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Linkages between N turnover and plant community structure in a tundra landscape
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2007 (English)In: Plant and Soil, ISSN 0032-079X, E-ISSN 1573-5036, Vol. 294, no 1-2, 247-261 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The spatial distribution of organic soil nitrogen (N) in alpine tundra was studied along a natural environmental gradient, covering five plant communities, at the Latnjajaure Field Station, northern Swedish Lapland. The five communities (mesic meadow, meadow snowbed, dry heath, mesic heath, and heath snowbed) are the dominant types in this region and are differentiated by soil pH. Net N mineralization, net ammonification, and net nitrification were measured using 40-day laboratory incubations based on extractable NH4+ and NO3-. Nitrification enzyme activity (NEA), denitrification enzyme activity (DEA), amino acid concentrations, and microbial respiration were measured for soils from each plant community. The results show that net N mineralization rates were more than three times higher in the meadow ecosystems (mesic meadow 0.7 mu g N g(-1) OM day(-1) and meadow snowbed 0.6 mu g N g(-1) OM day(-1)) than the heath ecosystems (dry heath 0.2 mu g N g(-1) OM day(-1), mesic heath 0.1 mu g N g(-1) OM day(-1) and heath snowbed 0.2 mu g N g(-1) OM day(-1)). The net N mineralization rates were negatively correlated to organic soil C/N ratio (r = -0.652, P < 0.001) and positively correlated to soil pH (r = 0.701, P < 0.001). Net nitrification, inorganic N concentrations, and NEA rates also differed between plant communities; the values for the mesic meadow were at least four times higher than the other plant communities, and the snowbeds formed an intermediate group. Moreover, the results show a different pattern of distribution for individual amino acids across the plant communities, with snowbeds tending to have the highest amino acid N concentrations. The differences between plant communities along this natural gradient also illustrate variations between the dominant mycorrhizal associations in facilitating N capture by the characteristic functional groups of plants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER , 2007. Vol. 294, no 1-2, 247-261 p.
Keyword [en]
amino acids; environmental gradient; microbially available nitrogen; mineralization; nitrification; spatial variation
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Natural Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-3750DOI: 10.1007/s11104-007-9250-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-3750DiVA: diva2:1131444
Available from: 2017-08-14 Created: 2017-08-14 Last updated: 2017-08-14

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  • apa
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