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Climate change has only a minor impact on nutrient resorption parameters in a high-latitude peatland.

Oecologia. 2007 Feb;151(1):132-9

Authors: Aerts R, Cornelissen JH, van Logtestijn RS, Callaghan TV

Nutrient resorption from senescing plant tissues is an important determinant of the fitness of plant populations in nutrient-poor ecosystems, because it makes plants less dependent on current nutrient uptake. Moreover, it can have significant "afterlife" effects through its impact on litter chemistry and litter decomposability. Little is known about the effects of climate change on nutrient resorption. We studied the effects of climate change treatments (including winter snow addition, and spring and/or summer warming) on nutrient resorption of four dominant species in a nutrient-poor subarctic peatland. These species were Betula nana (woody deciduous), Vaccinium uliginosum (woody deciduous), Calamagrostis lapponica (graminoid) and Rubus chamaemorus (forb). After five years of treatments both mature and senesced leaf N concentrations showed a small but significant overall reduction in response to the climate treatments. However, the effects were species-specific. For example, in the controls the N concentration in senesced leaves of Calamagrostis (3.0+/-0.2 mg N g(-1)) was about four times lower than for Rubus (11.2+/-0.2 mg N g(-1)). There were no significant treatment effects on N resorption efficiency (% of the N pool in mature leaves that is resorbed during senescence). The nitrogen resorption efficiency of Calamagrostis (about 80%) was higher than in the other three species (about 60%). Thus, climate change has only a minor impact on nutrient resorption parameters. However, given the substantial interspecific differences in these parameters, substantial changes in plant-soil feedbacks may be expected as a result of the observed changes in the species composition of high-latitude vegetation. These changes are species-specific and thus difficult to predict.

PMID: 17063365 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...p;dopt=Abstract = URL to article

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