Water source niche overlap increases with site moisture availability in woody perennials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Classical niche partitioning theory posits increased competition for and partitioning of the most limiting resource among coexisting species. Coexisting plant species may vary in rooting depth, reflecting niche partitioning in water source use. Our goal was to assess the soil water partitioning of woody plant communities across northern Arizona along an elevational moisture gradient using stem and soil water isotopes from two sampling periods to estimate the use of different water sources. We hypothesized that niche overlap of water sources would be higher and monsoon precipitation uptake would be lower at sites with higher moisture availability. Pairwise niche overlap of coexisting species was calculated using mixing model estimates of proportional water use for three sources. Across the moisture gradient, niche overlap increased with site moisture index (precipitation/potential evapotranspiration) across seasons, and site moisture index explained 37% of the variation in niche overlap of intermediate and deeper sources of water. Desert trees utilized more winter source water than desert shrubs, suggesting the partitioning of water sources between functional groups. However, seasonal differences in surface water use were primarily found at intermediate levels of site moisture availability. Our findings support classical niche partitioning theory in that plants exhibit higher overlap of water sources when water is not a limiting resource.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Ecology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 17 2018

Fingerprint

niche overlap
niches
moisture
niche partitioning
water
partitioning
water use
desert
deserts
soil water
potential evapotranspiration
resource
woody plant
rooting
functional group
woody plants
plant community
monsoon
shrub
evapotranspiration

Keywords

  • Coexistence
  • Moisture gradient
  • Niche overlap
  • Plant communities
  • Stable isotopes
  • Water source

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

Cite this

@article{2527b308e6ef4d76815a48da08a79553,
title = "Water source niche overlap increases with site moisture availability in woody perennials",
abstract = "Classical niche partitioning theory posits increased competition for and partitioning of the most limiting resource among coexisting species. Coexisting plant species may vary in rooting depth, reflecting niche partitioning in water source use. Our goal was to assess the soil water partitioning of woody plant communities across northern Arizona along an elevational moisture gradient using stem and soil water isotopes from two sampling periods to estimate the use of different water sources. We hypothesized that niche overlap of water sources would be higher and monsoon precipitation uptake would be lower at sites with higher moisture availability. Pairwise niche overlap of coexisting species was calculated using mixing model estimates of proportional water use for three sources. Across the moisture gradient, niche overlap increased with site moisture index (precipitation/potential evapotranspiration) across seasons, and site moisture index explained 37{\%} of the variation in niche overlap of intermediate and deeper sources of water. Desert trees utilized more winter source water than desert shrubs, suggesting the partitioning of water sources between functional groups. However, seasonal differences in surface water use were primarily found at intermediate levels of site moisture availability. Our findings support classical niche partitioning theory in that plants exhibit higher overlap of water sources when water is not a limiting resource.",
keywords = "Coexistence, Moisture gradient, Niche overlap, Plant communities, Stable isotopes, Water source",
author = "Guo, {Jessica S.} and Hungate, {Bruce A} and Kolb, {Thomas E} and Koch, {George W}",
year = "2018",
month = "4",
day = "17",
doi = "10.1007/s11258-018-0829-z",
language = "English (US)",
pages = "1--17",
journal = "Plant Ecology",
issn = "1385-0237",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Water source niche overlap increases with site moisture availability in woody perennials

AU - Guo, Jessica S.

AU - Hungate, Bruce A

AU - Kolb, Thomas E

AU - Koch, George W

PY - 2018/4/17

Y1 - 2018/4/17

N2 - Classical niche partitioning theory posits increased competition for and partitioning of the most limiting resource among coexisting species. Coexisting plant species may vary in rooting depth, reflecting niche partitioning in water source use. Our goal was to assess the soil water partitioning of woody plant communities across northern Arizona along an elevational moisture gradient using stem and soil water isotopes from two sampling periods to estimate the use of different water sources. We hypothesized that niche overlap of water sources would be higher and monsoon precipitation uptake would be lower at sites with higher moisture availability. Pairwise niche overlap of coexisting species was calculated using mixing model estimates of proportional water use for three sources. Across the moisture gradient, niche overlap increased with site moisture index (precipitation/potential evapotranspiration) across seasons, and site moisture index explained 37% of the variation in niche overlap of intermediate and deeper sources of water. Desert trees utilized more winter source water than desert shrubs, suggesting the partitioning of water sources between functional groups. However, seasonal differences in surface water use were primarily found at intermediate levels of site moisture availability. Our findings support classical niche partitioning theory in that plants exhibit higher overlap of water sources when water is not a limiting resource.

AB - Classical niche partitioning theory posits increased competition for and partitioning of the most limiting resource among coexisting species. Coexisting plant species may vary in rooting depth, reflecting niche partitioning in water source use. Our goal was to assess the soil water partitioning of woody plant communities across northern Arizona along an elevational moisture gradient using stem and soil water isotopes from two sampling periods to estimate the use of different water sources. We hypothesized that niche overlap of water sources would be higher and monsoon precipitation uptake would be lower at sites with higher moisture availability. Pairwise niche overlap of coexisting species was calculated using mixing model estimates of proportional water use for three sources. Across the moisture gradient, niche overlap increased with site moisture index (precipitation/potential evapotranspiration) across seasons, and site moisture index explained 37% of the variation in niche overlap of intermediate and deeper sources of water. Desert trees utilized more winter source water than desert shrubs, suggesting the partitioning of water sources between functional groups. However, seasonal differences in surface water use were primarily found at intermediate levels of site moisture availability. Our findings support classical niche partitioning theory in that plants exhibit higher overlap of water sources when water is not a limiting resource.

KW - Coexistence

KW - Moisture gradient

KW - Niche overlap

KW - Plant communities

KW - Stable isotopes

KW - Water source

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85045437490&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85045437490&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s11258-018-0829-z

DO - 10.1007/s11258-018-0829-z

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85045437490

SP - 1

EP - 17

JO - Plant Ecology

JF - Plant Ecology

SN - 1385-0237

ER -