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Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus in Terrestrial Pools: Where Are the Main Nutrients Located in the Grasslands of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin?

  • Felipe García-Oliva
  • Yunuen Tapia-Torres
  • Cristina Montiel-Gonzalez
  • Yareni Perroni-Ventura
Chapter
Part of the Cuatro Ciénegas Basin: An Endangered Hyperdiverse Oasis book series (CUCIBA)

Abstract

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants absorb atmospheric carbon (C) as they grow and convert it to biomass. However, plants acquire nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) only when these are available in the soil solution, which makes these elements the most limiting nutrients to plant growth and productivity in most terrestrial ecosystems. This chapter discusses the C, N, and P reservoirs in soil and plant biomass of two sites (Churince and Pozas Azules) in desert grassland dominated by Sporobolus airoides at the Cuatro Ciénegas Valley. We also analyzed the influence of different factors such as soil nutrients, water availability, and microbial nutrient transformations that determine the resource allocation to different pools in this oligotrophic ecosystem. We observed higher aboveground and belowground biomass in Churince than in Pozas Azules. Additionally, we observed higher C and P contents in roots, higher soil total organic C and organic P at Churince, and higher N concentration in the aboveground grass biomass at Pozas Azules. Nutrient contents showed different patterns between sites. Total carbon, N, and P contents were all higher in Churince than Pozas Azules. At the ecosystem level, organic C and organic P were higher in Churince, but no differences were observed in N. In the two soil types studied, C:N:P stoichiometric ratios were different, suggesting that the same dominant plant species makes different adjustments of nutrient concentrations depending on water and nutrient availability, a response that can affect ecosystem nutrient pools as well as various ecosystem processes.

Keywords

C:N:P stoichiometric ratios Ecosystems pools grassland Nutrients dynamic Soil 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Rodrigo Velazquez-Duran for his assistance during chemical analyses. We also thank the personnel of APFF Cuatro Ciénegas (CONANP) and the people in charge of Rancho Pozas Azules (PRONATURA) for permission to collect soil samples on their respective properties. This work was financed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (PAPIIT DGAPA-UNAM grant to FGO: El papel de la disponibilidad del Carbono sobre la dinámica del Nitrógeno y Fósforo edáfico en ecosistemas contrastantes de México, IN201718).

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felipe García-Oliva
    • 1
  • Yunuen Tapia-Torres
    • 2
  • Cristina Montiel-Gonzalez
    • 1
  • Yareni Perroni-Ventura
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y SustentabilidadUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  2. 2.Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores Unidad MoreliaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de Biotecnología y Ecología AplicadaUniversidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico

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