Respiratory C fluxes and root exudation differ in two full-sib clones of Pinus taeda (L.) under contrasting fertilizer regimes in a greenhouse
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We investigated whether changes in respiratory C fluxes, soil CO2 efflux, or root exudate quantity or quality explained differences in growth rates between closely related clones of Pinus taeda (L.).
A factorial design with two clones, fertilized and control treatments, and four sequential harvests was installed in a greenhouse for 121 days.
The two clones did show significant differences in respiratory C fluxes, soil CO2 efflux, and root exudation quantity and quality. While the clones also differed in growth rates, the C fluxes assessed in this paper did not explain how seedlings were able to allocate more C to stem growth in the months following fertilizer application. Changes in root exudation were not consistent with reduced heterotrophic soil CO2 efflux, which does not appear to be a plant-mediated process.
These results indicate that if single genotypes are deployed over large land areas in plantations, dramatic differences between clonal plant-soil interactions may require consideration in ecosystem C budgets. Further, the range of belowground fluxes observed implies that genotype-specific C allocation may make some clones better able to exploit a given resource environment than others.
KeywordsSoil CO2 efflux Carbon allocation Intensive silviculture Varietal forestry
Kelly Merkl, Matthew Seiler, Bonnie Stovall, and John Peterson helped out with sample processing. Chris Maier, Mike Aust, and Amy Brunner provided useful criticism and advice. Jeff Wright and Phil Dougherty at ArborGen provided the seedlings, and Kurt Johnsen and Pete Anderson of the USDA Forest Service helped us obtain the soil used in this study. Funding was provided by the NSF Center for Advanced Forestry Systems and the Forest Nutrition Cooperative.
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