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Ecohydrological Controls on the Deposition of Non-rainfall Water, N, and P to Dryland Ecosystems

  • Christiane Runyan
  • Lixin Wang
  • Deborah Lawrence
  • Paolo D’Odorico
Chapter

Abstract

It is widely recognized that plant canopies can alter their local environment in ways that enhance their own productivity. “Islands of fertility” are associated with plant canopies in a variety of ecosystems (Kellman, J Ecol 67:565–577, 1979; Schlesinger and Pilmanis, Biogeochemistry 42:169–187, 1998; Matson, Oecologia 85:241–246, 1990; Schlesinger et al., Science 247:1043–1048, 1990; McGowan and Ledgard, J R Soc N Z 35:269–277, 2005) and are due in part to ecohydrological feedbacks (Charley and West, J Ecol 63:945–963, 1975; Wilson and Agnew, Adv Ecol Res 23:263–336, 1992; Rietkerk and van de Koppel, Oikos 79:69–76, 1997; Schlesinger et al., Science 247:1043–1048, 1990; D’Odorico et al., J Geophys Res 112:G04010, 2007; DeLonge, Hydrologically influenced feedbacks between phosphorus and vegetation in dry tropical forests, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2007; Ridolfi et al., Water Resour Res 44:W01435, 2008; Das et al., J Geophys Res 116, 2011; Chap.  17). Plant canopies may enable a positive feedback between vegetation and either fog water or nutrient deposition by acting as a large trapping surface to scavenge moisture, dust, and aerosols from the atmosphere (Rea et al., Environ Sci Technol 34:2418–2425, 2000). In dryland ecosystems, such a phenomenon has been documented whereby moisture was observed on plants and artificial surfaces, yet no visible moistening of the bare soil surface was evident (Kidron, Atmos Res 55:257–270, 2000). Plants have developed many distinct strategies to allow the use of fog water through the canopy (Wang et al., Wiley Interdiscip Rev Water 30:2077–2086, 2017). For example, some bromeliads in Mexico develop specialized trichomes (Andrade, J Trop Ecol 19:479–488, 2003), and several Crassula species located in the Namib Desert take water up through hydathodes and into their leaves (Martin and Willert, Plant Biol 2:229–242, 2000). Besides providing water sources, fog water can also aid in modifying the vegetation’s energy balance (Sudmeyer et al., J Hydrol 154:255–269, 1994), decrease transpiration (Barradas and Glez-MedellÚn, Int J Biometeorol 43:1–7, 1999), increase stomata conductance, and increase CO2 uptake (Martin and Willert, Plant Biol 2:229–242, 2000). Thus, changes in land cover have the potential to significantly alter water and nutrient dynamics in some ecosystems.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christiane Runyan
    • 1
  • Lixin Wang
    • 2
  • Deborah Lawrence
    • 3
  • Paolo D’Odorico
    • 4
  1. 1.Advanced Academic ProgramsJohns Hopkins UniversityWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesIndiana University-Purdue UniversityIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Science, Policy and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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