils are most apparent in arid and semi-arid regions. Sedimentary clays are mixtures of illite, kaolinite and some montmorillonite. There are various soil types liable to swell such as shale, mudstone, siltstone and marl due to the presence of Smectite group in these soils. Large volume changes of these types of soils can cause extensive damages to civil engineering infrastructures; roads, airport pavements, pipelines and shallow foundations. A number of localities in Egypt are well-known by the presence of swelling soils. Sohag – Safaga highway in the Eastern Desert of Egypt is considered to be an investable transportation road and one of the most important lateral connections between Upper Egypt and the Red Sea area. The study area is located in a buffer zone of 25 km from both sides of the highway. This area is believed to be more influenced by the road and could be fully utilized to share in developing areas in the road vicinity. The research objectives are to use recent ASTER satellite imageries with the aid of field samples to map different swelling clay minerals and compare between the different sensors accuracy in locating them within the buffer zone. Certain engineering measures should be considered to enable construction over these types of swelling soils. The results confirmed the presence of montmorillonite in this buffer zone and in the 5 km buffer around the road which represents a hazard especially for the future planned projects within this area.

  5. Selected micrometeorological, soil-moisture, and evapotranspiration data at Amargosa Desert Research Site in Nye County near Beatty, Nevada, 2001-05

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Michael J.; Mayers, C. Justin; Garcia, C. Amanda; Andraski, Brian J.

    2007-01-01

    Selected micrometeorological and soil-moisture data were collected at the Amargosa Desert Research Site adjacent to a low-level radio-active waste and hazardous chemical waste facility near Beatty, Nevada, 2001-05. Evapotranspiration data were collected from February 2002 through the end of December 2005. Data were col-lected in support of ongoing research to improve the understanding of hydrologic and contaminant-transport processes in arid environments. Micrometeorological data include solar radiation, net radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, saturated and ambient vapor pressure, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, precipitation, near-surface soil temperature, soil-heat flux and soil-water content. All micrometeorological data were collected using a 10-second sampling interval by data loggers that output daily and hourly mean values. Daily maximum and minimum values are based on hourly mean values. Precipitation data output includes daily and hourly totals. Selected soil-moisture profiles at depth include periodic measurements of soil volumetric water-content measurements at nine neutron-probe access tubes to depths ranging from 5.25 to 29.25 meters. Evapotranspiration data include measurement of daily evapotranspiration and 15-minute fluxes of the four principal energy budget components of latent-heat flux, sensible-heat flux, soil-heat flux, and net radiation. Other data collected and used in equations to determine evapotranspiration include temperature and water content of soil, temperature and vapor pressure of air, and covariance values. Evapotranspiration and flux estimates during 15-minute intervals were calculated at a 0.1-second execution interval using the eddy covariance method. Data files included in this report contain the complete micrometeorological, soil-moisture, and evapotranspiration field data sets. These data files are presented in tabular Excel spreadsheet format. This report highlights selected data contained in the

  6. Selected micrometeorological and soil-moisture data at Amargosa Desert Research Site, an arid site near Beatty, Nye County, Nevada, 1998-2000

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Michael J.; Mayers, Charles J.; Andraski, Brian J.

    2002-01-01

    Selected micrometeorological and soil-moisture data were collected at the Amargosa Desert Research Site adjacent to a low-level radioactive waste and hazardous chemical waste facility near Beatty, Nev., 1998-2000. Data were collected in support of ongoing research studies to improve the understanding of hydrologic and contaminant-transport processes in arid environments. Micrometeorological data include precipitation, air temperature, solar radiation, net radiation, relative humidity, ambient vapor pressure, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, soil temperature, and soil-heat flux. All micrometeorological data were collected using a 10-second sampling interval by data loggers that output daily mean, maximum, and minimum values, and hourly mean values. For precipitation, data output consisted of daily, hourly, and 5-minute totals. Soil-moisture data included periodic measurements of soil-water content at nine neutron-probe access tubes with measurable depths ranging from 5.25 to 29.75 meters. The computer data files included in this report contain the complete micrometeorological and soil-moisture data sets. The computer data consists of seven files with about 14 megabytes of information. The seven files are in tabular format: (1) one file lists daily mean, maximum, and minimum micrometeorological data and daily total precipitation; (2) three files list hourly mean micrometeorological data and hourly precipitation for each year (1998-2000); (3) one file lists 5-minute precipitation data; (4) one file lists mean soil-water content by date and depth at four experimental sites; and (5) one file lists soil-water content by date and depth for each neutron-probe access tube. This report highlights selected data contained in the computer data files using figures, tables, and brief discussions. Instrumentation used for data collection also is described. Water-content profiles are shown to demonstrate variability of water content with depth. Time-series data are

  7. Modestobacter caceresii sp. nov., novel actinobacteria with an insight into their adaptive mechanisms for survival in extreme hyper-arid Atacama Desert soils.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Busarakam, Kanungnid; Bull, Alan T; Trujillo, Martha E; Riesco, Raul; Sangal, Vartul; van Wezel, Gilles P; Goodfellow, Michael

    2016-06-01

    A polyphasic study was designed to determine the taxonomic provenance of three Modestobacter strains isolated from an extreme hyper-arid Atacama Desert soil. The strains, isolates KNN 45-1a, KNN 45-2b(T) and KNN 45-3b, were shown to have chemotaxonomic and morphological properties in line with their classification in the genus Modestobacter. The isolates had identical 16S rRNA gene sequences and formed a branch in the Modestobacter gene tree that was most closely related to the type strain of Modestobacter marinus (99.6% similarity). All three isolates were distinguished readily from Modestobacter type strains by a broad range of phenotypic properties, by qualitative and quantitative differences in fatty acid profiles and by BOX fingerprint patterns. The whole genome sequence of isolate KNN 45-2b(T) showed 89.3% average nucleotide identity, 90.1% (SD: 10.97%) average amino acid identity and a digital DNA-DNA hybridization value of 42.4±3.1 against the genome sequence of M. marinus DSM 45201(T), values consistent with its assignment to a separate species. On the basis of all of these data, it is proposed that the isolates be assigned to the genus Modestobacter as Modestobacter caceresii sp. nov. with isolate KNN 45-2b(T) (CECT 9023(T)=DSM 101691(T)) as the type strain. Analysis of the whole-genome sequence of M. caceresii KNN 45-2b(T), with 4683 open reading frames and a genome size of ∽4.96Mb, revealed the presence of genes and gene-clusters that encode for properties relevant to its adaptability to harsh environmental conditions prevalent in extreme hyper arid Atacama Desert soils. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier GmbH.

  8. Soil plus root respiration and microbial biomass following water, nitrogen, and phosphorus application at a high arctic semi desert

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Illeris, Lotte; Michelsen, Anders; Jonasson, Sven Evert

    2003-01-01

    CO2 emmision, Decomposition, Microbial biomass carbon, Soil organic matter, Tundra, Water and nutrient limitation......CO2 emmision, Decomposition, Microbial biomass carbon, Soil organic matter, Tundra, Water and nutrient limitation...

  9. The effect of the halophytic shrub Lycium ruthenium (Mutt) on selected soil properties of a desert ecosystem in central Iran

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gholam Ali Jalali; Hossein Akbarian; Charles Rhoades; Hamed Yousefzadeh

    2012-01-01

    We compared soil properties beneath naturally-occurring patches of Lycium ruthenicum Murray (fam. Solanaceae) to evaluate the shrub’s potential to improve the fertility of saline soils. Soil pH, total nitrogen and carbon and extractable potassium, magnesium and phosphorus were respectively significantly higher in the A and B horizons of Lycium shrub patches...

  10. The CO2 exchange of biological soil crusts in a semiarid grass-shrubland at the northern transition zone of the Negev desert, Israel

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. O. Andreae

    2008-10-01

    Full Text Available Biological soil crusts (BSC contribute significantly to the soil surface cover in many dryland ecosystems. A mixed type of BSC, which consists of cyanobacteria, mosses and cyanolichens, constitutes more than 60% of ground cover in the semiarid grass-shrub steppe at Sayeret Shaked in the northern Negev Desert, Israel. This study aimed at parameterizing the carbon sink capacity of well-developed BSC in undisturbed steppe systems. Mobile enclosures on permanent soil borne collars were used to investigate BSC-related CO2 fluxes in situ and with natural moisture supply during 10 two-day field campaigns within seven months from fall 2001 to summer 2002. Highest BSC-related CO2 deposition between –11.31 and –17.56 mmol m−2 per 15 h was found with BSC activated from rain and dew during the peak of the winter rain season. Net CO2 deposition by BSC was calculated to compensate 120%, –26%, and less than 3% of the concurrent soil CO2 efflux from November–January, February–May and November–May, respectively. Thus, BSC effectively compensated soil CO2 effluxes when CO2 uptake by vascular vegetation was probably at its low point. Nighttime respiratory emission reduced daily BSC-related CO2 deposition within the period November–January by 11–123% and on average by 27%. The analysis of CO2 fluxes and water inputs from the various sources showed that the bulk of BSC-related CO2 deposition occurs during periods with frequent rain events and subsequent condensation from water accumulated in the upper soil layers. Significant BSC activity on days without detectable atmospheric water supply emphasized the importance of high soil moisture contents as additional water source for soil-dwelling BSC, whereas activity upon dew formation at low soil water contents was not of major importance for BSC-related CO2 deposition. However, dew may still be important in attaining a pre-activated status during the transition from a long "summer" anabiosis towards

  11. Terrestrial analogs for interpretation of infrared spectra from the Martian surface and subsurface: Sulfate, nitrate, carbonate, and phyllosilicate-bearing Atacama Desert soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; Dalton, J. B.; Ewing, S. A.; Amundson, R.; McKay, C. P.

    2007-10-01

    Hyperarid (Mars soils have similar sulfate concentrations; possess phyllosilicates (e.g., smectite) and minor carbonate. Nitrate has not been detected on Mars, but its presence has been proposed. The similar compositions of Atacama and Mars soils have prompted the visible-infrared (0.35-25 μm) investigation of Atacama soils as Mars analogs. Results from this work determined the best infrared features for detecting sulfate, nitrate, carbonate, and phyllosilicate on Mars. The fundamental region (>6.5 μm) was not suited for salt and phyllosilicate detection because of overlapping spectra from primary silicates (e.g., feldspar), water and carbon dioxide. The visible near-infrared (0.35-2.5 μm) region was suited for detecting carbonate, nitrate, gypsum water of hydration, and phyllosilicate hydroxyls without interference from primary silicates. However, gypsum water of hydration features can obscure phyllosilicate hydroxyl, carbonate and nitrate, features if gypsum levels are high. Overtone/combination absorption features in the midinfrared were determined to be the best indicators of sulfate (4.48-4.70 μm), nitrate (4.12 μm), and carbonate (3.98 μm) because interferences from overlapping primary silicate and water features are not present in this region. Interferences from CO2 and thermal emission effects in the overtone/combination region are possible but may be minimized by corrective techniques. Infrared analysis of Atacama Desert soils can provide insight into the spectral search of sulfate, nitrate, carbonate, and phyllosilicate containing soils on Mars.

  12. Plant responses to an edaphic gradient across an active sand dune/desert boundary in the great basin desert.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rosenthal, D.M.; Ludwig, F.; Donovan, L.A.

    2005-01-01

    In arid ecosystems, variation in precipitation causes broad-scale spatial heterogeneity in soil moisture, but differences in soil texture, development, and plant cover can also create substantial local soil moisture heterogeneity. The boundary between inland desert sand dunes and adjacent desert

  13. Nocturnal soil CO2 uptake and its relationship to sub-surface soil and ecosystem carbon fluxes in a Chihuahuan Desert shrubland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Despite their prevalence, little attention has been given to quantifying aridland soil and ecosystem carbon fluxes over prolonged, annually occurring dry periods. We measured surface soil respiration (Rsoil), volumetric soil moisture and temperature in inter- and under-canopy soils, sub-surface soi...

  14. Thermal volatilization (TV) of different hyperarid Mars like-soils from the Atacama Desert: Implications for the analysis of the Phoenix Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valdivia-Silva, J. E.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; McKay, C. P.

    2008-09-01

    The Phoenix spacecraft will search for organics in the soil and ice in the Martian north polar regions using thermal volatilization (TV) followed by mass spectrometry (MS). This experiment is a combination of a high-temperature furnace and a mass spectrometer that will be use to analyze samples delivered to instrument via a robotic arm. The samples will be heated from ambient to 1000ºC while evolved gases, including organic molecules and fragments, if they are present, will be simultaneously measured by a magnetic sector mass spectrometer (1). Our laboratory has developed a sample characterization method using a pyrolizer integrated to a quadrupole mass spectrometer to support the interpretations of TV data. The Atacama Desert, on northern Chile and southern Peru, has been considered the most arid region over the world (2) and an excellent Mars-like soil analogous (3). These soils contain very low levels to organic matter (10-40 ppm of organic C), and exotic mineralogical composition including iron oxides, which are common characteristics expected on Mars. A previous paper that examined the release of organics from samples soils by flash TV (pyrolisis) coupled to GC-MS (4). This work showed low efficiency of flash TV in soils with low organics or high contents of iron minerals. In addition, other study of agricultural soils showed low correlation between organics concentration and TV response, when levels of total organic matter were below 50000 ppm C or high presence of iron oxides (5). However, the efficiency of gradual heating by TV analysis from hyperarid soils has not been investigated. Here we examine the thermal and evolved gas properties of six types of soils from the two hyperarid core regions from the Atacama Desert: Yungay (northern Chile) and Pampas de La Joya (southern Peru), in order to investigate the effect of soil matrix and low organics contents over TV response. Between 20 to 40 mg of soil was loaded in a capillary quartz tube and it was mounted

  15. Influence of surface roughness of a desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sud, Y. C.; Smith, W. E.

    1984-01-01

    A numerical simulation study, using the current GLAS climate GCM, was carried out to examine the influence of low bulk aerodynamic drag parameter in the deserts. The results illustrate the importance of yet another feedback effect of a desert on itself, that is produced by the reduction in surface roughness height of land once the vegetation dies and desert forms. Apart from affecting the moisture convergence, low bulk transport coefficients of a desert lead to enhanced longwave cooling and sinking which together reduce precipitation by Charney's (1975) mechanism. Thus, this effect, together with albedo and soil moisture influence, perpetuate a desert condition through its geophysical feedback effect. The study further suggests that man made deserts is a viable hypothesis.

  16. Exposure to predicted precipitation patterns decreases population size and alters community structure of cyanobacteria in biological soil crusts from the Chihuahuan Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandes, Vanessa M C; Machado de Lima, Náthali Maria; Roush, Daniel; Rudgers, Jennifer; Collins, Scott L; Garcia-Pichel, Ferran

    2018-01-01

    Cyanobacteria typically colonize the surface of arid soils, building biological soil crust (biocrusts) that provide a variety of ecosystem benefits, ranging from fertilization to stabilization against erosion. We investigated how future scenarios in precipitation anticipated for the Northern Chihuahuan Desert affected abundance and composition of biocrust cyanobacteria in two grassland ecosystems. Scenarios included a decrease in precipitation and a delay of monsoon rainfall. After three years, both treatments negatively affected cyanobacteria, although the effects of monsoon delay were milder than those of decreased precipitation. Mature biocrusts in black grama grassland suffered severe losses in cyanobacterial biomass and diversity, but compositionally simpler biocrusts in blue grama-dominated grassland maintained biomass, only suffering diversity losses. This could be partially explained by the differential sensitivity of cyanobacterial taxa: nitrogen-fixing Scytonema spp. were the most sensitive, followed by phylotypes in the Microcoleus steenstrupii complex. Microcoleus vaginatus was the least affected in all cases, but is known to be very sensitive to warming. We predict that altered precipitation will tend to prevent biocrusts from reaching successional maturity, selecting for M. vaginatus over competing M. steenstrupii, among pioneer biocrust-formers. A shift towards heat-sensitive M. vaginatus could ultimately destabilize biocrusts when precipitation changes are combined with global warming. © 2017 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  17. Responses of photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of two moss crusts from a desert biological soil crust to supplementary UV-B radiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hui, Rong; Li, Xinrong; Zhao, Yang; Pan, Yanxia

    2016-04-01

    Our understanding of plant responses to supplementary ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation due to stratospheric ozone depletion has improved over recent decades. However, research on biological soil crusts (BSCs) is scarce and it remains controversial. Laboratory studies were conducted to investigate the influence of UV-B radiation on the Bryum argenteum and Didymodon vinealis isolated from BSCs, which are both dominant species in moss crusts found within patches of shrubs and herbs in the Tengger Desert of northern China. The aim of the current work was to evaluate whether supplementary UV-B radiation affected photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of two moss crusts and whether response differences were observed between the crusts. Four levels of UV-B radiation of 2.75 (control), 3.08, 3.25, and 3.41 W m-2 was achieved using fluorescence tube systems for 10 days, simulating 0, 6, 9, and 12% of stratospheric ozone at the latitude of Shapotou, respectively. We measured photosynthetic apparatus as assessed by chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters, photosynthetic pigment contents, and observations of chloroplast ultrastructure. Additionally, soluble proteins and UV-B absorbing compounds were simultaneously investigated. The results of this study showed that chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters (i.e., the maximal quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, the effective quantum yield of PSII photochemistry, and photochemical quenching coefficient), photosynthetic pigment contents, soluble protein contents, total flavonoid contents and the ultrastructure were negatively influenced by elevated UV-B radiation and the degree of detrimental effects significantly increased with the intensity of UV-B radiation. Moreover, results demonstrated that the negative effects on photosynthesis and chloroplast ultrastructure were more serious in B. argenteum than that in D. vinealis. These results may not only provide a potential mechanism for supplemental UV-B effects on

  18. Influence of soil texture on hydraulic properties and water relations of a dominant warm-desert phreatophyte.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hultine, K R; Koepke, D F; Pockman, W T; Fravolini, A; Sperry, J S; Williams, D G

    2006-03-01

    We investigated hydraulic constraints on water uptake by velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina Woot.) at a site with sandy-loam soil and at a site with loamy-clay soil in southeastern Arizona, USA. We predicted that trees on sandy-loam soil have less negative xylem and soil water potentials during drought and a lower resistance to xylem cavitation, and reach E(crit) (the maximum steady-state transpiration rate without hydraulic failure) at higher soil water potentials than trees on loamy-clay soil. However, minimum predawn leaf xylem water potentials measured during the height of summer drought were significantly lower at the sandy-loam site (-3.5 +/- 0.1 MPa; all errors are 95% confidence limits) than at the loamy-clay site (-2.9 +/- 0.1 MPa). Minimum midday xylem water potentials also were lower at the sandy-loam site (-4.5 +/- 0.1 MPa) than at the loamy-clay site (-4.0 +/- 0.1 MPa). Despite the differences in leaf water potentials, there were no significant differences in either root or stem xylem embolism, mean cavitation pressure or Psi(95) (xylem water potential causing 95% cavitation) between trees at the two sites. A soil-plant hydraulic model parameterized with the field data predicted that E(crit) approaches zero at a substantially higher bulk soil water potential (Psi(s)) on sandy-loam soil than on loamy-clay soil, because of limiting rhizosphere conductance. The model predicted that transpiration at the sandy-loam site is limited by E(crit) and is tightly coupled to Psi(s) over much of the growing season, suggesting that seasonal transpiration fluxes at the sandy-loam site are strongly linked to intra-annual precipitation pulses. Conversely, the model predicted that trees on loamy-clay soil operate below E(crit) throughout the growing season, suggesting that fluxes on fine-textured soils are closely coupled to inter-annual changes in precipitation. Information on the combined importance of xylem and rhizosphere constraints to leaf water supply across soil

  19. Localization and speciation of arsenic in soil and desert plant Parkinsonia florida using μXRF and μXANES.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castillo-Michel, Hiram; Hernandez-Viezcas, Jose; Dokken, Kenneth M; Marcus, Matthew A; Peralta-Videa, Jose R; Gardea-Torresdey, Jorge L

    2011-09-15

    Parkinsonia florida is a plant species native to the semidesert regions of North America. The cultivation characteristics of this shrub/tree suggest that it could be used for phytoremediation purposes in semiarid regions. This work describes, through the use of synchrotron μXRF and μXANES techniques and ICP-OES, the arsenic (As) accumulation and distribution in P. florida plants grown in two soils spiked with As at 20 mg kg(-1). Plants grown in a sandy soil accumulated at least twice more As in the roots compared to plants grown in a loamy soil. The lower As accumulation in plants grown in the loamy soil corresponded to a lower concentration of As in the water-soluble fraction (WSF) of this soil. LC-ICP-MS speciation analysis showed only As(V) in the WSF from all treatments. In contrast, linear combination XANES speciation analysis from the root tissues showed As mainly present in the reduced As(III) form. Moreover, a fraction of the reduced As was found coordinating to S in a form consistent with As-Cys(3). The percentage of As coordinated to sulfur was smaller for plants grown in the loamy soil when compared to the sandy soil.

  20. Evaluation of mercury and physicochemical parameters in different depths of aquifer water of Thar coalfield, Pakistan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ali, Jamshed; Kazi, Tasneem G; Tuzen, Mustafa; Ullah, Naeem

    2017-07-01

    In the current study, mercury (Hg) and physicochemical parameters have been evaluated in aquifer water at different depths of Thar coal field. The water samples were collected from first aquifer (AQ 1 ), second aquifer (AQ 2 ), and third aquifer (AQ 3 ) at three depths, 50-60, 100-120, and 200-250 m, respectively. The results of aquifer water of three depths were interpreted by using different multivariate statistical techniques. Validation of desired method was checked by spiking standard addition method in studied aquifer water samples. The content of Hg in aquifer water samples was measured by cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometer (CV-AAS). These determined values illustrate that the levels of Hg were higher than WHO recommended values for drinking water. All physicochemical parameters were higher than WHO permissible limits for drinking water except pH and SO 4 2- in aquifer water. The positive correlation of Hg with other metals in aquifer water samples of AQ 1 , AQ 2 , and AQ 3 of Thar coalfield except HCO 3 - was observed which might be caused by geochemical minerals. The interpretation of determined values by the cluster technique point out the variations within the water quality parameter as well as sampling location of studied field. The aquifer water AQ 2 was more contaminated with Hg as compared to AQ 1 and AQ 3 ; it may be due to leaching of Hg from coal zone. The concentration of Hg in aquifer water obtained from different depths was found in the following decreasing order: AQ 2  < AQ 1  < AQ 3 .

  1. Population, desert expanding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1992-01-01

    The conditions of desert expansion in the Sahara are highlighted. On the southern border the desert is growing at a rate of 3-6 miles/year. This growth is encroaching on arable land in Ethiopia and Mauritania. The region loses up to 28,000 sq miles/year of farmland. 33% of Africa's fertile land is threatened. Land-use patterns are responsible for the deterioration of the soil. Traditional practices are not effective because the practices are not suitable for permanent farming. Farmers also have stopped environmentally sound practices such as letting the fields remain fallow in order to renew soil fertility. Nomads overgraze areas before moving on. A recent study by the World Bank's Africa Region Office was released; the report details some of the links between rapid population growth, poor agricultural performance, and environmental degradation. Soil conditions are such that valuable topsoil is blow away by the wind because the layer is too thin. Vegetation at the desert's edge is used for cooking purposes or for heating fuel. Tropical and savannah areas are depleted when tree replacement is inadequate. Only 9 trees are planted for every 100 removed. The report emphasized the role of women and children in contributing to population pressure by increased fertility. Women's work load is heavy and children are a help in alleviating some of the burden of domestic and agricultural work. There is hope in meeting demographic, agricultural, food security, and environmental objectives over the next 30 years if the needs of women are met. The needs include access to education for young women, lessening the work loads of women, and decreasing child mortality through improved health care and access to safe water.

  2. Primary productivity as a control over soil microbial diversity along environmental gradients in a polar desert ecosystem

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin M. Geyer

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Primary production is the fundamental source of energy to foodwebs and ecosystems, and is thus an important constraint on soil communities. This coupling is particularly evident in polar terrestrial ecosystems where biological diversity and activity is tightly constrained by edaphic gradients of productivity (e.g., soil moisture, organic carbon availability and geochemical severity (e.g., pH, electrical conductivity. In the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, environmental gradients determine numerous properties of soil communities and yet relatively few estimates of gross or net primary productivity (GPP, NPP exist for this region. Here we describe a survey utilizing pulse amplitude modulation (PAM fluorometry to estimate rates of GPP across a broad environmental gradient along with belowground microbial diversity and decomposition. PAM estimates of GPP ranged from an average of 0.27 μmol O2/m2/s in the most arid soils to an average of 6.97 μmol O2/m2/s in the most productive soils, the latter equivalent to 217 g C/m2/y in annual NPP assuming a 60 day growing season. A diversity index of four carbon-acquiring enzyme activities also increased with soil productivity, suggesting that the diversity of organic substrates in mesic environments may be an additional driver of microbial diversity. Overall, soil productivity was a stronger predictor of microbial diversity and enzymatic activity than any estimate of geochemical severity. These results highlight the fundamental role of environmental gradients to control community diversity and the dynamics of ecosystem-scale carbon pools in arid systems.

  3. Soil, plant, and structural considerations for surface barriers in arid environments: Application of results from studies in the Mojave Desert near Beatty, Nevada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andraski, Brian J.; Prudic, David E.; ,

    1997-01-01

    The suitability of a waste-burial site depends on hydrologic processes that can affect the near-surface water balance. In addition, the loss of burial trench integrity by erosion and subsidence of trench covers may increase the likelihood of infiltration and percolation, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the site in isolating waste. Although the main components of the water balance may be defined, direct measurements can be difficult, and actual data for specific locations are seldom available. A prevalent assumption is that little or no precipitation will percolate to buried wastes at an arid site. Thick unsaturated zones, which are common to arid regions, are thought to slow water movement and minimize the risk of waste migration to the underlying water table. Thus, reliance is commonly placed on the natural system to isolate contaminants at waste-burial sites in the arid West.Few data are available to test assumptions about the natural soil-water flow systems at arid sites, and even less is known about how the natural processes are altered by construction of a waste-burial facility. The lack of data is the result of technical complexity of hydraulic characterization of the dry, stony soils, and insufficient field studies that account for the extreme temporal and spatial variations in precipitation, soils, and plants in arid regions. In 1976, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a long-term study at a waste site in the Mojave Desert. This paper summarizes the findings of ongoing investigations done under natural-site and waste-burial conditions, and discusses how this information may be applied to the design of surface barriers for waste sites in arid environments.The waste-burial site is in one of the most arid parts of the United States and is about 40 km northeast of Death Valley, near Beatty, Nev. (Figure 1). Precipitation averaged 108 mm/yr during 1981-1992. The water table is 85-115 m below land surface (Fischer, 1992). Sediments are largely alluvial

  4. Investigating Deliquescence of Mars-like Soils from the Atacama Desert and Implications for Liquid Water Near the Martian Surface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Alstyne, A. M.; Tolbert, M. A.; Gough, R. V.; Primm, K.

    2017-12-01

    Recent images obtained from orbiters have shown that the Martian surface is more dynamic than previously thought. These images, showing dark features that resemble flowing water near the surface, have called into question the habitability of the Mars today. Recurring slope lineae (RSL), or the dark features seen in these images, are characterized as narrow, dark streaks that form and grow in the warm season, fade in the cold season, and recur seasonally. It is widely hypothesized that the movement of liquid water near the surface is what causes the appearance of RSL. However, the origin of the water and the potential for water to be stable near the surface is a question of great debate. Here, we investigate the potential for stable or metastable liquid water via deliquescence and efflorescence. The deliquescent properties of salts from the Atacama Desert, a popular terrestrial analog for Martian environments, were investigated using a Raman microscope outfitted with an environmental cell. The salts were put under Mars-relevant conditions and spectra were obtained to determine the presence or absence of liquid phases. The appearance of liquid phases under Mars-relevant conditions would demonstrate that liquid water could be available to cause or play a role in the formations of RSL.

  5. Determining the amount of soil erosion in an arid desert area based on RS, GIS and USLE

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang Huawei; Bai Youliang; Chen Jianjie; Chu Yucheng

    2010-01-01

    Based on RS, GIS and USLE model, this paper calculates the amount of soil erosion of a near surface waste disposal siting region in an arid area and makes a distribution map of soil erosion by using Landsat TM image combined with the terrain and relief data. Results which are valuable for engineering siting indicate that in most of the region the erosion is tiny, only in some small areas they are light or moderate. Under the conditions of normal rainfall, upslope runoff does little harm to the engineering site. The conclusion may provides a useful gist for engineering siting. (authors)

  6. Streptomyces aridus sp. nov., isolated from a high altitude Atacama Desert soil and emended description of Streptomyces noboritoensis Isono et al. 1957.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Idris, Hamidah; Labeda, David P; Nouioui, Imen; Castro, Jean Franco; Del Carmen Montero-Calasanz, Maria; Bull, Alan T; Asenjo, Juan A; Goodfellow, Michael

    2017-05-01

    A polyphasic study was undertaken to determine the taxonomic status of a Streptomyces strain which had been isolated from a high altitude Atacama Desert soil and shown to have bioactive properties. The strain, isolate H9 T , was found to have chemotaxonomic, cultural and morphological properties that place it in the genus Streptomyces. 16S rRNA gene sequence analyses showed that the isolate forms a distinct branch at the periphery of a well-delineated subclade in the Streptomyces 16S rRNA gene tree together with the type strains of Streptomyces crystallinus, Streptomyces melanogenes and Streptomyces noboritoensis. Multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) based on five house-keeping gene alleles showed that isolate H9 T is closely related to the latter two type strains and to Streptomyces polyantibioticus NRRL B-24448 T . The isolate was distinguished readily from the type strains of S. melanogenes, S. noboritoensis and S. polyantibioticus using a combination of phenotypic properties. Consequently, the isolate is considered to represent a new species of Streptomyces for which the name Streptomyces aridus sp. nov. is proposed; the type strain is H9 T (=NCIMB 14965 T =NRRL B65268 T ). In addition, the MLSA and phenotypic data show that the S. melanogenes and S. noboritoensis type strains belong to a single species, it is proposed that S. melanogenes be recognised as a heterotypic synonym of S. noboritoensis for which an emended description is given.

  7. Evaluation of the fate of arsenic-contaminated groundwater at different aquifers of Thar coalfield Pakistan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ali, Jamshed; Kazi, Tasneem G; Baig, Jameel A; Afridi, Hassan I; Arain, Mariam S; Ullah, Naeem; Brahman, Kapil D; Arain, Sadaf S; Panhwar, Abdul H

    2015-12-01

    In present study, the ground water at different aquifers was evaluated for physicochemical parameters, iron, total arsenic, total inorganic arsenic and arsenic species (arsenite and arsenate). The samples of groundwater were collected at different depths, first aquifer (AQ1) 50-60 m, second aquifer (AQ2) 100-120 m, and third aquifer (AQ3) 200-250 m of Thar coalfield, Pakistan. Total inorganic arsenic was determined by solid phase extraction using titanium dioxide as an adsorbent. The arsenite was determined by cloud point extraction using ammonium pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate as a chelating reagent, and resulted complex was extracted by Triton X-114. The resulted data of groundwater were reported in terms of basic statistical parameters, principal component, and cluster analysis. The resulted data indicated that physicochemical parameters of groundwater of different aquifers were exceeded the World Health Organization provisional guideline for drinking water except pH and SO4(2-). The positive correlation was observed between arsenic species and physicochemical parameters of groundwater except F(-) and K(+), which might be caused by geochemical minerals. Results of cluster analysis indicated that groundwater samples of AQ1 was highly contaminated with arsenic species as compared to AQ2 and AQ3 (p > 0.05).

  8. Improving N-use efficiency in onion plants grown in desert soils using 15N through fertigation technique

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thabet, E.M.A.; Abdallah, A.A.G.; Battah, N.S.

    2005-01-01

    Two field experiments were performed at the Experimental Farm of Nuclear Research Center, Atomic Energy Authority, Inshas, Egypt, during the two successive growing seasons of 2003 and 2004, in a clay loam textured soil. Seedlings of onion (Allium cepa L.) cultivar Giza-20 were transplanted in the field prepared with drip irrigation system for studying onion production under fertigation technique. Three nitrogen rates (50, 100 and 150 kg N/fed) as ammonium sulphate contain 21.2% N were used. These experiments aim to apply nitrogen along an extended time in order to maximize its use efficiency. Each rate was subjected to four splitting, i.e. one, two, three and four times of application, at 45 days from transplanting. Nitrogen was added every 15 days started 45 days after transplanting through a fertigation technique. In the first experiment (2003), labelled nitrogen (N-15) as ammonium sulphate contain 3.33% N-15 atom excess was applied for to estimate nitrogen use efficiency. One vegetative sample was harvested at 105 days from transplanting (15 days after the fourth application of nitrogen) to determine dry matter characters and N-15 analysis. At harvest, yield and yield components were determined for unit area. Results indicated that onion plants did not use more than about 20% of the applied nitrogen. Also yield did not respond to increasing rate up to splitting of nitrogen. The second growing season (2004) was conducted to measure bulbs yield under the same previous treatments

  9. Dioszegia antarctica sp. nov. and Dioszegia cryoxerica sp. nov., psychrophilic basidiomycetous yeasts from polar desert soils in Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez, Russell J.; Connell, L.; Redman, R.; Barrett, A.; Iszard, M.; Fonseca, A.

