Contrasting nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics across an elevational gradient for subarctic tundra heath and meadow vegetation
- First Online:
- 474 Downloads
This study explores soil nutrient cycling processes and microbial properties for two contrasting vegetation types along an elevational gradient in subarctic tundra to improve our understanding of how temperature influences nutrient availability in an ecosystem predicted to be sensitive to global warming.
We measured total amino acid (Amino-N), mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations, in situ net N and P mineralization, net Amino-N consumption, and microbial biomass C, N and P in both heath and meadow soils across an elevational gradient near Abisko, Sweden.
For the meadow, NH4+ concentrations and net N mineralization were highest at high elevations and microbial properties showed variable responses; these variables were largely unresponsive to elevation for the heath. Amino-N concentrations sometimes showed a tendency to increase with elevation and net Amino-N consumption was often unresponsive to elevation. Overall, PO4-P concentrations decreased with elevation and net P immobilization mostly occurred at lower elevations; these effects were strongest for the heath.
Our results reveal that elevation-associated changes in temperature can have contrasting effects on the cycling of N and P in subarctic soils, and that the strength and direction of these effects depend strongly on dominant vegetation type.
KeywordsNutrient availability Mineralization Immobilization Microbial biomass Amino acids Temperature
- Aerts R, Chapin FS III (2000) The mineral nutrition of wild plants revisited: a re-evaluation of processes and patterns. Adv Ecol Res 30:2–67Google Scholar
- Chapin FS III, Sturm M, Serreze MC, McFadden JP, Key JR, Lloyd AH, McGuire AD, Rupp TS, Lynch AH, Schimel JP, Beringer J, Chapman WL, Epstein HE, Euskirchen ES, Hinzman LD, Jia G, Pink C-L, Tape KD, Thompson CDC, Walker DA, Welker JM (2005) Role of land-surface changes in arctic summer warming. Science 310:657–660PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Condron LM, Turner BL, Cade-Menun J (2005) Chemistry and dynamics of soil organic phosphorus. In: Sims JT, Sharpley AN (eds) Phosphorus: agriculture and the environment. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, pp 87–121Google Scholar
- Fisk MC, Schmidt SK, Seastedt TR (1998) Topographic patterns of above- and belowground production and nitrogen cycling in alpine tundra. Ecology 79:2253–2266Google Scholar
- Högberg MN, Myrold DD, Giesler R, Högberg P (2006) Contrasting patterns of soil N-cycling in model ecosystems of Fennoscandian boreal forests. Oecologia 147:96–107Google Scholar
- Kohler J, Brandt O, Johansson M, Callaghan T (2006) A long-tem arctic snow depth record from Abisko, northern Sweden, 1913-2004. Polar Res 27:94–95Google Scholar
- Molau U, Alatalo J (1998) Responses or Subarctic-alpine plant communities to simulated environmental change: biodiversity of bryophytes, lichens and vascular plants. Ambio 27:322–328Google Scholar
- Nilsson Ö (1991) Nordisk fjällflora. Bonniers Fakta Bokförlag AB. 272pGoogle Scholar
- Raich JW, Russell AE, Vitousek PM (1997) Primary productivity and ecosystem development along an elevational gradient on Mauna Loa, Hawai‘i. Ecology 78:707–721Google Scholar
- SGU (1965) Sveriges geologiska undersökning. Berggrundskarta över Torneträskområdets västra del (Bedrock map of the western part of the Torneträsk area). Ser. Ba NR 19Google Scholar
- Wardle DA (2002) Communities and ecosystems: linking the aboveground and belowground components. Princeton University Press, Princeton, p 392Google Scholar