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Direct and indirect effects of warming on moss abundance and associated nitrogen fixation in subarctic ecosystems
Responsible organisation
2021 (English)In: Plant and Soil, ISSN 0032-079X, E-ISSN 1573-5036Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

In many northern ecosystems, mosses account for an important component of the plant community. Further, mosses host nitrogen (N2)-fixing bacteria that have been shown to contribute a large part of ‘new‘ N in pristine ecosystems. This study aimed to assess direct and indirect effects of warming on moss-associated N2 fixation.

Methods

We assessed how N2 fixation activity at ecosystem- and at moss species-level is affected by direct (warming) and indirect (vegetation shift) climate change using two long-term field manipulation experiments in a subarctic birch forest combined with mesocosm studies from a close-by heath. We linked the abundance of ground covering mosses to N2 fixation activity and assessed the temperature sensitivity of N2 fixation in two common feather mosses, Hylocomium splendens and Pleurozium schreberi.

Results

Our study shows a steep decline in moss ground cover as well as in associated N2 fixation in response to 10 years of manipulated field-warming, whereas a shift in dominant shrub species did not impact moss cover or N2 fixation activity. Interestingly, the moss H. splendens was more sensitive than P. schreberi to warming both in terms of cover and N2 fixation activity.

Conclusion

Our study shows that warming affects moss-associated N2 fixation activity negatively - both indirectly via a decline in moss cover and directly by reducing N2 fixation activity. This suggests lower N input via moss-associated N2 fixation in a future climate, which will consequently affect nutrient turnover and ecosystem productivity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021.
Keywords [en]
bryophytes, climate change, cyanobacteria, Hylocomium splendens, nitrogen fixation, Pleurozium schreberi, subarctic, vegetation shift
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8798DOI: 10.1007/s11104-021-05245-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-8798DiVA, id: diva2:1625567
Available from: 2022-01-08 Created: 2022-01-08 Last updated: 2022-01-08Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11104-021-05245-9
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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