Tight Coupling Between Shoot Level Foliar N and P, Leaf Area, and Shoot Growth in Arctic Dwarf Shrubs Under Simulated Climate Change
Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, Abisko Scientific Research Station2016 (English)In: Ecosystems (New York. Print), ISSN 1432-9840, E-ISSN 1435-0629, Vol. 19, no 2, 326-338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Nutrient availability limits productivity of arctic ecosystems, and this constraint means that the amount of nitrogen (N) in plant canopies is an exceptionally strong predictor of vegetation productivity. However, climate change is predicted to increase nutrient availability leading to increases in carbon sequestration and shifts in community structure to more productive species. Despite tight coupling of productivity with canopy nutrients at the vegetation scale, it remains unknown how species/shoot level foliar nutrients couple to growth, or how climate change may influence foliar nutrients–productivity relationships to drive changes in ecosystem carbon gain and community structure. We investigated the influence of climate change on arctic plant growth relationships to shoot level foliar N and phosphorus (P) in three dominant subarctic dwarf shrubs using an 18-year warming and nutrient addition experiment. We found a tight coupling between total leaf N and P per shoot, leaf area and shoot extension. Furthermore, a steeper shoot length-leaf N relationship in deciduous species (Vaccinium myrtillus and Vaccinium uliginosum) under warming manipulations suggests a greater capacity for nitrogen to stimulate growth under warmer conditions in these species. This mechanism may help drive the considerable increases in deciduous shrub cover observed already in some arctic regions. Overall, our work provides the first evidence at the shoot level of tight coupling between foliar N and P, leaf area and growth i.e. consistent across species, and provides mechanistic insight into how interspecific differences in alleviation of nutrient limitation will alter community structure and primary productivity in a warmer Arctic.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 19, no 2, 326-338 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-3425DOI: 10.1007/s10021-015-9936-zOAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-3425DiVA: diva2:1079031