    2010-01-01

    During a survey of the culturable soil fungal population in samples collected in Taylor Valley, South Victoria Land, Antarctica, 13 basidiomycetous yeast strains with orange-coloured colonies were isolated. Phylogenetic analyses of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and partial LSU rRNA gene sequences showed that the strains belong to the Dioszegia clade of the Tremellales (Tremellomycetes, Agaricomycotina), but did not correspond to any of the hitherto recognized species. Two novel species, Dioszegia antarctica sp. nov. (type strain ANT-03-116T =CBS 10920T =PYCC 5970T) and Dioszegia cryoxerica sp. nov. (type strain ANT-03-071T =CBS 10919T =PYCC 5967T), are described to accommodate ten and three of these strains, respectively. Analysis of ITS sequences demonstrated intrastrain sequence heterogeneity in D. cryoxerica. The latter species is also notable for producing true hyphae with clamp connections and haustoria. However, no sexual structures were observed. The two novel species can be considered obligate psychrophiles, since they failed to grow above 20 °C and grew best between 10 and 15 °C.

  10. Microbial ecology of hot desert edaphic systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Makhalanyane, Thulani P; Valverde, Angel; Gunnigle, Eoin; Frossard, Aline; Ramond, Jean-Baptiste; Cowan, Don A

    2015-03-01

    A significant proportion of the Earth's surface is desert or in the process of desertification. The extreme environmental conditions that characterize these areas result in a surface that is essentially barren, with a limited range of higher plants and animals. Microbial communities are probably the dominant drivers of these systems, mediating key ecosystem processes. In this review, we examine the microbial communities of hot desert terrestrial biotopes (including soils, cryptic and refuge niches and plant-root-associated microbes) and the processes that govern their assembly. We also assess the possible effects of global climate change on hot desert microbial communities and the resulting feedback mechanisms. We conclude by discussing current gaps in our understanding of the microbiology of hot deserts and suggest fruitful avenues for future research. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  11. The physiology mechanisms on drought tolerance and adaptation of biological soil crust moss Bryum argenteum and Didymodon vinealis in Tenger Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, X.; Shi, Y.; Chen, C.; Jia, R.; Li, X.

    2012-04-01

    Bryum argenteum Hedw. and Didymodon vinealis Brid are two dominant moss species in the restored vegetation area in Tenger Desert, which sampled from biological soil crusts and where is an extreme drought regions. We found that they resorted to different osmotic adjustment strategies to mitigate osmotic stress. Under the gradual drought stress, both Bryum argenteum and Didymodon vinealis accumulated K+ and soluble sugar such as sucrose and trehalose. Their glycine betaine contents both decreased, while their proline content had no significant change. With enhanced drought stress, Bryum argenteum's Na+ content was low and decreased significantly, whereas Didymodon vinealis's Na+ content increased sharply and reached to a high level. We found the different of the mechanism of between active oxygen scavenging on Enzymatic and non - enzymatic system in two species moss of Bryum argenteum Hedw and Didymodon vinealis Brid under extreme drought stress. The result showed that two species of Moss of SOD activity gradually enhanced, and they have the material basis for effectively eliminates in vivo of Superoxide free radical. POD in Didymodon nigrescen and CAT in Bryum argeneum are major resistance o oxidative stress effects. The content of GSH rise with the stress also enhanced. The mechanism of finding Bryum argenteum Hedw and Didymodon vinealis Brid tolerance of dehydration ability were focus on different direction, but they are all given positive response to stress and enhance resistance. We investigated the responses of signal transduction substances to gradual drought stress in Didymodon vinealis and Bryum argenteum. The results suggested that: under gradual drought stress, the activities of TP H+-ATPase and PM H+-ATPase of Didymodon vinealis and Bryum argenteum both increased, resulting in their increase of K+ contents and turgor pressures, and triggered biosynthesis of signal transduction substances. ABA had no obvious effect in signal transduction of Bryum argenteum

  12. Distribution pattern of the threatened Himalayan serow (Capricornis thar) in western midhills of Nepal. An insight for conservation along an altitudinal gradient

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Paudel, Prakash K.; Kindlmann, Pavel

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 20, č. 3 (2012), s. 177-180 ISSN 1617-1381 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) ED1.1.00/02.0073 Institutional support: RVO:67179843 Keywords : Capricornis thar * Himalaya n serow * Nepal * Midhills * Habitat fragmentation * Altitudinal gradient Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 1.535, year: 2012

  13. FIELD SIMULATION OF WET AND DRY YEARS IN THE CHIHUAHUAN DESERT: SOIL MOISTURE, N MINERALIZATION AND ION-EXCHANGE RESIN BAGS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irrigation and rain-out shelters were used to simulate precipitation patterns of wet and dry years in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Irrigation provided approximately double the long-term average monthly precipitation. Rain was excluded during the wet season, July-October, to si...

  14. Desert Habitation History by 14C Dating of Soil Layers in Rural Building Structures (Negev, Israel) : Preliminary Results from Horvat Haluqim

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bruins, Hendrik J.; van der Plicht, Johannes; Haiman, Mordechai

    2012-01-01

    Traditional archaeological approaches in the central Negev Desert used to employ excavation techniques in post-prehistoric periods in which stratigraphy is based on architecture, while material culture forms the basis for dating assessment and chronology. Such an approach was understandable, as it

  15. Morphological and molecular characterization of selected desert soil cyanobacteria: Three species new to science including Mojavia pulchra gen. et sp. nov

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Řeháková, Klára; Johansen, J. R.; Casamatta, D.A.; Xuesong, L.; Vincent, J.

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 46, č. 5 (2007), s. 481-502 ISSN 0031-8884 R&D Projects: GA ČR GP206/03/P024 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516; CEZ:AV0Z60170517 Keywords : Nostoc * desert * taxonomy Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.358, year: 2007

  16. Methanogens at the top of the world: occurrence and potential activity of methanogens in newly deglaciated soils in high-altitude cold deserts in the Western Himalayas

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Aschenbach, K.; Conrad, R.; Řeháková, Klára; Doležal, Jiří; Janatková, Kateřina; Angel, R.

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 4, Dec 2013 (2013), Ar.359 ISSN 1664-302X R&D Projects: GA ČR GA13-13368S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : methanogens * desert areas * cold climate Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.941, year: 2013

  17. Properties of anthropogenic soils in ancient run-off capturing agricultural terraces in the Central Negev desert (Israel) and related effects of biochar and ash on crop growth

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Asperen, van H.L.; Bor, A.M.C.; Sonneveld, M.P.W.; Bruins, H.J.; Lazarovitch, N.

    2014-01-01

    In the Central Negev hills (Israel) many ancient terraced wadis exist, which captured run-off and caused gradual soil aggradation, which enabled agricultural practices. In these terraces, dark colored soil horizons were observed, containing charcoal, as can be found in Terra Preta soils, suggesting

  18. Restoration of eroded soil in the Sonoran Desert with native leguminous trees using plant growth-promoting microorganisms and limited amounts of compost and water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bashan, Yoav; Salazar, Bernardo G; Moreno, Manuel; Lopez, Blanca R; Linderman, Robert G

    2012-07-15

    Restoration of highly eroded desert land was attempted in the southern Sonoran Desert that had lost its natural capacity for self-revegetation. In six field experiments, the fields were planted with three native leguminous trees: mesquite amargo Prosopis articulata, and yellow and blue palo verde Parkinsonia microphylla and Parkinsonia florida. Restoration included inoculation with two of plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB; Azospirillum brasilense and Bacillus pumilus), native arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and small quantities of compost. Irrigation was applied, when necessary, to reach a rainy year (300 mm) of the area. The plots were maintained for 61 months. Survival of the trees was marginally affected by all supplements after 30 months, in the range of 60-90%. This variation depended on the plant species, where all young trees were established after 3 months. Plant density was a crucial variable and, in general, low plant density enhanced survival. High planting density was detrimental. Survival significantly declined in trees 61 months after planting. No general response of the trees to plant growth-promoting microorganisms and compost was found. Mesquite amargo and yellow palo verde responded well (height, number of branches, and diameter of the main stem) to inoculation with PGPB, AM fungi, and compost supplementation after three months of application. Fewer positive effects were recorded after 30 months. Blue palo verde did not respond to most treatments and had the lowest survival. Specific plant growth parameters were affected to varying degrees to inoculations or amendments, primarily depending on the tree species. Some combinations of tree/inoculant/amendment resulted in small negative effects or no response when measured after extended periods of time. Using native leguminous trees, this study demonstrated that restoration of severely eroded desert lands was possible. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Responses of photosynthetic properties and chloroplast ultrastructure of Bryum argenteum from a desert biological soil crust to elevated ultraviolet-B radiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hui, Rong; Li, Xinrong; Chen, Cuiyun; Zhao, Xin; Jia, Rongliang; Liu, Lichao; Wei, Yongping

    2013-04-01

    Our understanding of plant responses to enhanced ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation has improved over recent decades. However, research on cryptogams is scarce and it remains controversial whether UV-B radiation causes changes in physiology related to photosynthesis. To investigate the effects of supplementary UV-B radiation on photosynthesis and chloroplast ultrastructure in Bryum argenteum Hedw., specimens were cultured for 10 days under four UV-B treatments (2.75, 3.08, 3.25 and 3.41 W m(-2) ), simulating depletion of 0% (control), 6%, 9% and 12% of stratospheric ozone at the latitude of Shapotou, a temperate desert area of northwest China. Analyses showed malondialdehyde content significantly increased, whereas chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence parameters and Chl contents decreased with increased UV-B intensity. These results corresponded with changes in thylakoid protein complexes and chloroplast ultrastructure. Overall, enhanced UV-B radiation leads to significant decreases in photosynthetic function and serious destruction of the chloroplast ultrastructure of B. argenteum. The degree of negative influences increased with the intensity of UV-B radiation. These results may not only provide a potential mechanism for supplemental UV-B effects on photosynthesis of moss crust, but also establish a theoretical basis for further studies of adaptation and response mechanisms of desert ecosystems under future ozone depletion. Copyright © Physiologia Plantarum 2012.

  20. Effect of oil pollution on function of sandy soils in protected deserts and investigation of their improvement guidelines (case study: Kalmand area, Iran).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saberian, Mohammad; Khabiri, Mohammad Mehdi

    2018-02-01

    Soil pollution is one of the most dangerous sorts of environmental pollutions because of waste materials, fossil fuels, etc. Unfortunately in developing countries, there are very few arrangements to prevent soil pollution due to the fossil fuels and to improve polluted soil. In this research, influences of gas oil on properties of Kalmand protected area's sandy soil near Yazd, Iran, were studied. It was found that gas oil constituted 5.25% of soil weight in the refueling station in the region. Therefore, cleaning and strengthening of the soil by adding cement rather than expensive and complicated methods were the most important goals of this research. First, the influence of gas oil on soil properties was studied, and to improve the soil, different percentages of ordinary portland cement were added to the polluted sand to study the improved soil properties using laboratory tests. It was found that unconfined compressive strength, cohesion, and angle of internal friction of sample with 16% cement and 8% gas oil after 28 days of curing were higher than those of the specimen of 6% cement and 14% gas oil, at 4.6, 5.4, and 1.3 times, respectively. Moreover, based on falling head tests it was observed that permeability of the stabilized specimens decreased substantially. From SEM tests, fewer voids were observed in the stabilized samples, which led to less pollutant penetration into the soil. According to EDX, although dangerous elements in the contaminated specimen made up 3.99% of the specimen total weight, addition of cement introduced considerable amounts of elements that are vital for pozzolanic reactions. Therefore, it can be concluded that addition of cement to the gas oil-polluted soil not only can improve geotechnical properties of the soil and reduce its permeability, but also is very efficient for environmental issues.

  1. Physiographic soil map delineation for the Nile alluvium and desert outskirts in middle Egypt using remote sensing data of EgyptSat-1

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A.A. Afify

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available The objectives of this study are to produce a physiographic soil map with correlated attributes to be a base for extra modifiers within the land information system. This integrated data will serve the purposes of land use planning, precision farming practices and to be applied in other areas using the extrapolation approach. The Satellite data of EgyptSat-1 were projected on an area of Middle Egypt that represents unique physiographic features over portions of Beni Suef, El Fayoum, Helwan, and October Provinces. The spectral signatures of the land patterns were delineated by the visual interpretation using the physiographic approach, while soil taxa were categorized according to the key of Soil Taxonomy (USDA, 2010, resulting in two landscape categories. The first category includes older and developed parent materials, covering the following units: (a Pediplains of residual soils over limestone parent rock, having soils of Lithic Haplocalcids, loamy skeletal. (b Terraced old alluvial plains represent the formerly deposited alluvium that preceded the recent one of the River Nile alluvium. They includes soils of Typic Calcigypsids, loamy skeletal and old alluvial plain but are currently managed under cultivation. The soils are dominated by Typic Haplocalcids, loamy skeletal. (c Wadis that were shaped by the paleodrainage erosion, are currently subjected to the seasonal flush flooding and are sparsely vegetated including soils of Typic Torrifluvents, lamy skeletal (calcareous; Typic Torriorthents, sandy skeletal, and Typic Torriorthents, sandy. (d Aeolian plain “partly cultivated” includes soils of Typic Torripsamments (calcareous. The second category is a recent River Nile alluvium that formed the following units: (a Terraced recent alluvial plain “cultivated” includes soils of Entic Calcitorrerts, fine and Typic Haplotorrerts fine. (b Recent flat alluvial plain includes soils of Typic Haplotorrerts, fine. (c Meandering belt is aligning

  2. Lut Desert, Iran

    Science.gov (United States)

    1981-01-01

    Iran is a large country with several desert regions. In the Dasht-E-Lut (Lut Desert) (30.5N, 58.5E) an area known as Namak-Zar, about 100 miles east of the city of Kerman, is at the center of this photograph. Some of the world's most prominent Yardangs (very long, parallel ridges and depressions) have been wind eroded in these desert dry lake bed sediments. At the left of the photo is a large field of sand dunes at right angles to the wind.

  3. Carbon sequestration in response to grassland–shrubland–turfgrass conversions and a test for carbonate biomineralization in desert soils, New Mexico, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    This study uses an experimental pedology approach to examine (i) how the conversion of native C4 grassland to C3 woody shrubs then to irrigated C4 turfgrass affects both soil organic C (SOC) and soil inorganic C (SIC) and (ii) whether SIC can be enhanced by microbial biomineralization. Three sites w...

  4. Stable Isotopic Analysis on Water Utilization of Two Xerophytic Shrubs in a Revegetated Desert Area: Tengger Desert, China

    OpenAIRE

    Lei Huang; Zhishan Zhang

    2015-01-01

    Stable isotope studies on stable isotope ratios of hydrogen and oxygen in water within plants provide new information on water sources and water use patterns under natural conditions. In this study, the sources of water uptake for two typical xerophytic shrubs, Caragana korshinskii and Artemisia ordosica, were determined at four different-aged revegetated sites (1956, 1964, 1981, and 1987) in the Tengger Desert, a revegetated desert area in China. Samples from precipitation, soil water at dif...

  5. Desert Pavement Studies

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Haff, Peter

    2003-01-01

    Combining plan view information from aerial photography showing details of stream channels on desert pavement surfaces with process-based erosion models, a high-resolution, synthetic topography DEM...

  6. Desert Pavement Studies

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Haff, P

    2003-01-01

    Combining plan view information from aerial photography showing details of stream channels on desert pavement surfaces with process-based erosion models, a high-resolution, "synthetic topography" DEM...

  7. "Sweating meteorites"—Water-soluble salts and temperature variation in ordinary chondrites and soil from the hot desert of Oman

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zurfluh, Florian J.; Hofmann, Beda A.; Gnos, Edwin; Eggenberger, Urs

    2013-10-01

    The common appearance of hygroscopic brine ("sweating") on ordinary chondrites (OCs) from Oman during storage under room conditions initiated a study on the role of water-soluble salts on the weathering of OCs. Analyses of leachates from OCs and soils, combined with petrography of alteration features and a 11-month record of in situ meteorite and soil temperatures, are used to evaluate the role of salts in OC weathering. Main soluble ions in soils are Ca2+, SO42-, HCO3-, Na+, and Cl-, while OC leachates are dominated by Mg2+ (from meteoritic olivine), Ca2+ (from soil), Cl- (from soil), SO42- (from meteoritic troilite and soil), and iron (meteoritic). "Sweating meteorites" mainly contain Mg2+ and Cl-. The median Na/Cl mass ratio of leachates changes from 0.65 in soils to 0.07 in meteorites, indicating the precipitation of a Na-rich phase or loss of an efflorescent Na-salt. The total concentrations of water-soluble ions in bulk OCs ranges from 600 to 9000 μg g-1 (median 2500 μg g-1) as compared to 187-14140 μg g-1 in soils (median 1148 μg g-1). Soil salts dissolved by rain water are soaked up by meteorites by capillary forces. Daily heating (up to 66.3 °C) and cooling of the meteorites cause a pumping effect, resulting in a strong concentration of soluble ions in meteorites over time. The concentrations of water-soluble ions in meteorites, which are complex mixtures of ions from the soil and from oxidation and hydrolysis of meteoritic material, depend on the degree of weathering and are highest at W3. Input of soil contaminants generally dominates over the ions mobilized from meteorites. Silicate hydrolysis preferentially affects olivine and is enhanced by sulfide oxidation, producing local acidic conditions as evidenced by jarosite. Plagioclase weathering is negligible. After completion of troilite oxidation, the rate of chemical weathering slows down with continuing Ca-sulfate contamination.

  8. From laboratory to the sky: Th-Ar wavelength standards for the cryogenic infrared echelle spectrograph (CRIRES)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kerber, Florian; Bristow, Paul [European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching (Germany); Nave, Gillian; Sansonetti, Craig J [National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (United States)], E-mail: fkerber@eso.org, E-mail: gillian.nave@nist.gov, E-mail: craig.sansonetti@nist.gov, E-mail: bristowp@eso.org

    2009-05-15

    We report on the collaborative effort of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish-through laboratory measurements-wavelength standards in the near-infrared (IR) emission line spectrum of a low current Th-Ar hollow cathode lamp. These standards are now routinely used for the wavelength calibration of the cryogenic infrared echelle spectrograph (CRIRES) operated at one of the unit telescopes of the very large telescope (VLT) at ESO's La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile. The availability of highly accurate wavelength standards from a commercially available calibration source permits a shift to a new operational paradigm for high-resolution IR spectroscopy. Wavelength calibration no longer has to rely on atmospheric features but can make use of laboratory traceable reference data as is normally done in the ultraviolet and visible regions. This opens the door for more quantitative spectroscopic work in the near-IR. To illustrate the potential impact of this development, we briefly review the current state of affairs in IR astronomy and its projected future. With the advent of the next generation of extremely large ground-based telescopes the IR region will become the most powerful window on the universe within the next 10-15 years. We conclude with a short outlook on the contribution atomic physics can make to this evolution.

  9. The concurrent use of novel soil surface microclimate measurements to evaluate CO2 pulses in biocrusted interspaces in a cool desert ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tucker, Colin; McHugh, Theresa A.; Howell, Armin; Gill, Richard; Weber, Bettina; Belnap, Jayne; Grote, Ed; Reed, Sasha C.

    2017-01-01

    Carbon cycling associated with biological soil crusts, which occupy interspaces between vascular plants in drylands globally, may be an important part of the coupled climate-carbon cycle of the Earth system. A major challenge to understanding CO2 fluxes in these systems is that much of the biotic and biogeochemical activity occurs in the upper few mm of the soil surface layer (i.e., the ‘mantle of fertility’), which exhibits highly dynamic and difficult to measure temperature and moisture fluctuations. Here, we report a multi-sensor approach to simultaneously measuring temperature and moisture of this biocrust surface layer (0–2 mm), and the deeper soil profile, concurrent with automated measurement of surface soil CO2effluxes. Our results illuminate robust relationships between biocrust water content and field CO2 pulses that have previously been difficult to detect and explain. All observed CO2 pulses over the measurement period corresponded to surface wetting events, including when the wetting events did not penetrate into the soil below the biocrust layer (0–2 mm). The variability of temperature and moisture of the biocrust surface layer was much greater than even in the 0–5 cm layer of the soil beneath the biocrust, or deeper in the soil profile. We therefore suggest that coupling surface measurements of biocrust moisture and temperature to automated CO2flux measurements may greatly improve our understanding of the climatic sensitivity of carbon cycling in biocrusted interspaces in our study region, and that this method may be globally relevant and applicable.

  10. Nine-year spatial and temporal evolution of desert dust aerosols over South and East Asia as revealed by CALIOP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. Proestakis

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available We present a 3-D climatology of the desert dust distribution over South and East Asia derived using CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation data. To distinguish desert dust from total aerosol load we apply a methodology developed in the framework of EARLINET (European Aerosol Research Lidar Network. The method involves the use of the particle linear depolarization ratio and updated lidar ratio values suitable for Asian dust, applied to multiyear CALIPSO observations (January 2007–December 2015. The resulting dust product provides information on the horizontal and vertical distribution of dust aerosols over South and East Asia along with the seasonal transition of dust transport pathways. Persistent high D_AOD (dust aerosol optical depth values at 532 nm, of the order of 0.6, are present over the arid and semi-arid desert regions. Dust aerosol transport (range, height and intensity is subject to high seasonality, with the highest values observed during spring for northern China (Taklimakan and Gobi deserts and during summer over the Indian subcontinent (Thar Desert. Additionally, we decompose the CALIPSO AOD (aerosol optical depth into dust and non-dust aerosol components to reveal the non-dust AOD over the highly industrialized and densely populated regions of South and East Asia, where the non-dust aerosols yield AOD values of the order of 0.5. Furthermore, the CALIPSO-based short-term AOD and D_AOD time series and trends between January 2007 and December 2015 are calculated over South and East Asia and over selected subregions. Positive trends are observed over northwest and east China and the Indian subcontinent, whereas over southeast China trends are mostly negative. The calculated AOD trends agree well with the trends derived from Aqua MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, although significant differences are observed over specific regions.

  11. A retrospective approach to assess human health risks associated with growing air pollution in urbanized area of Thar Desert, western Rajasthan, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rumana, Harcharan Singh; Sharma, Ramesh Chandra; Beniwal, Vikas; Sharma, Anil Kumar

    2014-01-09

    : Air pollution has been a matter of great concern globally because of the associated health risks to individuals. The situation is getting worse in developing countries with more urbanization, industrialization and more importantly the rapidly growing population posing a threat to human life in the form of pulmonary, cardiovascular, carcinogenic or asthmatic diseases by accumulating toxic pollutants, harmful gases, metals, hydrocarbons etc. The present study was undertaken to assess the magnitude of ambient air pollutants and their human health risks like respiratory ailments, infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancer using a Retrospective Approach of Bart Ostra. The parameters PM2.5, PM10, NOx, SO2, NH3 and O3 were monitored at all selected study sites monitored through a high volume sampler (APM 451 Envirotech, Envirotech Instruments Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India). Retrospective Approach was used for assessment of risk factors and disease burden of respiratory and cardiopulmonary health problems. Environmental burden of disease showed that the problem of health related to air pollution is a main concern particularly in the growing cities of India. High to critical level of air pollution including PM10, PM2.5, NOx, SO2, NH3 and O3 was observed in all seasons at traffic intersections and commercial sites. The respiratory infections (25% incidence in population exposed to indoor smoke problems) and a prevalence of asthma/COPD (4.4%) in households exposed to high vehicular pollution along with signs of coronary artery/heart disease and/or hypertension and cancers (37.9-52.2%), were reported requiring preventive measures. The study reflects a great concern for the mankind with the need of having streamline ways to limit air pollution and emphasize upon efficiently determining the risk of illness upon exposure to air pollution.

  12. Enhancing and restoring habitat for the desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abella, Scott R.; Berry, Kristin H.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat has changed unfavorably during the past 150 y for the desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii, a federally threatened species with declining populations in the Mojave Desert and western Sonoran Desert. To support recovery efforts, we synthesized published information on relationships of desert tortoises with three habitat features (cover sites, forage, and soil) and candidate management practices for improving these features for tortoises. In addition to their role in soil health and facilitating recruitment of annual forage plants, shrubs are used by desert tortoises for cover and as sites for burrows. Outplanting greenhouse-grown seedlings, protected from herbivory, has successfully restored (>50% survival) a variety of shrubs on disturbed desert soils. Additionally, salvaging and reapplying topsoil using effective techniques is among the more ecologically beneficial ways to initiate plant recovery after severe disturbance. Through differences in biochemical composition and digestibility, some plant species provide better-quality forage than others. Desert tortoises selectively forage on particular annual and herbaceous perennial species (e.g., legumes), and forage selection shifts during the year as different plants grow or mature. Nonnative grasses provide low-quality forage and contribute fuel to spreading wildfires, which damage or kill shrubs that tortoises use for cover. Maintaining a diverse “menu” of native annual forbs and decreasing nonnative grasses are priorities for restoring most desert tortoise habitats. Reducing herbivory by nonnative animals, carefully timing herbicide applications, and strategically augmenting annual forage plants via seeding show promise for improving tortoise forage quality. Roads, another disturbance, negatively affect habitat in numerous ways (e.g., compacting soil, altering hydrology). Techniques such as recontouring road berms to reestablish drainage patterns, vertical mulching (“planting” dead plant material

  13. A modeling study of the effect of depth of burial of depleted uranium and thorium on radon gas flux at a dry desert alluvial soil radioactive waste management site (RWMS)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lindstrom, F.T.; Cawlfield, D.E.; Emer, D.F.; Shott, G.J.

    1993-08-01

    An integral part of designing low-level waste (LLW) disposal pits and their associated closure covers in very dry desert alluvium is the use of a radon gas transport and fate model. Radon-222 has the potential to be a real heath hazard. The production of radon-222 results from the radioactive decay (a particle emission) of radium-226 in the uranium-235 and 238 Bateman chains. It is also produced in the thorium-230 series. Both long lived radionuclides have been proposed for disposal in the shallow land burial pits in Area 5 RWMS compound of Nevada Test Site (NTS). The constructed physics based model includes diffusion and barometric pressure-induced advection of an M-chain of radionuclides. The usual Bateman decay mechanics are included for each radionuclide. Both linear reversible and linear irreversible first order sorption kinetics are assumed for each radionuclide. This report presents the details of using the noble gas transport model, CASCADR9, in an engineering design study mode. Given data on the low-level waste stream, which constitutes the ultimate source of radon-222 in the RWMS, CASCADR9 is used to generate the surface flux (pCi/cm 2 -sec) of radon-222 under the realistic atmospheric and alluvial soil conditions found in the RWMS at Area 5, of the NTS. Specifically, this study examines the surface flux of radon-222 as a function of the depth of burial below the land surface

  14. Soil drying and wind erosion as affected by different types of shelterbelts planted in the desert region of western Rajasthan, India

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gupta, J.P.; Rao, G.G.S.N.; Gupta, G.N.; Rao, B.V.R.

    1983-03-01

    Studies on the effects of 8-year-old shelterbelt plantations indicate a general reduction in wind velocity, wind erosion and evaporative loss of moisture from fields protected with Prosopis juliflora, Cassia siamea and Acacia tortilis. Cassia siamea shelterbelts are the most effective in checking wind erosion and delaying drying of the soil. (Refs. 13).

  15. Morphological and molecular characterization of selected desert soil cyanobacteria: Three species new to science including .i.Mojavia pulchra./i. gen. et sp. nov

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Řeháková, Klára; Johansen, J. R.; Casamatta, D.A.; Xuesong, L.; Vincent, J.

    2007-01-01

    Roč. 46, č. 5 (2007), s. 481-502 ISSN 0031-8884 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GP206/03/P024 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60170517 Keywords : Mojavia * microbiotic soil crusts * Nostoc Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.358, year: 2007

  16. Physiological conjunction of allelochemicals and desert plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yosef Friedjung, Avital; Choudhary, Sikander Pal; Dudai, Nativ; Rachmilevitch, Shimon

    2013-01-01

    Plants exchange signals with other physical and biological entities in their habitat, a form of communication termed allelopathy. The underlying principles of allelopathy and secondary-metabolite production are still poorly understood, especially in desert plants. The coordination and role of secondary metabolites were examined as a cause of allelopathy in plants thriving under arid and semiarid soil conditions. Desert plant species, Origanum dayi, Artemisia sieberi and Artemisia judaica from two different sources (cultivar cuttings and wild seeds) were studied in their natural habitats. Growth rate, relative water content, osmotic potential, photochemical efficiency, volatile composition and vital factors of allelopathy were analyzed at regular intervals along four seasons with winter showing optimum soil water content and summer showing water deficit conditions. A comprehensive analysis of the volatile composition of the leaves, ambient air and soil in the biological niche of the plants under study was carried out to determine the effects of soil water conditions and sample plants on the surrounding flora. Significant morpho-physiological changes were observed across the seasons and along different soil water content. Metabolic analysis showed that water deficit was the key for driving selective metabolomic shifts. A. judaica showed the least metabolic shifts, while A. sieberi showed the highest shifts. All the species exhibited high allelopathic effects; A. judaica displayed relatively higher growth-inhibition effects, while O. dayi showed comparatively higher germination-inhibition effects in germination assays. The current study may help in understanding plant behavior, mechanisms underlying secondary-metabolite production in water deficit conditions and metabolite-physiological interrelationship with allelopathy in desert plants, and can help cull economic benefits from the produced volatiles.

  17. Physiological conjunction of allelochemicals and desert plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Avital Yosef Friedjung

    Full Text Available Plants exchange signals with other physical and biological entities in their habitat, a form of communication termed allelopathy. The underlying principles of allelopathy and secondary-metabolite production are still poorly understood, especially in desert plants. The coordination and role of secondary metabolites were examined as a cause of allelopathy in plants thriving under arid and semiarid soil conditions. Desert plant species, Origanum dayi, Artemisia sieberi and Artemisia judaica from two different sources (cultivar cuttings and wild seeds were studied in their natural habitats. Growth rate, relative water content, osmotic potential, photochemical efficiency, volatile composition and vital factors of allelopathy were analyzed at regular intervals along four seasons with winter showing optimum soil water content and summer showing water deficit conditions. A comprehensive analysis of the volatile composition of the leaves, ambient air and soil in the biological niche of the plants under study was carried out to determine the effects of soil water conditions and sample plants on the surrounding flora. Significant morpho-physiological changes were observed across the seasons and along different soil water content. Metabolic analysis showed that water deficit was the key for driving selective metabolomic shifts. A. judaica showed the least metabolic shifts, while A. sieberi showed the highest shifts. All the species exhibited high allelopathic effects; A. judaica displayed relatively higher growth-inhibition effects, while O. dayi showed comparatively higher germination-inhibition effects in germination assays. The current study may help in understanding plant behavior, mechanisms underlying secondary-metabolite production in water deficit conditions and metabolite-physiological interrelationship with allelopathy in desert plants, and can help cull economic benefits from the produced volatiles.

  18. Gopherus agassizii: Desert tortoise

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berry, Kristen H.; Swingland, Ian Richard; Klemens, Michael W.

    1989-01-01

    The desert tortoise is one of four allopatric North American tortoises. It occurs in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico.Auffenberg (1976) divided the genus Gopherus (consisting of four species, G. agassizi, G. berlandieri, G.flavomarginatus, and G. polyphemus) in two osteological groups. Bramble (1982), using morphological and palaeontological data, divided the genus Gopherus into two separate complexes, each with two species. He established a new genus, Scaptochelys, for agassizi and berlandieri, retaining Gopherus for polyphemus and flavomarginatus. Bour and Dubois (1984) noted that Xerobates Agassiz had priority over Scaptochelys Bramble. Using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Lamb et al. (1989) evaluated the evolutionary relationships of the North American tortoises, particularly the desert tortoise. They concluded that the mtDNA analysis provides strong support for generic recognition of the two distinct species groups described by Bramble (1982).Until a few decades ago, the desert tortoise was widespread at lower elevations throughout the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the U.S.A. In the northern and western parts of the geographic range, large and relatively homogeneous populations with densities exceeding 1,000/sq km extended throughout parts of California, and probably into Nevada and Utah. In terms of biomass, the tortoise played an important role in the ecosystems. In most areas, numbers have declined dramatically and the extent of populations has been reduced. Most populations are now isolated and low in numbers. Conservation of the desert tortoise is a highly visible and political issue in the U.S.A., but not in Mexico.

  19. Epifluorescent direct counts of bacteria and viruses from topsoil of various desert dust storm regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzalez-Martin, Cristina; Teigell-Perez, Nuria; Lyles, Mark; Valladares, Basilio; Griffin, Dale W.

    2013-01-01

    Topsoil from arid regions is the main source of dust clouds that move through the earth's atmosphere, and microbial communities within these soils can survive long-range dispersion. Microbial abundance and chemical composition were analyzed in topsoil from various desert regions. Statistical analyses showed that microbial direct counts were strongly positively correlated with calcium concentrations and negatively correlated with silicon concentrations. While variance between deserts was expected, it was interesting to note differences between sample sites within a given desert region, illustrating the 'patchy' nature of microbial communities in desert environments.

  20. Soils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emily Moghaddas; Ken Hubbert

    2014-01-01

    When managing for resilient forests, each soil’s inherent capacity to resist and recover from changes in soil function should be evaluated relative to the anticipated extent and duration of soil disturbance. Application of several key principles will help ensure healthy, resilient soils: (1) minimize physical disturbance using guidelines tailored to specific soil types...

  1. How desert varnish forms?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perry, Randall S.; Kolb, Vera M.; Lynne, Bridget Y.; Sephton, Mark A.; Mcloughlin, Nicola; Engel, Michael H.; Olendzenski, Lorraine; Brasier, Martin; Staley, James T., Jr.

    2005-09-01

    Desert varnish is a black, manganese-rich rock coating that is widespread on Earth. The mechanism underlying its formation, however, has remained unresolved. We present here new data and an associated model for how desert varnish forms, which substantively challenges previously accepted models. We tested both inorganic processes (e.g. clays and oxides cementing coatings) and microbial methods of formation. Techniques used in this preliminary study include SEM-EDAX with backscatter, HRTEM of focused ion beam prepared (FIB) wafers and several other methods including XRPD, Raman spectroscopy, XPS and Tof-SIMS. The only hypothesis capable of explaining a high water content, the presence of organic compounds, an amorphous silica phase (opal-A) and lesser quantities of clays than previously reported, is a mechanism involving the mobilization and redistribution of silica. The discovery of silica in desert varnish suggests labile organics are preserved by interaction with condensing silicic acid. Organisms are not needed for desert varnish formation but Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya, and other organic compounds are passively incorporated and preserved as organominerals. The rock coatings thus provide useful records of past environments on Earth and possibly other planets. Additionally this model also helps to explain the origin of key varnish and rock glaze features, including their hardness, the nature of the "glue" that binds heterogeneous components together, its layered botryoidal morphology, and its slow rate of formation.

  2. GOPHERUS AGASSIZII (Desert Tortoise)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    JAMES L. BOONE, DANNY L. RAKESTRAW, AND KURT R. RAUTENSTRAUCH

    1997-01-01

    GOPHERLTS AGAISSIZII (Desert Tortoise). Predation. A variety of predators, most notably coyotes (Canis Iatrans) and Common Ravens (Corvis corau) have been reported to prey on hatchling desert tortoises (Emst et al. 1994). Turtles of the United States and Canada (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 578 pp.). Here, we report an observation of a hatchling tortoise, fitted with a radiotransmitter, that was preyed upon by native fire ants (Solenopsis sp.) in the eastern Mojave Desert at Yucca Mountain, Nevada (36 degrees 50 minutes N, 116 degree 25 minutes E). On 8/27/94, tortoise No.9315 (carapace length = 45 mm, age = 5 d) was found alive with eyes, chin, and parts of the head and legs being eaten by ants. The tortoise was alive, but lethargic, and responded little when touched. Eight of 74 other radiomarked hatchlings monitored at Yucca Mountain during 1992-1994 were found dead with fire ants on their carcass 3-7 days after the hatchlings emerged from their nests. It is not known whether those tortoises were killed by ants or were being scavenged when found. While imported fire ants (S. invicta) have long been known to kill hatchling gopher tortoises (G. polyphemus; Mount 1981. J. Alabama Acad. Sci. 52: 71-78), native fire ants have previously not been implicated as predators of desert tortoises. However, only 1 of 75 (or at worst 9 of 75) was killed by fire ants, suggesting that although fire ants do kill hatchlings, they were not important predators on desert tortoises during this study. Tortoise specimens were deposited at the University of California at Berkeley

  3. Microbial communities in a High Arctic polar desert landscape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clare M McCann

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The High Arctic is dominated by polar desert habitats whose microbial communities are poorly understood. In this study, we used next generation sequencing to describe the α- and β-diversity of polar desert soils from the Kongsfjorden region of Svalbard. Ten phyla consistently dominated the soils and accounted for 95 % of all sequences, with Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi being the dominant lineages. In contrast to previous investigations of Arctic soils, Acidobacterial relative abundances were low as were the Archaea throughout the Kongsfjorden polar desert landscape. Lower Acidobacterial abundances were attributed to the circumneutral soil pH in this region which has resulted from the weathering of the underlying carbonate geology. In addition, we correlated previously measured geochemical variables to determine potential controls on the communities. Soil phosphorus, pH, nitrogen and calcium significantly correlated with β-diversity indicating a landscape scale lithological control of soil nutrients which in turn influenced community composition. In addition, soil phosphorus and pH significantly correlated with α- diversity, specifically the Shannon diversity and Chao 1 richness indices.

  4. Analytical results and sample locality map for rock, stream-sediment, and soil samples, Northern and Eastern Coloado Desert BLM Resource Area, Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Harley D.; Chaffee, Maurice A.

    2000-01-01

    INTRODUCTION In 1996-1998 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted a geochemical study of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) 5.5 million-acre Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Resource Area (usually referred to as the NECD in this report), Imperial, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, southeastern California (figure 1). This study was done in support of the BLM's Coordinated Management Plan for the area. This report presents analytical data from this study. To provide comprehensive coverage of the NECD, we compiled and examined all available geochemical data, in digital form, from previous studies in the area, and made sample-site plots to aid in determining where sample-site coverage and analyses were sufficient, which samples should be re-analyzed, and where additional sampling was needed. Previous investigations conducted in parts of the current study area included the National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) program studies of the Needles and Salton Sea 1? x 2? quadrangles; USGS studies of 12 BLM Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) (Big Maria Mountains, Chemehuevi Mountains, Chuckwalla Mountains, Coxcomb Mountains, Mecca Hills, Orocopia Mountains, Palen-McCoy, Picacho Peak, Riverside Mountains, Sheephole Valley (also known as Sheep Hole/Cadiz), Turtle Mountains, and Whipple Mountains); and USGS studies in the Needles and El Centro 1? x 2? quadrangles done during the early 1990s as part of a project to identify the regional geochemistry of southern California. Areas where we did new sampling of rocks and stream sediments are mainly in the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range and in Joshua Tree National Park, which extends into the west-central part of the NECD, as shown in figure 1 and figure 2. This report contains analytical data for 132 rock samples and 1,245 stream-sediment samples collected by the USGS, and 362 stream-sediment samples and 189 soil samples collected during the NURE program. All samples are from the Northern and Eastern Colorado

  5. Groundwater formation under desert conditions. Part of a coordinated programme on physical and isotopic behaviour of soil moisture in the zone of aeration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gat, J.R.

    1984-08-01

    This paper is a final report on the research conducted with the main object to trace the behaviour of water in the subsurface of the Negev. One can distinguish three major recharge mechanisms which operate in the arid environment. Direct infiltration can take place when relatively heavy rains above the threshold of about 2 mm fall on sand dune exposures, by virtue of the open pore structure of the sand and absence of plant interceptors. On rock exposures and boulder-covered hills, recharge follows a modest scale of surface runoff, whereby a sufficient water depth is achieved to infiltrate through cracks or soil accumulators. The third major pathway for recharge utilizes the large scale regional floods, which occur following intense downpours

  6. Is climate change mitigation the best use of desert shrublands?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Susan E. Meyer

    2011-01-01

    In a world where the metrics of the carbon economy have become a major issue, it may come as a surprise that intact cold desert shrublands can sequester significant amounts of carbon, both as biomass and in the form of SOC (soil organic carbon). Xerophytic shrubs invest heavily in belowground biomass, placing fixed carbon in an environment where it turns over only very...

  7. Long-Term Observations of Dust Storms in Sandy Desert Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yun, Hye-Won; Kim, Jung-Rack; Choi, Yun-Soo

    2015-04-01

    Mineral dust occupies the largest portion of atmospheric aerosol. Considering the numerous risks that dust poses for socioeconomic and anthropogenic activities, it is crucial to understand sandy desert environments, which frequently generate dust storms and act as a primary source of atmospheric aerosol. To identify mineral aerosol mechanisms, it is essential to monitor desert environmental factors involving dust storm generation in the long term. In this study, we focused on two major environmental factors: local surface roughness and soil moisture. Since installments of ground observation networks in sandy deserts are unfeasible, remote sensing techniques for mining desert environmental factors were employed. The test area was established within the Badain Jaran and Kubuqi Deserts in Inner Mongolia, China, where significant seasonal aeolian processes emit mineral dust that influences all of East Asia. To trace local surface roughness, we employed a multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) image sequence to extract multi-angle viewing (MAV) topographic parameters such as normalized difference angular index, which represents characteristics of the target desert topography. The backscattering coefficient from various space-borne SAR and stereotopography were compared with MAV observations to determine calibrated local surface roughness. Soil moisture extraction techniques from InSAR-phase coherence stacks were developed and compiled with advanced scatterometer (ASCAT) soil moisture data. Combined with metrological information such as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA interim, correlations between intensity of sand dune activity as a proxy of aeolian processes in desert environments, surface wind conditions, and surface soil moisture were traced. Overall, we have confirmed that tracking sandy desert aeolian environments for long-term observations is feasible with space-borne, multi-sensor observations when combined with

  8. Water use sources of desert riparian Populus euphratica forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Si, Jianhua; Feng, Qi; Cao, Shengkui; Yu, Tengfei; Zhao, Chunyan

    2014-09-01

    Desert riparian forests are the main body of natural oases in the lower reaches of inland rivers; its growth and distribution are closely related to water use sources. However, how does the desert riparian forest obtains a stable water source and which water sources it uses to effectively avoid or overcome water stress to survive? This paper describes an analysis of the water sources, using the stable oxygen isotope technique and the linear mixed model of the isotopic values and of desert riparian Populus euphratica forests growing at sites with different groundwater depths and conditions. The results showed that the main water source of Populus euphratica changes from water in a single soil layer or groundwater to deep subsoil water and groundwater as the depth of groundwater increases. This appears to be an adaptive selection to arid and water-deficient conditions and is a primary reason for the long-term survival of P. euphratica in the desert riparian forest of an extremely arid region. Water contributions from the various soil layers and from groundwater differed and the desert riparian P. euphratica forests in different habitats had dissimilar water use strategies.

  9. diurnal and seasonal water relations of the desert phreatophyte prosopis-glandulosa (honey mesquite) in the Sonoran Desert of California

    OpenAIRE

    Nilsen, E. T.; Sharifi, M. R.; Rundel, P. W.; Jarrell, W. M.; Virginia, R. A.

    1983-01-01

    Diurnal and Seasonal water relations were monitored in a population of Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana in the Sonoran Desert of southern California. Prosopis glandulosa at this research site acquired its water from a ground water source 4-6 m deep. Measurements of diurnal and seasonal cycles of aboveground environmental conditions, soil moisture, and soil water potential (to 6 m depth) were taken to ascertain environmental water availability and water stress. Leaf water potential, leaf con...

  10. Three Dimensional Characterization of Typical Urban and Desert Particles: Implications to Particle Optics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goel, V.; Mishra, S.; Ahlawat, A. S.; Sharma, C.; Kotnala, R. K.

    2017-12-01

    Aerosol particles are generally considered as chemically homogeneous spheres in the retrieval techniques of ground and space borne observations which is not accurate approach and can lead to erroneous observations. For better simulation of optical and radiative properties of aerosols, a good knowledge of aerosol's morphology, chemical composition and internal structure is essential. Till date, many studies have reported the morphology and chemical composition of particles but very few of them provide internal structure and spatial distribution of different chemical species within the particle. The research on the effect of particle internal structure and its contribution to particle optics is extremely limited. In present work, we characterize the PM10 particles collected form typical arid (the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India) and typical urban (New Delhi, India) environment using microscopic techniques. The particles were milled several times to investigate their internal structure. The EDS (Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy) spectra were recorded after each milling to check the variation in the chemical composition. In arid environment, Fe, Ca, C, Al, and Mg rich shell was observed over a Si rich particle whereas in urban environment, shell of Hg, Ag, C and N was observed over a Cu rich particle. Based on the observations, different model shapes [homogenous sphere and spheroid; heterogeneous sphere and spheroid; core shell] have been considered for assessing the associated uncertainties with the routine modeling of optical properties where volume equivalent homogeneous sphere approximation is considered. The details will be discussed during presentation.

  11. Natural product diversity of actinobacteria in the Atacama Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rateb, Mostafa E; Ebel, Rainer; Jaspars, Marcel

    2018-02-14

    The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is considered one of the most arid and extreme environment on Earth. Its core region was described as featuring "Mars-like" soils that were at one point deemed too extreme for life to exist. However, recent investigations confirmed the presence of diverse culturable actinobacteria. In the current review, we discuss a total of 46 natural products isolated to date representing diverse chemical classes characterized from different actinobacteria isolated from various locations in the Atacama Desert. Their reported biological activities are also discussed.

  12. Concentration of plutonium in desert plants from contaminated area

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Xu Hui; Jin Yuren; Tian Mei; Li Weiping; Zeng Ke; Wang Yaoqin; Wang Yu

    2012-01-01

    The investigation of plutonium in desert plants from contaminated sites contributes to the evaluation of its pollution situation and to the survey of plutonium hyper accumulator. The concentration of 239 Pu in desert plants collected from a contaminated site was determined, and the influence factors were studied. The concentration of 239 Pu in plants was (1.8±4.9) Bq/kg in dry weight, and it means that the plants were contaminated, moreover, the resuspension results in dramatic plutonium pollution of plant surface. The concentration of plutonium in plants depends on species, live stages and the content of plutonium in the rhizosphere soil. The concentration of plutonium in herbage is higher than that in woody plant, and for the seven species of desert plants investigated, it decreases in the order of Hexinia polydichotoma, Phragmites australis, Halostashys caspica, Halogeton arachnoideus, Lycium ruthenicum, Tamarix hispida and Calligonum aphyllum. (authors)

  13. Physiological adaptation in desert birds

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Williams, JB; Tieleman, BI; Williams, Joseph B.

    We call into question the idea that birds have not evolved unique physiological adaptations to desert environments. The rate at which desert larks metabolize energy is lower than in mesic species within the same family, and this lower rate of living translates into a lower overall energy requirement

  14. Soil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Freudenschuss, A.; Huber, S.; Riss, A.; Schwarz, S.; Tulipan, M.

    2002-01-01

    Environmental soil surveys in each province of Austria have been performed, soils of about 5,000 sites were described and analyzed for nutrients and pollutants, the majority of these data are recorded in the soil information system of Austria (BORIS) soil database, http://www.ubavie.gv.at/umweltsituation/boden/boris), which also contains a soil map of Austria, data from 30 specific investigations mainly in areas with industry and results from the Austria - wide cesium investigation. With respect to the environmental state of soils a short discussion is given, including two geographical charts, one showing which sites have soil data (2001) and the other the cadmium distribution in top soils according land use (forest, grassland, arable land, others). Information related to the soil erosion, Corine land cover (Europe-wide land cover database), evaluation of pollutants in soils (reference values of As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mo, Ni, Se, Pb, Tl, Va, Zn, AOX, PAH, PCB, PCDD/pcdf, dioxin), and relevant Austrian and European standards and regulations is provided. Figs. 2, Tables 4. (nevyjel)

  15. Supersymmetry without the Desert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nomura, Yasunori; Poland, David

    2006-01-01

    Naturalness of electroweak symmetry breaking in weak scale supersymmetric theories may suggest the absence of the conventional supersymmetric desert. We present a simple, realistic framework for supersymmetry in which (most of) the virtues of the supersymmetric desert are naturally reproduced without having a large energy interval above the weak scale. The successful supersymmetric prediction for the low-energy gauge couplings is reproduced due to a gauged R symmetry present in the effective theory at the weak scale. The observable sector superpotential naturally takes the form of the next-to-minimal supersymmetric standard model, but without being subject to the Landau pole constraints up to the conventional unification scale. Supersymmetry breaking masses are generated by the F-term and D-term VEVs of singlet and U(1) R gauge fields, as well as by anomaly mediation, at a scale not far above the weak scale. We study the resulting pattern of supersymmetry breaking masses in detail, and find that it can be quite distinct. We construct classes of explicit models within this framework, based on higher dimensional unified theories with TeV-sized extra dimensions. A similar model based on a non-R symmetry is also presented. These models have a rich phenomenology at the TeV scale, and allow for detailed analyses of, e.g., electroweak symmetry breaking

  16. Livestock grazing and the desert tortoise in the Mojave Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oldemeyer, John L.

    1994-01-01

    A large part of the Mojave Desert is not in pristine condition, and some current conditions can be related to past grazing-management practices. No information could be found on densities of the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) or on vegetative conditions of areas that had not been grazed to allow managers a comparison of range conditions with data on tortoises. Experimental information to assess the effect of livestock grazing on tortoises is lacking, and researchers have not yet examined whether the forage that remains after grazing is sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of desert tortoises.

  17. Soils

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Freudenschuss, A.; Huber, S.; Riss, A.; Schwarz, S.; Tulipan, M.

    2001-01-01

    For Austria there exists a comprehensive soil data collection, integrated in a GIS (geographical information system). The content values of pollutants (cadmium, mercury, lead, copper, mercury, radio-cesium) are given in geographical charts and in tables by regions and by type of soil (forests, agriculture, greenland, others) for the whole area of Austria. Erosion effects are studied for the Austrian region. Legal regulations and measures for an effective soil protection, reduction of soil degradation and sustainable development in Austria and the European Union are discussed. (a.n.)

  18. Nelson's big horn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) trample Agassiz's desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) burrow at a California wind energy facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agha, Mickey; Delaney, David F.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Briggs, Jessica; Austin, Meaghan; Price, Steven J.

    2015-01-01

    Research on interactions between Agassiz's desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and ungulates has focused exclusively on the effects of livestock grazing on tortoises and their habitat (Oldemeyer, 1994). For example, during a 1980 study in San Bernardino County, California, 164 desert tortoise burrows were assessed for vulnerability to trampling by domestic sheep (Ovis aries). Herds of grazing sheep damaged 10% and destroyed 4% of the burrows (Nicholson and Humphreys 1981). In addition, a juvenile desert tortoise was trapped and an adult male was blocked from entering a burrow due to trampling by domestic sheep. Another study found that domestic cattle (Bos taurus) trampled active desert tortoise burrows and vegetation surrounding burrows (Avery and Neibergs 1997). Trampling also has negative impacts on diversity of vegetation and intershrub soil crusts in the desert southwest (Webb and Stielstra 1979). Trampling of important food plants and overgrazing has the potential to create competition between desert tortoises and domestic livestock (Berry 1978; Coombs 1979; Webb and Stielstra 1979).

  19. Fulltext PDF

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Wild animals also utilised the accumulated water for drinking. The Thar ... collected up to 12 saw-scaled vipers Echis carinatus during a 15 km long .... weed species have invaded the desert through transport of soil and water ... On the other hand, the shrew .... will reveal whether the boa evolves new methods of procuring.

  20. Variations in water balance and recharge potential at three western desert sites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gee, G.W.; Fayer, M.J.; Rockhold, M.L.; Wierenga, P.J.; Young, M.H.; Andraski, B.J.

    1994-01-01

    Radioactive and hazardous waste landfills exist at numerous desert locations in the USA. At these locations, annual precipitation is low and soils are generally dry, yet little is known about recharge of water and transport of contaminants to the water table. Recent water balance measurements made at three desert locations, Las Cruces, NM, Beatty, NV, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site in the state of Washington, provide information on recharge potential under three distinctly different climate and soil conditions. All three sites show water storage increases with time when soils are coarse textured and plants are removed from the surface, the rate of increase being influenced by climatic variables such as precipitation, radiation, temperature, and wind. Lysimeter data from Hanford and Las Cruces indicate that deep drainage (recharge) from bare, sandy soils can range from 10 to > 50% of the annual precipitation. At Hanford, when desert plants are present on sandy or gravelly surface soils, deep drainage is reduced but not eliminated. When surface soils are silt loams, deep drainage is eliminated whether plants are present or not. At Las Cruces and Beatty, the presence of plants eliminated deep drainage at the measurement sites. Differences in water balance between sites are attributed to precipitation quantity and distribution and to soil and vegetation types. The implication of waste management at desert locations is that surface soil properties and plant characteristics must be considered in waste site design in order to minimize recharge potential. 39 refs., 9 figs., 3 tabs

  1. Goods and services provided by native plants in desert ecosystems: Examples from the northwestern coastal desert of Egypt

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laila M. Bidak

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available About one third of the earth’s land surface is covered by deserts that have low and variable rainfall, nutrient-poor soils, and little vegetation cover. Here, we focus on the goods and services offered by desert ecosystems using the northwestern coastal desert of Egypt extending from Burg El-Arab to El-Salloum as an example. We conducted field surveys and collected other data to identify the goods services and provided by native plant species. A total of 322 native plant species were compiled. The direct services provided by these native plants included sources of food, medicine, and energy; indirect vegetation services included promotion of biodiversity, water storage, and soil fertility. The plant diversity in this ecosystem provided economic service benefits, such as sources of fodder, fuel-wood, and traditional medicinal plants. Changes in land use and recent ill-managed human activities may influence the availability of these services and strongly impact biodiversity and habitat availability. Although deserts are fragile and support low levels of productivity, they provide a variety of goods and services whose continuing availability is contingent upon the adoption of rational land management practices.

  2. Ecosystem responses to warming and watering in typical and desert steppes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Zhenzhu; Hou, Yanhui; Zhang, Lihua; Liu, Tao; Zhou, Guangsheng

    2016-10-01

    Global warming is projected to continue, leading to intense fluctuations in precipitation and heat waves and thereby affecting the productivity and the relevant biological processes of grassland ecosystems. Here, we determined the functional responses to warming and altered precipitation in both typical and desert steppes. The results showed that watering markedly increased the aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) in a typical steppe during a drier year and in a desert steppe over two years, whereas warming manipulation had no significant effect. The soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and the soil respiration (SR) were increased by watering in both steppes, but the SR was significantly decreased by warming in the desert steppe only. The inorganic nitrogen components varied irregularly, with generally lower levels in the desert steppe. The belowground traits of soil total organic carbon (TOC) and the MBC were more closely associated with the ANPP in the desert than in the typical steppes. The results showed that the desert steppe with lower productivity may respond strongly to precipitation changes, particularly with warming, highlighting the positive effect of adding water with warming. Our study implies that the habitat- and year-specific responses to warming and watering should be considered when predicting an ecosystem’s functional responses under climate change scenarios.

  3. Remote Sensing Field Guide - Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    1991-09-01

    experienced boatmen. Most river water, even in deserts, contains Giardia micro -organisms that can cause serious diarrhea. Sich water should be boiled...water. The solutes and suspended micro -matter can be moved up and down by an oscillating water table and redeposited or precipitated at differ- ent...McCauley, U.S. Geological Survey, Desert Studies Group, Flagstaff, AZ, Nov 1973. B. Servicio Aerofotografia Nacional del Peru (on back). / ...... CONN:MFI

  4. Transitory microbial habitat in the hyperarid Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Wagner, Dirk; Kounaves, Samuel P.; Mangelsdorf, Kai; Devine, Kevin G.; de Vera, Jean-Pierre; Schmitt-Kopplin, Philippe; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Parro, Victor; Kaupenjohann, Martin; Galy, Albert; Schneider, Beate; Airo, Alessandro; Frösler, Jan; Davila, Alfonso F.; Arens, Felix L.; Cáceres, Luis; Solís Cornejo, Francisco; Carrizo, Daniel; Dartnell, Lewis; DiRuggiero, Jocelyne; Flury, Markus; Ganzert, Lars; Gessner, Mark O.; Grathwohl, Peter; Guan, Lisa; Heinz, Jacob; Hess, Matthias; Keppler, Frank; Maus, Deborah; McKay, Christopher P.; Meckenstock, Rainer U.; Montgomery, Wren; Oberlin, Elizabeth A.; Probst, Alexander J.; Sáenz, Johan S.; Sattler, Tobias; Schirmack, Janosch; Sephton, Mark A.; Schloter, Michael; Uhl, Jenny; Valenzuela, Bernardita; Vestergaard, Gisle; Wörmer, Lars; Zamorano, Pedro

    2018-03-01

    Traces of life are nearly ubiquitous on Earth. However, a central unresolved question is whether these traces always indicate an active microbial community or whether, in extreme environments, such as hyperarid deserts, they instead reflect just dormant or dead cells. Although microbial biomass and diversity decrease with increasing aridity in the Atacama Desert, we provide multiple lines of evidence for the presence of an at times metabolically active, microbial community in one of the driest places on Earth. We base this observation on four major lines of evidence: (i) a physico-chemical characterization of the soil habitability after an exceptional rain event, (ii) identified biomolecules indicative of potentially active cells [e.g., presence of ATP, phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), metabolites, and enzymatic activity], (iii) measurements of in situ replication rates of genomes of uncultivated bacteria reconstructed from selected samples, and (iv) microbial community patterns specific to soil parameters and depths. We infer that the microbial populations have undergone selection and adaptation in response to their specific soil microenvironment and in particular to the degree of aridity. Collectively, our results highlight that even the hyperarid Atacama Desert can provide a habitable environment for microorganisms that allows them to become metabolically active following an episodic increase in moisture and that once it decreases, so does the activity of the microbiota. These results have implications for the prospect of life on other planets such as Mars, which has transitioned from an earlier wetter environment to today’s extreme hyperaridity.

  5. Exploring the Limits to Photosynthetic Life in the Hyperarid Atacama (Chile) and Taklimakan (China) Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren-Rhodes, K.; Ewing, S.; McKay, C. P.; Rhodes, K. L.

    2003-12-01

    Photosynthetic microbes inhabiting the cracks or fissures (chasmoendoliths) and undersides (hypoliths) of translucent stones function as the sole primary producers in the world's driest deserts. This poster reports on our studies of the distribution and survival of these microorganisms in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert--an extreme environment previously considered too dry to support photosynthetic life--and the Taklimakan Desert in China--one of the oldest and driest deserts on the Earth. In both deserts, we measured colonization rates and microclimate variables across natural precipitation gradients in order to investigate the role of moisture in the ecology and survival of hypolithic and chasmoendolithic microorganisms. Our results show 1000-fold variations in colonization rates--from 12% in the wettest portions of the Taklimakan Desert to 3000 y. At slightly wetter sites in the Atacama, Δ 14C of hypolith soils was progressively more enriched in proportion to increased MAP, with corresponding turnover times of >600 y (Δ 14C = -73 ‰ at sites with ˜5-10 mm MAP and ˜1 y Δ 14C = +12 ‰ ) as annual rainfall increased to ˜25 mm. At all sites, Δ 14C signatures of non-hypolith soils corresponded to turnover times that were longer by an order of magnitude, indicating significantly slower OC cycling by non-hypoliths. In the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert, the prolonged lack of rainfall (decadal scales of a few millimeters) is responsible for possibly the lowest hypolithic and chasmoendolithic colonization rates observed in deserts on the Earth. Microclimate data for rock and soil surface moisture from rainfall, dew and frost suggest the particular form of moisture and its frequency may also explain observed differences in hypolithic versus chasmoendolithic colonization modes. These results hold theoretical and practical considerations for both terrestrial ecology and as analogs for possible life on Mars.

  6. Physiological ecology of desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) eggs: temperature and water relations

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Muth, A.

    1980-12-01

    The soil environment imposes constraints on the timing of oviposition and the location of suitable sites for egg burrows of the desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis). The effects of temperature and water potential on the developmental period and hatching success of eggs were determined. Eggs hatch normally between 28/sup 0/ and 38/sup 0/C at environmental water potentials between -50 and -1500 kPa. Predictions were derived for the timing and placement of egg clutches based on soil water potential and temperature profiles measured in the field and on the results of laboratory incubation experiments. The results suggest that egg burrows should be located at depths >22 cm in washes or possibly in sparsely vegetated areas away from creosote bushes. The biogeography of desert iguanas within the United States is discussed in relation to soil environments and tolerances of eggs. The physical factors affecting incubation may limit the geographical range of desert iguanas.

  7. Temporal dynamics of hot desert microbial communities reveal structural and functional responses to water input.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Armstrong, Alacia; Valverde, Angel; Ramond, Jean-Baptiste; Makhalanyane, Thulani P; Jansson, Janet K; Hopkins, David W; Aspray, Thomas J; Seely, Mary; Trindade, Marla I; Cowan, Don A

    2016-09-29

    The temporal dynamics of desert soil microbial communities are poorly understood. Given the implications for ecosystem functioning under a global change scenario, a better understanding of desert microbial community stability is crucial. Here, we sampled soils in the central Namib Desert on sixteen different occasions over a one-year period. Using Illumina-based amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, we found that α-diversity (richness) was more variable at a given sampling date (spatial variability) than over the course of one year (temporal variability). Community composition remained essentially unchanged across the first 10 months, indicating that spatial sampling might be more important than temporal sampling when assessing β-diversity patterns in desert soils. However, a major shift in microbial community composition was found following a single precipitation event. This shift in composition was associated with a rapid increase in CO 2 respiration and productivity, supporting the view that desert soil microbial communities respond rapidly to re-wetting and that this response may be the result of both taxon-specific selection and changes in the availability or accessibility of organic substrates. Recovery to quasi pre-disturbance community composition was achieved within one month after rainfall.

  8. Temporal dynamics of hot desert microbial communities reveal structural and functional responses to water input

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Armstrong, Alacia; Valverde, Angel; Ramond, Jean-Baptiste; Makhalanyane, Thulani P.; Jansson, Janet K.; Hopkins, David W.; Aspray, Thomas J.; Seely, Mary; Trindade, Marla I.; Cowan, Don A.

    2016-09-29

    The temporal dynamics of desert soil microbial communities are poorly understood. Given the implications for ecosystem functioning under a global change scenario, a better understanding of desert microbial community stability is crucial. Here, we sampled soils in the central Namib Desert on sixteen different occasions over a one-year period. Using Illumina-based amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, we found that α-diversity (richness) was more variable at a given sampling date (spatial variability) than over the course of one year (temporal variability). Community composition remained essentially unchanged across the first 10 months, indicating that spatial sampling might be more important than temporal sampling when assessing β-diversity patterns in desert soils. However, a major shift in microbial community composition was found following a single precipitation event. This shift in composition was associated with a rapid increase in CO2 respiration and productivity, supporting the view that desert soil microbial communities respond rapidly to re-wetting and that this response may be the result of both taxon-specific selection and changes in the availability or accessibility of organic substrates. Recovery to quasi pre-disturbance community composition was achieved within one month after rainfall.

  9. Diurnal pattern of the drying front in desert and its application for determining the effective infiltration

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Y. Zeng

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Located in western Inner Mongolia, the Badain Jaran Desert is the second largest desert in China and consists of a regular series of stable megadunes, among which over 70 permanent lakes exist. The unexpected lakes in desert attracted research interests on exploring the hydrological process under this particular landscape; however, a very few literatures exist on the diurnal and spatial variation of the drying front in this area, which is the main issue in the desert hydrological process to characterize the movement of water in soil. In order to understand the drying front in the Badain Jaran Desert, a field campaign was conducted by the observations of soil physical parameters and micrometeorological parameters. With the field data, the performance of a vadose zone soil water balance model, the HYDRUS, was verified and calibrated. Then, the HYDRUS was used to produce the spatial and temporal information of coupled water, water vapour and heat transport in sand to characterize the variation pattern of the drying front before, during and after the rainfall. Finally, the deepest drying front was applied to determine the effective infiltration, which is defined as the amount of soil water captured by the sand beneath the deepest drying front by infiltrating water of an incident rainfall event.

