Linking surface and subsurface properties of biocrusted and non-biocrusted habitats of fine-grained fluvial sediments (playas) from the Negev Desert

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Title:Linking surface and subsurface properties of biocrusted and non-biocrusted habitats of fine-grained fluvial sediments (playas) from the Negev Desert
Creators:
Kidron, Giora J.; kidron at mail dot huji dot ac dot il; Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram Campus, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, 64, 2, pp. 141-149
Uncontrolled Keywords:available water content, Loess, soil moisture

Abstract

With biocrusts playing a cardinal role in C and N fixation in arid zones, information regarding the factors that determine their limits of growth is of uttermost importance for the study of ecosystem structure and function. This is also the case in the western Negev dunefields, where although abundant on the sandy surfaces, biocrusts are scarce on finegrained (mainly loessial) sediments, termed playas. In the Nizzana research site (NRS), visibly distinct surfaces, with and without biocrusts were noted within a single playa. In an attempt to characterize these distinct surfaces, a set of random measurements were carried out, which included measurements of crack density, microrelief and chlorophyll content of the upper 0–1 cm. Following a cluster analysis, four distinct types of surfaces (hereafter habitats) were defined, one with substantial amount of chlorophyll content which can be regarded as biocrust (P4), and three non-crusted surfaces (P1–P3). Within each type, two 50 cm-deep pits were dug and the pH, electrical conductivity (EC) and fine (silt and clay) content (FC) of samples collected at 1–5, 5–10, 10–20, 20–30, 30–40 and 40–50 cm-depth were analyzed. In addition, periodical moisture measurements were carried out (in pairs) to a depth of 0–20 cm at each surface type during 2013/14. All non-crusted habitats (P1–P3) were characterized by loessial subsurface sediments. Conversely, P4 was either characterized by loessial subsurface sediments (and in this case it was characterized by a slightly concave surface) or having a sandy subsurface (at ~5–10 cm depth). While the non-crusted surfaces exhibited low moisture content, P4 exhibited deeper and higher moisture content explained either by the more sandy sediments or by lower water loss through runoff. The findings point to the close link between surface and subsurface properties and indicate that water availability may explain biocrust establishment and growth also at the loessial playa surfaces. Biocrusts may thus serve as bioindicators for habitats with high moisture content.

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Title:Linking surface and subsurface properties of biocrusted and non-biocrusted habitats of fine-grained fluvial sediments (playas) from the Negev Desert
Translated title:Linking surface and subsurface properties of biocrusted and non-biocrusted habitats of fine-grained fluvial sediments (playas) from the Negev Desert
Creators:
Kidron, Giora J.; kidron at mail dot huji dot ac dot il; Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram Campus, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
Uncontrolled Keywords:available water content, Loess, soil moisture
Subjects:T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Divisions:Mathematics, Physics and Earth Sciences > Institute of Hydrodynamics > Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics
Volume:64
Number:2
Page Range:pp. 141-149
ISSN:0042-790X
Publisher:Institute of Hydrology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Hydrodynamics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Related URLs:
URLURL Type
http://avi.lib.cas.cz/node/55Publisher
ID Code:8647
Item Type:Article
Deposited On:28 Jun 2016 14:05
Last Modified:28 Jun 2016 12:05

Citation

Kidron, Giora J. (2016) Linking surface and subsurface properties of biocrusted and non-biocrusted habitats of fine-grained fluvial sediments (playas) from the Negev Desert. Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, 64 (2). pp. 141-149. ISSN 0042-790X

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