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Forskningsartikel2009Vetenskapligt granskad

The sensitivity of nitrogen fixation by a feathermoss-cyanobacteria association to litter and moisture variability in young and old boreal forests

Gundale, Michael; Gustafsson, Helena; Nilsson Hegethorn, Marie-Charlotte


We conducted a pair of experiments to assess whether nitrogen (N) fixation by a feathermoss-cyanobacteria association was sensitive to moisture availability and quality of litter inputs, and whether sensitivity to these factors differed between young and old forests. In our first greenhouse experiment, we experimentally varied the frequency of water addition to Pleurozium schreberi (Brid.) Mitt. collected from young and old forest sites. This experiment revealed that the extreme drought treatment reduced N fixation capacity (measured via acetylene reduction), whereas daily watering increased N fixation capacity. The experiment also demonstrated that sensitivity to moisture variability was greater in old forests than in young forests. In a second greenhouse experiment, we repeatedly applied litter extracts from six common boreal species, Pinus sylvestris L., Picea abies (L.) Karst., Betula pubescens Ehrh., Vaccinium myrtillus L., Vaccinium vitis-idaea L., and Empetrum hermaphroditum Lange ex Hagerup. After 43 days, we found no significant effects of litter or litter by stand age interaction on N fixation capacity of P. schreberi, whereas stand age remained a significant factor. These experiments suggest that the N fixation capacity of the P. schreberi - cyanobacteria association is relatively resistant to short-term variation of litter as an environmental driver but that precipitation extremes in old forests may significantly alter the N fixation capacity of the association.

Publicerad i

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
2009, Volym: 39, nummer: 12, sidor: 2542-2549 Utgivare: NATL RESEARCH COUNCIL CANADA-N R C RESEARCH PRESS