Fertilization influences the nutrient acquisition strategy of a nomadic vine in a lowland tropical forest understory
- 214 Downloads
Tropical tree and lianas in the understory are limited by soil nutrients despite growing in extremely low light. It is not known if nomadic vines are also limited by nutrients in low light conditions.
We measured differences in root architecture and mycorrhizal colonization, and leaf nutrients of a nomadic vine, Philodendron fragrantissimum (Araceae), in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilization plots in a lowland tropical moist forest in central Panama to measure potential nutrient limitation.
Relative to plants in control plots, leaf P concentration was 54% higher and leaf N concentration was 10% higher for plants in the P- and N-addition treatments, respectively. The N:P of leaves suggested P-limitation in the N-addition treatment and the control but not in the P-addition treatment. Root branching was highest in the P-addition treatment, and P-addition reduced mycorrhizal colonization.
The large effect of P fertilization suggests that, like many tropical plants, P. fragrantissimum has the potential to be P-limited. Although further study is needed, we suggest that nomadic vines be added to the growth forms that respond to nutrient addition in the forest understory and conclude that nutrient-limitation seems like the rule rather than the exception in the light-limited understory.
KeywordsBarro Colorado Nature Monument Fertilization Nitrogen Nomadic vine Philodendron fragrantissimum Phosphorus
The authors thank Mark Wagner for field support and data collection; Christina Wells for the use of her lab to conduct root mycorrhizal analyses as well as use of the WinRhizo program; and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Barro Colorado Island for logistical support. We thank G. Zotz and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments and edits on previous versions of our manuscript. Funding for this research was provided by Clemson University and a Wade T. Batson award for field botany to CLW. Financial support for the Gigante Fertilization Project is provided by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Smithsonian Scholarly Studies program.
- Arsenault JL, Pouleur S, Messier C, Guay R (1995) WinRhizo, a root measuring system with a unique overlap correction method. HortScience 30:906Google Scholar
- Chazdon RL, Fetcher N (1984) Light environments of tropical forests. In: Medina E, Mooney HA, Vásquez-Yanes C (eds) Physiol. Ecol. Plants Wet Trop. Dr. W. Junk Publishers, The Hague, pp 553–564Google Scholar
- Fitter AH (1985) Functional significance of root morphology and root system architecture. In: Fitter AH, Atkinson D, Read DJ, Usher MB (eds) Ecol. Interact. soil. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp 87–106Google Scholar
- Holdridge LR, Budowski G (1956) Report on an ecological survey of the Republic of Panama. Caribb For 17:92–110Google Scholar
- Jones JB, Case BW (1996) Soil testing and plant analysis no. 3. In: Sparks DL (ed) Methods soil anal. Part 3 Chem. Methods. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, pp 389–415Google Scholar
- Marschner P (2012) Mineral nutrition of wild plants, 3rd edn. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
- Mo Q, Zou B, Li Y et al (2015) Response of plant nutrient stoichiometry to fertilization varied with plant tissues in a tropical forest. Sci Rep 5:1–12Google Scholar
- Putz FE, Holbrook NM (1986) Notes on the natural history of hemiepiphytes. Selbyana 9:61–69Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2009) R: A language and environment for statistical computingGoogle Scholar
- Soil Staff Survey (1999) Soil taxonomy: a basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveysGoogle Scholar
- Stewart RH, Stewart JL, Woodring WP (1980) Geologic map of the Panama Canal and vicinity, Republic of Panama. U.S. Geol. Surv. Misc. Investig. Ser. Map I-232Google Scholar
- Williams-Linera G, Lawton RO (1995) The ecology of hemiepiphytes in forest canopies. In: Lowman MD, Nadkarni NM (eds) For. Canopies. Academic Press, New York, New York, pp 255–283Google Scholar
- Wright SJ, Yavitt JB, Wurzburger N, Turner BL, Tanner EVJ, Sayer EJ, Santiago LS, Kaspari M, Hedin LO, Harms KE, Garcia MN, Corre MD (2011) Potassium, phosphorus, or nitrogen limit root allocation, tree growth, or litter production in a lowland tropical forest. Ecology 92:1616–1625CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wright SJ, Turner BL, Yavitt JB, Harms KE, Kaspari M, Tanner EVJ, Bujan J, Griffin EA, Mayor JR, Pasquini SC, Sheldrake M, Garcia MN (2018) Plant responses to fertilization experiments in lowland, species-rich, tropical forests. Ecology 99:1129–1138. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2193 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar