Plant and Soil

, Volume 297, Issue 1–2, pp 127–137 | Cite as

Interactions of plant species mediated plant competition for inorganic nitrogen with soil microorganisms in an alpine meadow

  • Minghua Song
  • Xingliang Xu
  • Qiwu Hu
  • Yuqiang Tian
  • Hua Ouyang
  • Caiping Zhou
Regular Article

Abstract

Sources of competition for limited soil resources, such as nitrogen, include competitive interactions among different plant species and between plants and soil microbes. We hypothesized that plant interactions intensified plant competition for inorganic nitrogen with soil microorganisms. To test these competitive interactions, one dominant species (Kobresia humilis Serg) and one less abundant gramineous herb (Elymus nutans Griseb) in an alpine ecosystem were selected as target species to grow under interactions with their neighboring plants and without interaction treatments in field plots. 15N-labeled ammonium and nitrate were used to quantify their partition between plants and soil microorganisms for 48 h after tracer additions. Responses of K. humilis to interactions from their surrounding plants were negative, while those of E. nutans were positive. Species identity, inorganic nitrogen forms, and plant interactions significantly affected the total amount of nitrogen utilization by soil microorganisms and plants. Although plant interactions have negative effects on nitrogen uptake of K. humilis, there is an increase in microbial immobilization of nitrogen under presence of its neighbors. For E. nutans, facilitation from surrounding plants is in favor of their nitrogen uptake. Compared with K. humilis, competition for \( ^{{15}} {\text{N}} - {\text{NO}}^{ - }_{3} \) and \( ^{{15}} {\text{N}} - {\text{NH}}^{ + }_{4} \) was less intensive between E. nutans and microorganisms. \( ^{{15}} {\text{N}} - {\text{NH}}^{ + }_{4} \) recovery by soil microorganisms and plants were not more than or much lower than their utilization of \( ^{{15}} {\text{N}} - {\text{NO}}^{ - }_{3} \) under different interaction treatments. These results suggested that the partitioning of inorganic nitrogen between plants and soil microorganisms is mediated by plant–plant interactions and interactions between plants and soil microorganisms.

Keywords

Competition Facilitation \( ^{{15}} {\text{NH}}^{ + }_{4} \)\( ^{{15}} {\text{NO}}^{ - }_{3} \) 15N recovery The Tibetan Plateau 

