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  • 1. Balogianni, Vasiliki G.
    et al.
    Blume-Werry, Gesche
    Wilson, Scott D.
    Root production in contrasting ecosystems: the impact of rhizotron sampling frequency2016In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 217, no 11, p. 1359-1367Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite their critical role in every terrestrial ecosystem, fine root production and mortality have not been widely compared among systems due to the practical difficulties of belowground research. We examined fine root production and mortality among five contrasting sites: native and invaded grassland in eastern Montana, USA, aspen forest in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, and birch forest and tundra in northern Sweden. Additionally, we investigated the importance of minirhizotron sampling interval on measures of root production and mortality by comparing measures produced from 1-, 7-, 14-, and 21-day sample intervals. Root length and mortality varied significantly among sites, with invaded grassland having the greatest root length (>2 × than any other site) and significantly greater root mortality than native grassland (54 %). In contrast, there were no significant differences in root production among the sites. Sample interval had no significant influence on root production or mortality. Minirhizotron sampling intervals up to 3 weeks did not underestimate the measures of root production and mortality in comparison to measures derived from shorter sampling intervals, regardless of the site studied. The results suggest that 3 weeks can be an accurate and efficient sample interval when studying root production and mortality with minirhizotrons.

  • 2. Campioli, Matteo
    et al.
    Samson, Roeland
    Michelsen, Anders
    Jonasson, Sven
    Baxter, Robert
    Lemeur, Raoul
    Nonvascular contribution to ecosystem NPP in a subarctic heath during early and late growing season2008In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 202, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Bryophytes and lichens abound in many arctic ecosystems and can contribute substantially to the ecosystem net primary production (NPP). Because of their growth seasonality and their potential for growth out of the growing season peak, bryophyte and lichen contribution to NPP may be particularly significant when vascular plants are less active and ecosystems act as a source of carbon (C). To clarify these dynamics, nonvascular and vascular aboveground NPP was compared for a subarctic heath during two contrasting periods of the growing season, viz. early-mid summer and late summer-early autumn. Nonvascular NPP was determined by assessing shoot biomass increment of three moss species (Hylocomium splendens, Pleurozium schreberi and Dicranum elongatum) and by scaling to ecosystem level using average standing crop. For D. elongatum, these estimates were compared with production estimates obtained from measurements of shoot length increase. Vascular NPP was determined by harvesting shrub and herb apical growth and considering production due to stem secondary growth of shrubs. Hylocomium splendens and Pleurozium schreberi showed highest biomass growth in late summer, whereas for D. elongatum this occurred in early summer. Maximum relative growth rates were ca. 0.003–0.007 g g−1 d−1. For D. elongatum, production estimates from length growth differed from estimations from biomass growth, likely because of an uncoupling between length growth and biomass shoot growth. Nonvascular NPP was0.37 and 0.46 g dry weight m−2 d−1, in early and late summer, respectively, whereas in the same periods vascular NPP was  3.6 and 1.1 g dry weight m−2 d−1.The contribution of nonvascular NPP to total aboveground NPP was therefore minor in early summer but substantial in late summer, when 25% of the C accumulated by the vegetation was incorporated into nonvascular plant tissue. The expected global change-induced reduction of nonvascular plant biomass in subarctic heath is likely therefore to enhance C release during the late part of the growing season.

  • 3. Haugwitz, Merian Skouw
    et al.
    Michelsen, Anders
    Long-term addition of fertilizer, labile carbon, and fungicide alters the biomass of plant functional groups in a subarctic-alpine community2011In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 212, no 4, p. 715-726Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In subarctic ecosystems, plant growth is mostly limited by nutrient availability and harsh climate. Investigating how soil nutrient availability controls the plant community composition may therefore help to understand indirect effects of climate change. The study was conducted in a long-term field experiment on a subarctic-alpine fellfield dominated by woody evergreen shrubs, bryophytes, and lichens. To manipulate nutrient availability additions of NPK fertilizer, labile C, and fungicide (benomyl) were done in a fully factorial design, replicated in six blocks. The treatments were run for 10 years, and the aboveground plant biomass was harvested 4 and 16 years after initiating the experiment. In addition, soil inorganic N and P concentration was analyzed the same years. Increased nutrient availability (NPK fertilizer) largely increased the biomass of graminoids and unexpectedly of bryophytes, but not of other vascular plant groups. Also, limitation of soil nutrient availability caused by labile C addition decreased the relative proportion of green shoots in evergreen shrubs, although these were expected to cope better with the nutrient limitation than the opportunistic graminoids, which, by contrast, were unaffected. Reduced fungal biomass due to benomyl addition was accompanied by increased evergreen shrub and clubmoss biomass. Taken together, the effects of treatments were most pronounced 16 years after initiation of the experiment, but despite changes in biomass the overall plant community composition was resistant to environmental changes.