  10. Cyanobacterial composition and spatial distribution based on pyrosequencing data in the Gurbantunggut Desert, Northwestern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Bingchang; Li, Renhui; Xiao, Peng; Su, Yangui; Zhang, Yuanming

    2016-03-01

    Cyanobacteria are the primary colonizers and form a dominant component of soil photosynthetic communities in biological soil crusts. They are crucial in improving soil environments, namely accumulating soil carbon and nitrogen. Many classical studies have examined cyanobacterial diversity in desert crusts, but relatively few comprehensive molecular surveys have been conducted. We used 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA to investigate cyanobacterial composition and distribution on regional scales in the Gurbantunggut Desert. The relationship between cyanobacterial distribution and environmental factors was also explored. A total of 24,973 cyanobacteria partial 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained, and 507OTUs were selected, as most OTUs had very few reads. Among these, 347 OTU sequences were of cyanobacteria origin, belonging to Oscillatoriales, Nostocales, Chroococcales, and uncultured cyanobacterium clone, respectively. Microcoleus vaginatus, Chroococcidiopsis spp. and M. steenstrupii were the dominant species in most areas of the Gurbantunggut Desert. Compared with other desert, the Gurbantunggut Desert differed in the prominence of Chroococcidiopsis spp. and lack of Pseudanabaenales. Species composition and abundance of cyanobacteria also showed distinct variations. Soil texture, precipitation, and nutrients and salt levels affected cyanobacterial distribution. Increased precipitation was helpful in improving cyanobacterial diversity. A higher content of coarse sand promoted the colonization and growth of Oscillatoriales and some phylotypes of Chroococcales. The fine-textured soil with higher nutrients and salts supported more varied populations of cyanobacteria, namely some heterocystous cyanobacteria. The results suggested that the Gurbantunggut Desert was rich in cyanobacteria and that precipitation was a primary regulating factor for cyanobacterial composition on a regional scale. © 2016 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  11. Biological Communities in Desert Varnish and Potential Implications for Varnish Formation Mechanisms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lang-Yona, Naama; Maier, Stefanie; Macholdt, Dorothea; Rodriguez-Caballero, Emilio; Müller-Germann, Isabell; Yordanova, Petya; Jochum, Klaus-Peter; Andreae, Meinrat O.; Pöschl, Ulrich; Weber, Bettina; Fröhlich-Nowoisky, Janine

    2017-04-01

    Desert varnishes are thin, orange to black coatings found on rocks in arid and semi-arid environments on Earth. The formation mechanisms of rock varnish are still under debate and the involvement of microorganisms in this process remains unclear. In this work we aimed to identify the microbial community occurring in rock varnish to potentially gain insights into the varnish formation mechanism. For this purpose, rocks coated with desert varnish were collected from the Anza-Borrego Desert, California, USA, as well as soils from underneath the rocks. DNA from both varnish coatings and soil samples was extracted and subsequently used for metagenomic analysis, as well as for q-PCR analyses for specific species quantification. The element composition of the varnish coatings was analyzed and compared to the soil samples. Rock varnish shows similar depleted elements, compared to soil, but Mn and Pb are 50-60 times enriched compared to the soil samples, and about 100 times enriched compared to the upper continental crust. Our genomic analyses suggest unique populations and different protein functional groups occurring in the varnish compared to soil samples. We discuss these differences and try to shed light on the mechanism of Mn oxyhydroxide production in desert varnish formation.

  12. Isotopic and hydrochemical evidence of groundwater recharge in the Hopq Desert, NW China

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jian Ge; Tao Wang; Yafei Chen; Jiansheng Chen; Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province; Lu Ge; Chao Wang

    2016-01-01

    Artesian wells and lakes are found in the hinterland of the Hopq Desert, China. Analysis of soil profiles has revealed that the local vadose zone is always in a state of water deficit because of strong evaporation, and precipitation cannot infiltrate into the groundwater. This research indicated that soil water and surface water are recharged by groundwater and that the groundwater is recharged via an external source. Analyses of the stable isotopes in precipitation and of the water budget suggested that surface water in the Qiangtang Basin on the Tibetan Plateau might correspond to the groundwater in the Hopq Desert. (author)

  13. Evaluation of a new preparative supercritical fluid chromatography system for compound library purification: the TharSFC SFC-MS Prep-100 system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ebinger, Katalin; Weller, Harold N; Kiplinger, Jeffrey; Lefebvre, Paul

    2011-06-01

    Preparative HPLC-MS is often the method of choice for purification of small amounts (libraries for drug discovery. The method is robust, well proven, and widely applicable. In contrast, preparative supercritical fluid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (SFC-MS) has seen only slow acceptance for the same application--despite some potential scientific and economic advantages. One of the reasons for slow adoption of SFC-MS is the lack of well-proven, robust, and commercially available instrumentation. In early 2009, TharSFC (a Waters Company, Pittsburgh, PA) introduced a new fully integrated system for preparative SFC-MS: The SFC-MS Prep-100. We report herein an objective evaluation of the SFC-MS Prep-100, including tests for pump and autosampler performance, sample recovery, sample carryover, fraction triggering, detector/fraction collector synchronization, and overall robustness. Our results suggest that the SFC-MS Prep-100 represents a significant advance over previous generation instrumentation. Copyright © 2011 Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. High concentrations of lead and barium in hair of the rural population caused by water pollution in the Thar Jath oilfields in South Sudan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pragst, Fritz; Stieglitz, Klaus; Runge, Hella; Runow, Klaus-Dietrich; Quig, David; Osborne, Robert; Runge, Christian; Ariki, John

    2017-05-01

    In the oil fields of Thar Jath, South Sudan, increasing salinity of drinking water was observed together with human incompatibilities and rise in livestock mortalities. Hair analysis was used to characterize the toxic exposure of the population. Hair samples of volunteers from four communities with different distance from the center of the oil field (Koch 23km, n=24; Leer 50km, n=26; Nyal 110km, n=21; and Rumbek 220km, n=25) were analyzed for altogether 39 elements by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Very high concentrations and a toxic health endangerment were assessed for lead and barium. The concentration of lead increased steadily with decreasing distance from the oil field from Rumbek (mean 2.8μg/g) to Koch (mean 18.7μg/g) and was there in the same range as in highly contaminated mining regions in Kosovo, China or Bolivia. The weighting materials in drilling muds barite (BaSO 4 ) and galena (PbS) were considered to be the sources of drinking water pollution and high hair values. The high concentrations of lead and barium in hair demonstrate clearly the health risk caused by harmful deposition of toxic industrial waste but cannot be used for diagnosis of a chronic intoxication of the individuals. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. The economics of hybrid power systems for sustainable desert agriculture in Egypt

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kamel, S.M.; Dahl, C.

    2005-01-01

    Egypt has embarked on an ambitious desert land reclamation program in order to increase total food production. Energy planners for these desert agriculture locations have chosen diesel generation power technology because minimization of the initial capital cost of a power supply system is their top...... priority. This heavy reliance on diesel generation has negative effects on the surrounding environment including soil, groundwater, and air pollution. Although good solar and wind resource prospects exist for the use of cleaner hybrid power systems in certain desert locations, little research has been done...... to investigate the economic potential of such systems in Egypt’s desert agriculture sector. Using optimization software, we assess the economics of hybrid power systems versus the present diesel generation technology in a remote agricultural development area. We also consider the emission reduction advantages...

  16. Aborigines of the nuclear desert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rujula, A. de

    1985-01-01

    The chart of 'stable nuclides' extends from Hydrogen, to Z proportional 98, A proportional 263. It contains another island of stability - neutron stars - in a narrow range around Z proportional 10 56 , A proportional 10 57 . In between lies a supposedly barren region encompassing more than 50 orders of magnitude. This desert may be populated by strange quark balls: Stable single bags containing similar proportions of u, d and s quarks. These balls are candidates for the constituency of the 'dark mass' in galaxies and in the Universe. We describe seven ways to search for these possible inhabitants of the nuclear desert. (orig.)

  17. The geochemical associations of nitrate and naturally formed perchlorate in the Mojave Desert, California, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lybrand, Rebecca A.; Michalski, Greg; Graham, Robert C.; Parker, David R.

    2013-03-01

    Perchlorate is a widely studied environmental contaminant that may adversely affect human health, and whose natural occurrence has emerged as a subject of great interest. Naturally formed perchlorate has been found to co-occur with nitrate in arid environments worldwide, but the relationship is not fully understood in the desert soils of the southwestern United States. The main objective of this research was to explore the origin, pedogenic distribution, and possible preservation of perchlorate and nitrate in the Mojave Desert mud hill deposits of California and to determine if the co-occurrence of putatively natural perchlorate was significantly correlated with nitrate in these soils. We identified 39 soil horizons in the Mojave Desert, California that contained reportable levels of perchlorate (MRL >165 μg kg-1) with a maximum concentration of 23 mg kg-1. A weak yet significant correlation was observed between perchlorate and nitrate (r2 = 0.321∗∗∗), which could be indicative of similar mechanisms of accumulation. When compared to published data for the Atacama Desert, the Mojave Desert perchlorate concentrations were remarkably lower for a given nitrate concentration. Oxygen isotopes in the nitrate were examined to identify variation within the Mojave Desert field sites, and to compare with the available literature for the Atacama Desert. The Mojave Desert Δ17O values ranged from 7‰ to 13‰, indicating a mixture of biologically and atmospherically-derived nitrate. An investigation of the distribution of perchlorate among soil horizons revealed that over sixty percent of the samples containing perchlorate were from C horizons while only twenty percent of the samples were from B horizons and even fewer in the overlying A horizons. Soil chemical, morphologic, and geologic characteristics of the soils suggest that the perchlorate, nitrate and/or other soluble salts have moved in a "bottom-up" manner wherein the salts were deposited in strata through

  18. Controls on sediment production in two U.S. deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Walker, Beau J.; Munson, Seth M.; Gill, Richard A.

    2014-01-01

    Much of the world’s airborne sediment originates from dryland regions. Soil surface disturbances in these regions are ever-increasing due to human activities such as energy and mineral exploration and development, recreation, suburbanization, livestock grazing and cropping. Sediment production can have significant impacts to human health with particles potentially carrying viruses such as Valley Fever or causing asthma or other respiratory diseases. Dust storms can cause decreased visibility at the ground level, resulting in highway accidents, and reduced visual quality in park and wildland airsheds. Sediment production and deposition is also detrimental to ecosystem health, as production reduces soil fertility at its source and can bury plants and other organisms where it is deposited. Therefore, it is important to understand how we can predict what areas are prone to producing sediment emissions both before and after soil surface disturbance. We visited 87 sites in two deserts of the western U.S. that represented a range of soil texture and surface cover types. We used a portable wind tunnel to estimate the threshold friction velocity (TFV) required to initiate sediment transport and the amount of sediment produced by the tunnel at a set wind speed. Wind tunnel runs were done before and after soil surface disturbance with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Results show that most undisturbed desert soils are very stable, especially if covered by rocks or well-developed biological soil crusts, which make them virtually wind-erosion proof. Particles at disturbed sites, in contrast, moved at relatively low wind speeds and produced high amounts of sediment. Silt was an important predictor of TFV and sediment production across all sites, whereas the influence of rock cover and biological soil crusts was site-dependent. Understanding the vulnerability of a site after disturbance is important information for land managers as they plan land use activities and attempt to

  19. Controls on sediment production in two U.S. deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belnap, Jayne; Walker, Beau J.; Munson, Seth M.; Gill, Richard A.

    2014-09-01

    Much of the world’s airborne sediment originates from dryland regions. Soil surface disturbances in these regions are ever-increasing due to human activities such as energy and mineral exploration and development, recreation, suburbanization, livestock grazing and cropping. Sediment production can have significant impacts to human health with particles potentially carrying viruses such as Valley Fever or causing asthma or other respiratory diseases. Dust storms can cause decreased visibility at the ground level, resulting in highway accidents, and reduced visual quality in park and wildland airsheds. Sediment production and deposition is also detrimental to ecosystem health, as production reduces soil fertility at its source and can bury plants and other organisms where it is deposited. Therefore, it is important to understand how we can predict what areas are prone to producing sediment emissions both before and after soil surface disturbance. We visited 87 sites in two deserts of the western U.S. that represented a range of soil texture and surface cover types. We used a portable wind tunnel to estimate the threshold friction velocity (TFV) required to initiate sediment transport and the amount of sediment produced by the tunnel at a set wind speed. Wind tunnel runs were done before and after soil surface disturbance with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Results show that most undisturbed desert soils are very stable, especially if covered by rocks or well-developed biological soil crusts, which make them virtually wind-erosion proof. Particles at disturbed sites, in contrast, moved at relatively low wind speeds and produced high amounts of sediment. Silt was an important predictor of TFV and sediment production across all sites, whereas the influence of rock cover and biological soil crusts was site-dependent. Understanding the vulnerability of a site after disturbance is important information for land managers as they plan land use activities and attempt to

  20. Russian deserters of World War I

    OpenAIRE

    Os'kin Maksim

    2014-01-01

    Desertion is one of the most active forms of ordinary resistance of the people to the state pressure during the low-popular war which is conducting for the purposes unclear for the people. At the same time, mass desertion is a manifestation of «total» war in the world conflicts of the XX century. During World War I in all armies of the world there was the desertion often accepting mass character. In the Russian army, as well as in other, deserters appeared from the war beginning. Desertion sca...

  1. Effect of desertification on productivity in a desert steppe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tang, Zhuangsheng; An, Hui; Deng, Lei; Wang, Yingying; Zhu, Guangyu; Shangguan, Zhouping

    2016-06-14

    Desertification, one of the most severe types of land degradation in the world, is of great importance because it is occurring, to some degree, on approximately 40% of the global land area and is affecting more than 1 billion people. In this study, we used a space-for-time method to quantify the impact of five different desertification regimes (potential (PD), light (LD), moderate (MD), severe (SD), and very severe (VSD)) on a desert steppe ecosystem in northern China to examine the relationship between the productivity of the vegetation and soil properties and to determine the mechanism underlying the effects of desertification on productivity. Our results showed that the effects of desertification on TP (total phosphorus) and AP (available phosphorus) were not significant, and desertification decreased productivity in the desert steppe as a result of direct changes to soil physical properties, which can directly affect soil chemical properties. Therefore, intensive grassland management to improve soil quality may result in the long-term preservation of ecosystem functions and services.

  2. Solar energy conversion: an analysis of impacts on desert ecosystems. Progress report, June 1, 1977--December 31, 1977

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Patten, D.T.

    1977-09-01

    Some of the important potential ecological impacts that might occur when solar collector arrays are constructed and maintained in the desert Southwest are discussed. These impacts are categorized under major environmental consequences of solar collector development, that is, shading, wind deflection and site destruction and soil disturbance. Under these major categories secondary impacts are developed to show the significance of altering desert ecosystems with solar conversion systems. Some of the secondary impacts which include abiotic changes in radiation, temperature, heat flux, soil moisture and erosion, and biotic changes such as increased plant productivity and species diversity are discussed as to their short and long term significance in the desert system. A brief description of the solar collector simulator array being constructed in the desert to test many of the concepts developed during the early part of Phase I of this project is presented.

  3. Desert Pathfinder at Work

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-09-01

    The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) project celebrates the inauguration of its outstanding 12-m telescope, located on the 5100m high Chajnantor plateau in the Atacama Desert (Chile). The APEX telescope, designed to work at sub-millimetre wavelengths, in the 0.2 to 1.5 mm range, passed successfully its Science Verification phase in July, and since then is performing regular science observations. This new front-line facility provides access to the "Cold Universe" with unprecedented sensitivity and image quality. After months of careful efforts to set up the telescope to work at the best possible technical level, those involved in the project are looking with satisfaction at the fruit of their labour: APEX is not only fully operational, it has already provided important scientific results. "The superb sensitivity of our detectors together with the excellence of the site allow fantastic observations that would not be possible with any other telescope in the world," said Karl Menten, Director of the group for Millimeter and Sub-Millimeter Astronomy at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and Principal Investigator of the APEX project. ESO PR Photo 30/05 ESO PR Photo 30/05 Sub-Millimetre Image of a Stellar Cradle [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 627 pix - 200k] [Normal - JPEG: 800 x 1254 pix - 503k] [Full Res - JPEG: 1539 x 2413 pix - 1.3M] Caption: ESO PR Photo 30/05 is an image of the giant molecular cloud G327 taken with APEX. More than 5000 spectra were taken in the J=3-2 line of the carbon monoxide molecule (CO), one of the best tracers of molecular clouds, in which star formation takes place. The bright peak in the north of the cloud is an evolved star forming region, where the gas is heated by a cluster of new stars. The most interesting region in the image is totally inconspicuous in CO: the G327 hot core, as seen in methanol contours. It is a truly exceptional source, and is one of the richest sources of emission from complex organic molecules in the

  4. Hydrological indications of aeolian salts in mid-latitude deserts of ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    soils in low-latitude deserts, but is less common in the aeolian sediments from the ... indicating the chemistry of aeolian salts and the associated parent brines may ... erosion, deposition and other processes on sediment properties will bias the ...

  5. Natural Radioactivity Levels in Environmental Samples in North Western Desert of Egypt

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    El-Daly, A.; Hussein, A.S.

    2009-01-01

    Soil and sediment samples were collected from North western desert of Egypt. Gamma spectroscopy was used to determine the concentration of naturally occurring radionuclides 238 U, 232 Th and 40 K. The hazard index due to these radionuclides has been calculated. The measurement results obtained from this study indicate that the region has background radioactivity levels within natural limits

  6. Quadrulella texcalense sp nov from a Mexican desert: An unexpected new environment for hyalospheniid testate amoebae

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Perez-Juarez, H.; Serrano-Vazquez, A.; Kosakyan, Anush; Mitchell, E.A.D.; Rivera Aguilar, V. M.; Lahr, D. J. G.; Hernandez Moreno, M. M.; Macías Cuellar, H.; Eguiarte, L. E.; Lara, E.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 61, 17 July (2017), s. 253-264 ISSN 0932-4739 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : Adaptation * Biological soil crust desert * Protist * Tehuacain-Cuicatlain Biosphere Reserve * Testate amoebae Subject RIV: EG - Zoology OBOR OECD: Zoology Impact factor: 2.581, year: 2016

  7. Effects of artificial sand fixing on community characteristics of a rare desert shrub.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Huiliang; Tao, Ye; Qiu, Dong; Zhang, Daoyuan; Zhang, Yongkuan

    2013-10-01

    Eremosparton songoricum (Fabaceae) is a rare, native, clonal small shrub of the deserts of central Asia. Although human activities have greatly fragmented the distribution of E. songoricum, it occurs in areas where artificial sand fixing (AS) has been implemented. We sought to explore whether AS promotes survival and growth of E. songoricum. In the Gurbantunggut Desert of northwestern China in June 2010, we established 10 plots in an area where sand fixing occurred (5-10 years previously) and 11 plots on original sand substrate on which some plants had settled without fixing sand. Sand fixing changed soil properties and biological characteristics in sand-fixed plots. The soil surface where sand fixing occurred was covered by algal crusts and some lichen, but not bare sand (BS). Soil nutrients; water content of deep soil (30-150 cm); overall plant and herbaceous species richness, diversity, abundance, and cover; above- and belowground biomass; and cover, biomass, and height of E. songoricum in the sand-fixed plots were significantly greater than in plots of BS. However, distribution of E. songoricum individuals in the 2 types of plots did not differ. Our results indicate AS may enhance survival of E. songoricum and increase the overall diversity and stability of the desert plant community. We suggest AS as a way to protect this rare desert plant in situ. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.

  8. Process-based management approaches for salt desert shrublands dominated by downy brome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Downy brome grass (Bromus tectorum L.) invasion has severely altered key ecological processes such as disturbance regimes, soil nutrient cycling, community assembly, and successional pathways in semi-arid Great Basin salt desert shrublands. Restoring the structure and function of these severly alte...

  9. A mechanistic modeling and data assimilation framework for Mojave Desert ecohydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, Gene-Hua Crystal.; Bedford, David; Miller, David

    2014-01-01

    This study demonstrates and addresses challenges in coupled ecohydrological modeling in deserts, which arise due to unique plant adaptations, marginal growing conditions, slow net primary production rates, and highly variable rainfall. We consider model uncertainty from both structural and parameter errors and present a mechanistic model for the shrub Larrea tridentata (creosote bush) under conditions found in the Mojave National Preserve in southeastern California (USA). Desert-specific plant and soil features are incorporated into the CLM-CN model by Oleson et al. (2010). We then develop a data assimilation framework using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) to estimate model parameters based on soil moisture and leaf-area index observations. A new implementation procedure, the “multisite loop EnKF,” tackles parameter estimation difficulties found to affect desert ecohydrological applications. Specifically, the procedure iterates through data from various observation sites to alleviate adverse filter impacts from non-Gaussianity in small desert vegetation state values. It also readjusts inconsistent parameters and states through a model spin-up step that accounts for longer dynamical time scales due to infrequent rainfall in deserts. Observation error variance inflation may also be needed to help prevent divergence of estimates from true values. Synthetic test results highlight the importance of adequate observations for reducing model uncertainty, which can be achieved through data quality or quantity.

  10. A mechanistic modeling and data assimilation framework for Mojave Desert ecohydrology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ng, Gene-Hua Crystal; Bedford, David R.; Miller, David M.

    2014-06-01

    This study demonstrates and addresses challenges in coupled ecohydrological modeling in deserts, which arise due to unique plant adaptations, marginal growing conditions, slow net primary production rates, and highly variable rainfall. We consider model uncertainty from both structural and parameter errors and present a mechanistic model for the shrub Larrea tridentata (creosote bush) under conditions found in the Mojave National Preserve in southeastern California (USA). Desert-specific plant and soil features are incorporated into the CLM-CN model by Oleson et al. (2010). We then develop a data assimilation framework using the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) to estimate model parameters based on soil moisture and leaf-area index observations. A new implementation procedure, the "multisite loop EnKF," tackles parameter estimation difficulties found to affect desert ecohydrological applications. Specifically, the procedure iterates through data from various observation sites to alleviate adverse filter impacts from non-Gaussianity in small desert vegetation state values. It also readjusts inconsistent parameters and states through a model spin-up step that accounts for longer dynamical time scales due to infrequent rainfall in deserts. Observation error variance inflation may also be needed to help prevent divergence of estimates from true values. Synthetic test results highlight the importance of adequate observations for reducing model uncertainty, which can be achieved through data quality or quantity.

  11. Water and vapor transfer in vadose zone of Gobi desert and riparian in the hyper arid environment of Ejina, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Du, C.; Yu, J.; Sun, F.; Liu, X.

    2015-12-01

    To reveal how water and vapor transfer in vadose zone affect evapotranspiration in Gobi desert and riparian in hyper arid region is important for understanding eco-hydrological process. Field studies and numerical simulations were imported to evaluate the water and vapor movement processes under non isothermal and lower water content conditions. The soil profiles (12 layers) in Gobi desert and riparian sites of Ejina were installed with sensors to monitor soil moisture and temperature for 1 year. The meteorological conditions and water table were measured by micro weather stations and mini-Divers respectively in the two sites. Soil properties, including particles composition, moisture, bulk density, water retention curve, and saturated hydraulic conductivity of two site soil profiles, was measured. The observations showed that soil temperatures for the two sites displayed large diurnal and seasonal fluctuations. Temperature gradients with depth resulted in a downward in summer and upward in winter and became driving force for thermal vapor movement. Soil moistures in Gobi desert site were very low and varied slowly with time. While the soil moistures in riparian site were complicated due to root distribution but water potentials remained uniform with time. The hydrus-1D was employed to simulate evapotranspiration processes. The simulation results showed the significant difference of evaporation rate in the Gobi desert and riparian sites.

  12. Plantation of desert and renewal of earth with small LMRs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hattori, Sadao; Minato, Akio; Handa, Norihiko; Hashizume, Kenichi.

    1991-01-01

    Desertification is advancing at rapid rate on the earth. The technical development for preventing the desertification has been requested for advanced countries. Particularly in the southern hemisphere, the energy which can restore green in deserts and supply the electric power required for living is necessary. In this paper, the supply of electric power using the small fast reactors which are excellent in the safety and maintainability and the desalting plants required for tree planting in deserts, and further, the regeneration of the earth accompanying it, are discussed. By desertification, yearly 6 million ha of lands are devastated to unrecoverable extent, and those concentrate in the districts where yearly rainfall is little. In order to prevent desertification, it is necessary to stabilize surface soil by tree planting. Further, in order to prevent the deforestation for obtaining energy, the dual purpose plants for power generation and desalting are important. In this paper, the concept of obtaining water resources from sea, carrying out the desalting, supplying the water to the forefront of deserts and forming green belts there by using fast reactors is considered. The present status of desertification, the desalting of seawater by nuclear power, small fast reactors aiming at ultra-safety, the production of green, and the regeneration of the earth are described. (K.I.)

  13. Controls on the variability of net infiltration to desert sandstone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heilweil, Victor M.; McKinney, Tim S.; Zhdanov, Michael S.; Watt, Dennis E.

    2007-01-01

    As populations grow in arid climates and desert bedrock aquifers are increasingly targeted for future development, understanding and quantifying the spatial variability of net infiltration becomes critically important for accurately inventorying water resources and mapping contamination vulnerability. This paper presents a conceptual model of net infiltration to desert sandstone and then develops an empirical equation for its spatial quantification at the watershed scale using linear least squares inversion methods for evaluating controlling parameters (independent variables) based on estimated net infiltration rates (dependent variables). Net infiltration rates used for this regression analysis were calculated from environmental tracers in boreholes and more than 3000 linear meters of vadose zone excavations in an upland basin in southwestern Utah underlain by Navajo sandstone. Soil coarseness, distance to upgradient outcrop, and topographic slope were shown to be the primary physical parameters controlling the spatial variability of net infiltration. Although the method should be transferable to other desert sandstone settings for determining the relative spatial distribution of net infiltration, further study is needed to evaluate the effects of other potential parameters such as slope aspect, outcrop parameters, and climate on absolute net infiltration rates.

  14. Study of the microwave emissivity characteristics over Gobi Desert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yubao, Qiu; Lijuan, Shi; Wenbo, Wu

    2014-01-01

    The microwave emissivity represents the capacity of the thermal radiation of the surface, and it is the significant parameter for understanding the geophysical processes such as surface energy budget and surface radiation. Different land covers have different emissivity properties, and the Gobi Desert in Central Asia seriously impact the sandstorms occur and develop in China, because of its special geographical environment and surface soil characteristics. In this study half-month averaged microwave emissivity from March 2003 to February 2004 over the Gobi Desert has been estimated. Emissivities in this area at different frequencies, polarization and their seasonal variations are discussed respectively. The results showed that emissivity polarization difference decrease as the frequency increases, and the polarization difference is large (0.03–0.127). The H polarization emissivity increases with increasing frequency, but the V-polarized microwave emissivity is reduced with increasing frequency because of the body scattering. In winter, emissivity decreases sharply in snow covered area, especially for higher frequencies (such as 89GHz). In addition, we compared emissivity with MODIS NDVI data at the same time in the Gobi Desert, and the results indicate that NDVI derived the good negative correlation with microwave emissivity polarization difference at 37GHz

  15. Diversity and activity of denitrifiers of Chilean arid soil ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julieta eOrlando

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available The Chilean sclerophyllous matorral is a Mediterranean semiarid ecosystem affected by erosion, with low soil fertility and limited by nitrogen. However, limitation of resources is even more severe for desert soils such as from the Atacama Desert, one of the most extreme arid deserts on Earth. Topsoil organic matter, nitrogen and moisture content were significantly higher in the semiarid soil compared to the desert soil. Although the most significant loss of biologically preferred nitrogen from terrestrial ecosystems occurs via denitrification, virtually nothing is known on the activity and composition of denitrifier communities thriving in arid soils. In this study, we explored denitrifier communities from two soils with profoundly distinct edaphic factors. While denitrification activity in the desert soil was below detection limit, the semiarid soil sustained denitrification activity. To elucidate the genetic potential of the soils to sustain denitrification processes we performed community analysis of denitrifiers based on nitrite reductase (nirK and nirS genes as functional marker genes for this physiological group. Presence of nirK-type denitrifiers in both soils was demonstrated but failure to amplify nirS from the desert soil suggests very low abundance of nirS-type denitrifiers shedding light on the lack of denitrification activity. Phylogenetic analysis showed a very low diversity of nirK with only three distinct genotypes in the desert soil which conditions presumably exert a high selection pressure. While nirK diversity was also limited to only few, albeit distinct genotypes, the semiarid matorral soil showed a surprisingly broad genetic variability of the nirS gene. The Chilean matorral is a shrub land plant community which form vegetational patches stabilizing the soil and increasing its nitrogen and carbon content. These islands of fertility may sustain the development and activity of the overall microbial community and of

  16. Diversity and activity of denitrifiers of chilean arid soil ecosystems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orlando, Julieta; Carú, Margarita; Pommerenke, Bianca; Braker, Gesche

    2012-01-01

    The Chilean sclerophyllous matorral is a Mediterranean semiarid ecosystem affected by erosion, with low soil fertility, and limited by nitrogen. However, limitation of resources is even more severe for desert soils such as from the Atacama Desert, one of the most extreme arid deserts on Earth. Topsoil organic matter, nitrogen and moisture content were significantly higher in the semiarid soil compared to the desert soil. Although the most significant loss of biologically preferred nitrogen from terrestrial ecosystems occurs via denitrification, virtually nothing is known on the activity and composition of denitrifier communities thriving in arid soils. In this study we explored denitrifier communities from two soils with profoundly distinct edaphic factors. While denitrification activity in the desert soil was below detection limit, the semiarid soil sustained denitrification activity. To elucidate the genetic potential of the soils to sustain denitrification processes we performed community analysis of denitrifiers based on nitrite reductase (nirK and nirS) genes as functional marker genes for this physiological group. Presence of nirK-type denitrifiers in both soils was demonstrated but failure to amplify nirS from the desert soil suggests very low abundance of nirS-type denitrifiers shedding light on the lack of denitrification activity. Phylogenetic analysis showed a very low diversity of nirK with only three distinct genotypes in the desert soil which conditions presumably exert a high selection pressure. While nirK diversity was also limited to only few, albeit distinct genotypes, the semiarid matorral soil showed a surprisingly broad genetic variability of the nirS gene. The Chilean matorral is a shrub land plant community which form vegetational patches stabilizing the soil and increasing its nitrogen and carbon content. These islands of fertility may sustain the development and activity of the overall microbial community and of denitrifiers in particular.

  17. Characterizing dust aerosols in the atmospheric boundary layer over the deserts in Northwest China: monitoring network and field observation

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Q.; Matimin, A.; Yang, X.

    2016-12-01

    TheTaklimakan, Gurbantunggut and BadainJaran Deserts with the total area of 43.8×104 km2 in Northwest China are the major dust emission sources in Central Asia. Understanding Central Asian dust emissions and the interaction with the atmospheric boundary layer has an important implication for regional and global climate and environment changes. In order to explore these scientific issues, a monitoring network of 63 sites was established over the vast deserts (Taklimakan Desert, Gurbantunggut Desert and Badain Jaran Desert) in Northwest China for the comprehensive measurements of dust aerosol emission, transport and deposition as well as the atmospheric boundary layer including the meteorological parameters of boundary layer, surface radiation, surface heat fluxes, soil parameters, dust aerosol properties, water vapor profiles, and dust emission. Based on the monitoring network, the field experiments have been conducted to characterize dust aerosols and the atmospheric boundary layer over the deserts. The experiment observation indicated that depth of the convective boundary layer can reach 5000m on summer afternoons. In desert regions, the diurnal mean net radiation was effected significantly by dust weather, and sensible heat was much greater than latent heat accounting about 40-50% in the heat balance of desert. The surface soil and dust size distributions of Northwest China Deserts were obtained through widely collecting samples, results showed that the dominant dust particle size was PM100within 80m height, on average accounting for 60-80% of the samples, with 0.9-2.5% for PM0-2.5, 3.5-7.0% for PM0-10 and 5.0-14.0% for PM0-20. The time dust emission of Taklimakan Desert, Gurbantunggut Desert and Badain Jaran Desert accounted for 0.48%, 7.3%×10-5and 1.9% of the total time within a year, and the threshold friction velocity for dust emission were 0.22-1.06m/s, 0.29-1.5m/s and 0.21-0.59m/s, respectively.

  18. Spectral identification and quantification of salts in the Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, J. K.; Cousins, C. R.; Claire, M. W.

    2016-10-01

    Salt minerals are an important natural resource. The ability to quickly and remotely identify and quantify salt deposits and salt contaminated soils and sands is therefore a priority goal for the various industries and agencies that utilise salts. The advent of global hyperspectral imagery from instruments such as Hyperion on NASA's Earth-Observing 1 satellite has opened up a new source of data that can potentially be used for just this task. This study aims to assess the ability of Visible and Near Infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy to identify and quantify salt minerals through the use of spectral mixture analysis. The surface and near-surface soils of the Atacama Desert in Chile contain a variety of well-studied salts, which together with low cloud coverage, and high aridity, makes this region an ideal testbed for this technique. Two forms of spectral data ranging 0.35 - 2.5 μm were collected: laboratory spectra acquired using an ASD FieldSpec Pro instrument on samples from four locations in the Atacama desert known to have surface concentrations of sulfates, nitrates, chlorides and perchlorates; and images from the EO-1 satellite's Hyperion instrument taken over the same four locations. Mineral identifications and abundances were confirmed using quantitative XRD of the physical samples. Spectral endmembers were extracted from within the laboratory and Hyperion spectral datasets and together with additional spectral library endmembers fed into a linear mixture model. The resulting identification and abundances from both dataset types were verified against the sample XRD values. Issues of spectral scale, SNR and how different mineral spectra interact are considered, and the utility of VNIR spectroscopy and Hyperion in particular for mapping specific salt concentrations in desert environments is established. Overall, SMA was successful at estimating abundances of sulfate minerals, particularly calcium sulfate, from both hyperspectral image and laboratory sample spectra

  19. Are There High Meteorite Concentrations in the Atacama Desert/Chile?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scherer, P.; Delisle, G.