References

  1. Bokhari UG (1977) Regrowth of western wheatgrass utilizing 14C [carbon isotope]-labeled assimilates stored in belowground parts. Plant Soil 48:115–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bremner JM (1965) Inorganic forms of nitrogen. In: Black CA (ed) Methods of soil analysis, vol 2. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, p 1179–1237Google Scholar
  3. Brooker RW (2006) Plant–plant interactions and environmental change. New Phytol 171:271–284PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brookes PC, Landman A, Pruden G, Jenkinson DS (1985) Chloroform fumigation and the release of soil nitrogen: a rapid direct extraction method to measure microbial biomass nitrogen in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 17:837–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buchmann N (2000) Biotic and abiotic factors controlling soil respiration rates in Picea abies stands. Soil Biol Biochem 32:1625–1635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cahill JF Jr (1999) Fertilization effects on interactions between above- and belowground competition in an old field. Ecology 80:466–480Google Scholar
  7. Cahill JF Jr (2002a) What evidence is necessary in studies which separate root and shoot competition along productivity gradients? J Ecol 90:201–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cahill JF Jr (2002b) Interactions between root and shoot competition vary among species. Oikos 99:101–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cahill JF Jr (2003) Lack of relationship between below-ground competition and allocation to roots in 10 grassland species. J Ecol 91:532–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Callaway RM (1998) Are positive interactions species-specific? Oikos 82:202–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Callaway RM, Brooker RW, Choler P, Kikvidze Z, Lortie CJ, Michalet R, Paolini L, Pugnaire FI, Newingham B, Aschehoug ET, Armas C, Kikodze D, Cook BJ (2002) Positive interactions among alpine plants increase with stress. Nature 417:844–848PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cao GM, Zhang JX (2001) Soil nutrition and substance cycle of kobresia meadow. In: Zhou XM (ed) Chinese kobresia meadows. Science, Beijing, pp 58–147 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  13. Casper BB, Jackson RB (1997) Plant competition underground. Ann Rev Ecolog Syst 28:545–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cheng XM, Bledsoe CS (2004) Competition for inorganic and organic N by blue oak (Quercus douglasii) seedlings, an annual grass, and soil microorganisms in a pot study. Soil Biol Biochem 36:135–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chinese soil taxonomy research group (1995) Chinese soil taxonomy. Beijing, Science, p 58–147Google Scholar
  16. Choler P, Michalet R, Callaway RM (2001) Facilitation and competition on gradients in alpine plant communities. Ecology 82:3295–3308Google Scholar
  17. Clarholm M (1985) Interaction of bacteria, protozoa and plants leading to mineralization of soil nitrogen. Soil Biol Biochem 17:181–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davidson EA, Eckert RW, Hart SC, Firestone MK (1989) Direct extraction of microbial biomass nitrogen from forest and grassland soils of California. Soil Biol Biochem 21:773–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Farley RA, Fitter AH (1999) Temporal and spatial variation in soil resources in a deciduous woodland. J Ecol 87:688–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goldberg DE, Rajaniemi T, Gurevitch J, Stewart-Oaten A (1999). Empirical approaches to quantifying interaction intensity: competition and facilitation along productivity gradients. Ecology 80:1118–1131Google Scholar
  21. Hamilton EW, Frank DA (2001) Can plants stimulate soil microbes and their own nutrient supply? Evidence from a grazing tolerant grass. Ecology 82(9):2397–2402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harte J, Kinzig P (1993) Mutualism and competition between plants and decomposers: implications for nutrient allocation in ecosystems. Am Nat 141:829–846CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hodge A, Robinson D, Fitter A (2000) Are microorganisms more effective than plants at competing for nitrogen?. Trends Plant Sci 5:304–308PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jackson LE, Schimel JP, Firestone MK (1989) Short-term partitioning of ammonium and nitrate between plants and microbes in an annual grassland. Soil Biol Biochem 21:409–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jaeger III CH, Monson RK, Fisk MC, Schmidt SK (1999) Seasonal partitioning of nitrogen by plants and soil microorganisms in an alpine ecosystem. Ecology 80(6):1883–1891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson DW (1992) Nitrogen retention in forest soils. J Environ Qual 21:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jonasson S, Chapin FS Jr, Shaver GR (2001) Biogeochemistry in the Arctic: patterns, processes and controls. In: Schulze ED, Harrison, SP, Heimann, M, Holland EA, Lloyd JJ, Prentice IC, Schimel, D (eds) Global biogeochemical cycles in the climate system. Academic, San Diego, pp 139–150Google Scholar
  28. Jonasson S, Michelsen A, Schmidt IK, Nielsen EV, Callaghan TV (1996) Microbial biomass C, N and P in two arctic soils and responses to addition of NPK fertilizer and sugar: implications for plant nutrient uptake. Oecologia 106:507–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kalembasa SJ, Jenkinson DSA (1973) Comparative study of titrimetric and gravimetric methods for determination of organic carbon in soil. J Sci Food Agric 24:1085–1090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kaye JP, Hart SC (1997) Competition for nitrogen between plants and soil microorganisms. Trends Ecol Evol 12:139–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Killham K (1994) Soil ecology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  32. Kronzucker HJ, Siddiqi MY, Glass ADM (1997) Conifer root discrimination against soil nitrate and the ecology of forest succession. Nature 385:59–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Malhi SS, Nyborg M (1988) Control of nitrification of fertilizer nitrogen: effect of inhibitors, bending and nesting. Plant Soil 107(2):245–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marschner H (1995) Mineral nutrition of higher plants, 2nd edn. Academic, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
  35. Norton JM, Firestone MK (1996) N dynamics in the rhizosphere of Pinus ponderosa seedlings. Soil Biol Biochem 28:351–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nye PH, Tinker PB (1977) Solute movement in the soil–root system[M]. Blackwell Scientific, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  37. Pearson J, Stewart GR (1993) The deposition of atmospheric ammonia and its effects on plants. New Phytol 125:283–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pruden G, Powlson DS, Jenkinson DS (1985) The measurement of 15N in soil and plant material. Fertil Res 6:205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Qiu B, Du GZ (2004) Light competition can cause a decline in diversity with increased productivity in an alpine meadow. Acta Bot Boreal Occident Sin 24(9):1646–1650Google Scholar
  40. Reynolds HL, Packer A, Bever JD, Clay K (2003) Grass roots ecology: plant–microbe–soil interactions as drivers of plant community structure and dynamics. Ecology 84(9):2281–2291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schimel JP, Jackson LE, Firestone MK (1989) Spatial and temporal effects on plant-microbial competition for inorganic nitrogen in a California annual grassland. Soil Biol Biochem 21:1059–1066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schlesinger WH (1991) Biogeochemistry: an analysis of global change. Academic, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
  43. Schweitzer JA, Bailey JK, Rehill BJ, Martinsen GD, Hart SC, Lindroth RL, Keim P, Whitham TG (2004) Genetically based trait in a dominant tree affects ecosystem processes. Ecol Lett 7:127–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Scott NA, Binkley D (1997) Litter quality and annual net N mineralization: comparisons across sites and species. Oecologia 111:151–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Song MH, Tian YQ, Xu XL, Hu QW, Ouyang H (2006) Interactions between root and shoot competition among four plant species in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau. Acta Oecol 29:214–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stark JM, Hart SC (1997) High rates of nitrification and nitrate turnover in undisturbed coniferous forests. Nature 385:61–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Twolan-Strutt L, Keddy PA (1996) Above- and belowground competition intensity in two contrasting wetland plant communities. Ecology 77:259–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vitousek PM, Howarth RW (1991) Nitrogen limitation on land and in the sea: how can it occur? Biogeochemistry 13:87–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Whipps JM (1990) Carbon economy. In: Lynch JM, Wiley J (eds) The rhizosphere. Wiley, New York, pp 52–97Google Scholar
  50. Wilson SD, Tilman D (1991) Components of plant competition along an experimental gradient of nitrogen availability. Ecology 72:1050–1065CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wilson SD, Tilman D (1995) Competitive responses of eight old-field plant species in four environments. Ecology 76:1169–1180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. WRB (1998) World reference base for soil resources. FAO/ISRIC/ISSS, RomeGoogle Scholar
  53. Xu XL, Ouyang H, Pei ZY, Zhou CP (2003) Fate of 15N labeled nitrate and ammonium salts added to an alpine meadow in the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, China. Acta Bot Sinica 45(3):276–281Google Scholar
  54. Zak DR (1990) The vernal dam: plant–microbe competition for nitrogen in northern hardwood forest. Ecology 71:651–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zheng D (2000) Mountain geoecology and sustainable development of the Tibetan Plateau. Kluwer, Dordrecht, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  56. Zhou XM (2001) Chinese kobresia meadows. Science, Beijing (In Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minghua Song
    • 1
  • Xingliang Xu
    • 1
  • Qiwu Hu
    • 1
  • Yuqiang Tian
    • 1
  • Hua Ouyang
    • 1
  • Caiping Zhou
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Researchthe Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations