Advertisement

Plant and Soil

, Volume 396, Issue 1–2, pp 85–96 | Cite as

Nitrogen leaching is enhanced after a winter warm spell but mainly controlled by vegetation composition in temperate zone mesocosms

  • Juergen KreylingEmail author
  • Jan Schuerings
  • Andrey V. Malyshev
  • Lukas Vogt
  • Christiane Werner
  • Anke Jentsch
Regular Article

Abstract

Background and aims

Leaching of nitrogen (N) from natural ecosystems poses serious environmental problems. Extreme events such as winter warm spells could exacerbate N leaching by disrupting biogeochemical cycles and will become more frequent with the projected climate change.

Methods

We used lysimeters to investigate N leaching in response to a 12-day winter warm spell at two field sites with contrasting winter climate and in seven different vegetation covers in 140 well established mesocosms.

Results

Mean rates of N leaching reached 3.4 ± 0.4 mg N m−2 d−1 over the 49 days of observations in late winter/ early spring. The winter warm spell resulted in an 82 % increase of N leaching after the warm spell (up to 18 mg N l−1). Stronger leaching occurred at the colder site which can be explained by plants becoming photosynthetically active with subsequent frost damaging their above-ground tissue due to missing insulation by snow and/or dehardening, resulting in reduced N uptake. N leaching differed by >600 % among contrasting vegetation composition with almost no leaching from grassland types and strongest leaching from shrubland types that even surpassed leaching from bare ground controls.

Conclusions

Winter warm spells can affect the biogeochemistry of temperate ecosystems with plant performance and vegetation composition controlling the amount of N leaching.

Keywords

Winter ecology Freezing-thawing Frost Warming pulse Heat wave Nitrogen loss 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG JE 282/5-1). We thank Elke and Stefan König for installing the field experiment.

Compliance with ethical standards

Accepted principles of ethical and professional conduct have been followed, no conflicts of interest occurred, neither humans nor animals were studied.

Supplementary material

11104_2015_2587_MOESM1_ESM.docx (156 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 155 kb)