    1992-07-01

    We have visited numerous regions of the Atacama desert between Copiapo (27 degrees, 15'S) and Calama (22 degrees, 25'S) to assess their potential as a high-yield meteorite concentration surface, easily exploitable by search efforts within a reasonable time frame. According to our observations, this desert is characterized by the following features: a) A high percentage of the desert consists of sloping surfaces on which soil movement occurs, presumably by very infrequent, though heavy rain. b) Vast areas of the desert are covered by a dm-thick sand layer of dark colour. Since the sand is too coarse-grained to be transported by wind it presumably resulted from in-situ weathering of rock debris derived from nearby mountains. We suspect that impacting smaller objects can easily penetrate the sand layer. c) The sand layer is typically dotted by rocks, fist-size or smaller, that are covered by a thick layer of desert paint (reddish-brown to black colour). Most country rocks are of volcanic origin (rhyolite, andesite, basalt) and are typically of grey to black colour. A noticeable colour contrast in particular to potential stony meteorites is almost nonexistent. d) Soil salts with a potential to speed up weathering processes are ubiquitous near the surface. e) The Pampa de Mejillones, 45 km north of Antofagasta, is one of the few light-coloured areas in the Atacama desert. The surface, being of Mio-Pliocene age, consists of an almost continuous layer of light-brown fossil shells (bivalves and gastropodes). Fluvially transported dark rocks from adjacent outcrops rest on top. The latter material is covered again by desert paint. Few meteorite discoveries have been reported from this area (Pampa (a),(b),(c)). f) Numerous old tire tracks, in particular around mines in operation, crisscross most areas of the Atacama. Undetected objects such as large masses of iron bodies are not likely to have remained undiscovered in great numbers any more. We conclude that the potential of

  20. The Riparianness of a Desert Herpetofauna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charles H. Lowe

    1989-01-01

    Within the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Desert subdivisions of the North American Desert in the U.S., more than half of 143 total amphibian and reptilian species perform as riparian and/or wetland taxa. For the reptiles, but not the amphibians, there is a significant inverse relationship between riparianness (obligate through preferential and facultative to...

  1. Rural childhoods in Egypt's desert lands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Adriansen, Hanne Kirstine

    Based on fieldwork in Egypt’s desert lands, this paper discusses rural childhoods in an area experiencing rapid social and cultural change. Since 1987, the Egyptian Government has made new villages in the desert as a means to increase agricultural production and solving problems of unemployment....... Many settlers move to the Mubarak villages in order to give their children a good start in life. The desert villages are associated with a type of ‘rural idyll’. The process of settling in the desert impacts upon the children’s possible pathways to adulthood and their identities and social......’s new roles impact upon the children’s lives. The social contexts shaping the desert childhoods are in some ways more similar to contexts in ‘developed’ countries than in other parts of rural Egypt. The paper ends up by contrasting ideas of rural childhoods in Egypt with those found in ‘developed...

  2. Microenvironments and microscale productivity of cyanobacterial desert crusts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia-Pichel, F.; Belnap, Jayne

    1996-01-01

    We used microsensors to characterize physicochemical microenvironments and photosynthesis occurring immediately after water saturation in two desert soil crusts from southeastern Utah, which were formed by the cyanobacteria Microcoleus vaginatus Gomont, Nostoc spp., and Scytonema sp. The light fields within the crusts presented steep vertical gradients in magnitude and spectral composition. Near-surface light-trapping zones were formed due to the scattering nature of the sand particles, but strong light attenuation resulted in euphotic zones only ca. 1 mm deep, which were progressively enriched in longer wavelengths with depth. Rates of gross photosynthesis (3.4a??9.4 mmol O2A?ma??2A?ha??1) and dark respiration (0.81a??3.1 mmol Oa??2A?ma??2A?ha??1) occurring within 1 to several mm from the surface were high enough to drive the formation of marked oxygen microenvironments that ranged from oxygen supersaturation to anoxia. The photosynthetic activity also resulted in localized pH values in excess of 10, 2a??3 units above the soil pH. Differences in metabolic parameters and community structure between two types of crusts were consistent with a successional pattern, which could be partially explained on the basis of the microenvironments. We discuss the significance of high metabolic rates and the formation of microenvironments for the ecology of desert crusts, as well as the advantages and limitations of microsensor-based methods for crust investigation.

  3. Genomic characterization of Ensifer aridi, a proposed new species of nitrogen-fixing rhizobium recovered from Asian, African and American deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le Quéré, Antoine; Tak, Nisha; Gehlot, Hukam Singh; Lavire, Celine; Meyer, Thibault; Chapulliot, David; Rathi, Sonam; Sakrouhi, Ilham; Rocha, Guadalupe; Rohmer, Marine; Severac, Dany; Filali-Maltouf, Abdelkarim; Munive, Jose-Antonio

    2017-01-14

    Nitrogen fixing bacteria isolated from hot arid areas in Asia, Africa and America but from diverse leguminous plants have been recently identified as belonging to a possible new species of Ensifer (Sinorhizobium). In this study, 6 strains belonging to this new clade were compared with Ensifer species at the genome-wide level. Their capacities to utilize various carbon sources and to establish a symbiotic interaction with several leguminous plants were examined. Draft genomes of selected strains isolated from Morocco (Merzouga desert), Mexico (Baja California) as well as from India (Thar desert) were produced. Genome based species delineation tools demonstrated that they belong to a new species of Ensifer. Comparison of its core genome with those of E. meliloti, E. medicae and E. fredii enabled the identification of a species conserved gene set. Predicted functions of associated proteins and pathway reconstruction revealed notably the presence of transport systems for octopine/nopaline and inositol phosphates. Phenotypic characterization of this new desert rhizobium species showed that it was capable to utilize malonate, to grow at 48 °C or under high pH while NaCl tolerance levels were comparable to other Ensifer species. Analysis of accessory genomes and plasmid profiling demonstrated the presence of large plasmids that varied in size from strain to strain. As symbiotic functions were found in the accessory genomes, the differences in symbiotic interactions between strains may be well related to the difference in plasmid content that could explain the different legumes with which they can develop the symbiosis. The genomic analysis performed here confirms that the selected rhizobial strains isolated from desert regions in three continents belong to a new species. As until now only recovered from such harsh environment, we propose to name it Ensifer aridi. The presented genomic data offers a good basis to explore adaptations and functionalities that enable them

  4. Russian deserters of World War I

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Os'kin Maksim

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Desertion is one of the most active forms of ordinary resistance of the people to the state pressure during the low-popular war which is conducting for the purposes unclear for the people. At the same time, mass desertion is a manifestation of «total» war in the world conflicts of the XX century. During World War I in all armies of the world there was the desertion often accepting mass character. In the Russian army, as well as in other, deserters appeared from the war beginning. Desertion scales in the Russian army explained as objective factors - diffi cult fights, shortage of supply, defeat at the front, and subjective - unwillingness to participate in war, melancholy for the house, desire to help a family the work. Desertion in different years of war had various forms. If at the beginning of war there were mainly «self-arrows», in 1915, during defeats at the front - evasion from entrenchments. By the end of 1916, because of the general fatigue from war, desertion takes the real form - flight from the front to the back. After February revolution desertion becomes mass in which hundreds thousands military personnel take part already. Disorder of army and development of revolutionary process extremely strengthen desertion scales that is explained by the actual lack of punishment for this crime. Destruction of the Russian state during revolution became the main reason of coming to power of Bolsheviks, an exit of Russia from war and the army demobilization which essential part in 1917 already deserted from the front.

  5. Resource pulses in desert river habitats: productivity-biodiversity hotspots, or mirages?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Free, Carissa L; Baxter, Greg S; Dickman, Christopher R; Leung, Luke K P

    2013-01-01

    Resource pulses in the world's hot deserts are driven largely by rainfall and are highly variable in both time and space. However, run-on areas and drainage lines in arid regions receive more water more often than adjacent habitats, and frequently sustain relatively high levels of primary productivity. These landscape features therefore may support higher biotic diversity than other habitats, and potentially act as refuges for desert vertebrates and other biota during droughts. We used the ephemeral Field River in the Simpson Desert, central Australia, as a case study to quantify how resources and habitat characteristics vary spatially and temporally along the riparian corridor. Levels of moisture and nutrients were greater in the clay-dominated soils of the riverine corridor than in the surrounding sand dunes, as were cover values of trees, annual grasses, other annual plants and litter; these resources and habitat features were also greater near the main catchment area than in the distal reaches where the river channel runs out into extensive dune fields. These observations confirm that the riverine corridor is more productive than the surrounding desert, and support the idea that it may act as a refuge or as a channel for the ingress of peri-desert species. However, the work also demonstrates that species diversity of invertebrates and plants is not higher within the river corridor; rather, it is driven by rainfall and the accompanying increase in annual plants following a rain event. Further research is required to identify the biota that depend upon these resource pulses.

  6. Medicinal flora of the Cholistan desert: a review

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hmeed, M.; Ashraf, M.; Nawaz, T.; Naz, N.; Ahmad, M.S.A.; Al-Quriany, F.; Younis, A.

    2011-01-01

    The Cholistan desert can be divided into two distinct regions on the basis of topography, soil type and texture, and vegetation structure: the northern Lesser Cholistan and southern Greater Cholistan. The desert is characterized by large saline compacted areas with alluvial clay, sandy ridges and dunes, and semi-stabilized to frequently shifting dunes. The climate is subtropical, harsh, hot and arid, and influenced by seasonal monsoons. Vegetation cover on the sand dunes is comprised by a few tussock-forming grasses including Cenchrus ciliaris, Panicum turgidum and Lasiurus scindicus, along with perennial shrubs Calligonum polygonoides, Leptadenia pyrotechnica and Aerva javanica. Interdunal flats are dominated by grasses, mainly Cymbopogon jwarancusa, Sporobolus ioclados, Panicum antidotale, and Ochthochloa compressa, and tall shrubs Calligonum polygonoides and Capparis decidua. Vegetation of saline patches is specific, dominated by halophytes mainly belonging to family Chenopodiaceae (Amaranthaceae). Many plants of the Cholistan desert, including Neurada procumbens, Aerva javanica, Capparis decidua, Cleome brachycarpa, Dipterygium glaucum, Gisekia pharnacioides, Suaeda fruticosa, Achyranthes aspera, Aerva javanica, Alhagi maurorum, Calotropis procera, Capparis decidua, Zaleya pentandra, Mollugo cerviana, Ziziphus mauritiana, Boerhavia procumbens, Cressa cretica and Crotalaria burhia, are frequently used by the local inhabitants to cure chronic and acute diseases. A variety of medicinally important chemical compounds have been extracted and identified from the plants of the Cholistan desert, including terpenes and triterpenoids, sterols and steroids, phenolics, flavonoids, gums and resins, quinones, anthocyanidines, saponins, antioxidants and fatty acids. Habitat degradation, intensive agricultural practices and over exploitation of resources pose a serious threat to the diversity of ethno botanically important plant species. Allopathic medicines are generally

  7. The impact of desert solar power utilization on sustainable development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sadiq Ali Shah; Yang Zhang

    2011-01-01

    This paper evaluates the prospects of developing a solar based desert economy in the deserts of solar-rich countries. The potential deserts are analysed to study their positive impact on the sustainable development processes in these regions. The sustainability of the processes is established on the basis of self-contained nature of energy generation, environmental emission reduction and desert land reclamation. (authors)

  8. Deserts

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Graulund, Rune

    2016-01-01

    , comic sketches and lyrical reveries; travel writing is now a crucial focus for discussion across many subjects within the humanities and social sciences. An ideal starting point for beginners, but also offering new perspectives for those familiar with the field, The Routledge Companion to Travel Writing...

  9. NNSS Soils Monitoring: Plutonium Valley (CAU 366)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Miller, Julianne J.; Mizell, Steve A.; Nikolich, George; Campbell, Scott

    2012-01-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Nevada Site Office (NSO), Environmental Restoration Soils Activity has authorized the Desert Research Institute (DRI) to conduct field assessments of potential sediment transport of contaminated soil from Corrective Action Unit (CAU) 366, Area 11 Plutonium Valley Dispersion Sites Contamination Area (CA) during precipitation runoff events.

  10. Draft Genome Sequence of Streptomyces sp. Strain Wb2n-11, a Desert Isolate with Broad-Spectrum Antagonism against Soilborne Phytopathogens

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Köberl, Martina; White, Richard A.; Erschen, Sabine; El-Arabi, Tarek F.; Jansson, Janet K.; Berg, Gabriele

    2015-08-06

    Streptomyces sp. strain Wb2n-11, isolated from native desert soil, exhibited broad-spectrum antagonism against plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria and nematodes. The 8.2 Mb draft genome reveals genes putatively responsible for its promising biocontrol activity and genes which enable the soil bacterium to directly interact beneficially with plants.

  11. Effects of desert wildfires on desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and other small vertebrates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esque, T.C.; Schwalbe, C.R.; DeFalco, L.A.; Duncan, R.B.; Hughes, T.J.

    2003-01-01

    We report the results of standardized surveys to determine the effects of wildfires on desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) and their habitats in the northeastern Mojave Desert and northeastern Sonoran Desert. Portions of 6 burned areas (118 to 1,750 ha) were examined for signs of mortality of vertebrates. Direct effects of fire in desert habitats included animal mortality and loss of vegetation cover. A range of 0 to 7 tortoises was encountered during surveys, and live tortoises were found on all transects. In addition to desert tortoises, only small (reptiles (11 taxa) were found dead on the study areas. We hypothesize that indirect effects of fire on desert habitats might result in changes in the composition of diets and loss of vegetation cover, resulting in an increase in predation and loss of protection from temperature extremes. These changes in habitat also might cause changes in vertebrate communities in burned areas.

  12. Unearthing Bacillus endophytes from desert plants that enhance growth of Arabidopsis thaliana under abiotic stress conditions

    KAUST Repository

    Bokhari, Ameerah M

    2018-04-01

    Here, we embarked a bioprospecting project that focuses on the isolation and characterization of plant root endophytes, collected from the Thar Desert. A total of 381 endophytes were isolated and based on their 16S rRNA gene sequences, genus Bacillus (58 strains) was identified as the major taxon and only endophytes from this genus were isolated from all plant types. Of the 58 Bacillus strains, only 16 strains were selected for screening of plant growth promotion traits such as P and Zn solubilization, indole-3-acetic acid and siderophore production, and antimicrobial activity. Based on the presence of specific plant growth promotion traits 10 strains were shortlisted for further in vitro screening with A. thaliana; to confirm that these bacteria can confer resilience to plants under salt stress conditions. B. circulans (PK3-15 and PK3-109), B. cereus (PK6-15) B. subtilis (PK3-9) and B. licheniformis (PK5-26) displayed the ability to increased the fresh weight of A. thaliana under salt stress conditions by more than 50 % compared to the uninoculated control. An interesting observation was that B. circulans (PK3-109) (shown to produce IAA exopolysaccharide) and B. circulans (PK3-138) (shown to produce IAA) in vitro results were substantially different as B. circulans (PK3-138) decreased the total fresh weight of A. thaliana by 47 %, whilst B. circulans (PK3-109) was one of the best performing strains. Thus, the genomes of these two strains were sequences to unravel the molecular versatility of B. circulans strains, specifically with respect to their interaction with plants. Most of the genome of these strains is identical but the most interesting feature was the presence of 1/ the DegS–DegU two-component system that is known to mediate the salt stress response and DegU also represses toxin wapA similar to antitoxin wapI, and 2/ YxiG, a gene in the unique orthogroup of PK3-109 was found to be linked to WapI. Thus, PK3-138 substantially decreasing the total fresh

  13. Studies on the effect of irradiated soil on crop growth and its mechanism

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wang Yanling; Zhu Shuxiu; Zulhayat, N.; Yang Yuai; Zhang Qinzheng

    1996-04-01

    Pot experiments showed that with the treatment of 25 kGy gamma radiation on the irrigated gray desert soil in Xinjiang and the moist soil in Zhejiang, 25% moisture, plant height, biomass and photosynthesis intensity of winter wheat, hot pepper and matrimony vine increased significantly. In irradiated soils of six types, the available N, P, K were significantly enhanced, and the available Fe, Zn, Cu increased to some extent, while the oxidation stability of the soil organo-mineral complex decreased dramatically. The amount of available N supplied by the irradiated gray desert soil and the moist soil increased by 59.26% and 82.35% respectively. The amount of N derived from the irradiated soils in crops also increased by 4.48% and 24.97% respectively. The amount of available P supplied by irradiated gray desert soil increased by 15.69%, and the P in crops derived from the irradiated gray desert soil increased by 34.00%. Utilization rate of N fertilizer were raised by 49.47% and 75.53% for irradiated gray desert soil and moist soil respectively, that of P fertilizer was raised by 17.88% for moist soil. The effect of radiation on soil showed little difference between treatments of 25 kGy and 35 kGy. However, soil moisture affected the radiation effect greatly. (7 refs., 2 figs., 12 tabs.)

  14. Desertions in nineteenth-century shipping: modelling quit behaviour

    OpenAIRE

    Jari Ojala; Jaakko Pehkonen; Jari Eloranta

    2013-01-01

    Ship jumping in foreign ports was widespread throughout the age of sail. Desertion by seamen was illegal, it occurred abroad, and men who deserted only seldom returned home. We analyse desertion quantitatively and link it to the broader question of quit behaviour and labour turnover. Though the better wages paid at the foreign ports were the main reason for desertion, the regression model of the determinants of desertion indicates that outside opportunities, such as migration, and monetary in...

  15. Cross-biome metagenomic analyses of soil microbial communities and their functional attributes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fierer, Noah; Leff, Jonathan W; Adams, Byron J; Nielsen, Uffe N; Bates, Scott Thomas; Lauber, Christian L; Owens, Sarah; Gilbert, Jack A; Wall, Diana H; Caporaso, J Gregory

    2012-12-26

    For centuries ecologists have studied how the diversity and functional traits of plant and animal communities vary across biomes. In contrast, we have only just begun exploring similar questions for soil microbial communities despite soil microbes being the dominant engines of biogeochemical cycles and a major pool of living biomass in terrestrial ecosystems. We used metagenomic sequencing to compare the composition and functional attributes of 16 soil microbial communities collected from cold deserts, hot deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra. Those communities found in plant-free cold desert soils typically had the lowest levels of functional diversity (diversity of protein-coding gene categories) and the lowest levels of phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity. Across all soils, functional beta diversity was strongly correlated with taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; the desert microbial communities were clearly distinct from the nondesert communities regardless of the metric used. The desert communities had higher relative abundances of genes associated with osmoregulation and dormancy, but lower relative abundances of genes associated with nutrient cycling and the catabolism of plant-derived organic compounds. Antibiotic resistance genes were consistently threefold less abundant in the desert soils than in the nondesert soils, suggesting that abiotic conditions, not competitive interactions, are more important in shaping the desert microbial communities. As the most comprehensive survey of soil taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity to date, this study demonstrates that metagenomic approaches can be used to build a predictive understanding of how microbial diversity and function vary across terrestrial biomes.

  16. Phytopathology Prediction in Dry Soil Using Artificial Neural Networks Modeling

    OpenAIRE

    F. Allag; S. Bouharati; M. Belmahdi; R. Zegadi

    2014-01-01

    The rapid expansion of deserts in recent decades as a result of human actions combined with climatic changes has highlighted the necessity to understand biological processes in arid environments. Whereas physical processes and the biology of flora and fauna have been relatively well studied in marginally used arid areas, knowledge of desert soil micro-organisms remains fragmentary. The objective of this study is to conduct a diversity analysis of bacterial communities in unvegetated arid soil...

  17. Δ17O Isotopic Investigation of Nitrate Salts Found in Co-Occurrence with Naturally Formed Perchlorate in the Mojave Desert, California, USA and the Atacama Desert, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lybrand, R. A.; Parker, D.; Rech, J.; Prellwitz, J.; Michalski, G.

    2009-12-01

    Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and manmade contaminant that has been identified in soil, groundwater and surface water. Perchlorate directly affects human health by interfering with iodide uptake in the thyroid gland, which may in turn lower the production of key hormones that are needed for proper growth and development. Until recently, the Atacama Desert, Chile was thought to be the only location where perchlorate salts formed naturally. Recent work has documented the occurrence of these salts in several semi-arid regions of the United States. This study identified putatively natural sources of perchlorate in the Mojave Desert of California. Soil samples were collected from six field sites varying in geologic age. The co-occurrence of perchlorate and nitrate in caliches from the Atacama Desert and soils from the Mojave Desert was also investigated. Although the former are richer in NO3-, near-ore-grade (~5%) deposits occur in the vicinity of Death Valley National Park. Weak but significant correlations exist between ClO4- and NO3- at both locations, but the perchlorate levels are much higher (up to 800 mg/kg) in the Chilean samples than in California (atmospheric origin for the Atacama nitrate salts, and a mixture between biological nitrate and atmospherically-derived nitrate for the Mojave samples. When corrected for the percentage of atmospheric nitrate measured in the Atacama samples, the Mojave samples still contain much lower perchlorate concentrations than would be expected if the occurrence of perchlorate correlated strictly with atmospherically derived nitrate. These results indicate that the variation in the origins of the nitrate salts is not the only factor influencing perchlorate distribution in these environments. These findings suggest that there are other geologic differences in landform age and stability that are crucial to understanding the co-occurrence of nitrate and perchlorate between the two locations.

  18. Potential for deserts to supply reliable renewable electric power

    Science.gov (United States)

    Labordena, Mercè; Lilliestam, Johan

    2015-04-01

    To avoid dangerous climate change, the electricity systems must be decarbonized by mid-century. The world has sufficient renewable electricity resources for complete power sector decarbonization, but an expansion of renewables poses several challenges for the electricity systems. First, wind and solar PV power are intermittent and supply-controlled, making it difficult to securely integrate this fluctuating generation into the power systems. Consequently, power sources that are both renewable and dispatchable, such as biomass, hydro and concentrating solar power (CSP), are particularly important. Second, renewable power has a low power density and needs vast areas of land, which is problematic both due to cost reasons and due to land-use conflicts, in particular with agriculture. Renewable and dispatchable technologies that can be built in sparsely inhabited regions or on land with low competition with agriculture would therefore be especially valuable; this land-use competition greatly limits the potential for hydro and biomass electricity. Deserts, however, are precisely such low-competition land, and are at the same time the most suited places for CSP generation, but this option would necessitate long transmission lines from remote places in the deserts to the demand centers such as big cities. We therefore study the potential for fleets of CSP plants in the large deserts of the world to produce reliable and reasonable-cost renewable electricity for regions with high and/or rapidly increasing electricity demand and with a desert within or close to its borders. The regions in focus here are the European Union, North Africa and the Middle East, China and Australia. We conduct the analysis in three steps. First, we identify the best solar generation areas in the selected deserts using geographic information systems (GIS), and applying restrictions to minimize impact on biodiversity, soils, human heath, and land-use and land-cover change. Second, we identify

  19. Desert potholes: Ephemeral aquatic microsystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, M.A.; Moser, K.; Davis, J.M.; Southam, G.; Hughes, K.; Graham, T.

    2005-01-01

    An enigma of the Colorado Plateau high desert is the "pothole", which ranges from shallow ephemeral puddles to deeply carved pools. The existence of prokaryotic to eukaryotic organisms within these pools is largely controlled by the presence of collected rainwater. Multivariate statistical analysis of physical and chemical limnologic data variables measured from potholes indicates spatial and temporal variations, particularly in water depth, manganese, iron, nitrate and sulfate concentrations and salinity. Variation in water depth and salinity are likely related to the amount of time since the last precipitation, whereas the other variables may be related to redox potential. The spatial and temporal variations in water chemistry affect the distribution of organisms, which must adapt to daily and seasonal extremes of fluctuating temperature (0-60 ??C), pH changes of as much as 5 units over 12 days, and desiccation. For example, many species become dormant when potholes dry, in order to endure intense heat, UV radiation, desiccation and freezing, only to flourish again upon rehydration. But the pothole organisms also have a profound impact on the potholes. Through photosynthesis and respiration, pothole organisms affect redox potential, and indirectly alter the water chemistry. Laboratory examination of dried biofilm from the potholes revealed that within 2 weeks of hydration, the surface of the desiccated, black biofilm became green from cyanobacterial growth, which supported significant growth in heterotrophic bacterial populations. This complex biofilm is persumably responsible for dissolving the cement between the sandstone grains, allowing the potholes to enlarge, and for sealing the potholes, enabling them to retain water longer than the surrounding sandstone. Despite the remarkable ability of life in potholes to persist, desert potholes may be extremely sensitive to anthropogenic effects. The unique limnology and ecology of Utah potholes holds great scientific

  20. Nutrient and water addition effects on day- and night-time conductance and transpiration in a C3 desert annual

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ludwig, F.; Jewitt, R.A.; Donovan, L.A.

    2006-01-01

    Recent research has shown that many C3 plant species have significant stomatal opening and transpire water at night even in desert habitats. Day-time stomatal regulation is expected to maximize carbon gain and prevent runaway cavitation, but little is known about the effect of soil resource

  1. Sediment grain-size characteristics and relevant correlations to the aeolian environment in China's eastern desert region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Chunlai; Shen, Yaping; Li, Qing; Jia, Wenru; Li, Jiao; Wang, Xuesong

    2018-06-15

    To identify characteristics of aeolian activity and the aeolian environment in China's eastern desert region, this study collected surface sediment samples from the main desert and sandy lands in this region: the Hobq Desert and the Mu Us, Otindag, Horqin, and Hulunbuir sandy lands. We analyzed the grain-size characteristics and their relationships to three key environmental indicators: drift potential, the dune mobility index, and vegetation cover. The main sediment components are fine to medium sands, with poor (Hulunbuir) to moderate (all other areas) sorting, of unimodal to bimodal distribution. This suggests that improved sorting is accomplished by the loss of both relatively coarser and finer grains. Since 2000, China's eastern desert region has generally experienced low wind energy environmental conditions, resulting in decreased dune activity. In the Hobq Desert, however, the dry climate and sparse vegetation, in conjunction with the most widely distributed mobile dune area in the eastern desert region, have led to frequent and intense aeolian activity, including wind erosion, sand transport, and deposition, resulting in conditions for good sediment sorting. In the Mu Us, Otindag, and Horqin sandy lands, mosaic distribution has resulted from wind erosion-dominated and deposition-dominated aeolian environments. In the Hulunbuir Sandy Land, high precipitation, low temperatures, and steppe vegetation have resulted in well-developed soils; however, strong winds and flat terrain have created an aeolian environment dominated by wind erosion. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  2. Biophysical Controls over Carbon and Nitrogen Stocks in Desert Playa Wetlands

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKenna, O. P.; Sala, O. E.

    2014-12-01

    Playas are ephemeral desert wetlands situated at the bottom of closed catchments. Desert playas in the Southwestern US have not been intensively studied despite their potential importance for the functioning of desert ecosystems. We want to know which geomorphic and ecological variables control of the stock size of soil organic carbon, and soil total nitrogen in playas. We hypothesize that the magnitude of carbon and nitrogen stocks depends on: (a) catchment size, (b) catchment slope, (d) catchment vegetation cover, (e) bare-ground patch size, and (f) catchment soil texture. We chose thirty playas from across the Jornada Basin (Las Cruces, NM) ranging from 0.5-60ha in area and with varying catchment characteristics. We used the available 5m digital elevation map (DEM) to calculate the catchment size and catchment slope for these thirty playas. We measured percent cover, and patch size using the point-intercept method with three 10m transects in each catchment. We used the Bouyoucos-hydrometer soil particle analysis to determine catchment soil texture. Stocks of organic carbon and nitrogen were measured from soil samples at four depths (0-10 cm, 10-30 cm, 30-60 cm, 60-100 cm) using C/N combustion analysis. In terms of nitrogen and organic carbon storage, we found soil nitrogen values in the top 10cm ranging from 41.963-214.365 gN/m2, and soil organic carbon values in the top 10cm ranging from 594.339-2375.326 gC/m2. The results of a multiple regression analysis show a positive relationship between catchment slope and both organic carbon and nitrogen stock size (nitrogen: y= 56.801 +47.053, R2=0.621; organic carbon: y= 683.200 + 499.290x, R2= 0.536). These data support our hypothesis that catchment slope is one of factors controlling carbon and nitrogen stock in desert playas. We also applied our model to the 69 other playas of the Jornada Basin and estimated stock sizes (0-10cm) between 415.07-447.97 Mg for total soil nitrogen and 4627.99-5043.51 Mg for soil organic

  3. Diversity and Community Composition of Vertebrates in Desert River Habitats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Free, C. L.; Baxter, G. S.; Dickman, C. R.; Lisle, A.; Leung, L. K.-P.

    2015-01-01

    Animal species are seldom distributed evenly at either local or larger spatial scales, and instead tend to aggregate in sites that meet their resource requirements and maximise fitness. This tendency is likely to be especially marked in arid regions where species could be expected to concentrate at resource-rich oases. In this study, we first test the hypothesis that productive riparian sites in arid Australia support higher vertebrate diversity than other desert habitats, and then elucidate the habitats selected by different species. We addressed the first aim by examining the diversity and composition of vertebrate assemblages inhabiting the Field River and adjacent sand dunes in the Simpson Desert, western Queensland, over a period of two and a half years. The second aim was addressed by examining species composition in riparian and sand dune habitats in dry and wet years. Vertebrate species richness was estimated to be highest (54 species) in the riverine habitats and lowest on the surrounding dune habitats (45 species). The riverine habitats had different species pools compared to the dune habitats. Several species, including the agamid Gowidon longirostris and tree frog Litoria rubella, inhabited the riverine habitats exclusively, while others such as the skinks Ctenotus ariadnae and C. dux were captured only in the dune habitats. The results suggest that, on a local scale, diversity is higher along riparian corridors and that riparian woodland is important for tree-dependent species. Further, the distribution of some species, such as Mus musculus, may be governed by environmental variables (e.g. soil moisture) associated with riparian corridors that are not available in the surrounding desert environment. We conclude that inland river systems may be often of high conservation value, and that management should be initiated where possible to alleviate threats to their continued functioning. PMID:26637127

  4. Heavy metal distribution and bioaccumulation in Chihuahuan Desert Rough Harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex rugosus) populations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Del Toro, I.; Floyd, K.; Gardea-Torresdey, J.; Borrok, D.

    2010-01-01

    Heavy metal contamination can negatively impact arid ecosystems; however a thorough examination of bioaccumulation patterns has not been completed. We analyzed the distribution of As, Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in soils, seeds and ant (Pogonomyrmex rugosus) populations of the Chihuahuan Desert near El Paso, TX, USA. Concentrations of As, Cd, Cu, and Pb in soils, seeds and ants declined as a function of distance from a now inactive Cu and Pb smelter and all five metals bioaccumulated in the granivorous ants. The average bioaccumulation factors for the metals from seeds to ants ranged from 1.04x (As) to 8.12x (Cd). The findings show bioaccumulation trends in linked trophic levels in an arid ecosystem and further investigation should focus on the impacts of heavy metal contamination at the community level. - Heavy metals bioaccumulate in desert ants.

  5. Vegetation - Central Mojave Desert [ds166

    Data.gov (United States)

    California Natural Resource Agency — The Department of Defense and the other desert managers are developing and organizing scientific information needed to better manage the natural resources of the...

  6. Spatial distribution of microbial communities associated with dune landform in the Gurbantunggut Desert, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Ruyin; Li, Ke; Zhang, Hongxun; Zhu, Junge; Joshi, DevRaj

    2014-11-01

    The microbial community compositions and potential ammonia oxidation in the topsoil at different positions of sand dune (stoss slope, crest, lee slope, and interdune) from the Gurbantunggut Desert, the largest semi-fixed desert in China, were investigated using several molecular methods. Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria (especially Alphaproteobacteria) were commonly the dominant taxa across all soil samples. Bacterial communities were similar in soils collected from the stoss slopes and interdunes (HC-BSCs, biological soil crusts with a high abundance of cyanobacteria), containing more abundant cyanobacterial populations (16.9-24.5%) than those (0.2-0.7% of Cyanobacteria) in the crests and lee slopes (LC-BSCs, biological soil crusts with a low abundance of cyanobacteria). The Cyanobacteria were mainly composed of Microcoleus spp., and quantitative PCR analysis revealed that 16S rRNA gene copy numbers of Cyanobacteria (especially genus Microcoleus) were at least two orders of magnitude higher in HC-BSCs than in LC-BSCs. Heterotrophic Geodermatophilus spp. frequently occurred in HC-BSCs (2.5-8.0%), whereas genera Arthrobacter, Bacillus, and Segetibacter were significantly abundant in LC-BSC communities. By comparison, the desert archaeal communities were less complex, and were dominated by Nitrososphaera spp. The amoA gene abundance of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) was higher than that of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in all soil samples, particularly in the interdunal soils (10(6)-10(8) archaeal amoA gene copies per gram dry soil), indicating that AOA possibly dominate the ammonia oxidation at the interdunes.

  7. In vitro germination of desert rose varieties(

    OpenAIRE

    Tatiane Lemos Varella; Gizelly Mendes Silva; Kaliane Zaira Camacho Maximiliano da Cruz; Andréia Izabel Mikovski; Josué Ribeiro da Silva Nunes; Ilio Fealho Carvalho; Maurecilne Lemes Silva

    2015-01-01

    The drought stress resistance is a characteristic of the desert rose and its estimable beauty flowers, which gave it great relevance in the ornamental market. However, the desert rose production and germination is hampered by possible sterility of their male and female flowers and frequent problems in pollination, so the tissue culture is a promising alternative to the propagation of these plants. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of gibberellic acid on four commercial varieties of dese...

