Resource pulses in desert river habitats: productivity-biodiversity hotspots, or mirages?

Free, Carissa L., Baxter, Greg S., Dickman, Christopher R. and Leung, Luke K. P. (2013) Resource pulses in desert river habitats: productivity-biodiversity hotspots, or mirages?. PloS One, 8 10: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072690

Author Free, Carissa L.
Baxter, Greg S.
Dickman, Christopher R.
Leung, Luke K. P.
Title Resource pulses in desert river habitats: productivity-biodiversity hotspots, or mirages?
Journal name PloS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2013-10-04
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0072690
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 10
Total pages 13
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Subject 2700 Medicine
1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Resource pulses in the world’s hot deserts are driven largely by rainfall and are highly variable in both time and space. However, run-on areas and drainage lines in arid regions receive more water more often than adjacent habitats, and frequently sustain relatively high levels of primary productivity. These landscape features therefore may support higher biotic diversity than other habitats, and potentially act as refuges for desert vertebrates and other biota during droughts. We used the ephemeral Field River in the Simpson Desert, central Australia, as a case study to quantify how resources and habitat characteristics vary spatially and temporally along the riparian corridor. Levels of moisture and nutrients were greater in the clay-dominated soils of the riverine corridor than in the surrounding sand dunes, as were cover values of trees, annual grasses, other annual plants and litter; these resources and habitat features were also greater near the main catchment area than in the distal reaches where the river channel runs out into extensive dune fields. These observations confirm that the riverine corridor is more productive than the surrounding desert, and support the idea that it may act as a refuge or as a channel for the ingress of peri-desert species. However, the work also demonstrates that species diversity of invertebrates and plants is not higher within the river corridor; rather, it is driven by rainfall and the accompanying increase in annual plants following a rain event. Further research is required to identify the biota that depend upon these resource pulses.
Keyword Arid central Australia
Dasyurid marsupials
Sandridge desert
Agamid lizards
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article # e72690

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 24 Nov 2013, 10:24:42 EST by System User on behalf of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences