GIORDANO Carla Valeria
Fine roots of Prosopis flexuosa trees in the field. Plant and soil variables that control their growth and depth distribution
GUEVARA, ARANZAZÚ; PANCOTTO, VERÓNICA; MASTRANTONIO, LEANDRO; GIORDANO, CARLA VALERIA
Año: 2018 vol. 219 p. 1399 - 1399
Fine root growth in natural vegetation is difficult to predict due to its regulation by soil and plant factors. Field studies in arid ecosystems show a variety of root responses to soil resources and to plant aboveground phenology that sometimes differ from root responses predicted by controlled experiments. There is a pressing need to cover a greater diversity of plant species and ecological scenarios in field studies. In this paper, we have studied fine roots of Prosopis flexuosa trees living with or without access to phreatic water in an inter-dune valley and a dune flank, respectively, in the Central Monte Desert, Argentina. We have described fine root growth over time and at different depths by rhizotron observations and soil core auger samples in relation to soil water and nutrients, tree crown phenology, plant water and nutrient status. We have found that surface soil moisture from rainfall is the variable that best predicts seasonal topsoil fine root growth. Access to groundwater advanced leaf sprouting with respect to rainfall, but did not advance root growth that stayed linked to rainfall in valley and dune flank trees. Trees without access to phreatic water produced deeper and thicker or denser roots, which is consistent with the poor soil resource content of dunes. Variations in rainfall dynamics due to global climate change may have a particular impact on fine roots and ecosystem processes such as biogeochemistry and carbon budget in dune flank trees as well as in valley trees.