, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 471–474 | Cite as

Effects of available P and N:P ratios on non-symbiotic dinitrogen fixation in tallgrass prairie soils

  • K. A. Eisele
  • D. S. Schimel
  • L. A. Kapustka
  • W. J. Parton
Original Papers


Prescribed burning is a major control over element cycles in Tallgrass prairie (Eastern Kansas, USA). In this paper we report potential effects of fire on nonsymbiotic nitrogen fixation. Fire resulted in additions of available P in ash, which may stimulate nitrogen fixation by terrestrial cyanobacteria. Cyanobacterial nitrogenase activity and biomass responded positively to additions of ash or P in laboratory assays using soil. Further assays in soil showed that cyanobacteria responded to changes in available N:available P ratio (aN:P) across a range of concentrations. Nitrogen fixation rate could be related empirically to aN:P via a log-linear relationship. Extrapolation of laboratory results to the field yielded a maximal estimate of 21 kg N ha-1 y-1. Results support arguments from the marine and terrestrial literature that P availability is central to regulation of ecosystem N budgets.

Key words

Cyanobacteria Fire Acetylene reduction Ash 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Eisele
    • 1
  • D. S. Schimel
    • 1
  • L. A. Kapustka
    • 2
  • W. J. Parton
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of BotanyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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