Jump to Main Content
Carbon Balance Limits the Microdistribution of Grimmia laevigata, a Desiccation‐Tolerant Plant
- Alpert, Peter, Oechel, Walter C.
- Ecology 1985 v.66 no.3 pp. 660-669
- carbon, carbon dioxide, chaparral, drought, dry environmental conditions, drying, microhabitats, models, mosses and liverworts, temperature, water content, California
- Despite their ability to tolerate long and severe drought and extreme temperature, desiccation—tolerant plants are typically excluded from the most xeric microhabitats. It was hypothesized that this is due to an inability of the plants to maintain a positive cumulative carbon balance during repeated cycles of wetting and drying under highly xeric conditions. To test this hypothesis, the response of net CO₂ flux to light, temperature, plant water content, and previous desiccation were measured in the desiccation—tolerant moss Grimmia laevigata, the dominant green plant on exposed granitic boulders in the inland chaparral of San Diego County California. Patterns of net CO₂ flux and results from a simple model of carbon balance were consistent with the hypothesis.