References

  1. Aber JD, Magill A, Boone R, Melillo JM, Steudler P, Bowden R (1993) Plant and soil responses to chronic nitrogen additions at the Harvard forest, Massachusetts. Ecol Appl 3:156–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bokhorst S, Bjerke JW, Bowles FW, Melillo J, Callaghan TV, Phoenix GK (2008) Impacts of extreme winter warming in the sub-Arctic: growing season responses of dwarf shrub heathland. Glob Chang Biol 14:2603–2612Google Scholar
  3. Bokhorst SF, Bjerke JW, Tømmervik H, Callaghan TV, Phoenix GK (2009) Winter warming events damage sub-Arctic vegetation: consistent evidence from an experimental manipulation and a natural event. J Ecol 97:1408–1415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bolhar-Nordenkampf HR, Long SP, Baker NR, Oquist G, Schreiber U, Lechner EG (1989) Chlorophyll fluorescence as a probe of the photosynthetic competence of leaves in the field - a review of current instrumentation. Funct Ecol 3:497–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell JL, Mitchell MJ, Groffman PM, Christenson LM, Hardy JP (2005) Winter in northeastern North America: a critical period for ecological processes. Front Ecol Environ 3:314–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell JL, Socci AM, Templer PH (2014) Increased nitrogen leaching following soil freezing is due to decreased root uptake in a northern hardwood forest. Glob Chang Biol 20:2663–2673CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cleavitt NL, Fahey TJ, Groffman PM, Hardy JP, Henry KS, Driscoll CT (2008) Effects of soil freezing on fine roots in a northern hardwood forest. Can J Forest Res 38:82–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. de Wit HA, Hindar A, Hole L (2008) Winter climate affects long-term trends in stream water nitrate in acid-sensitive catchments in southern Norway. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 12:393–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dise NB, Wright RF (1995) Nitrogen leaching from European forests in relation to nitrogen deposition. For Ecol Manag 71:153–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dise NB, Rothwell JJ, Gauci V, van der Salm C, de Vries W (2009) Predicting dissolved inorganic nitrogen leaching in European forests using two independent databases. Sci Total Environ 407:1798–1808CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Durán J, Morse JL, Groffman PM, Campbell JL, Christenson LM, Driscoll CT, Fahey TJ, Fisk MC, Mitchell MJ, Templer PH (2014) Winter climate change affects growing-season soil microbial biomass and activity in northern hardwood forests. Glob Chang Biol 11:3568–3577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Faraway JJ (2005) Linear models with R. Chapman & Hall/CRC, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  13. Field CD, Sheppard LJ, Caporn, S. J. M, Dise NB (2013) The ability of contrasting ericaceous ecosystems to buffer nitrogen leaching. Mires Peat 11: Article 05, 1–11Google Scholar
  14. Fitzhugh RD, Driscoll CT, Groffman PM, Tierney GL, Fahey TJ, Hardy JP (2001) Effects of soil freezing disturbance on soil solution nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon chemistry in a northern hardwood ecosystem. Biogeochemistry 56:215–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fitzhugh RD, Likens GE, Driscoll CT, Mitchell MJ, Groffman PM, Fahey TJ, Hardy JP (2003) Role of soil freezing events in interannual patterns of stream chemistry at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire. Environ Sci Tech 37:1575–1580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Genty B, Briantais JM, Baker NR (1989) The relationship between the quantum yield of photosynthetic electron transport and quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. Biochim Biophys Acta 990:87–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Groffman PM, Driscoll CT, Fahey TJ, Hardy JP, Fitzhugh RD, Tierney GL (2001a) Colder soils in a warmer world: a snow manipulation study in a northern hardwood forest ecosystem. Biogeochemistry 56:135–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Groffman PM, Driscoll CT, Fahey TJ, Hardy JP, Fitzhugh RD, Tierney GL (2001b) Effects of mild winter freezing on soil nitrogen and carbon dynamics in a northern hardwood forest. Biogeochemistry 56:191–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hooper DU, Vitousek PM (1998) Effects of plant composition and diversity on nutrient cycling. Ecol Monogr 68:121–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. IPCC (ed) (2013) Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Summary for PolicymakersGoogle Scholar
  21. Joseph G, Henry HAL (2008) Soil nitrogen leaching losses in response to freeze-thaw cycles and pulsed warming in a temperate old field. Soil Biol Biochem 40:1947–1953CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kalberer SR, Wisniewski M, Arora R (2006) Deacclimation and reacclimation of cold-hardy plants: current understanding and emerging concepts. Plant Sci 171:3–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kaste O, Austnes K, Vestgarden LS, Wright RF (2008) Manipulation of snow in small headwater catchments at Storgama, Norway: effects on leaching of inorganic nitrogen. Ambio 37:29–37CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Knops JM, Bradley KL, Wedin DA (2002) Mechanisms of plant species impacts on ecosystem nitrogen cycling. Ecol Lett 5:454–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kreyling J (2010) Winter climate change: a critical factor for temperate vegetation performance. Ecology 91:1939–1948CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Kreyling J, Henry HAL (2011) Vanishing winters in Germany: soil frost dynamics and snow cover trends, and ecological implications. Clim Res 46:269–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kreyling J, Beierkuhnlein C, Pritsch K, Schloter M, Jentsch A (2008) Recurrent soil freeze-thaw cycles enhance grassland productivity. New Phytol 177:938–945CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kreyling J, Beierkuhnlein C, Jentsch A (2010) Effects of soil freeze-thaw cycles differ between experimental plant communities. Basic Appl Ecol 11:65–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. MacDonald JA, Dise NB, Matzner E, Armbruster M, Gundersen P, Forsius M (2002) Nitrogen input together with ecosystem nitrogen enrichment predict nitrate leaching from European forests. Glob Chang Biol 8:1028–1033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Malisauskas A, Haneklaus S, Sileika AS (2005) Nitrogen leaching from grassland in Lithuania. Landbauforschung Volkenrode 55:71–78Google Scholar
  31. Matzner E, Borken W (2008) Do freeze-thaw events enhance C and N losses from soils of different ecosystems? A review. Eur J Soil Sci 59:274–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Matzner E, Zuber T, Alewell C, Lischeid G, Moritz K (2004) Trends in deposition and canopy leaching of mineral elements as indicated by bulk deposition and throughfall measurements. In: Matzner E (ed) Biogeochemistry of forested catchments in a changing environment. Springer, Berlin, pp 233–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Patil RH, Laegdsmand M, Olesen JE, Porter JR (2010) Effect of soil warming and rainfall patterns on soil N cycling in Northern Europe. Agric Ecosyst Environ 139:195–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. R Core Team (2013) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R version 3.0.2. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. URL http://www.R-project.org. Vienna, Austria
  35. Schuerings J, Grant K, Beierkuhnlein C, Jentsch A, Penuelas J, Sardans J, Kreyling J (2013) Absence of soil frost affects plant-soil interactions in temperate grasslands. Plant Soil 371:559–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schuerings J, Jentsch A, Kreyling J (2014) Winter warming pulses differently affect plant performance in temperate heathland and grassland communities. Ecol Res 29:561–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shibata H, Hasegawa Y, Watanabe T, Fukuzawa K (2013) Impact of snowpack decrease on net nitrogen mineralization and nitrification in forest soil of northern Japan. Biogeochemistry 116:69–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stuanes AO, de Wit HA, Hole LR, Kaste O, Mulder J, Riise G, Wright RF (2008) Effect of climate change on flux of N and C: air-land-freshwater-marine links: synthesis. Ambio 37:2–8CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Syswerda SP, Basso B, Hamilton SK, Tausig JB, Robertson GP (2012) Long-term nitrate loss along an agricultural intensity gradient in the Upper Midwest USA. Agric Ecosyst Environ 149:10–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tierney GL, Fahey TJ, Groffman PM, Hardy JP, Fitzhugh RD, Driscoll CT (2001) Soil freezing alters fine root dynamics in a northern hardwood forest. Biogeochemistry 56:175–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Turner MM, Henry HAL (2010) Net nitrogen mineralization and leaching in response to warming and nitrogen deposition in a temperate old field: the importance of winter temperature. Oecologia 162:227–236CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Vitousek PM, Aber JD, Howarth RW, Likens GE, Matson PA, Schindler DW, Schlesinger WH, Tilman D (1997) Human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle: sources and consequences. Ecol Appl 7:737–750Google Scholar
  43. Werner C, Correia O, Beyschlag W (2002) Characteristic patterns of chronic and dynamic photoinhibition of different functional groups in a Mediterranean ecosystem. Funct Plant Biol 29:999–1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zhang WL, Tian ZX, Zhang N, Li XQ (1996) Nitrate pollution of groundwater in northern China. Agric Ecosyst Environ 59:223–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zhao H, Zhang X, Xu S, Zhao X, Xie Z, Wang Q (2010) Effect of freezing on soil nitrogen mineralization under different plant communities in a semi-arid area during a non-growing season. Appl Soil Ecol 45:187–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juergen Kreyling
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan Schuerings
    • 2
  • Andrey V. Malyshev
    • 1
  • Lukas Vogt
    • 2
  • Christiane Werner
    • 3
  • Anke Jentsch
    • 2
  1. 1.Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape EcologyGreifswald UniversityGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Disturbance EcologyBayCEER, University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.Agroecosystem ResearchBayCEER, University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

Personalised recommendations