  • 4. Maes, Sybryn L.
    et al.
    De Frenne, Pieter
    Brunet, Jörg
    de la Peña, Eduardo
    Chabrerie, Olivier
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Decocq, Guillaume
    Diekmann, Martin
    Gruwez, Robert
    Hermy, Martin
    Kolb, Annette
    Verheyen, Kris
    Effects of enhanced nitrogen inputs and climate warming on a forest understorey plant assessed by transplant experiments along a latitudinal gradient2014In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 215, no 8, p. 899-910Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Global warming and enhanced nitrogen (N) inputs are two key global-change drivers affecting temperate forest ecosystems simultaneously. Interactive effects of multiple drivers might cause species responses to differ from those in single-factor experiments; therefore, there is an urgent need for more multi-factor studies. Here, we assessed the growth and reproductive performance of multiple populations of a widespread grass of deciduous forests (Milium effusum) sampled along a latitudinal gradient and subjected to experimental manipulations of temperature and nitrogen availability. Common garden transplant experiments along the latitudinal gradient were used to manipulate temperatures and combined with experimental N addition to assess intraspecific responses of the study species to global-change drivers as well as to determine local adaptation. The total biomass, number of seeds and seedling emergence time of M. effusum increased when transplanted in the southern common garden. Apart from effects on the seed mass, the species did not respond to N addition alone. Yet, interactive effects between warming and N addition were found: N addition led to increased biomass growth but only in the northern common garden. Significant home-site advantages were apparent, most likely because of increased mycorrhizal colonization of roots of local transplants. We show that multiple global-change drivers may alter dynamics in understorey communities of temperate forests. Our study reinforces the need to increase our understanding of plant responses to future environmental changes by expanding the multi-factor research framework.

  • 5. Solheim, Bjorn
    et al.
    Zielke, Matthias
    Bjerke, Jarle W.
    Rozema, Jelte
    Effects of enhanced UV-B radiation on nitrogen fixation in arctic ecosystems2006In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 182, no 1-2, p. 109-118Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent global climate models predict a further significant loss of ozone in the next decades, with up to 50% depletion of the ozone layer over large parts of the Arctic resulting in an increase in ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B) (280-315 nm) reaching the surface of the Earth. The percentage of total annual ecosystem N input due to biological nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria might be as high as 80% and the contribution to total annual N uptake by plants up to 20%. A possible reduction of nitrogen fixation raises serious concerns about already nutrient impoverished plant communities. This review shows that nitrogen fixation by moss-associated cyanobacteria in arctic vegetation was dramatically reduced after six years of exposure to enhanced UV-B radiation. In subarctic vegetation, nitrogen fixation activity of moss-associated cyanobacteria was not affected by 6 years of enhanced UV-B radiation. However, a 50% increase of summer precipitation resulted in a 5- to 6-fold increase in activity. Long-term effects of UV-B radiation on nitrogen fixation activity have been examined only in two lichens, giving contrasting results. Peltigera aphthosa (L.) Willd., having external cephalodia, experienced a significant reduction, whereas Peltigera didactyla (With.) J.R. Laudon, having cyanobacteria in the photobiont layer below the upper cortex, did not experience any changes due to radiation regimes. The difference is probably related to the location of the cyanobacteria. While the Nostoc cells are protected by the fungal, melanized upper cortex in P. didactyla, they are exposed and unprotected in P. aphthosa, and their own synthesis of UV-B absorbing compounds appears to be low. Under certain environmental conditions, an increasing UV-B radiation will dramatically affect nitrogen fixation in arctic tundra vegetation, which in turn may have severe influence on the nitrogen budget in these environments. Further long-term studies are necessary to conclude if these effects are temporal and how concurrent climatic changes will influence the nitrogen balance of the ecosystem.

  • 6. Sorensen, Pernille L.
    et al.
    Lett, Signe
    Michelsen, Anders
    Moss-specific changes in nitrogen fixation following two decades of warming, shading, and fertilizer addition2012In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 213, no 4, p. 695-706Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Climate warming will induce changes in Arctic ecosystem carbon balance, but besides climate, nitrogen availability is a critical controlling factor of carbon cycling. It is therefore essential to obtain knowledge on the influence of a changing climate on nitrogen fixation, as this process is the main source of new nitrogen to arctic ecosystems. In order to gain information on future nitrogen fixation rates in a changing climate, we studied the effects of two decades of warming with passive greenhouses, shading with sackcloth, and fertilization with NPK fertilizer on nitrogen fixation rates. To expand the knowledge on species-specific responses, we measured nitrogen fixation associated with two moss species: Hylocomium splendens and Aulacomnium turgidum. Our expectations of decreased nitrogen fixation rates in the fertilizer and shading treatments were met. However, contrary to our expectation of increased nitrogen fixation in the warming treatment, we observed either no change (Hylocomium) or a decrease (Aulacomnium) in fixation in the warmed plots. We hypothesize that this could be due to moss-specific responses or to long-term induced effects of the warming. For example, we observed that the soil temperature increase induced by the warming treatment was low and insignificant as vegetation height and total vascular plant cover of the warmed plots increased, and moss cover decreased. Hence, truly long-term studies lasting more than two decades provide insights on changes in key biogeochemical processes, which differ from more transient responses to warming in the Arctic.

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