Phosphorus availability and microbial respiration across different tundra vegetation types
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Phosphorus (P) is an important nutrient in tundra ecosystems that co-limits or in some cases limits primary production. The availability of P is largely driven by soil characteristics, e.g., pH, organic carbon, and abundance of P-sorbing elements such as aluminium (Al) or iron (Fe). We tested how vegetation and soil properties relate to P availability across different tundra vegetation types. The different soil P fractions in the organic top soil were measured and plant foliar nitrogen (N) to P ratio was used as an indicator of plant nutrient status. Microbial and plant bioassays were used to study microbial respiration kinetics and plant biomass response to carbon, N, and P amendments. The distribution of P fractions differed significantly across vegetation types; labile fractions of P were less abundant in meadow sites compared to heath sites. Calcium-phosphates seemed to be an important P-fraction in meadows, but were only found in lower concentrations in the heath. There were only small differences in sorbed P between the vegetation types and this corroborated with the distribution of Al+Fe. Plant N: P ratios and the plant bioassay indicated decreasing P availability from dry heath to mesic heath to mesic meadow. Our results showed that vegetation type was related to soil chemistry and P availability; however, in contrast to other studies, this effect was not related to redistribution of Fe and Al. We conclude that in this tundra ecosystem plants are generally co-limited by N and P, and P availability varies between different vegetation types, which is reflected in both above- and belowground ecosystem processes.
Phosphorus availability, subarctic tundra, Hedley fractionation, soil respiration
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33736OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-33736DiVA: diva2:317687