  8. From Desert to Dessert: Why Australian Dust Matters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, K. A.; Mackie, D. S.; Boyd, P. W.; McTainsh, G. H.

    2006-12-01

    The growth of some types of phytoplankton in several parts of the world ocean, including much of the Southern Ocean, is limited by the supply of iron. Large Australian dust storms uplift, transport and abrade soils, to produce aeolian dust that is a significant source iron to the Southern Ocean. Atmospheric processes that enhance the dissolution of iron from aeolian dusts are of interest and have been studied for material from major dust producing regions like the Sahara, Gobi and Australian deserts; the reported solubility of iron from aeolian dusts ranges from <0.01% to 80%. The characteristic red soils, sands and dusts from Australia are generally believed to consist of quartz grains with a coating of fine grains and crystals of iron oxides, primarily hematite and goethite. The precise mineralogy of soil and dust grain coatings is poorly understood and it also not well known how the coatings are altered during uplift and transport to the ocean. Current models to understand the processes operating during the transport and atmospheric processing of dust include some generalisations and simplifications that are not always warranted and our work has shown the overlooked complexity of the system. Models for aeolian-iron dissolution based on Northern Hemisphere data commonly include the pollutants SOx and NOx. The modern Southern Hemisphere is less polluted and thus resembles past environmental systems. The dissolution of iron from soils of the Saharan, Gobi and Australian deserts in the presence of protons only (i.e. without SOx and NOx) occurs in two phases. The first, faster phase, representing up to 20% of total iron is via a surface-controlled mechanism. The rate determining variable is the exposed surface area of the iron oxides and not the size of the underlying quartz grain. The second, slower, phase of dissolution occurs via the transport-controlled formation of a leached layer. During the simulated aeolian abrasion of Australian soils from dust producing

  9. Late Quaternary history of the Atacama Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Latorre, Claudio; Betancourt, Julio L.; Rech, Jason A.; Quade, Jay; Holmgren, Camille; Placzek, Christa; Maldonado, Antonio; Vuille, Mathias; Rylander, Kate A.; Smith, Mike; Hesse, Paul

    2005-01-01

    Of the major subtropical deserts found in the Southern Hemisphere, the Atacama Desert is the driest. Throughout the Quaternary, the most pervasive climatic influence on the desert has been millennial-scale changes in the frequency and seasonality of the scant rainfall, and associated shifts in plant and animal distributions with elevation along the eastern margin of the desert. Over the past six years, we have mapped modern vegetation gradients and developed a number of palaeoenvironmental records, including vegetation histories from fossil rodent middens, groundwater levels from wetland (spring) deposits, and lake levels from shoreline evidence, along a 1200-kilometre transect (16–26°S) in the Atacama Desert. A strength of this palaeoclimate transect has been the ability to apply the same methodologies across broad elevational, latitudinal, climatic, vegetation and hydrological gradients. We are using this transect to reconstruct the histories of key components of the South American tropical (summer) and extratropical (winter) rainfall belts, precisely at those elevations where average annual rainfall wanes to zero. The focus has been on the transition from sparse, shrubby vegetation (known as the prepuna) into absolute desert, an expansive hyperarid terrain that extends from just above the coastal fog zone (approximately 800 metres) to more than 3500 metres in the most arid sectors in the southern Atacama.

  10. Influence of Disturbance on Soil Respiration in Biologically Crusted Soil during the Dry Season

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wei Feng

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Soil respiration (Rs is a major pathway for carbon cycling and is a complex process involving abiotic and biotic factors. Biological soil crusts (BSCs are a key biotic component of desert ecosystems worldwide. In desert ecosystems, soils are protected from surface disturbance by BSCs, but it is unknown whether Rs is affected by disturbance of this crust layer. We measured Rs in three types of disturbed and undisturbed crusted soils (algae, lichen, and moss, as well as bare land from April to August, 2010, in Mu Us desert, northwest China. Rs was similar among undisturbed soils but increased significantly in disturbed moss and algae crusted soils. The variation of Rs in undisturbed and disturbed soil was related to soil bulk density. Disturbance also led to changes in soil organic carbon and fine particles contents, including declines of 60–70% in surface soil C and N, relative to predisturbance values. Once BSCs were disturbed, Q10 increased. Our findings indicate that a loss of BSCs cover will lead to greater soil C loss through respiration. Given these results, understanding the disturbance sensitivity impact on Rs could be helpful to modify soil management practices which promote carbon sequestration.

  11. Overview about polluted sites management by mining activities in coastal-desertic zones

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reyes, Arturo; Letelier, María Victoria; Arenas, Franko; Cuevas, Jacqueline; Fuentes, Bárbara

    2016-04-01

    In Chile the main mining operations as well as artisanal and small-scale mining (copper, gold and silver) are located in desert areas. A large number of abandoned polluted sites with heavy metals and metalloids (Hg, Pb, Cu, Sb, As) remain in coastal areas close to human centers. The aim of this work was to identify the best remediation alternatives considering the physic-chemical characteristics of the coastal-desertic soils. The concentrations of above mentioned pollutants as well as soil properties were determined. The results showed variable concentration of the pollutants, highest detected values were: Hg (46.5 mg kg-1), Pb (84.7 mg kg-1), Cu (283.0 mg kg-1), Sb (90 mg kg-1), As (2,691 mg kg-1). The soils characteristic were: high alkalinity with pH: 7.75-9.66, high electric conductivity (EC: 1.94-118 mScm-1), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR: 5.07-8.22) and low permeability of the soils. Coastal-desertic sites are potential sources of pollution for population, and for terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Exposure routes of pollution for the population include: primary, by incidental ingestion and inhalation of soil and dust and secondary, by the ingestion of marine sediments, sea food and seawater. Rehabilitation of coastal-desertic sites, by using techniques like soil washing in situ, chemical stabilization, or phytostabilization, is conditioned by physic-chemical properties of the soils. In these cases the recommendation for an appropriate management, remediation and use of the sites includes: 1) physic chemical characterization of the soils, 2) evaluation of environmental risk, 3) education of the population and 3) application of a remediation technology according to soil characteristic and the planned use of the sites. Acknowledgments: Funding for this study was supported by the Regional Council of Antofagasta under Project Estudio de ingeniería para la remediación de sitios abandonados con potencial presencia de contaminantes identificados en la comuna de

  12. Ecological implications and environment dependence of the seed germination of common species in cold deserts

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yuan, S.Y.; Tong, L.; Chi, L.Z.

    2016-01-01

    Vegetation is increasingly affected by climate change in cold deserts. Nonetheless, research is limited regarding the natural environmental demands of seed germination in such deserts. This study was conducted in Gurbantunggut Desert as a research base and 17 common species as subjects to investigate the moisture and temperature needs of seed germination in artificial settings, as well as the relationship between characteristics of seed germination and the local distribution of dune and shrubs. Results showed:(1) all tested species generally display low germination percentages that range between 2.9% and 79.6%. Winter snow melt dictates seed germination in cold deserts. Moreover, the subsequent spring rainfall can increase the survival rate of seedlings and significantly affect the process of seed germination. (2) seeds start to germinate only two days after snow melts at the average daily temperature (day/night) of 3.5 degree C (6.7 degree C/-0.5 degree C) and at a soil volumetric water content of 24.2%. Fifteen days after snow melt, all species germinate when the soil volumetric water content is 6.0% and the average daily temperature is 12.9 degree C (18.3 degree C/7.1 degree C). (3) The seed germination of the tested species can be divided into four patterns: rapid, transitional, slow, and low. Low-pattern plants mainly grow on upper dunes and are significantly associated with shrubs. Rapid- and slow-pattern plants distribute in middle and lower dunes. A few of these plants are significantly associated with shrubs. Transitional-pattern plants generally develop in the low land between hills and middle dunes. This study provides a reference for the actual environmental needs of seed germination in cold deserts and for the temperature and moisture requirements of this process in future experimental settings. (author)

  13. HIGH FOLIAR NITROGEN IN DESERT SHRUBS: AN IMPORTANT ECOSYSTEM TRAIT OR DEFECTIVE DESERT DOCTRINE?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nitrogen concentrations in green and senesced leaves of perennial desert shrubs were compiled from a worldwide literature search to test the validity of the doctrine that desert shrubs produce foliage and leaf litter much richer in nitrogen than that in the foliage of plants from...

  14. Distribution patterns of terricolous and saxicolous lichens in extreme desert conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Temina, M.

    2012-04-01

    The investigation of biodiversity in stressful habitats is of great interest because it elucidates relationships between organisms and their environment, as well as revealing the mechanisms of their survival and adaptation to extreme conditions. Deserts represent such stressful habitats where harsh climate and limited resources greatly influence the formation of biota. In order to understand the link between microscale environmental variability in extreme arid conditions and lichen biodiversity patterns, we conducted the present study. For this purpose, the structure and distribution of lichen communities on soil and cobbles at six stations at "Evolution Canyon" III (EC III), Nahal Shaharut, in the extreme southern Negev, Israel, were examined. The opposite slopes of the canyon represented specific ecological niches characterized by sharply different microclimatic conditions. The following characteristics of lichen communities were studied: species richness, systematic diversity, biogeographical elements, frequencies and distribution of species, their morphological and anatomical characteristics, reproductive strategy, and ecological peculiarities. In the research site three environmental variables were evaluated: soil moisture, and temperatures of soil and cobbles. The Canonical Correspondence Analysis was used to study the influence of these ecological variables on the distribution of lichen species. The lichen diversity of EC III was very poor and comprised 12 species (3 cyanoliches on soil vs. 9 phycolichens on cobbles). Most of them belong to a specific group of arid endemic elements, adapted to survive in extreme arid conditions in the deserts of the Levant. The harsh desert conditions of the canyon negatively influence the reproductive ability of lichens. This influence is expressed in the decreased sizes of fruit bodies in some species, and the frequent occurrence of sterile specimens among lichens found in the canyon. A comparative analysis of structure

  15. CONTEMPORARY CHANGES OF THE CLIMATIC CONDITIONS OF THE CASPIAN SEMI-DESERT LANDSCAPES OF THE EASTERN CISCAUCASIA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Z. V. Ataev

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available The article analyzes the changes in the hydrothermal conditions within the pricaspian littoral plains accumulation and denudation-accumulative in places aeolian landscapes saltwort, saltwort-sagebrush deserts and semi-deserts in light chestnut soils based on data from weather stations "Makhachkala" for years 1945-2005.Tendencies of changes in temperature, precipitation, and hydrothermal coefficient and coefficient of moisture are shown. Tendency of modern fluctuations suggests that the climatic conditions of the last period contribute to the development of dry steppes and significant deviations from the conditions of the previous period do not occur.

  16. The effects of drying following heat shock exposure of the desert moss Syntrichia caninervis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Shu-Jun; Liu, Chun-Jiang; Jiang, Ping-An; Cai, Wei-Min; Wang, Yan

    2009-03-15

    Desert mosses are components of biological soil crusts (BSCs) and their ecological functions make assessment and protection of these mosses a high-ranking management priority in desert regions. Drying is thought to be useful for desert mosses surviving heat shock. In this study, we investigated the role of drying by monitoring the responses of physiological characters and asexual reproduction in the typical desert moss Syntrichia caninervis. Heat significantly decreased chlorophyll content and weakened rapid recovery of photochemical activity, and increased carotenoid content and membrane permeability. Lethal temperatures significantly destroyed shoot regeneration potential. In comparison with heat alone, drying significantly increased protonema emergence time and depressed protonema emergence area. Drying combined with heat accelerated water loss, followed by a decrease of photosynthetic activity. Drying had different influences on membrane permeability at different temperatures. When moss leaves were subjected to a combined stress of drying and heat shock, photosynthesis was maintained mainly due to the effects of drying on physiological activity although the cellular morphological integrity was affected. Drying caused opposing effects on moss physiological and reproductive characteristics. On the one hand, drying caused a positive synergistic effect with heat shock when the temperature was below 40 degrees C. On the other hand, drying showed antagonism with heat shock when the moss was subjected to temperatures higher than 40 degrees C. These findings may help in understanding the survival mechanism of dessert mosses under heat shock stress which will be helpful for the artificial reconstruction of BSCs.

  17. The effects of drying following heat shock exposure of the desert moss Syntrichia caninervis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Xu Shujun; Liu Chunjiang; Jiang Pingan; Cai Weimin; Wang Yan

    2009-01-01

    Desert mosses are components of biological soil crusts (BSCs) and their ecological functions make assessment and protection of these mosses a high-ranking management priority in desert regions. Drying is thought to be useful for desert mosses surviving heat shock. In this study, we investigated the role of drying by monitoring the responses of physiological characters and asexual reproduction in the typical desert moss Syntrichia caninervis. Heat significantly decreased chlorophyll content and weakened rapid recovery of photochemical activity, and increased carotenoid content and membrane permeability. Lethal temperatures significantly destroyed shoot regeneration potential. In comparison with heat alone, drying significantly increased protonema emergence time and depressed protonema emergence area. Drying combined with heat accelerated water loss, followed by a decrease of photosynthetic activity. Drying had different influences on membrane permeability at different temperatures. When moss leaves were subjected to a combined stress of drying and heat shock, photosynthesis was maintained mainly due to the effects of drying on physiological activity although the cellular morphological integrity was affected. Drying caused opposing effects on moss physiological and reproductive characteristics. On the one hand, drying caused a positive synergistic effect with heat shock when the temperature was below 40 deg. C. On the other hand, drying showed antagonism with heat shock when the moss was subjected to temperatures higher than 40 deg. C. These findings may help in understanding the survival mechanism of dessert mosses under heat shock stress which will be helpful for the artificial reconstruction of BSCs

  18. Root distribution of Nitraria sibirica with seasonally varying water sources in a desert habitat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Hai; Zhao, Wenzhi; Zheng, Xinjun; Li, Shoujuan

    2015-07-01

    In water-limited environments, the water sources used by desert shrubs are critical to understanding hydrological processes. Here we studied the oxygen stable isotope ratios (δ (18)O) of stem water of Nitraria sibirica as well as those of precipitation, groundwater and soil water from different layers to identify the possible water sources for the shrub. The results showed that the shrub used a mixture of soil water, recent precipitation and groundwater, with shallow lateral roots and deeply penetrating tap (sinker) roots, in different seasons. During the wet period (in spring), a large proportion of stem water in N. sibirica was from snow melt and recent precipitation, but use of these sources declined sharply with the decreasing summer rain at the site. At the height of summer, N. sibirica mainly utilized deep soil water from its tap roots, not only supporting the growth of shoots but also keeping the shallow lateral roots well-hydrated. This flexibility allowed the plants to maintain normal metabolic processes during prolonged periods when little precipitation occurs and upper soil layers become extremely dry. With the increase in precipitation that occurs as winter approaches, the percentage of water in the stem base of a plant derived from the tap roots (deep soil water or ground water) decreased again. These results suggested that the shrub's root distribution and morphology were the most important determinants of its ability to utilize different water sources, and that its adjustment to water availability was significant for acclimation to the desert habitat.

  19. Assessing degradation of abandoned farmlands for conservation of the Monte Desert biome in Argentina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yannelli, Florencia A; Tabeni, Solana; Mastrantonio, Leandro E; Vezzani, Nazareth

    2014-01-01

    Land abandonment is a major issue worldwide. In Argentina, the Monte Desert is the most arid rangeland, where the traditional conservation practices are based on successional management of areas excluded to disturbances or abandoned. Some areas subjected to this kind of management may be too degraded, and thus require active restoration. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess whether passive succession-based management is a suitable approach by evaluating the status of land degradation in a protected area after 17-41 years of farming abandonment. Soil traits and plant growth forms were quantified and compared between sites according to time since abandonment and former land use (cultivation and grazing). Two variables were calculated using the CORINE-CEC method, i.e., potential (PSER) and actual (ASER) soil erosion risk. PSER indicates the erosion risk when no vegetation is present, while ASER includes the protective role of vegetation cover. Results showed that land use history had no significant effect on plant growth forms or soil traits (p > 0.05). After more than 25 years since abandonment of farming activities, soil conditions and vegetation cover had improved, thus having a lower ASER. Nevertheless, the present soil physical crusts may have delayed the full development of vegetation, enhancing erosion processes. Overall, this study indicates that succession-based management may not be the best practice in terms of conservation. Therefore, any effort for conservation in the Monte Desert should contemplate the current status of land degradation and potential vegetation recovery.

  20. Biodiversity of Rock Varnish at Yungay, Atacama Desert, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuhlman, K.; Venkat, P.; La Duc, M.; Kuhlman, G.; McKay, C.

    2007-12-01

    Rock varnish is a very slow-growing nanostratigraphic coating consisting of approximately 70% clay and 30% iron and manganese oxides of fine-grained clay minerals rich in manganese and iron oxides, which forms on the surfaces of rocks in most semi-arid to hyper-arid climates. Rock varnish has even been postulated to exist on Mars based on surface imagery from several landed missions, and is considered a potential biomarker. However, the mechanism of varnish nucleation and growth remains unknown. Whether or not microbes are involved in the nucleation and growth of rock varnish, the detection of microbes using cultivation or cultivation- independent techniques has demonstrated that varnish provides a microhabitat for microbes. We hypothesized that rock varnish in the Mars-like Yungay region of the Atacama Desert may provide such a microhabitat for microbial life where none has been found to date in the surface soil (< 1 cm). The presence of microbes was investigated using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) assay techniques and culture-independent biomolecular methods. High levels of both total and intracellular ATP were associated with the rock varnish while negligible ATP was found in the surrounding surface soil, suggesting that viable organisms were present. Total DNA was extracted from ground varnish and surrounding surface soil and subjected to trifurcate polymerase chain reactions (PCR). No DNA was recovered from the soil. Amplicons were used to generate ribosomal DNA (rDNA) clone libraries, which suggest the presence of numerous phylogenetically distinct microorganisms in eight Eubacterial clades, Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Cytophaga-Flavobacterium- Bacteroides (CFB), Chloroflexi (green non-sulfur bacteria (GNS)), Gemmatimonadetes, Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria. The diversity of bacteria found and presence of cyanobacteria suggests that rock varnish provides a niche environment for a cryptoendolithic microbial community where

  1. Desert basins of the Southwest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leake, Stanley A.; Konieczki, Alice D.; Rees, Julie A.H.

    2000-01-01

    Ground water is among the Nation’s most important natural resources. It provides drinking water to urban and rural communities, supports irrigation and industry, sustains the flow of streams and rivers, and maintains riparian and wetland ecosystems. In many areas of the Nation, the future sustainability of ground-water resources is at risk from overuse and contamination. Because ground-water systems typically respond slowly to human actions, a long-term perspective is needed to manage this valuable resource. This publication is one in a series of fact sheets that describe ground-water-resource issues across the United States, as well as some of the activities of the U.S. Geological Survey that provide information to help others develop, manage, and protect ground-water resources in a sustainable manner. Ground-water resources in the Southwest are among the most overused in the United States. Natural recharge to aquifers is low and pumping in many areas has resulted in lowering of water tables. The consequences of large-scale removal of water from storage are becoming increasingly evident. These consequences include land subsidence; loss of springs, streams, wetlands and associated habitat; and degradation of water quality. Water managers are now seeking better ways of managing ground-water resources while looking for supplemental sources of water. This fact sheet reviews basic information on ground water in the desert basins of the Southwest. Also described are some activities of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that are providing scientific information for sustainable management of ground-water resources in the Southwest. Ground-water sustainability is defined as developing and using ground water in a way that can be maintained for an indefinite time without causing unacceptable environmental, economic, or social consequences.

  2. Deficit irrigation of a landscape halophyte for reuse of saline waste water in a desert city

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glenn, E.P.; Mckeon, C.; Gerhart, V.; Nagler, P.L.; Jordan, F.; Artiola, J.

    2009-01-01

    Saline waste waters from industrial and water treatment processes are an under-utilized resource in desert urban environments. Management practices to safely use these water sources are still in development. We used a deeprooted native halophyte, Atriplex lentiformis (quailbush), to absorb mildly saline effluent (1800 mg l-1 total dissolved solids, mainly sodium sulfate) from a water treatment plant in the desert community of Twentynine Palms, California. We developed a deficit irrigation strategy to avoid discharging water past the root zone to the aquifer. The plants were irrigated at about one-third the rate of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) calculated from meteorological data over five years and soil moisture levels were monitored to a soil depth of 4.7 m at monthly intervals with a neutron hydroprobe. The deficit irrigation schedule maintained the soil below field capacity throughout the study. Water was presented on a more or less constant schedule, so that the application rates were less than ETo in summer and equal to or slightly greater than ETo in winter, but the plants were able to consume water stored in the profile in winter to support summer ET. Sodium salts gradually increased in the soil profile over the study but sulfate levels remained low, due to formation of gypsum in the calcic soil. The high salt tolerance, deep roots, and drought tolerance of desert halophytes such as A. lentiformis lend these plants to use as deficit-irrigated landscape plants for disposal of effluents in urban setting when protection of the aquifer is important. ?? 2008 Elsevier B.V.

  3. Oxalosis in wild desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacobson, Elliott R.; Berry, Kristin H.; Stacy, Brian; Huzella, Louis M.; Kalasinsky, Victor F.; Fleetwood, Michelle L.; Mense, Mark G.

    2009-01-01

    We necropsied a moribund, wild adult male desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) with clinical signs of respiratory disease and elevated plasma biochemical analytes indicative of renal disease (blood urea nitrogen [415 mg/dl], uric acid [11.8 mg/dl], sodium >180 mmol/l] and chloride [139 mmol/l]). Moderate numbers of birefringent oxalate crystals, based on infrared and electron microscopy, were present within renal tubules; small numbers were seen in colloid within thyroid follicles. A retrospective analysis of 66 additional cases of wild desert tortoises was conducted to determine whether similar crystals were present in thyroid and kidney. The tortoises, from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, were necropsied between 1992 and 2003 and included juveniles and adults. Tortoises were classified as healthy (those that died due to trauma and where no disease was identified after necropsy and evaluation by standard laboratory tests used for other tortoises) or not healthy (having one or more diseases or lesions). For all 67 necropsied tortoises, small numbers of crystals of similar appearance were present in thyroid glands from 44 of 54 cases (81%) and in kidneys from three of 65 cases (5%). Presence of oxalates did not differ significantly between healthy and unhealthy tortoises, between age classes, or between desert region, and their presence was considered an incidental finding. Small numbers of oxalate crystals seen within the kidney of two additional tortoises also were considered an incidental finding. Although the source of the calcium oxalate could not be determined, desert tortoises are herbivores, and a plant origin seems most likely. Studies are needed to evaluate the oxalate content of plants consumed by desert tortoises, and particularly those in the area where the tortoise in renal failure was found.

  4. Effects of Altered Temperature & Precipitation on Soil Bacterial & Microfaunal Communities as Mediated by Biological Soil Crusts

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Neher, Deborah A. [University of Vermont

    2004-08-31

    With increased temperatures in our original pot study we observed a decline in lichen/moss crust cover and with that a decline in carbon and nitrogen fixation, and thus a probable decline of C and N input into crusts and soils. Soil bacteria and fauna were affected negatively by increased temperature in both light and dark crusts, and with movement from cool to hot and hot to hotter desert climates. Crust microbial biomass and relative abundance of diazotrophs was reduced greatly after one year, even in pots that were not moved from their original location, although no change in diazotroph community structure was observed. Populations of soil fauna moved from cool to hot deserts were affected more negatively than those moved from hot to hotter deserts.

  5. Jojoba could stop the desert creep

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1982-03-25

    The Sahara desert is estimated to be expanding at a rate of 5km a year. The Sudanese government is experimenting with jojoba in six different regions as the bush has the potential to stop this ''desert creep''. The plant, a native to Mexico, is long known for its resistance to drought and for the versatile liquid wax that can be extracted from its seeds. It is estimated that one hectare of mature plants could produce 3000 kg of oil, currently selling at $50 per litre, and so earn valuable foreign currency.

  6. CAMEL REARING IN CHOLISTAN DESERT OF PAKISTAN

    OpenAIRE

    I. ALI, M. SHAFIQ CHAUDHRY1 AND U. FAROOQ

    2009-01-01

    The camel is one of the typical and the best adopted animals of the desert, capable of enduring thirst and hunger for days and is the most patient of land animals. For desert nomads of Pakistani Cholistan, it is a beloved companion, a source of milk and meat, transport facility provider and a racing/dancing animal, thus, playing an important role in the socioeconomic uplift of the local community. Camels of Marrecha or Mahra breed are mainly used for riding and load carrying but may be traine...

  7. Resource Pulses in Desert River Habitats: Productivity-Biodiversity Hotspots, or Mirages?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Free, Carissa L.; Baxter, Greg S.; Dickman, Christopher R.; Leung, Luke K. P.

    2013-01-01

    Resource pulses in the world's hot deserts are driven largely by rainfall and are highly variable in both time and space. However, run-on areas and drainage lines in arid regions receive more water more often than adjacent habitats, and frequently sustain relatively high levels of primary productivity. These landscape features therefore may support higher biotic diversity than other habitats, and potentially act as refuges for desert vertebrates and other biota during droughts. We used the ephemeral Field River in the Simpson Desert, central Australia, as a case study to quantify how resources and habitat characteristics vary spatially and temporally along the riparian corridor. Levels of moisture and nutrients were greater in the clay-dominated soils of the riverine corridor than in the surrounding sand dunes, as were cover values of trees, annual grasses, other annual plants and litter; these resources and habitat features were also greater near the main catchment area than in the distal reaches where the river channel runs out into extensive dune fields. These observations confirm that the riverine corridor is more productive than the surrounding desert, and support the idea that it may act as a refuge or as a channel for the ingress of peri-desert species. However, the work also demonstrates that species diversity of invertebrates and plants is not higher within the river corridor; rather, it is driven by rainfall and the accompanying increase in annual plants following a rain event. Further research is required to identify the biota that depend upon these resource pulses. PMID:24124446

  8. Pre-treating Seed to Enhance Germination of Desert Shrubs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    W. K. Ostler; D. C. Anderson; D. J. Hansen

    2002-06-01

    Creosotebush [Larrea tridentata (D.C.) Cav.] and white bursage [Ambrosia dumosa (A. Gray) W.W. Payne] seeds were subjected to pre-treatments of rinsing and soaking in water and thiourea to enhance germination in laboratory experiments. The effects of darkness, temperature, seed source, and soil moisture were also evaluated in the laboratory. The best pre-treatment from the laboratory experiments, rinsing with water for 36 hours followed by drying, was field-tested at Fort Irwin, California. Two sites and two seeding dates (early March and mid April) were determined for each site. Five mulch treatments (no mulch, straw, gravel, chemical stabilizer, and plastic) were evaluated in combination with the seed pre-treatments. Field emergence was greatly enhanced with the seed pre-treatment for white bursage during the March (18-42% increase in germination) and April seedings (16-23% increase in germination). Creosotebush showed poor germination during March (2-5%) when soil temperatures averaged 15 C, but germination increased during the April trials (6-43%) when soil temperatures averaged 23 C. The seed pre-treatment during the April trials increased germination from 16-23%. The plastic mulch treatment increased germination dramatically during both the March and April trials. The plastic mulch increased soil temperatures (8-10 C)and maintained high humidity during germination. Both the chemical stabilizer and the gravel mulches improved germination over the control while the straw mulch decreased germination. These results suggest that seed pre-treatments combined with irrigation and mulch are effective techniques to establish these two dominant Mojave Desert species from seed.

  9. Spatial solar radiation distribution analysis in afforestation at horqin desert, China

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hao, A.; Haraguchi, T.; Nakano, Y.; Amaya, T.

    2007-01-01

    Forestation is one of the effective ways to prevent the desertification. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of big project of forestation going on at Naimanki, Horqin Desert in China. First, a simulation model was proposed to estimate solar radiation environment in the poplars forest. Second, using fisheye-photographs taken at several points on the soil surface between tree rows, gap space of the canopy was calculated with applying the Gap Light Analyzer (GLA). Third, the gap space data were used for simulating direct radiation, diffused radiation and scattered radiation at different points on the soil surface. Fourth, the accuracy of simulation model was checked by comparing the estimated solar radiations at four points on the soil surface with the observation. The estimated values showed good agreement with the observation. Once the fisheye-photographs were taken at any points on the soil surface, daily fluctuations of solar radiation in the forestation can be calculated. Solar radiation acts main role on energy balance, heat balance and water balance phenomena in the forestation. The proposed method would be effectively used for evaluating the environmental modification brought by the forestation in the desert

  10. Divining Jordan's desert waters | IDRC - International Development ...

    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Digital Library (Canada)

    ... in the area have a long history of being water-conservers, and the idea of using the ... Dr Abu-Jaber examined is covered by an ancient, volcanic rock called basalt. ... When a desert cloudburst drops rain on the area, the raindrops quickly roll ...

  11. Liquid Water Restricts Habitability in Extreme Deserts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cockell, Charles S; Brown, Sarah; Landenmark, Hanna; Samuels, Toby; Siddall, Rebecca; Wadsworth, Jennifer

    2017-04-01

    Liquid water is a requirement for biochemistry, yet under some circumstances it is deleterious to life. Here, we show that liquid water reduces the upper temperature survival limit for two extremophilic photosynthetic microorganisms (Gloeocapsa and Chroococcidiopsis spp.) by greater than 40°C under hydrated conditions compared to desiccated conditions. Under hydrated conditions, thermal stress causes protein inactivation as shown by the fluorescein diacetate assay. The presence of water was also found to enhance the deleterious effects of freeze-thaw in Chroococcidiopsis sp. In the presence of water, short-wavelength UV radiation more effectively kills Gloeocapsa sp. colonies, which we hypothesize is caused by factors including the greater penetration of UV radiation into hydrated colonies compared to desiccated colonies. The data predict that deserts where maximum thermal stress or irradiation occurs in conjunction with the presence of liquid water may be less habitable to some organisms than more extreme arid deserts where organisms can dehydrate prior to being exposed to these extremes, thus minimizing thermal and radiation damage. Life in extreme deserts is poised between the deleterious effects of the presence and the lack of liquid water. Key Words: Deserts-Extremophiles-Stress-High temperatures-UV radiation-Desiccation. Astrobiology 17, 309-318.

  12. Preventing desert locust plagues: optimizing management interventions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Huis, van A.; Cressman, K.; Magor, J.I.

    2007-01-01

    Solitarious desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål) (Orthoptera: Acrididae), inhabit the central, arid, and semi-arid parts of the species¿ invasion area in Africa, the Middle East, and South-West Asia. Their annual migration circuit takes them downwind to breed sequentially where winter,

  13. Abiotic drivers of Chihuahuan Desert plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laura Marie Ladwig

    2014-01-01

    Within grasslands, precipitation, fire, nitrogen (N) addition, and extreme temperatures influence community composition and ecosystem function. The differential influences of these abiotic factors on Chihuahuan Desert grassland communities was examined within the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, located in central New Mexico, U.S.A. Although fire is a natural...

  14. Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabo, John L.; Sinha, Tushar; Bowling, Laura C.; Schoups, Gerrit H.W.; Wallender, Wesley W.; Campana, Michael E.; Cherkauer, Keith A.; Fuller, Pam L.; Graf, William L.; Hopmans, Jan W.; Kominoski, John S.; Taylor, Carissa; Trimble, Stanley W.; Webb, Robert H.; Wohl, Ellen E.

    2010-01-01

    Increasing human appropriation of freshwater resources presents a tangible limit to the sustainability of cities, agriculture, and ecosystems in the western United States. Marc Reisner tackles this theme in his 1986 classic Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water. Reisner's analysis paints a portrait of region-wide hydrologic dysfunction in the western United States, suggesting that the storage capacity of reservoirs will be impaired by sediment infilling, croplands will be rendered infertile by salt, and water scarcity will pit growing desert cities against agribusiness in the face of dwindling water resources. Here we evaluate these claims using the best available data and scientific tools. Our analysis provides strong scientific support for many of Reisner's claims, except the notion that reservoir storage is imminently threatened by sediment. More broadly, we estimate that the equivalent of nearly 76% of streamflow in the Cadillac Desert region is currently appropriated by humans, and this figure could rise to nearly 86% under a doubling of the region's population. Thus, Reisner's incisive journalism led him to the same conclusions as those rendered by copious data, modern scientific tools, and the application of a more genuine scientific method. We close with a prospectus for reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert, including a suite of recommendations for reducing region-wide human appropriation of streamflow to a target level of 60%.

  15. Evapotranspiration partitioning, stomatal conductance, and components of the water balance: A special case of a desert ecosystem in China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Wenzhi; Liu, Bing; Chang, Xuexiang; Yang, Qiyue; Yang, Yuting; Liu, Zhiling; Cleverly, James; Eamus, Derek

    2016-07-01

    Partitioning evapotranspiration (ET) into its components reveals details of the processes that underlie ecosystem hydrologic budgets and their feedback to the water cycle. We measured rates of actual evapotranspiration (ETa), canopy transpiration (Tc), soil evaporation (Eg), canopy-intercepted precipitation (EI), and patterns of stomatal conductance of the desert shrub Calligonum mongolicum in northern China to determine the water balance of this ecosystem. The ETa was 251 ± 8 mm during the growing period, while EI, Tc, and Eg accounted for 3.2%, 63.9%, and 31.3%, respectively, of total water use (256 ± 4 mm) during the growing period. In this unique ecosystem, groundwater was the main water source for plant transpiration and soil evaporation, Tc and exceeded 60% of the total annual water used by desert plants. ET was not sensitive to air temperature in this unique desert ecosystem. Partitioning ET into its components improves our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie adaptation of desert shrubs, especially the role of stomatal regulation of Tc as a determinant of ecosystem water balance.

  16. The diversity and abundance of bacteria and oxygenic phototrophs in saline biological desert crusts in Xinjiang, northwest China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Ke; Liu, Ruyin; Zhang, Hongxun; Yun, Juanli

    2013-07-01

    Although microorganisms, particularly oxygenic phototrophs, are known as the major players in the biogeochemical cycles of elements in desert soil ecosystems and have received extensive attention, still little is known about the effects of salinity on the composition and abundances of microbial community in desert soils. In this study, the diversity and abundance of bacteria and oxygenic phototrophs in biological desert crusts from Xinjiang province, which were under different salinity conditions, were investigated by using clone library and quantitative PCR (qPCR). The 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analysis showed that cyanobacteria, mainly Microcoleus vagnitus of the order Oscillatoriales, were predominant in the low saline crusts, while other phototrophs, such as diatom, were the main microorganism group responsible for the oxygenic photosynthesis in the high saline crusts. Furthermore, the higher salt content in crusts may stimulate the growth of other bacteria, including Deinococcus-Thermus, Bacteroidetes, and some subdivisions of Proteobacteria (β-, γ-, and δ-Proteobacteria). The cpcBA-IGS gene analysis revealed the existence of novel M. vagnitus strains in this area. The qPCR results showed that the abundance of oxygenic phototrophs was significantly higher under lower saline condition than that in the higher saline crusts, suggesting that the higher salinity in desert crusts could suppress the numbers of total bacteria and phototrophic bacteria but did highly improve the diversity of salt-tolerant bacteria.

  17. Comparisons of diazotrophic communities in native and agricultural desert ecosystems reveal plants as important drivers in diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Köberl, Martina; Erlacher, Armin; Ramadan, Elshahat M; El-Arabi, Tarek F; Müller, Henry; Bragina, Anastasia; Berg, Gabriele

    2016-02-01

    Diazotrophs provide the only biological source of fixed atmospheric nitrogen in the biosphere. Although they are the key player for plant-available nitrogen, less is known about their diversity and potential importance in arid ecosystems. We investigated the nitrogenase gene diversity in native and agricultural desert soil as well as within root-associated microbiota of medicinal plants grown in Egypt through the combination of nifH-specific qPCR, fingerprints, amplicon pyrosequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization-confocal laser scanning microscopy. Although the diazotrophic microbiota were characterized by generally high abundances and diversity, statistically significant differences were found between both soils, the different microhabitats, and between the investigated plants (Matricaria chamomilla L., Calendula officinalis L. and Solanum distichum Schumach. and Thonn.). We observed a considerable community shift from desert to agriculturally used soil that demonstrated a higher abundance and diversity in the agro-ecosystem. The endorhiza was characterized by lower abundances and only a subset of species when compared to the rhizosphere. While the microbiomes of the Asteraceae were similar and dominated by potential root-nodulating rhizobia acquired primarily from soil, the perennial S. distichum generally formed associations with free-living nitrogen fixers. These results underline the importance of diazotrophs in desert ecosystems and additionally identify plants as important drivers in functional gene pool diversity. © FEMS 2015.

  18. Transport of biologically important nutrients by wind in an eroding cold desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sankey, Joel B.; Germino, Matthew J.; Benner, Shawn G.; Glenn, Nancy F.; Hoover, Amber N.

    2012-01-01

    Wind erosion following fire is an important landscape process that can result in the redistribution of ecologically important soil resources. In this study we evaluated the potential for a fire patch in a desert shrubland to serve as a source of biologically important nutrients to the adjacent, downwind, unburned ecosystem. We analyzed nutrient concentrations (P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Mn, Al) in wind-transported sediments, and soils from burned and adjacent unburned surfaces, collected during the first to second growing seasons after a wildfire that burned in 2007 in Idaho, USA in sagebrush steppe; a type of cold desert shrubland. We also evaluated the timing of potential wind erosion events and weather conditions that might have contributed to nutrient availability in downwind shrubland. Findings indicated that post-fire wind erosion resulted in an important, but transient, addition of nutrients on the downwind shrubland. Aeolian sediments from the burned area were enriched relative to both the up- and down-wind soil and indicated the potential for a fertilization effect through the deposition of the nutrient-enriched sediment during the first, but not second, summer after wildfire. Weather conditions that could have produced nutrient transport events might have provided increased soil moisture necessary to make nutrients accessible for plants in the desert environment. Wind transport of nutrients following fire is likely important in the sagebrush steppe as it could contribute to pulses of resource availability that might, for example, affect plant species differently depending on their phenology, and nutrient- and water-use requirements.

  19. Environmental considerations in a high desert, crude oil pipeline spill

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lowe, M.A.; Mancini, E.R.; Chamberlain, D.W.; Albright, G.R.

    1993-01-01

    A road grader punctured a high-pressure crude oil pipeline in the California high desert resulting in the release of approximately 4,200 barrels of Alaska North Slope crude oil. Oil sprayed over a steeply sloped hillside and flowed into an adjacent, densely vegetated ephemeral stream channel which carried secondary treatment sewage discharge. Three underflow dams were constructed in the channel within 2.8 km of the site. To ensure containment at the first dam, the sewage discharge was diverted from the channel, eventually to an upland impulse sprinkler irrigation system. Channel water and phase-separated ANS crude oil, impounded behind the first dam, percolated through alluvial sands/gravels to a depth of about five meters. The oil percolated through the soils on the receding surface of the water, affecting soils to an equivalent depth and saturating a horizontally narrow band of stream-bank soils as much as two to four meters into the bank. Stream channel undergrowth and a small number of mature trees were cleared to provide access for cleanup and/or to remove oiled plants. A large number of trees experienced partial leaf-drop within 25 days of the spill while two heavily oiled trees died. New vegetative growth was evident within five weeks of the spill. Site restoration included planting cuttings of five riparian tree species and hydroseeding exposed banks. Total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations ranged from not detectable to 203,000 parts per million and averaged approximately 25,000 ppm in affected soils as sampled in place and in stockpiles. Approximately 30,000 tons of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil was excavated from the length of the stream channel (3,600 tons) as well as the area behind the first dam and spill site (26,400 tons). All soils were staged on site for waste profiling and final disposition. After treatment, the contaminated soil was beneficially reused as daily cover at a southern California landfill at a turnkey cost of approximately $57/ton

  20. Characterization of a desert soil sequence at Yucca Mountain, NV

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Guertal, W.R.; Hofmann, L.L. Hudson, D.B.; Flint, A.L.

    1994-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is currently being evaluated as a potential site for a geologic repository for high level radioactive waste. Hydrologic evaluation of the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain is being conducted as an integrated set of surface and subsurface-based activities with a common objective to characterize the temporal and spatial distribution of water flux through the potential repository. Yucca Mountain is covered with a thin to thick layer of colluvial/alluvial materials, where there are not bedrock outcrops. It is across this surface boundary that all infiltration and all exfiltration occurs. This surface boundary effects water movement through the unsaturated zone. Characterization of the hydrologic properties of surficial materials is then a necessary step for short term characterization goals and for long term modeling

  1. Geology and geochemistry of the Atacama Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tapia, J; González, R; Townley, B; Oliveros, V; Álvarez, F; Aguilar, G; Menzies, A; Calderón, M

    2018-02-14

    The Atacama Desert, the driest of its kind on Earth, hosts a number of unique geological and geochemical features that make it unlike any other environment on the planet. Considering its location on the western border of South America, between 17 and 28 °S, its climate has been characterized as arid to hyperarid for at least the past 10 million years. Notably dry climatic conditions of the Atacama Desert have been related to uplift of the Andes and are believed to have played an important role in the development of the most distinctive features of this desert, including: (i) nitrates and iodine deposits in the Central Depression, (ii) secondary enrichment in porphyry copper deposits in the Precordillera, (iii) Li enrichment in salt flats of the Altiplano, and (iv) life in extreme habitats. The geology and physiography of the Atacama Desert have been largely shaped by the convergent margin present since the Mesozoic era. The geochemistry of surface materials is related to rock geochemistry (Co, Cr, Fe, Mn, V, and Zn), salt flats, and evaporite compositions in endorheic basins (As, B, and Li), in addition to anthropogenic activities (Cu, Mo, and Pb). The composition of surface water is highly variable, nonetheless in general it presents a circumneutral pH with higher conductivity and total dissolved solids in brines. Major water constituents, with the exception of HCO 3 - , are generally related to the increase of salinity, and despite the fact that trace elements are not well-documented, surface waters of the Atacama Desert are enriched in As, B, and Li when compared to the average respective concentrations in rivers worldwide.

  2. Investigation of microbial diversity in a desert Mars-like environment: Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Direito, Maria Susana; Staats, Martijn; Foing, Bernard H.; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Roling, Wilfred

    The Utah Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) harbours geo-morphology and geo-processes analogues to the planet Mars. Soil samples were collected during the EuroGeoMars campaign (from 24 January to 1 March 2009) from different locations and depths [1]. Samples were distributed among scientific collaborator institutes for analysis of microbial diversity, amino acid content and degradation, content of PAH or larger organic molecules, and respective soil properties. Our sample analysis had the objective of characterizing the microbial communities in this Mars analogue: DNA isolation, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) using primers for DNA amplification of Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene fragments, DGGE (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis) and clone library construction with the final aim of sequencing. Results indicate that life is present in all the three domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya), while the most diversity was found in the domain Bacteria. Microorgan-isms are heterogeneously present and their identities are currently investigated. The obtained information will be later related to the other scientific analysis in order to obtain a better understanding of this Mars analogue site, which in turn will provide important information for the search for life on Mars. [1] Foing, B.H. et al . (2009). Exogeolab lander/rover instruments and EuroGeoMars MDRS campaign. LPI, 40, 2567.

  3. Novel green algal isolates from the Egyptian hyper-arid desert oases: a polyphasic approach with a description of Pharao desertorum gen. et sp. nov. (Chlorophyceae, Chlorophyta).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saber, Abdullah A; Fučíková, Karolina; McManus, Hilary A; Guella, Graziano; Cantonati, Marco

    2018-03-30

    The biodiversity of terrestrial algae is still grossly understudied, and African deserts in particular are barely touched in this respect. Here, four coccoid green algae from oases in the Western Desert of Egypt were characterized using a combination of morphotaxonomic, ecological and 18S rDNA data, with additional carotenoid and lipid analyses for two of the strains. Three strains were identified as affiliated with known taxa: Mychonastes sp., Asterarcys sp. (first report of this genus from a desert soil), and Stichococcus cf. deasonii. The fourth strain is proposed to represent a new cryptic genus Pharao gen. nov., with the type species P. desertorum sp. nov. The new taxon is sister to the clade of uncharacterized North American desert strains of Radiococcaceae (Chlorophyceae, Chlorophyta). The pigment profile of P. desertorum gen. et sp. nov. revealed carotenoids and chlorophylls typical of green algae. Bioorganic analysis showed a complex lipidome based on phospho- (PC), galacto- (MGDG and DGDG), betaine- (DGTS), and sulfoquinovosyl- (SQDG) membrane lipids, besides significant amounts of storage neutral lipids such as diacyl- (DAG) and triacylglycerols (TAG). The presence of saturated alkyl chains within all the membrane lipid classes in P. desertorum and Asterarcys sp. appears to reflect the need to maintain membrane fluidity and viscosity. In summary, African deserts likely still harbor new taxa to be described, and lipidomic analyses of such taxa may provide clues about their ability to survive in the extremely harsh desert habitats. © 2018 Phycological Society of America.

  4. Natural recovery of different areas of a deserted quarry in South China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    DUAN Wenjun; REN Hai; FU Shenglei; WANG Jun; YANG Long; ZHANG Jinping

    2008-01-01

    A quarry is a surface mining operated place, which produces enormous quantities of gravel, limestone, and other materials for industrial and construction applications. Restoration and revegetation of deserted quarries are becoming increasingly important. Three areas of a typical quarry in South China: terrace for crushed materials (terrace), spoiled mound, and remaining side slope, were investigated, to compare the existing plant species and to study the relationship between environmental factors and revegetation. The plant species composition of these three areas was found to differ significantly after eight years of natural recovery. The typical plant communities found over them were composed of gramineous herbs, fems, and shrubs. Soil organic matter, soil moisture, and soil bulk density were considered to be the major determining factors for vegetation succession. There existed abiotic and biotic thresholds during quarrying restoration. Suggestions had been presented that could have accelerated the process of natural recovery in quarries.

  5. Dynamics of carbon 14 in soils: a review

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Tamponnet, C.

    2004-01-01

    In terrestrial ecosystems, soil is the main interface between atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. Its interactions with carbon cycle are primordial. Information about carbon 14 dynamics in soils is quite dispersed and an up-to-date status is therefore presented in this paper. Carbon 14 dynamics in soils are governed by physical processes (soil structure, soil aggregation, soil erosion) chemical processes (sequestration by soil components either mineral or organic), and soil biological processes (soil microbes, soil fauna, soil biochemistry). The relative importance of such processes varied remarkably among the various biomes (tropical forest, temperate forest, boreal forest, tropical savannah, temperate pastures, deserts, tundra, marshlands, agro ecosystems) encountered in the terrestrial eco-sphere. Moreover, application for a simplified modelling of carbon 14 dynamics in soils is proposed. (author)

  6. Synthesis, Characterization, and Application of Superhydrophobic Sands in Desert Agriculture

    KAUST Repository

    Reihmer, Joel W.

    2017-04-01

    A sustainable supply of fresh water for the human population is a global concern. Intriguingly, about 70% of the total fresh water consumed in the world annually is claimed by agriculture alone; this fraction is even higher in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where natural regeneration of groundwater is the slowest. Thus, there is a serious need for innovative materials and technologies to enhance the efficiency water usage in agriculture. To this end, plastic mulches have been employed across the developed world to minimize evaporative loss of water from top-soils. While plastic mulches are inexpensive, they do require specialized farm machinery for installation and long processing times. On one hand, plastic mulches have proven to increase crop yields, but on the other their non-biodegradability poses serious environmental concerns. In response, development of low-cost bio-/photo-degradable artificial mulches remains an area of intense research. In this thesis, we report on a novel superhydrophobic material exploiting inexpensive simple components to reduce the amount of water required for irrigation in agriculture by suppressing evaporative losses from the top-soil. Our material consists of ordinary beach sand coated with < 20 nm thick layer of paraffin wax. We synthesized and extensively characterized our material and applied them as mulches for tomato and barley plants at the KAUST greenhouse. We found that when a ~5 mm thick layer of superhydrophobic sand was placed onto the top-soil in pots, it dramatically suppressed evaporative losses and significantly enhanced the yields. Our preliminary field-scale experiments with tomatoes and barley crops at the Hada Al Sham site corroborate these results. Our approach might find applications in desert agriculture and other fields and alleviate water stress in the MENA region.

  7. Soil micromorphogenesis and Early Holocene paleoclimate at the desert margin of Southern Arabia Micromorfoedafogénesis y paleoclima del Holoceno Inferior en el márgen desértico del sur de Arabia Micromorfogénese do solo e paleoclima inicial do Holoceno na margem deserta do Sul da Arábia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter Kühn

    2013-07-01

    Full Text Available The Ramlat as-Sab'atayn desert margin near Ma'rib, Yemen, displays well-preserved Early Holocene paleosols that are documented by micromorphological and pedological data. The buried soils, which are represented by Ahb horizons, indicate soil formation mostly before 8.3 cal ka BP. In contrast, sandy cover sediments without signs of pedogenesis appeared between 8.3 and 6.6 cal ka BP due to increasing aridity. Characteristic micromorphological features of the cover sediments are a single grain microstructure, crystallitic b-fabric, predominant occurrence of fresh sideromelane, and remnants of microlayers. Micromorphological pedogenic features in the buried Ah horizons include a subangular blocky microstructure, undifferentiated b-fabric as a result of enrichment of organic matter and decalcification, and the predominant occurrence of completely altered sideromelane. Most of these horizons appeared to be nearly completely decalcified so that in parts a stipple speckled b-fabric and neoformed clay coatings could be detected as a result of stronger weathering and soil formation. Pedogenic data provide important information about Holocene climate fluctuations, including the amount of precipitation, which was calculated on the basis of geochemical data from buried A, AB and B horizons. The buried paleosols represent moist climate conditions with precipitation ranging from 400 to 600 mm a-1.En los márgenes del desierto Ramlat as-Sab'atayn, cerca de Ma'rib (Yemen, se encuentran paleosuelos del Holoceno Inferior bien conservados que se documentan con datos micromorfológicos y edáficos. Los suelos enterrados, representados por horizontes Ahb, indican que se formaron mayoritariamente antes de hace 8,3 ka. Por el contrario, los sedimentos arenosos que los cubren sin rasgos de edafogénesis se depositaron posteriormente debido a una aridez creciente hasta hace 6,6 ka. Los rasgos micromorfológicos de los sedimentos arenosos están caracterizados por una

  8. Higher assimilation than respiration sensitivity to drought for a desert ecosystem in Central Asia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gu, Daxing; Otieno, Dennis; Huang, Yuqing; Wang, Quan

    2017-12-31

    Responses of ecosystem assimilation and respiration to global climate change vary considerably among terrestrial ecosystems constrained by both biotic and abiotic factors. In this study, net CO 2 exchange between ecosystem and atmosphere (NEE) was measured over a 4-year period (2013-2016) using eddy covariance technology in a desert ecosystem in Central Asia. Ecosystem assimilation (gross primary production, GPP) and respiration (R eco ) were derived from NEE by fitting light response curves to NEE data based on day- and nighttime data, and their responses to soil water content (SWC) and evaporative fraction (EF) were assessed during the growing season. Results indicated that both GPP and R eco linearly decreased with declining SWC, with the sensitivity of GPP to SWC being 3.8 times higher than that of R eco during the entire growing season. As a result, ecosystem CO 2 sequestration capacity decreased from 4.00μmolm -2 s -1 to 1.00μmolm -2 s -1 , with increasing soil drought . On a seasonal scale, significant correlation between GPP and SWC was only found in spring while that between R eco and SWC was found in all growing seasons with the sensitivity increasing steadily from spring to autumn. EF had a low correlation with SWC, GPP and R eco (R 2 =0.03, 0.02, 0.05, respectively), indicating that EF was not a good proxy for soil drought and energy partitioning was not tightly coupled to ecosystem carbon exchanges in this desert ecosystem. The study deepens our knowledge of ecosystem carbon exchange and its response to drought as well as its coupling with ecosystem energy partitioning in an extreme dry desert. The information is critical for better assessing carbon sequestration capacity in dryland, and for understanding its feedback to climate change. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  9. Biomass and nutrient allocation strategies in a desert ecosystem in the Hexi Corridor, northwest China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Ke; Su, YongZhong; Yang, Rong

    2017-07-01

    The allocation of biomass and nutrients in plants is a crucial factor in understanding the process of plant structures and dynamics to different environmental conditions. In this study, we present a comprehensive scaling analysis of data from a desert ecosystem to determine biomass and nutrient (carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P)) allocation strategies of desert plants from 40 sites in the Hexi Corridor. We found that the biomass and levels of C, N, and P storage were higher in shoots than in roots. Roots biomass and nutrient storage were concentrated at a soil depth of 0-30 cm. Scaling relationships of biomass, C storage, and P storage between shoots and roots were isometric, but that of N storage was allometric. Results of a redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that soil nutrient densities were the primary factors influencing biomass and nutrient allocation, accounting for 94.5% of the explained proportion. However, mean annual precipitation was the primary factor influencing the roots biomass/shoots biomass (R/S) ratio. Furthermore, Pearson's correlations and regression analyses demonstrated that although the biomass and nutrients that associated with functional traits primarily depended on soil conditions, mean annual precipitation and mean annual temperature had greater effects on roots biomass and nutrient storage.

  10. The spatial distribution and temporal variation of desert riparian forests and their influencing factors in the downstream Heihe River basin, China

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ding, Jingyi; Zhao, Wenwu; Daryanto, Stefani; Wang, Lixin; Fan, Hao; Feng, Qiang; Wang, Yaping

    2017-05-01

    Desert riparian forests are the main restored vegetation community in Heihe River basin. They provide critical habitats and a variety of ecosystem services in this arid environment. Since desert riparian forests are also sensitive to disturbance, examining the spatial distribution and temporal variation of these forests and their influencing factors is important to determine the limiting factors of vegetation recovery after long-term restoration. In this study, field experiment and remote sensing data were used to determine the spatial distribution and temporal variation of desert riparian forests and their relationship with the environmental factors. We classified five types of vegetation communities at different distances from the river channel. Community coverage and diversity formed a bimodal pattern, peaking at the distances of 1000 and 3000 m from the river channel. In general, the temporal normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) trend from 2000 to 2014 was positive at different distances from the river channel, except for the region closest to the river bank (i.e. within 500 m from the river channel), which had been undergoing degradation since 2011. The spatial distribution of desert riparian forests was mainly influenced by the spatial heterogeneity of soil properties (e.g. soil moisture, bulk density and soil particle composition). Meanwhile, while the temporal variation of vegetation was affected by both the spatial heterogeneity of soil properties (e.g. soil moisture and soil particle composition) and to a lesser extent, the temporal variation of water availability (e.g. annual average and variability of groundwater, soil moisture and runoff). Since surface (0-30 cm) and deep (100-200 cm) soil moisture, bulk density and the annual average of soil moisture at 100 cm obtained from the remote sensing data were regarded as major determining factors of community distribution and temporal variation, conservation measures that protect the soil structure

  11. Contrasting water use pattern of introduced and native plants in an alpine desert ecosystem, Northeast Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, China

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wu, Huawu; Li, Xiao-Yan; Jiang, Zhiyun; Chen, Huiying; Zhang, Cicheng; Xiao, Xiong

    2016-01-01

    Plant water use patterns reflect the complex interactions between different functional types and environmental conditions in water-limited ecosystems. However, the mechanisms underlying the water use patterns of plants in the alpine desert of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau remain poorly understood. This study investigated seasonal variations in the water sources of herbs (Carex moorcroftii, Astragalus adsurgens) and shrubs (Artemisia oxycephala, Hippophae rhamnoides) using stable oxygen-18 isotope methods. The results indicated that the native herbs (C. moorcroftii, A. adsurgens) and one of the shrubs (A. oxycephala) mainly relied on water from the shallow layer (0–30 cm) throughout the growing season, while the introduced shrub (H. rhamnoides) showed plasticity in switching between water from shallow and deep soil layers depending on soil water availability. All studied plants primarily depended on water from shallow soil layers early in the season. The differences of water use patterns between the introduced and native plants are closely linked with the range of active root zones when competing for water. Our findings will facilitate the mechanistic understanding of plant–soil–water relations in alpine desert ecosystems and provide information for screening introduced species for sand fixation. - Highlights: • Stable oxygen-18 in soil water experienced great evaporation enrichment. • H. rhamnoides experiences a flexible plasticity to switch between shallow and deep soil water. • Native plants mostly relied on shallow and middle soil water. • Water-use patterns by introduced-native plants are controlled by root characteristics.

  12. Desert wetlands in the geologic record

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pigati, Jeff S.; Rech, Jason A.; Quade, Jay; Bright, Jordon; Edwards, L.; Springer, A.

    2014-01-01

    Desert wetlands support flora and fauna in a variety of hydrologic settings, including seeps, springs, marshes, wet meadows, ponds, and spring pools. Over time, eolian, alluvial, and fluvial sediments become trapped in these settings by a combination of wet ground conditions and dense plant cover. The result is a unique combination of clastic sediments, chemical precipitates, and organic matter that is preserved in the geologic record as ground-water discharge (GWD) deposits. GWD deposits contain information on the timing and magnitude of past changes in water-table levels and, therefore, are a potential source of paleohydrologic and paleoclimatic information. In addition, they can be important archeological and paleontological archives because desert wetlands provide reliable sources of fresh water, and thus act as focal points for human and faunal activities, in some of the world's harshest and driest lands. Here, we review some of the physical, sedimentological, and geochemical characteristics common to GWD deposits, and provide a contextual framework that researchers can use to identify and interpret geologic deposits associated with desert wetlands. We discuss several lines of evidence used to differentiate GWD deposits from lake deposits (they are commonly confused), and examine how various types of microbiota and depositional facies aid in reconstructing past environmental and hydrologic conditions. We also review how late Quaternary GWD deposits are dated, as well as methods used to investigate desert wetlands deeper in geologic time. We end by evaluating the strengths and limitations of hydrologic and climatic records derived from GWD deposits, and suggest several avenues of potential future research to further develop and utilize these unique and complex systems.

  13. Biology of the Central Desert of Oman

    OpenAIRE

    GHAZANFAR, Shahina A

    2004-01-01

    A biological survey of the central desert of Oman was done using long distance transects. Vegetation was sparse and consisted of 200+ plant species, 22 species of mammals, 17 species of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 50 species of birds (migratory and resident). Three main vegetation types were identified based on ground substrate and the dominance of species. These were communities with Acacia Willd., Zygophyllum L., and open woodlands of Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce. Over-grazing a...

  14. Joint by Design: The Western Desert Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-05-21

    Introduction Seated in a dusty tent, finally cooling in the Egyptian night, the “Desert Fox” had a serious problem. German Lieutenant General Erwin...Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture , 2nd ed. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2006), 30-32. 65 Lewin, Montgomery, 121. 29 Allies...Benghazi and Tobruk, and the Egyptian port of Matruh were operating at 60 percent of their potential capacity. By the end of August, the Axis loss rate of

  15. Extrafloral nectar fuels ant life in deserts

    OpenAIRE

    Aranda-Rickert, Adriana; Diez, Patricia; Marazzi, Brigitte

    2014-01-01

    Interactions mediated by extrafloral nectary (EFN)-bearing plants that reward ants with a sweet liquid secretion are well documented in temperate and tropical habitats. However, their distribution and abundance in deserts are poorly known. In this study, we test the predictions that biotic interactions between EFN plants and ants are abundant and common also in arid communities and that EFNs are only functional when new vegetative and reproductive structures are developing. In a seasonal dese...

  16. Modeling nitrate leaching and optimizing water and nitrogen management under irrigated maize in desert oases in Northwestern China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Kelin; Li, Yong; Chen, Weiping; Chen, Deli; Wei, Yongping; Edis, Robert; Li, Baoguo; Huang, Yuanfang; Zhang, Yuanpei

    2010-01-01

    Understanding water and N transport through the soil profile is important for efficient irrigation and nutrient management to minimize nitrate leaching to the groundwater, and to promote agricultural sustainable development in desert oases. In this study, a process-based water and nitrogen management model (WNMM) was used to simulate soil water movement, nitrate transport, and crop growth (maize [Zea mays L.]) under desert oasis conditions in northwestern China. The model was calibrated and validated with a field experiment. The model simulation results showed that about 35% of total water input and 58% of the total N input were leached to <1.8 m depth under traditional management practice. Excessive irrigation and N fertilizer application, high nitrate concentration in the irrigation water, together with the sandy soil texture, resulted in large nitrate leaching. Nitrate leaching was significantly reduced under the improved management practice suggested by farm extension personnel; however, the water and nitrate inputs still far exceeded the crop requirements. More than 1700 scenarios combining various types of irrigation and fertilizer practices were simulated. Quantitative analysis was conducted to obtain the best management practices (BMPs) with simultaneous consideration of crop yield, water use efficiency, fertilizer N use efficiency, and nitrate leaching. The results indicated that the BMPs under the specific desert oasis conditions are to irrigate the maize with 600 mm of water in eight times with a single fertilizer application at a rate of 75 kg N ha(-1).

  17. In situ metabolism in halite endolithic microbial communities of the hyperarid Atacama Desert

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alfonso F Davila

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available The Atacama Desert of northern Chile is one of the driest regions on Earth, with areas that exclude plants and where soils have extremely low microbial biomass. However, in the driest parts of the desert there are microorganisms that colonize the interior of halite nodules in fossil continental evaporites, where they are sustained by condensation of atmospheric water triggered by the salt substrate. Using a combination of in situ observations of variable chlorophyll fluorescence and controlled laboratory experiments, we show that this endolithic community is capable of carbon fixation both through oxygenic photosynthesis and potentially ammonia oxidation. We also present evidence that photosynthetic activity is finely tuned to moisture availability and solar insolation and can be sustained for days, and perhaps longer, after a wetting event. This is the first demonstration of in situ active metabolism in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert, and it provides the basis for proposing a self-contained, endolithic community that relies exclusively on non-rainfall sources of water. Our results contribute to an increasing body of evidence that even in hyperarid environments active metabolism, adaptation and growth can occur in highly specialized microhabitats.

  18. Liquid Water Restricts Habitability in Extreme Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cockell, Charles S.; Brown, Sarah; Landenmark, Hanna; Samuels, Toby; Siddall, Rebecca; Wadsworth, Jennifer

    2017-04-01

    Liquid water is a requirement for biochemistry, yet under some circumstances it is deleterious to life. Here, we show that liquid water reduces the upper temperature survival limit for two extremophilic photosynthetic microorganisms (Gloeocapsa and Chroococcidiopsis spp.) by greater than 40°C under hydrated conditions compared to desiccated conditions. Under hydrated conditions, thermal stress causes protein inactivation as shown by the fluorescein diacetate assay. The presence of water was also found to enhance the deleterious effects of freeze-thaw in Chroococcidiopsis sp. In the presence of water, short-wavelength UV radiation more effectively kills Gloeocapsa sp. colonies, which we hypothesize is caused by factors including the greater penetration of UV radiation into hydrated colonies compared to desiccated colonies. The data predict that deserts where maximum thermal stress or irradiation occurs in conjunction with the presence of liquid water may be less habitable to some organisms than more extreme arid deserts where organisms can dehydrate prior to being exposed to these extremes, thus minimizing thermal and radiation damage. Life in extreme deserts is poised between the deleterious effects of the presence and the lack of liquid water.

  19. The Palm Desert renewable [hydrogen] transportation system

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Chamberlin, C.E.; Lehman, P. [Humboldt State Univ., Arcata, CA (United States). Schatz Energy Research Center

    1998-08-01

    This paper describes the Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) progress on the Palm Desert Renewable Hydrogen Transportation System Project for the period June 1997 through May 1998. The project began in March 1996. The goal of the Palm Desert Project is to develop a clean and sustainable transportation system for a community. The project demonstrates the practical utility of hydrogen as a transportation fuel and the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell as a vehicle power system. The project includes designing and building 4 fuel cell powered vehicles, a solar hydrogen generating and refueling station, and a fuel cell vehicle diagnostic center. Over this last year, SERC has built a fuel cell powered neighborhood electric vehicle and delivered it to the City of Palm Desert. The design of the hydrogen refueling station is near completion and it is anticipated that construction will be complete in the fall of 1998. The vehicles are currently being refueled at a temporary refueling station. The diagnostic center is being designed and maintenance procedures as well as computer diagnostic programs for the fuel cell vehicles are being developed. City employees are driving the vehicles daily and monitoring data are being collected. The drivers are pleased with the performance of the vehicles.

  20. ON PHYTOCOENOTICAL MAPPING OF CASPIAN DESERT REGION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. SAFRONOVA

    2004-05-01

    Full Text Available The phytoecological map (l :2.500.000 for Desert Region, including the Caspian Lowland and the Mangyshlak. has been compiled. It gives an idea of latitudinal differentiation cf vegetation. Edaphic variants and lithological composition in low mountains. The legend has been constructed according to zonal-typological principle e using an ecological-phytocoenotic classification. Heterogeneity of vegetation is reflected by means of territoria1 units (complex, series, combination and additional marks above the vegetation background. In the northern subzone vegetation is fairly monotonous and characterized by prevalence of wormwood communities (Artemisia of subgenus Seriphidium, joined in three formations: Artemisia lerchiana, A. arenaria. A. pauciflora. Small areas are occupied by shrub deserts of Calligollum aphyllum and Tamarix ramosissima. To southward of 47° N in the middle subzone on the Caspian Lowland the communities of halophyte perennial saltworts essential1y dominate, and to less extent-wormwood communities of hemipsammophytic Artemisia terrae-albae and psammophytic Artemisia arenaria and A. lerchiana. Deserts of Mangyshlak are much diverse. Dwarf semishrubs are presented by species of perennial saltworts (Anabasis salsa, Nanophyton erinaceum,Arthrophytum lehnwnianum, Salsola orientaUs and wonnwood (Artemisia terrae-albae, A. gurganica. A. santolina. To southward of 43° N in the southern subzone dwarf semishrub Salsola gemmascens and Artemisia kemrudica corrnnunities prevail.

