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


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 


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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

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