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Matimati, I., Musil, C.F., Raitt, L. and February, E. 2012. Non rainfall moisture interception by dwarf succulents and their relative abundance in an inland arid South African ecosystem. Ecohydrology, DOI: 10.1002/eco.1304


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Non rainfall moisture interception by dwarf succulents and their relative abundance in an inland arid South African ecosystem.

Summary / Notes:

Dwarf succulents persist in the arid Succulent Karoo despite the low-water storage capacities of their contracted leaves and stems that are inadequate for enduring severe and prolonged drought. We examined the contribution of non-rainfall moisture (fog, dew, water vapour) to the water budgets and relative abundance of two endemic dwarf succulents Agyroderma pearsonii and Cephalophyllum spissum. Non-rainfall moisture was measured with automated lysimeters containing bare quartz-gravel soils and introduced A. pearsonii and C. spissum individuals at hourly intervals spanning an 8-month wet winter to dry summer period. Total non-rainfall atmospheric moisture intercepted by the bare quartz-gravel substrate of 1376 mm, of which water vapour adsorption contributed 562 mm, fog 782 mm and dew 34 mm, was virtually equivalent to the rainfall amount of 1427 mm. Agyroderma pearsonii intercepted 2284 mm of non-rainfall moisture of which water vapour adsorption contributed 1171 mm, fog 1044 mm and dew 69 mm. This was nearly three times the non-rainfall amount of 887 mm y1 intercepted by C. spissum, of which water vapour contributed 443 mm, fog 413 mm and dew 31 mm. The greater quantity of non-rainfall moisture intercepted by A. pearsonii corresponded with its threefold greater leaf abundance and twofold greater canopy cover than that of C. spissum. We conclude that non-rainfall moisture, especially the absorption of atmospheric water vapour by soils and its uptake by the extensive network of superficial roots of dwarf quartz-field succulents are vital in sustaining their growth and survival and in determining their distributions and relative abundance. Keywords: fog, dew, water vapour, dwarf-succulent, inland-arid, interception.

Year: 2012

Type: Journal Article

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Matimati, I., Musil, C.F., Raitt, L. and February, E. 2012. Non rainfall moisture interception by dwarf succulents and their relative abundance in an inland arid South African ecosystem. Ecohydrology, DOI: 10.1002/eco.1304
  » More info & related results
2012 Journal Article291 kb pdf
Preview

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