Landscape patterns of free amino acids in arctic tundra soils
- Cite this article as:
- Kielland, K. Biogeochemistry (1995) 31: 85. doi:10.1007/BF00000940
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Concentrations of free amino acids were measured in soils from four major ecosystem types in arctic Alaska. Total free amino acid concentrations were several-fold higher than ammonium (the major form of inorganic nitrogen) in water extracts of soils. The dominant free amino acids in these soils were glycine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, and arginine. Concentrations of total amino acids ranged 5-fold across communities, being highest in tussock tundra and lowest in wet meadows. Incubation experiments indicate that the turnover of amino acids is rapid, which suggests high rates of gross nitrogen mineralization in these soils. The high concentrations and dynamic nature of soil free amino acids suggest that this nitrogen pool is a significant component of nitrogen cycling in these tundra ecosystems.