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Global patterns and controls of nutrient immobilization on decomposing cellulose in riverine ecosystems
Department of Biological Sciences, Kent State University, OH, Kent, United States; Environmental Science and Design Research Institute, Kent State University, OH, Kent, United States.
Department of Biological Sciences, Oakland University, MI, Rochester, United States.
Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain; Ikerbasque, Bilbao, Spain.
Department of Life Sciences, Centre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.
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2022 (English)In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, ISSN 0886-6236, E-ISSN 1944-9224, Vol. 36, no 3, article id e2021GB007163Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Microbes play a critical role in plant litter decomposition and influence the fate of carbon in rivers and riparian zones. When decomposing low-nutrient plant litter, microbes acquire nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from the environment (i.e., nutrient immobilization), and this process is potentially sensitive to nutrient loading and changing climate. Nonetheless, environmental controls on immobilization are poorly understood because rates are also influenced by plant litter chemistry, which is coupled to the same environmental factors. Here we used a standardized, low-nutrient organic matter substrate (cotton strips) to quantify nutrient immobilization at 100 paired stream and riparian sites representing 11 biomes worldwide. Immobilization rates varied by three orders of magnitude, were greater in rivers than riparian zones, and were strongly correlated to decomposition rates. In rivers, P immobilization rates were controlled by surface water phosphate concentrations, but N immobilization rates were not related to inorganic N. The N:P of immobilized nutrients was tightly constrained to a molar ratio of 10:1 despite wide variation in surface water N:P. Immobilization rates were temperature-dependent in riparian zones but not related to temperature in rivers. However, in rivers nutrient supply ultimately controlled whether microbes could achieve the maximum expected decomposition rate at a given temperature. Collectively, we demonstrated that exogenous nutrient supply and immobilization are critical control points for decomposition of organic matter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2022. Vol. 36, no 3, article id e2021GB007163
Keywords [en]
cotton strip assay, ecological stoichiometry, nitrogen, nutrient cycling, organic matter, phosphorus
National Category
Ecology Oceanography, Hydrology and Water Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-203103DOI: 10.1029/2021GB007163ISI: 000776569800001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85130668464OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-203103DiVA, id: diva2:1727374
Available from: 2023-01-16 Created: 2023-01-16 Last updated: 2023-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Sponseller, Ryan A.

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