Biogeochemistry

, Volume 84, Issue 3, pp 233–245

Mineralization responses at near-zero temperatures in three alpine soils

  • Amy E. Miller
  • Joshua P. Schimel
  • James O. Sickman
  • Thomas Meixner
  • Allen P. Doyle
  • John M. Melack
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10533-007-9112-4

Cite this article as:
Miller, A.E., Schimel, J.P., Sickman, J.O. et al. Biogeochemistry (2007) 84: 233. doi:10.1007/s10533-007-9112-4

Abstract

Cold-season processes are known to contribute substantially to annual carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) budgets in continental high elevation and high-latitude soils, but their role in more temperate alpine ecosystems has seldom been characterized. We used a 4-month lab incubation to describe temperature (−2, 0, 5°C) and moisture [50, 90% water-holding capacity (WHC)] effects on soil C and N dynamics in two wet and one dry meadow soil from the Sierra Nevada, California. The soils varied in their capacity to process N at and below 0°C. Only the dry meadow soil mineralized N at −2°C, but the wet meadow soils switched from net N consumption at −2°C to net N mineralization at temperatures ≥0°C. When the latter soils were incubated at −2°C at either moisture level (50 or 90% WHC), net NO3 production decreased even as NH4+ continued to accumulate. The same pattern occurred in saturated (90% WHC) soils at warmer temperatures (≥0°C), suggesting that dissimilatory processes could control N cycling in these soils when they are frozen.

Keywords

Cold-season processesNitrogenNitrate consumptionAmmonificationSoil moistureSierra Nevada

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy E. Miller
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • Joshua P. Schimel
    • 2
  • James O. Sickman
    • 3
  • Thomas Meixner
    • 4
  • Allen P. Doyle
    • 2
  • John M. Melack
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Computational Earth System ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  4. 4.Department of Hydrology and Water ResourcesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  5. 5.Institute of Arctic and Alpine ResearchUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  6. 6.National Park ServiceAnchorageUSA