Plant and Soil

, Volume 250, Issue 2, pp 283–292 | Cite as

Alpine plants show species-level differences in the uptake of organic and inorganic nitrogen

Abstract

As an estimate of species-level differences in the capacity to take up different forms of N, we measured plant uptake of 15N-NH4+, 15N-NO3 and 15N, [1]-13C glycine within a set of herbaceous species collected from three alpine community types. Plants grown from cuttings in the greenhouse showed similar growth responses to the three forms of N but varied in the capacity to take up NH4+, NO3 and glycine. Glycine uptake ranged from approximately 42% to greater than 100% of NH4+ uptake; however, four out of nine species showed significantly greater uptake of either NH4+ or NO3 than of glycine. Relative concentrations of exchangeable N at the sites of plant collection did not correspond with patterns of N uptake among species; instead, species from the same community varied widely in the capacity to take up NH4+, NO3, and glycine, suggesting the potential for differentiation among species in resource (N) use.

ammonium glycine nitrate 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bauer G A and Berntson G M 2001 Ammonium and nitrate acquisition by plants in response to elevated CO2 concentration: the roles of root physiology and architecture. Tree Physiol. 21, 137–144.Google Scholar
  2. Blacquière T, Voortman E and Stulen I 1988 Ammonium and nitrate nutrition in Plantago lanceolata L. and Plantago major L. ssp. major. Plant Soil 106, 23–24.Google Scholar
  3. Bloom A J, Jackson L E and Smart D R 1993 Root growth as a function of ammonium and nitrate in the root zone. Plant Cell Environ. 16, 199–206.Google Scholar
  4. Bowman W D, Theodose T A, Schardt J C and Conant R T 1993 Constraints of nutrient availability on primary production in two alpine tundra communities. Ecology 74, 2085–2097.Google Scholar
  5. Burns S F 1980 Alpine soil distribution and development, Indian Peaks, Colorado Front Range. Dissertation. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.Google Scholar
  6. Chapin F S III, Moilanen L and Kielland K 1993 Preferential use of organic nitrogen for growth by a non-mycorrhizal arctic sedge. Nature 361, 150–153.Google Scholar
  7. Falkengren-Grerup U, Månsson K F and Olsson M O 2000 Uptake capacity of amino acids by ten grasses and forbs in relation to soil acidity and nitrogen availability. Environ. Exp. Bot. 44, 207–219.Google Scholar
  8. Fisk M C and Schmidt S K 1995 Nitrogen mineralization and microbial biomass nitrogen dynamics in 3 alpine tundra communities. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 59, 1036–1043.Google Scholar
  9. Frey B and Schüepp H 1993 Acquisition of nitrogen by external hyphae of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with Zea mays L. New Phytol. 124, 221–230.Google Scholar
  10. Hart S C, Stark D M, Davidson E A and Firestone M K 1994 Nitrogen mineralization, immobilization, and nitrification. In Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2. Microbiological and Biochemical Properties. pp. 985–1018. Soil Science Society of America Book Series, No. 5., Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  11. Ireland R J and Hiltz D A 1995 Glycine and serine synthesis in non-photosynthetic tissue. In Amino Acids and their Derivatives in Higher Plants. Ed. Wallsgrove R M pp. 111–118. Society of Experimental Biology Seminar Series 56, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  12. Kielland K 1994 Amino acid absorption by arctic plants: implications for plant nutrition and nitrogen cycling. Ecology 75, 2373–2383.Google Scholar
  13. Knowles R and Blackburn T H 1993 Nitrogen Isotope Techniques. Academic Press, Inc., New York. 311 p.Google Scholar
  14. Koch G W, Bloom A J and Chapin F S III 1991 Ammonium and nitrate as nitrogen sources in two Eriophorum species. Oecologia 88, 570–573.Google Scholar
  15. Komárková V and Webber P J 1978 An alpine vegetation map of Niwot Ridge, Colorado. Arctic Alpine Res. 10, 1–29.Google Scholar
  16. Lipson D A and Monson R K 1998 Plant-microbe competition for soil amino acids in the alpine tundra: effects of freeze-thaw and dry-rewet events. Oecologia 113, 406–414.Google Scholar
  17. Lipson D A, Schadt C W, Schmidt S K and Monson R K 1999a Ectomycorrhizal transfer of amino acid-nitrogen to the alpine sedge Kobresia myosuroides. New Phytol. 142, 163–167.Google Scholar
  18. Lipson D A, Schmidt S K and Monson R K 1999b Links between microbial population dynamics and nitrogen availability in an alpine ecosystem. Ecology 80, 1623–1631.Google Scholar
