|The complex interactions in desert ecosystems between functional types and environmental conditions could be reflected by plant water use patterns. However, the mechanisms underlying the water use patterns as well as the water sources of Tamarix laxa in the mega-dunes of the Badain Jaran Desert, China, remain unclear. This study investigated the water sources and water use patterns of T. laxa using the stable oxygen isotope method. The δ18O values of xylem water, soil water in different layers (0–200 cm), rainwater, snow water, lake water, atmospheric water vapor, condensate water, and groundwater were measured. The sources of water used by T. laxa were determined using the IsoSource model. The results indicate that T. laxa mainly relies on soil water. At the beginning of the growing season (in May), the species is primarily dependent on water from the middle soil layer (60–120 cm) and deep soil layer (120–200 cm). However, it mainly absorbs water from the shallow soil layer (0–60 cm) as the rainy season commences. In September, water use of T. laxa reverts to the deep soil layer (120–200 cm). The water use patterns of T. laxa are closely linked with heavy precipitation events and soil water content. These findings reveal the drought resistance mechanisms of T. laxa and are of significance for screening species for ecological restoration.|
Effects of sludge utilization on the mobility and phytoavailability of heavy metals in soil-plant systems have attracted broad attention in recent years. In this study, we analyzed the effects of municipal sludge compost (MSC) on the solubility and plant uptake of Cd, Ni, Cu, Zn and Pb in a soil-potato system to explore the mobility, potato plant uptake and enrichment of these five heavy metals in sierozem soils amended with MSC through a potato cultivation trial in Lanzhou University of China in 2014. Ridge regression analysis was conducted to investigate the phytoavailability of heavy metals in amended soils. Furthermore, CaCl2, CH3COONH4, CH3COOH, diethylene triamine pentacetic acid (DTPA) and ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) were used to extract the labile fraction of heavy metals from the amended soils. The results show that the MSC could not only improve the fertility but also increase the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content of sierozem soils. The total concentrations and labile fraction proportions of heavy metals increase with increasing MSC percentage in sierozem soils. In amended soils, Cd has the highest solubility and mobility while Ni has the lowest solubility and mobility among the five heavy metals. The MSC increases the concentrations of heavy metals in the root, stem, peel and tuber of the potato plant, with the concentrations being much higher in the stem and root than in the peel and tuber. Among the five heavy metals, the bioconcentration factor value of Cd is the highest, while that of Ni is the lowest. The complexing agent (DTPA and EDTA) extractable fractions of heavy metals are the highest in terms of phytoavailability. Soil properties (including organic matter, pH and DOC) have important impacts on the phytoavailability of heavy metals. Our results suggest that in soil-potato systems, although the MSC may improve soil fertility, it can also increase the risk of soils exposed to heavy metals.