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Isotopic analysis of cyanobacterial nitrogen fixation associated with subarctic lichen and bryophyte species
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2010 (English)In: Plant and Soil, ISSN 0032-079X, E-ISSN 1573-5036, Vol. 333, no 1, p. 507-517Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dinitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria is of particular importance for the nutrient economy of cold biomes, constituting the main pathway for new N supplies to tundra ecosystems. It is prevalent in cyanobacterial colonies on bryophytes and in obligate associations within cyanolichens. Recent studies, applying interspecific variation in plant functional traits to upscale species effects on ecosystems, have all but neglected cryptogams and their association with cyanobacteria. Here we looked for species-specific patterns that determine cryptogam-mediated rates of N2 fixation in the Subarctic. We hypothesised a contrast in N2 fixation rates (1) between the structurally and physiologically different lichens and bryophytes, and (2) within bryophytes based on their respective plant functional types. Throughout the survey we supplied 15N-labelled N2 gas to quantify fixation rates for monospecific moss, liverwort and lichen turfs. We sampled fifteen species in a design that captures spatial and temporal variations during the growing season in Abisko region, Sweden. We measured N2 fixation potential of each turf in a common environment and in its field sampling site, in order to embrace both comparativeness and realism. Cyanolichens and bryophytes differed significantly in their cyanobacterial N2 fixation capacity, which was not driven by microhabitat characteristics, but rather by morphology and physiology. Cyanolichens were much more prominent fixers than bryophytes per unit dry weight, but not per unit area due to their low specific thallus weight. Mosses did not exhibit consistent differences in N2 fixation rates across species and functional types. Liverworts did not fix detectable amounts of N2. Despite the very high rates of N2 fixation associated with cyanolichens, large cover of mosses per unit area at the landscape scale compensates for their lower fixation rates, thereby probably making them the primary regional atmospheric nitrogen sink.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 333, no 1, p. 507-517
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Natural Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8128DOI: 10.1007/s11104-010-0374-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-8128DiVA, id: diva2:1288790
Available from: 2019-02-14 Created: 2019-02-14 Last updated: 2019-02-14

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
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