  19. Lipson D A, Raab T K, Schmidt S K and Monson R K 2001 An empirical model of amino acid transformations in an alpine soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 33, 189–198.Google Scholar
  20. Marschner H 1995 Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. 2nd edn. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, CA. 889 p.Google Scholar
  21. Marschner H and Dell B 1994 Nutrient uptake in mycorrhizal symbiosis. Plant Soil 159, 89–102.Google Scholar
  22. May D E and Webber P J 1982 Spatial and temporal variation of the vegetation and its productivity, Niwot Ridge, Colorado. In Ecological Studies in the Colorado Alpine, a Festschrift for John W. Marr. Occasional paper number 37. Ed. J Halfpenny. pp. 35–62. Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.Google Scholar
  23. McKane R B, Johnson L C, Shaver G R, Nadelhoffer K J, Rastetter E B, Fry B, Giblin A E, Kielland K, Kwiatkowski B L, Laundre J A and Murray G 2002 Resource-based niches provide a basis for plant species diversity and dominance in arctic tundra. Nature 415, 68–71.Google Scholar
  24. Miller A E and Bowman W D 2002 Variation in nitrogen-15 natural abundance and nitrogen uptake traits among co-occurring alpine species: do species partition by nitrogen form? Oecologia 130, 609–616.Google Scholar
  25. Näsholm T and Persson J 2001 Plant acquisition of organic nitrogen in boreal forests. Physiol. Plant. 111, 419–426.Google Scholar
  26. Näsholm T, Ekblad A, Nordin A, Giesler R, Högberg M and Högberg P 1998 Boreal forest plants take up organic nitrogen. Nature 392, 914–916.Google Scholar
  27. Näsholm T, Huss-Danell K and Hogberg P 2000 Uptake of organic nitrogen in the field by four agriculturally important plant species. Ecology 81, 1155–1161.Google Scholar
  28. Nordin A, Högberg P and Näsholm T 2001 Soil nitrogen form and plant nitrogen uptake along a boreal forest productivity gradient. Oecologia 129, 125–132.Google Scholar
  29. Öhlund J and Näsholm T 2001 Growth of conifer seedlings on organic and inorganic nitrogen sources. Tree Physiol. 21, 1319–1326.Google Scholar
  30. Oliver D J 1994 The glycine decarboxylase complex from plant mitochondria. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. Plant Mol. Biol. 45, 323–337.Google Scholar
  31. Raab T K, Lipson D A and Monson R K 1996 Non-mycorrhizal uptake of amino acids by roots of the alpine sedge Kobresia myosuroides: implications for the alpine nitrogen cycle. Oecologia 108, 488–494.Google Scholar
  32. Raab T K, Lipson D A and Monson R K 1999 Soil amino acid utilization among species of the Cyperaceae: plant and soil processes. Ecology 80, 2408–2419.Google Scholar
  33. Rothstein D E, Zak D R and Pregitzer K S 1996 Nitrate deposition in northern hardwood forests and the nitrogen metabolism of Acer saccharum Marsh. Oecologia 108, 338–344.Google Scholar
  34. Ruan J Y, Zhang F S and Wong M H 2000 Effect of nitrogen form and phosphorus source on the growth, nutrient uptake and rhizosphere soil property of Camellia sinensis L. Plant Soil 223, 63–71.Google Scholar
  35. Schimel J P and Chapin F S III 1996 Tundra plant uptake of amino acid and NH4+ nitrogen in situ: plants compete well for amino acid N. Ecology 77, 2142–2147.Google Scholar
  36. Senwo Z N and Tabatabai M A 1998 Amino acid composition of soil organic matter. Biol. Fertil. Soils 26, 235–242.Google Scholar
  37. Smart D R and Bloom A J 1993 Relationships between the kinetics of NH4+ and NO3- absorption and growth in the cultivated tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv T-5). Plant Cell Environ. 16, 259–267.Google Scholar
  38. Turnbull M H, Goodall R and Stewart G R 1995 The impact of mycorrhizal colonization upon nitrogen source utilization and metabolism in seedlings of Eucalyptus grandis Hill ex Maiden and Eucalyptus maculata Hook. Plant Cell Environ. 18, 1386–1394.Google Scholar
  39. Weber W A 1976 Rocky Mountain flora: a field guide for the identification of the ferns, conifers, and flowering plants of the southern Rocky Mountains from Pikes Peak to Rocky Mountain National Park and from the plains to the Continental Divide. University Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 479 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mountain Research Station, Institute of Arctic and Alpine ResearchUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental, Population and Organismic BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Biological Sciences, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

Personalised recommendations