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Matthew J. Germino and Keith Reinhardt Desert shrub responses to experimental modification of precipitation seasonality and soil depth: relationship to the two-layer hypothesis and ecohydrological niche Journal of Ecology 102

Article first published online: 14 MAY 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12266

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Sagebrush was more responsive to the seasonal timing of precipitation than to total annual precipitation. Factors that enhanced deep-water storage (deeper soils plus more winter precipitation) led to increases in Artemisia tridentata that were consistent with the two-layer hypothesis, and the contribution of shallow water to growth on these plots was consistent with the resource-pool hypothesis. However, shallow-soil water also had negative effects on sagebrush, suggesting an ecohydrological trade-off not considered in these or related theories. The interaction between precipitation timing and soil depth indicates that increased winter precipitation could lead to a mosaic of increases and decreases in A. tridentata across landscapes having variable soil depth.

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