Warming is expected to increase the net release of carbon from peatland soils, contributing to future warming. This positive feedback may be moderated by the response of peatland vegetation to rising atmospheric [CO2] or to increased soil nutrient availability. We asked whether a gradient of whole-ecosystem warming (from + 0 °C to + 9 °C) would increase plant-available nitrogen and phosphorus in an ombrotrophic bog in northern Minnesota, USA, and whether elevated [CO2] would modify the nutrient response. We tracked changes in plant-available nutrients across space and through time and in comparison with other nutrient pools, and assessed whether nutrient warming responses were captured by a point version of the land-surface model, ELM-SPRUCE. We found that warming exponentially increased plant-available ammonium and phosphate, but that nutrient dynamics were unaffected by elevated [CO2]. The warming response increased by an order of magnitude between the first and fourth year of the experimental manipulation, perhaps because of dramatic mortality of Sphagnum mosses in the surface peat of the warmest treatments. However, neither the magnitude nor the temporal dynamics of the responses were captured by ELM-SPRUCE. Relative increases in plant-available ammonium and phosphate with warming were similar, but the response varied across raised hummocks and depressed hollows and with peat depth. Plant-available nutrient dynamics were only loosely correlated with inorganic and organic porewater nutrients, likely representing different processes. Future predictions of peatland nutrient availability under climate change scenarios must account for dynamic changes in nutrient acquisition by plants and microbes, as well as microtopography and peat depth.
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Data presented in this manuscript have been appended to: Iversen CM, Latimer J, Burnham A, Brice DJ, Childs J, Vander Stel HM. 2017. SPRUCE plant-available nutrients assessed with ion-exchange resins in experimental plots, beginning in 2013. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. Data set accessed at http://dx.doi.org/10.3334/CDIAC/spruce.036
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The SPRUCE experiment is supported by the Biological and Environmental Research program in the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725. We thank Sarah Bellaire, Alana Burnham, Kelsey Carter, Ingrid Slette, and Nathan Stenson for their help in the field or laboratory. We also thank the editorial staff and anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback. The contributions of SDS and funding for the Marcell Experimental Forest and laboratory analysis by the Forest Service were provided by the Northern Research Station of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
United States Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research program. This manuscript has been authored in part by UT-Battelle, LLC, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the US Department of Energy (DOE). The publisher acknowledges the US government license to provide public access under the DOE Public Access Plan (http://energy.gov/downloads/doe-public-access-plan).
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare no competing interest.
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Iversen, C.M., Latimer, J., Brice, D.J. et al. Whole-Ecosystem Warming Increases Plant-Available Nitrogen and Phosphorus in an Ombrotrophic Bog. Ecosystems 26, 86–113 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-022-00744-x