Interactive effects of nitrogen deposition and drought-stress on plant-soil feedbacks of Artemisia californica seedlings
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Nitrogen (N) deposition and drought are major drivers of global change that will influence plant-soil feedbacks. We investigated how N availability, N-impacted soil communities and drought affect feedback in seedlings of a drought-deciduous mycorrhizal shrub, Artemisia californica.
Seedlings were inoculated with soil from either a high or low deposition site or sterilized inoculum and grown with or without supplemental N and under well-watered or drought-stressed conditions.
Inoculum, N and water had interactive effects on feedbacks. Seedlings grown in low deposition inoculum exhibited a neutral to positive feedback under drought and had the highest root to shoot ratios and mycorrhizal colonization. Seedlings inoculated with high N-deposition soil experienced a positive feedback when N fertilized and well-watered, but plants allocated large amounts of biomass to shoots and had a negative response to drought.
The soil community mediates plant response to varying belowground resource availability. We found N-impacted communities may reduce mycorrhizal colonization and allocation to roots and provide less protection against drought. Our results highlight the context dependency of plant-soil feedbacks and the potential for climate change and N deposition to have interactive effects on these relationships.
KeywordsArbuscular mycorrhizae Drought Global change Nitrogen deposition Plant-soil feedback
This research was funded in part by the California Native Plant Society’s Educational Grant and the National Park Service Air Resource Division (TASK AGREEMENT NO. J8C07110022). We would like to thank Dr. Irina Irvine for field and logistical support, Dr. Bridget Hilbig, Amanda Haraksin and especially Erin Reilly for greenhouse and lab assistance and Dr. Alexandria Pivovaroff and two anonymous reviewers for valuable feedback on a previous draft of the manuscript.
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