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N limitation to primary production and other ecosystem processes is widespread. To understand the causes and distribution of N limitation, we must understand the controls of biological N fixation. The physiology of this process is reasonably well characterized, but our understanding of ecological controls is sparse, except in a few cultivated ecosystems. We review information on the ecological controls of N fixation in free-living cyanobacteria, vascular plant symbioses, and heterotrophic bacteria, with a view toward developing improved conceptual and simulation models of ecological controls of biological N fixation. A model (Howarth et al. 1999) of cyanobacterial fixation in lakes (where N fixation generally increases...
Phosphorus (P) has been proposed to directly limit primary productivity in some temperate grassland ecosystems. Our study of a recovering prairie on Colorado's Front Range suggests that P availability, possibly via regulation of nitrogen (N) fixation, may strongly influence N availability in recovering prairie soils. Consequently, increased P availability could indirectly affect plant growth through the alleviation of N limitation. At our site, concentrations of soil inorganic N were nearly three times higher in plots fertilized with P than in control plots. Subsequent acetylene reduction analyses showed that soil N fixation rates were more than double for P fertilization plots. These results highlight potential...
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In this study, we examined N gas loss as nitric oxide (NO) from N-fixing biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. We hypothesized that NO gas loss would increase with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically crusted soil. NO fluxes were measured from biologically crusted soils with three levels of N fixation potential (Scytonema-Nostoc-Collema spp. (dark)>Scytonema-Nostoc-Microcoleus spp. (medium)>Microcoleus spp. (light)) from soil cores and field chambers. In both cores and field chambers there was a significant effect of crust type on NO fluxes, but this was highly dependent on season. NO fluxes from field chambers increased with increasing N fixation potential of the biologically...


map background search result map search result map NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah NO gas loss from biologically crusted soils in Canyonlands National Park, Utah