  1. ON PHYTOCOENOTICAL MAPPING OF CASPIAN DESERT REGION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. SAFRONOVA

    2004-01-01

    Full Text Available The phytoecological map (l :2.500.000 for Desert Region, including the Caspian Lowland and the Mangyshlak. has been compiled. It gives an idea of latitudinal differentiation cf vegetation. Edaphic variants and lithological composition in low mountains. The legend has been constructed according to zonal-typological principle e using an ecological-phytocoenotic classification. Heterogeneity of vegetation is reflected by means of territoria1 units (complex, series, combination and additional marks above the vegetation background. In the northern subzone vegetation is fairly monotonous and characterized by prevalence of wormwood communities (Artemisia of subgenus Seriphidium, joined in three formations: Artemisia lerchiana, A. arenaria. A. pauciflora. Small areas are occupied by shrub deserts of Calligollum aphyllum and Tamarix ramosissima. To southward of 47° N in the middle subzone on the Caspian Lowland the communities of halophyte perennial saltworts essential1y dominate, and to less extent-wormwood communities of hemipsammophytic Artemisia terrae-albae and psammophytic Artemisia arenaria and A. lerchiana. Deserts of Mangyshlak are much diverse. Dwarf semishrubs are presented by species of perennial saltworts (Anabasis salsa, Nanophyton erinaceum,Arthrophytum lehnwnianum, Salsola orientaUs and wonnwood (Artemisia terrae-albae, A. gurganica. A. santolina. To southward of 43° N in the southern subzone dwarf semishrub Salsola gemmascens and Artemisia kemrudica corrnnunities prevail.

  2. CAMEL REARING IN CHOLISTAN DESERT OF PAKISTAN

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I. ALI, M. SHAFIQ CHAUDHRY1 AND U. FAROOQ

    2009-05-01

    Full Text Available The camel is one of the typical and the best adopted animals of the desert, capable of enduring thirst and hunger for days and is the most patient of land animals. For desert nomads of Pakistani Cholistan, it is a beloved companion, a source of milk and meat, transport facility provider and a racing/dancing animal, thus, playing an important role in the socioeconomic uplift of the local community. Camels of Marrecha or Mahra breed are mainly used for riding and load carrying but may be trained for dancing or racing. Berella is another heavy and milch breed of camel famous for milk production and can produce upto 10-15 liters of milk per day. This breed is also suitable for draught purpose, though comparatively slow due to heavy body. The present paper also describes the traditional camel rearing system used by nomads of Cholistan desert. Some aspects of camel health, production, feeding, socio-economic values, marketing and some constraints and suggestions are also given so that the policy makers may consider them for the welfare of this animal.

  3. 77 FR 65133 - Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-10-25

    ... the California State Implementation Plan, Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District AGENCY... limited disapproval of revisions to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) portion of.... * * * * * (c) * * * (379) * * * (i) * * * (E) Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District. (1) Rule 1159...

  4. Nationwide desert highway assessment: a case study in China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mao, Xuesong; Wang, Fuchun; Wang, Binggang

    2011-07-01

    The natural environment affects the construction of desert highways. Conversely, highway construction affects the natural environment and puts the ecological environment at a disadvantage. To satisfy the variety and hierarchy of desert highway construction and discover the spatio-temporal distribution of the natural environment and its effect on highway construction engineering, an assessment of the natural regional divisions of desert highways in China is carried out for the first time. Based on the general principles and method for the natural region division, the principles, method and index system for desert highway assessment is put forward by combining the desert highway construction features and the azonal differentiation law. The index system combines the dominant indicator and four auxiliary indicators. The dominant indicator is defined by the desert's comprehensive state index and the auxiliary indicators include the sand dune height, the blown sand strength, the vegetation coverage ratio and the annual average temperature difference. First the region is divided according to the dominant indicator. Then the region boundaries are amended according to the four auxiliary indicators. Finally the natural region division map for desert highway assessment is presented. The Chinese desert highways can be divided into three sections: the east medium effect region, the middle medium-severe effect region, and the west slight-medium effect region. The natural region division map effectively paves the way for the route planning, design, construction, maintenance and ongoing management of desert highways, and further helps environmental protection.

  5. The provenance of Taklamakan desert sand

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rittner, Martin; Vermeesch, Pieter; Carter, Andrew; Bird, Anna; Stevens, Thomas; Garzanti, Eduardo; Andò, Sergio; Vezzoli, Giovanni; Dutt, Ripul; Xu, Zhiwei; Lu, Huayu

    2016-03-01

    Sand migration in the vast Taklamakan desert within the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, PR China) is governed by two competing transport agents: wind and water, which work in diametrically opposed directions. Net aeolian transport is from northeast to south, while fluvial transport occurs from the south to the north and then west to east at the northern rim, due to a gradual northward slope of the underlying topography. We here present the first comprehensive provenance study of Taklamakan desert sand with the aim to characterise the interplay of these two transport mechanisms and their roles in the formation of the sand sea, and to consider the potential of the Tarim Basin as a contributing source to the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP). Our dataset comprises 39 aeolian and fluvial samples, which were characterised by detrital-zircon U-Pb geochronology, heavy-mineral, and bulk-petrography analyses. Although the inter-sample differences of all three datasets are subtle, a multivariate statistical analysis using multidimensional scaling (MDS) clearly shows that Tarim desert sand is most similar in composition to rivers draining the Kunlun Shan (south) and the Pamirs (west), and is distinctly different from sediment sources in the Tian Shan (north). A small set of samples from the Junggar Basin (north of the Tian Shan) yields different detrital compositions and age spectra than anywhere in the Tarim Basin, indicating that aeolian sediment exchange between the two basins is minimal. Although river transport dominates delivery of sand into the Tarim Basin, wind remobilises and reworks the sediment in the central sand sea. Characteristic signatures of main rivers can be traced from entrance into the basin to the terminus of the Tarim River, and those crossing the desert from the south to north can seasonally bypass sediment through the sand sea. Smaller ephemeral rivers from the Kunlun Shan end in the desert and discharge their sediment there. Both river run

  6. The Use of Water During the Crew 144, Mars Desert Research Station, Utah Desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Morais Mendonca Teles, Antonio

    2016-07-01

    Well. from November 29th to December 14th, 2014, the author conducted astrobiological and geological surveys, as analog astronaut member of the international Crew 144, at the site of the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station, located at a remote location in the Utah desert, United States. The use of water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, etc., in the crew was a major issue for consideration for a human expedition to the planet Mars in the future. The author would like to tell about the factors of the rationalized use of water.

  7. Cost estimates for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: a budgetary analysis

    OpenAIRE

    Johnson, J. Andrew.

    1991-01-01

    Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (DS/DS) presented unique challenges for estimating the cost of that conflict. This analysis reviews the cost estimates and methodologies developed for that purpose by DoD, CBO and GAO. It considers the budget climate and the role of foreign cash and in-kind contributions. Finally, it reviews the budgeting innovations used to provide and monitor DS/DS defense spending. At the outset of the crisis, costs were estimated to determine the defense funding requir...

  8. Bacterial community of cushion plant Thylacospermum ceaspitosum on elevational gradient in the Himalayan cold desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Řeháková, Klára; Chroňáková, Alica; Krištůfek, Václav; Kuchtová, Barbora; Čapková, Kateřina; Scharfen, Josef; Čapek, Petr; Doležal, Jiří

    2015-01-01

    Although bacterial assemblages are important components of soils in arid ecosystems, the knowledge about composition, life-strategies, and environmental drivers is still fragmentary, especially in remote high-elevation mountains. We compared the quality and quantity of heterotrophic bacterial assemblages between the rhizosphere of the dominant cushion-forming plant Thylacospermum ceaspitosum and its surrounding bulk soil in two mountain ranges (East Karakoram: 4850-5250 m and Little Tibet: 5350-5850 m), in communities from cold steppes to the subnival zone in Ladakh, arid Trans-Himalaya, northwest India. Bacterial communities were characterized by molecular fingerprinting in combination with culture-dependent methods. The effects of environmental factors (elevation, mountain range, and soil physico-chemical parameters) on the bacterial community composition and structure were tested by multivariate redundancy analysis and conditional inference trees. Actinobacteria dominate the cultivable part of community and represent a major bacterial lineage of cold desert soils. The most abundant genera were Streptomyces, Arthrobacter, and Paenibacillus, representing both r- and K-strategists. The soil texture is the most important factor for the community structure and the total bacteria counts. Less abundant and diverse assemblages are found in East Karakoram with coarser soils derived from leucogranite bedrock, while more diverse assemblages in Little Tibet are associated with finer soils derived from easily weathering gneisses. Cushion rhizosphere is in general less diverse than bulk soil, and contains more r-strategists. K-strategists are more associated with the extremes of the gradient, with drought at lowest elevations (4850-5000 m) and frost at the highest elevations (5750-5850 m). The present study illuminates the composition of soil bacterial assemblages in relation to the cushion plant T. ceaspitosum in a xeric environment and brings important information about

  9. A drought resistance-promoting microbiome is selected by root system under desert farming.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ramona Marasco

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Traditional agro-systems in arid areas are a bulwark for preserving soil stability and fertility, in the sight of "reverse desertification". Nevertheless, the impact of desert farming practices on the diversity and abundance of the plant associated microbiome is poorly characterized, including its functional role in supporting plant development under drought stress. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We assessed the structure of the microbiome associated to the drought-sensitive pepper plant (Capsicum annuum L. cultivated in a traditional Egyptian farm, focusing on microbe contribution to a crucial ecosystem service, i.e. plant growth under water deficit. The root system was dissected by sampling root/soil with a different degree of association to the plant: the endosphere, the rhizosphere and the root surrounding soil that were compared to the uncultivated soil. Bacterial community structure and diversity, determined by using Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis, differed according to the microhabitat, indicating a selective pressure determined by the plant activity. Similarly, culturable bacteria genera showed different distribution in the three root system fractions. Bacillus spp. (68% of the isolates were mainly recovered from the endosphere, while rhizosphere and the root surrounding soil fractions were dominated by Klebsiella spp. (61% and 44% respectively. Most of the isolates (95% presented in vitro multiple plant growth promoting (PGP activities and stress resistance capabilities, but their distribution was different among the root system fractions analyzed, with enhanced abilities for Bacillus and the rhizobacteria strains. We show that the C. annuum rhizosphere under desert farming enriched populations of PGP bacteria capable of enhancing plant photosynthetic activity and biomass synthesis (up to 40% under drought stress. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Crop cultivation provides critical ecosystem services in arid lands with the

  10. Are Wildlife Detector Dogs or People Better at Finding Desert Tortoises (Gopherus Agassizii)?

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Nussear, Kenneth E; Esque, Todd C; Heaton, Jill S; Cablk, Mary E; Drake, Kristina K; Valentin, Cindee; Yee, Julie L; Medica, Philip A

    2008-01-01

    .... Recent studies highlight the effectiveness of trained detector dogs to locate wildlife during field surveys, including Desert Tortoises in a semi-natural setting. Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii...

  11. Fauna-associated changes in chemical and biochemical properties of soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tripathi, G; Sharma, B M

    2006-12-01

    To study the impacts of abundance of woodlice, termites, and mites on some functional aspects of soil in order to elucidate the specific role of soil fauna in improving soil fertility in desert. Fauna-rich sites were selected as experimental sites and adjacent areas were taken as control. Soil samples were collected from both sites. Soil respiration was measured at both sites. The soil samples were sent to laboratory, their chemical and biochemical properties were analyzed. Woodlice showed 25% decrease in organic carbon and organic matter as compared to control site. Whereas termites and mites showed 58% and 16% decrease in organic carbon and organic matter. In contrast, available nitrogen (nitrate and ammonical both) and phosphorus exhibited 2-fold and 1.2-fold increase, respectively. Soil respiration and dehydrogenase activity at the sites rich in woodlice, termites and mites produced 2.5-, 3.5- and 2-fold increases, respectively as compared to their control values. Fauna-associated increase in these biological parameters clearly reflected fauna-induced microbial activity in soil. Maximum decrease in organic carbon and increase in nitrate-nitrogen and ammonical-nitrogen, available phosphorus, soil respiration and dehydrogenase activity were produced by termites and minimum by mites reflecting termite as an efficient soil improver in desert environment. The soil fauna-associated changes in chemical (organic carbon, nitrate-nitrogen, ammonical-nitrogen, phosphorus) and biochemical (soil respiration, dehydrogenase activity) properties of soil improve soil health and help in conservation of desert pedoecosystem.

  12. Desert Cyanobacteria under simulated space and Martian conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Billi, D.; Ghelardini, P.; Onofri, S.; Cockell, C. S.; Rabbow, E.; Horneck, G.

    2008-09-01

    The environment in space and on planets such as Mars, can be lethal to living organisms and high levels of tolerance to desiccation, cold and radiation are needed for survival: rock-inhabiting cyanobacteria belonging to the genus Chroococcidiopsis can fulfil these requirements [1]. These cyanobacteria constantly appear in the most extreme and dry habitats on Earth, including the McMurdo Dry Valleys (Antarctica) and the Atacama Desert (Chile), which are considered the closest terrestrial analogs of two Mars environmental extremes: cold and aridity. In their natural environment, these cyanobacteria occupy the last refuges for life inside porous rocks or at the stone-soil interfaces, where they survive in a dry, dormant state for prolonged periods. How desert strains of Chroococcidiopsis can dry without dying is only partially understood, even though experimental evidences support the existence of an interplay between mechanisms to avoid (or limit) DNA damage and repair it: i) desert strains of Chroococcidiopsis mend genome fragmentation induced by ionizing radiation [2]; ii) desiccation-survivors protect their genome from complete fragmentation; iii) in the dry state they show a survival to an unattenuated Martian UV flux greater than that of Bacillus subtilis spores [3], and even though they die following atmospheric entry after having orbited the Earth for 16 days [4], they survive to simulated shock pressures up to 10 GPa [5]. Recently additional experiments were carried out at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) of Cologne (Germany) in order to identify suitable biomarkers to investigate the survival of Chroococcidiopsis cells present in lichen-dominated communities, in view of their direct and long term space exposition on the International Space Station (ISS) in the framework of the LIchens and Fungi Experiments (LIFE, EXPOSEEuTEF, ESA). Multilayers of dried cells of strains CCMEE 134 (Beacon Valley, Antarctica), and CCMEE 123 (costal desert, Chile ), shielded by

  13. Comparison of trailside degradation across a gradient of trail use in the Sonoran Desert.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rowe, Helen Ivy; Tluczek, Melanie; Broatch, Jennifer; Gruber, Dan; Jones, Steve; Langenfeld, Debbie; McNamara, Peggy; Weinstein, Leona

    2018-02-01

    As recreational visitation to the Sonoran Desert increases, the concern of scientists, managers and advocates who manage its natural resources deepens. Although many studies have been conducted on trampling of undisturbed vegetation and the effects of trails on adjacent plant and soil communities, little such research has been conducted in the arid southwest. We sampled nine 450-m trail segments with different visitation levels in Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve over three years to understand the effects of visitation on soil erosion, trailside soil crusts and plant communities. Soil crust was reduced by 27-34% near medium and high use trails (an estimated peak rate of 13-70 visitors per hour) compared with control plots, but there was less than 1% reduction near low use trails (peak rate of two to four visitors per hour). We did not detect soil erosion in the center 80% of the trampled area of any of the trails. The number of perennial plant species dropped by less than one plant species on average, but perennial plant cover decreased by 7.5% in trailside plots compared with control plots 6 m off-trail. At the current levels of visitation, the primary management focus should be keeping people on the originally constructed trail tread surface to reduce impact to adjacent soil crusts. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Bio solids Effects in Chihuahuan Desert Rangelands: A Ten-Year Study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wester, D.B; Sosebee, R.E; Fish, E.B; Villalobos, J.C; Zartman, R.E; Gonzalez, R.M; Jurado, P.; Moffet, C.A

    2011-01-01

    Arid and semiarid rangelands are suitable for responsible bio solids application. Topical application is critical to avoid soil and vegetation disturbance. Surface-applied bio solids have long-lasting effects in these ecosystems. We conducted a 10-year research program investigating effects of bio solids applied at rates from 0 to 90 dry Mg ha -1 on soil water infiltration; runoff and leachate water quality; soil erosion; forage production and quality; seedling establishment; plant physiological responses; nitrogen dynamics; bio solids decomposition; and grazing animal behavior and management. Bio solids increased soil water infiltration and reduced erosion. Effects on soil water quality were observed only at the highest application rates. Bio solids increased soil nitrate-nitrogen. Bio solids increased forage production and improved forage quality. Bio solids increased leaf area of grasses; photosynthetic rates were not necessarily increased by bio solids. Bio solids effects on plant establishment are expected only under moderately favorable conditions. Over an 82-mo exposure period, total organic carbon, nitrogen, and total and available phosphorus decreased and inorganic matter increased. Grazing animals spent more time grazing, ruminating, and resting in bio solids-treated areas; positive effects on average daily gain were observed during periods of higher rainfall. Our results suggest that annual bio solids application rates of up to 18 Mg ha -1 are appropriate for desert rangelands.

  15. Comparison of remote sensing indices for monitoring of desert cienegas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Natalie R.; Norman, Laura M.; Villarreal, Miguel; Gass, Leila; Tiller, Ron; Salywon, Andrew

    2016-01-01

    This research considers the applicability of different vegetation indices at 30 m resolution for mapping and monitoring desert wetland (cienega) health and spatial extent through time at Cienega Creek in southeastern Arizona, USA. Multiple stressors including the risk of decadal-scale drought, the effects of current and predicted global warming, and continued anthropogenic pressures threaten aquatic habitats in the southwest and cienegas are recognized as important sites for conservation and restoration efforts. However, cienegas present a challenge to satellite-imagery based analysis due to their small size and mixed surface cover of open water, exposed soils, and vegetation. We created time series of five well-known vegetation indices using annual Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images retrieved during the April–June dry season, from 1984 to 2011 to map landscape-level distribution of wetlands and monitor the temporal dynamics of individual sites. Indices included the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), and the Normalized Difference Infrared Index (NDII). One topographic index, the Topographic Wetness Index (TWI), was analyzed to examine the utility of topography in mapping distribution of cienegas. Our results indicate that the NDII, calculated using Landsat TM band 5, outperforms the other indices at differentiating cienegas from riparian and upland sites, and was the best means to analyze change. As such, it offers a critical baseline for future studies that seek to extend the analysis of cienegas to other regions and time scales, and has broader applicability to the remote sensing of wetland features in arid landscapes.

  16. Effects of temporally persistent ant nests of soil protozoan communities and the abundance of morphological types of amoeba

    Science.gov (United States)

    We compared soil protozoan communities near ant nests with soil protozoans in reference soils 5m from the edge of any mounds. We sampled three species of Chihuahuan Desert ants that construct nests that persist for more than a decade: a seed harvester, Pogonomymex rugosus, a liquid feeding honey-po...

  17. [Water sources of Nitraria sibirica and response to precipitation in two desert habitats].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Hai; Zhao, Wen Zhi; He, Zhi Bin

    2017-07-18

    Nitraria sibirica usually exists in a form of nebkhas, and has strong ecological adaptability. The plant species has distinctive function for wind prevention and sand fixation, and resistance drought and salt. However, the water condition is still a limiting factor for the plant survival and development. In order to understand the water use strategy of the plant in different desert habitats, we selected the N. sibirica growing in sandy desert habitat and gravel desert habitat to study the seaso-nal variation of plant water sources and response to precipitation at the edge of the oasis of Linze in the Hexi Corridor. We measured the oxygen stable isotope of the plant stem water and the different potential water sources (precipitation, soil water and ground water), and used the IsoSource model to calculate the proportion of water sources from the potential water. The results showed that there were significant seasonal variation characteristics of δ 18 O value and water source of stem water for the plant in the two habitats. In the sandy habitat, the plant used more ground water in the less precipitation seasons including spring and fall, and more than 50% of the water sources absorbed from ground water. However, under the condition of gravel habitat, the plant could not achieve the ground water level depth of 11.5 m, and its water source was controlled by precipitation, which had large seasonal variability. The water sources of N. sibirica had significant responses to the change of precipitation in the two desert habitats. Following the rapid decrease of soil water content after the precipitation events, the plant in the sandy habitat turned to use the abundant ground water as the main sources of water, while the plant in the gravel habitat only used the less water from precipita-tion infiltration to the deep soil. Therefore, different water use strategies of the plant in the two habitats were the main reason for the difference in growth characteristics, and it had a

  18. Birds and conservation significance of the Namib Desert's least ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    -long Namib Desert and it remains the least known coastal wetland on a desert coast rich in shorebirds. Two surveys of the Baia dos Tigres region in 1999 and 2001 indicated a rich wetland bird diversity consisting of 25 species, with a total of ...

  19. Screening the Egyptian desert actinomycetes as candidates for new ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    In a screening program to study the antimicrobial activities of desert actinomycetes as potential producers of active metabolites, 75 actinomycete strains were isolated from the Egyptian desert habitats and tested. Out of the isolated 75 organisms, 32 (42.67%) showed activity against the used test organisms.

  20. Pastoralist rock art in the Black Desert of Jordan

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Brusgaard, N.O.

    2015-01-01

    This paper discusses the current problems that exist with the rock art research of the Black Desert in Jordan and presents some preliminary field results of the author’s research on the petroglyphs. It also explore the possibilities that the rock art affords to learn more about the elusive desert

  1. Pastoralist rock art in the Black Desert of Jordan

    OpenAIRE

    Brusgaard, N.O.

    2015-01-01

    This paper discusses the current problems that exist with the rock art research of the Black Desert in Jordan and presents some preliminary field results of the author’s research on the petroglyphs. It also explore the possibilities that the rock art affords to learn more about the elusive desert societies and the limitations about studying rock art in archaeologically unfamiliar territories.

  2. The politics of accessing desert land in Jordan

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Naber, Al Majd; Molle, Francois

    2016-01-01

    With the dramatic increase of the population in Jordan, the value of land has rocketed up. Urban sprawl into semi-desert or desert areas, initially not surveyed or settled by the British and considered as state land, has brought to the surface the problematic status of those lands. Likewise, the

  3. Aeromycobiota of Western Desert of Egypt | Ismail | African Journal ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The prevalence of airborne mycobiota at six different regions of Western desert (5 regions) and Eastern desert (1) of Egypt was determined using the exposed-plate method. A total of 44 genera, 102 species and one variety in addition to some unidentified yeasts and dark sterile mycelia were collected. Of the above, only 5 ...

  4. The Desert and the Sown Project in Northern Jordan

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kerner, Susanne

    2014-01-01

    The desert and sown project, which started in 1999 and continued in 2008-2009, studied the region between the settled areas east of Irbid and Ramtha and the surrounding desert at Mafraq (northern Jordan). Large parts of the material comes from the Palaeolithic period, while some smaller tells date...

  5. Desert tortoise use of burned habitat in the Eastern Mojave desert

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, Karla K.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; DeFalco, Lesley; Scoles, Sara; Modlin, Andrew T.; Medica, Philip A.

    2015-01-01

    Wildfires burned 24,254 ha of critical habitat designated for the recovery of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in southern Nevada during 2005. The proliferation of non-native annual grasses has increased wildfire frequency and extent in recent decades and continues to accelerate the conversion of tortoise habitat across the Mojave Desert. Immediate changes to vegetation are expected to reduce quality of critical habitat, yet whether tortoises will use burned and recovering habitat differently from intact unburned habitat is unknown. We compared movement patterns, home-range size, behavior, microhabitat use, reproduction, and survival for adult desert tortoises located in, and adjacent to, burned habitat to understand how tortoises respond to recovering burned habitat. Approximately 45% of home ranges in the post-fire environment contained burned habitat, and numerous observations (n = 12,223) corroborated tortoise use of both habitat types (52% unburned, 48% burned). Tortoises moved progressively deeper into burned habitat during the first 5 years following the fire, frequently foraging in burned habitats that had abundant annual plants, and returning to adjacent unburned habitat for cover provided by intact perennial vegetation. However, by years 6 and 7, the live cover of the short-lived herbaceous perennial desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) that typically re-colonizes burned areas declined, resulting in a contraction of tortoise movements from the burned areas. Health and egg production were similar between burned and unburned areas indicating that tortoises were able to acquire necessary resources using both areas. This study documents that adult Mojave desert tortoises continue to use habitat burned once by wildfire. Thus, continued management of this burned habitat may contribute toward the recovery of the species in the face of many sources of habitat loss.

  6. Algae-production in the desert

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hildebrand, H.

    1988-11-01

    The company Koor Food Ltd. (Israel) developed in co-operation with the Weizmann-Institute (Israel) a production-plant for the industrial cultivation of algae in the desert area of Elat. For almost a year now, they succeed in harvesting large amounts of algae material with the help of the intensive sun and the Red Sea water. The alga Dunaliella with the natural US -carotine, as well as the alga Spirulina with the high content of protein find their market in the food-, cosmetic- and pharma-industry. This article will give a survey of a yet here unusual project.

  7. Background aerosol composition in the Namib desert

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Annegarn, H.J.; Sellschop, J.P.F.; Van Grieken, R.E.; Winchester, J.W.

    The sulfur content of atmospheric particulate matter in non-urban areas is apparently rising above natural levels in the Northern Hemisphere. Sulfur emissions to the atmosphere are also increasing with increasing combustion of fossil fuels. Current research is being focussed not only on gaseous sulfur dioxide, but also on particulate forms, including sulfates and sulfuric acid. A global network of non urban studies using proton induced X-ray emission (PIXE) of which the sampling site at Gobabeb in the Namib desert is one, are developing a data base on which questions of natural levels of sulfur can be answered

  8. Fog water chemistry in the Namib desert, Namibia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eckardt, Frank D.; Schemenauer, Robert S.

    This study documents the ion concentrations and ion enrichment relative to sea water, in Namib Desert fog water, with the purpose of establishing its suitability for future fogwater collection schemes, while also examining claims that Namib Desert fog water carries exceptionally high concentrations of sulphate, which may be responsible for the formation of gypsum deposits in the desert. The work suggests that Namibian fog water is at least as clean as has been reported from other coastal deserts in South America and Arabia, and provides a source of very clean water for the coastal desert region of south-western Africa. It does not appear that fog is an efficient sulphur source for the formation of the gypsum deposits, unless rare events with high concentrations of marine sulphur compounds occur.

  9. Quadrulella texcalense sp. nov. from a Mexican desert: An unexpected new environment for hyalospheniid testate amoebae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pérez-Juárez, Horacio; Serrano-Vázquez, Angélica; Kosakyan, Anush; Mitchell, Edward A D; Rivera Aguilar, Víctor M; Lahr, Daniel J G; Hernández Moreno, Mayra M; Cuellar, Humberto Macías; Eguiarte, Luis E; Lara, Enrique

    2017-10-01

    Quadrulella (Amoebozoa, Arcellinida, Hyalospheniidae) is a genus of testate amoebae with unmistakable morphology, which secretes characteristic square plates to reinforce the test. They are mainly known from fens and freshwater habitats and have never been documented in deserts. We describe a new species, Quadrulella texcalense, from biological soil crusts in the intertropical desert of Tehuacán (state of Puebla, Mexico). Quadrulella texcalense occurred only at altitudes between 2140 and 2221m.a.s.l., together with the bryophyte genera Pseudocrossidium, Weissia, Bryum, Didymodon, Neohyophyla and Aloina. The soil was extremely dry (moisture of 1.97-2.6%), which contrasts sharply with previous reports for the Quadrulella genus. Single cell mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) barcoding of thirteen isolated cells showed an important morphological variability despite having all the same COI barcode sequence. Quadrulella texcalense was placed in a tree containing other Hyalsopheniidae, including a newly barcoded South African species, Q. elegans. Q. texcalense unambiguously branched within genus Quadrulella in a compact clade but with a long branch, suggesting accelerated evolution due to a transition towards a new environment and/or under-sampling. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  10. Desert Perennial Shrubs Shape the Microbial-Community Miscellany in Laimosphere and Phyllosphere Space.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martirosyan, Varsik; Unc, Adrian; Miller, Gad; Doniger, Tirza; Wachtel, Chaim; Steinberger, Yosef

    2016-10-01

    Microbial function, composition, and distribution play a fundamental role in ecosystem ecology. The interaction between desert plants and their associated microbes is expected to greatly affect their response to changes in this harsh environment. Using comparative analyses, we studied the impact of three desert shrubs, Atriplex halimus (A), Artemisia herba-alba (AHA), and Hammada scoparia (HS), on soil- and leaf-associated microbial communities. DNA extracted from the leaf surface and soil samples collected beneath the shrubs were used to study associated microbial diversity using a sequencing survey of variable regions of bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS1). We found that the composition of bacterial and fungal orders is plant-type-specific, indicating that each plant type provides a suitable and unique microenvironment. The different adaptive ecophysiological properties of the three plant species and the differential effect on their associated microbial composition point to the role of adaptation in the shaping of microbial diversity. Overall, our findings suggest a link between plant ecophysiological adaptation as a "temporary host" and the biotic-community parameters in extreme xeric environments.

  11. Hydration status and diurnal trophic interactions shape microbial community function in desert biocrusts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Minsu; Or, Dani

    2017-12-01

    Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are self-organised thin assemblies of microbes, lichens, and mosses that are ubiquitous in arid regions and serve as important ecological and biogeochemical hotspots. Biocrust ecological function is intricately shaped by strong gradients of water, light, oxygen, and dynamics in the abundance and spatial organisation of the microbial community within a few millimetres of the soil surface. We report a mechanistic model that links the biophysical and chemical processes that shape the functioning of biocrust representative microbial communities that interact trophically and respond dynamically to cycles of hydration, light, and temperature. The model captures key features of carbon and nitrogen cycling within biocrusts, such as microbial activity and distribution (during early stages of biocrust establishment) under diurnal cycles and the associated dynamics of biogeochemical fluxes at different hydration conditions. The study offers new insights into the highly dynamic and localised processes performed by microbial communities within thin desert biocrusts.

  12. Hydration status and diurnal trophic interactions shape microbial community function in desert biocrusts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Kim

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Biological soil crusts (biocrusts are self-organised thin assemblies of microbes, lichens, and mosses that are ubiquitous in arid regions and serve as important ecological and biogeochemical hotspots. Biocrust ecological function is intricately shaped by strong gradients of water, light, oxygen, and dynamics in the abundance and spatial organisation of the microbial community within a few millimetres of the soil surface. We report a mechanistic model that links the biophysical and chemical processes that shape the functioning of biocrust representative microbial communities that interact trophically and respond dynamically to cycles of hydration, light, and temperature. The model captures key features of carbon and nitrogen cycling within biocrusts, such as microbial activity and distribution (during early stages of biocrust establishment under diurnal cycles and the associated dynamics of biogeochemical fluxes at different hydration conditions. The study offers new insights into the highly dynamic and localised processes performed by microbial communities within thin desert biocrusts.

  13. Baseline studies in the desert ecosystem at East Mesa Geothermal Test Site, Imperial Valley, California

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Romney, E.M.; Wallace, A.; Lunt, O.R.; Ackerman, T.A.; Kinnear, J.E.

    1977-09-01

    Baseline data reported herein for soil, vegetation, and small mammal components of the East Mesa desert ecosystem represent a collection period from October 1975 to September 1977. Inasmuch as changes in salt balance from geothermal brine sources are of potential impact upon the ecosystem, considerable analytical effort was given to the determination of element constituents in soil, plant, and animal samples. A preliminary synthesis of data was done to investigate the heterogeneity of element constituents among the sampled population and to summarize results. Findings indicate that periodic sampling and chemical analysis of vegetation around an industrialized geothermal energy source is probably the best way to monitor the surrounding ecosystem for assuring containment of any resource pollutants.

  14. Screening the phytoremediation potential of desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides Gray) growing on mine tailings in Arizona, USA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Haque, Nazmul; Peralta-Videa, Jose R.; Jones, Gary L.; Gill, Thomas E.; Gardea-Torresdey, Jorge L.

    2008-01-01

    The metal concentrations in a copper mine tailings and desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides Gray) plants were investigated. The metal concentrations in plants, soil cover, and tailings were determined using ICP-OES. The concentration of copper, lead, molybdenum, chromium, zinc, arsenic, nickel, and cobalt in tailings was 526.4, 207.4, 89.1, 84.5, 51.7, 49.6, 39.7, and 35.6 mg kg -1 , respectively. The concentration of all elements in soil cover was 10-15% higher than that of the tailings, except for molybdenum. The concentration of copper, lead, molybdenum, chromium, zinc, arsenic, nickel, and cobalt in roots was 818.3, 151.9, 73.9, 57.1, 40.1, 44.6, 96.8, and 26.7 mg kg -1 and 1214.1, 107.3, 105.8, 105.5, 55.2, 36.9, 30.9, and 10.9 mg kg -1 for shoots, respectively. Considering the translocation factor, enrichment coefficient, and the accumulation factor, desert broom could be a potential hyperaccumulator of Cu, Pb, Cr, Zn, As, and Ni. - Desert broom, a potential hyperaccumulating plant to clean up Cu, Pb, Cr, Zn, As, Ni and Co from the mine tailings in AZ, USA