Oecologia

, Volume 120, Issue 2, pp 171–182

Leaf natural 15N abundance and total N concentration as potential indicators of plant N nutrition in legumes and pioneer species in a rain forest of French Guiana

  • J. C. Roggy
  • M. F. Prévost
  • F. Gourbiere
  • H. Casabianca
  • J. Garbaye
  • A. M. Domenach
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s004420050846

Cite this article as:
Roggy, J., Prévost, M., Gourbiere, F. et al. Oecologia (1999) 120: 171. doi:10.1007/s004420050846

Abstract

The suitability of the natural 15N abundance and of total N concentration of leaves as indicators of the type of plant N nutrition in a rain forest of French Guiana were tested. Leaf samples from primary legume species, non-legumes (pioneer species) and from the non-N2-fixing species Dicorynia guianensis were analyzed. Both δ15N and total leaf N varied widely (−1 ?δ15N (‰) ? 7 and 1 ? leaf N(%) ? 3.2) suggesting possible distinctions between diazotrophic and non-fixing plants. The δ15N also revealed two statistically distinct groups of non-N2-fixing species (δ15N = 5.14 ± 0.3 vs δ15N = 1.65 ± 0.17) related to the different ecological behaviors of these species in the successional processes. We conclude that the δ15N signature of plant leaves combined with their total N concentration may be relevant indicators for identifying functional groups within the community of non-N2-fixing species, as well as for detecting diazotrophy. Despite the variability in the δ15N of the non-N2-fixing species, N2-fixing groups can still be identified, provided that plants are simultaneously classified taxonomically, by their leaf δ15N and total N concentration and by the presence or absence of nodules. The variability in the δ15N of the non-fixing species is discussed.

Key words Tropical rain forestδ15NSymbiotic N2 fixationTree legumesPioneer species

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. C. Roggy
    • 1
  • M. F. Prévost
    • 2
  • F. Gourbiere
    • 3
  • H. Casabianca
    • 4
  • J. Garbaye
    • 5
  • A. M. Domenach
    • 3
  1. 1.Silvolab Guyane, Station de recherches forestières INRA BP 709, F-97387 Kourou Cedex, Guyane Française e-mail: roggy.j@cirad.fr
  2. 2.Silvolab Guyane, Laboratoire d'écologie végétale, ORSTOM, BP165, F-97323 Cayenne Cedex, Guyane Française
  3. 3.Laboratoire d'écologie microbienne des sols, CNRS UMR, 5557 Université Claude Bernard Lyon1, 43 boulevard du 11 Novembre, F-69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, FranceFR
  4. 4.Laboratoire Central d'Analyses CNRS, Echangeur de Solaize, BP 22, F-69390 Vernaison, FranceFR
  5. 5.Laboratoire de Microbiologie forestière INRA, Centre de Nancy, F-54280 Champenoux, FranceFR