Comparative responses of a non-N-fixing shrub and an actinorhizal N-fixing shrub to N fertilization
- 273 Downloads
Background and aims
Variations in responses to soil N between a non-N-fixing shrub, Baccharis halimifolia L., and a N-fixing shrub, Morella cerifera (L.) Small, were tested over 12 weeks to determine whether N availability is the sole cause of persistent dominance of M. cerifera on barrier islands.
Plants were supplied increasing levels of soil N up to 200 mg kg−1. Measurements included gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters across treatments, species, and time. Tissues were analyzed for differences in biomass and nutrients.
Baccharis halimifolia had reduced physiological responses across all treatment levels, but M. cerifera had comparatively few variations. Across all treatments B. halimifolia photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were reduced by 62 and 76 %, respectively,by week 12. Increasing foliar δ15N values across treatments for M. cerifera indicated a shift from utilizing fixed N to available soil N. Biomass was highest at 200 mg kg−1 N for both species. Baccharis halimifolia showed indications of stress response and resource limitation based on physiological responses, nutrient contents, and isotope effects.
Baccharis halimifolia showed signs of co-limitation of both N and P whereas M. cerifera was limited by neither, suggesting that dominance of M. cerifera is only partially explained by actinorhizal symbiosis and N availability.
KeywordsActinhorhizal Baccharis halimifolia δ13C δ15N Facilitation Nutrient limitation Morella cerifera
Julie Zinnert and Elizabeth Kost provided valuable assistance with physiological measurements and Jarrod Austin and David Starling assisted with sample preparation and data entry. D’Arcy Mays provided valuable guidance regarding statistical analyses. The Virginia Coast Reserve LTER staff assisted with island logistics. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation grant DEB-00831 to the University of Virginia for LTER-related work at the Virginia Coast Reserve.
- Ehrenfeld JG (1990) Dynamics and processes of barrier island vegetation. Aquat Sci 2:437–480Google Scholar
- Hoagland DR, Arnon DI (1950) The water culture method for growing plants without soil. California Agricultural Experimental Station Circular 347: 32. University of California, BerkelyGoogle Scholar
- McKee KL, Feller IC, Popp M, Wanek W (2002) Mangrove isotopic (δ15N and δ13C) fractionation across a nitrogen vs. phosphorus limitation gradient. Ecology 83:1065–1075Google Scholar
- Semones SW, Young DR (1995) VAM association in the shrub Myrica cerifera on a Virginia, USA barrier island. Mycorrhiza 5:423–429Google Scholar
- Vick JK (2011) Woody encroachment mechanisms of a symbiotic N-fixing shrub: Ecophysiology, facilitation, and resource use efficiency. Dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityGoogle Scholar
- Young DR, Sande E, Peters GA (1992) Spatial relationships of Frankia and Myrica cerifera on a Virginia, USA barrier island. Symbiosis 12:209–220Google Scholar