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Past studies of plant?microbe interactions in the alpine nitrogen cycle have revealed a seasonal separation of N use, with plants absorbing N primarily during the summer months and microbes immobilizing N primarily during the autumn months. On the basis of these studies, it has been concluded that competition for N between plants and microbes is minimized along this seasonal gradient. In this study, we examined more deeply the links between microbial population dynamics and plant N availability in an alpine dry meadow. We conducted a year-round ?eld study and per formed experiments on isolated soil microorganisms. Based on previous work in this ecosystem, we hypothesized that microbial biomass would decline before...
Freeze–thaw cycles can promote soil N losses as a result of microbial and root cell lysis; however, minimal freeze–thaw effects have typically been observed in studies that have imposed moderate temperature cycles. We conducted laboratory incubations on surface soil (top 3 cm) collected in a temperate old field from late fall through mid-winter to examine how variation in freeze–thaw amplitude, number, timing of collection, and freezing rate altered soil extractable N. We varied freeze–thaw amplitude by imposing minimum cycle temperatures of 0, −1, −2, −5, and −10°C for a series of either one or two cycles and held control samples constant at 3°C. We also examined the effects of freezing rates of 1, 3, and 30°C...
Freeze–thaw cycles can promote soil N losses as a result of microbial and root cell lysis; however, minimal freeze–thaw effects have typically been observed in studies that have imposed moderate temperature cycles. We conducted laboratory incubations on surface soil (top 3 cm) collected in a temperate old field from late fall through mid-winter to examine how variation in freeze–thaw amplitude, number, timing of collection, and freezing rate altered soil extractable N. We varied freeze–thaw amplitude by imposing minimum cycle temperatures of 0, −1, −2, −5, and −10°C for a series of either one or two cycles and held control samples constant at 3°C. We also examined the effects of freezing rates...
We used dual labelled stable isotope (13C and 15N) techniques to examine how grassland plant species with different growth strategies vary in their ability to compete with soil microbes for different chemical forms of nitrogen (N), both inorganic and organic. We also tested whether some plant species might avoid competition by preferentially using different chemical forms of N than microbes. This was tested in a pot experiment where monocultures of five co-existing grassland species, namely the grasses Agrostis capillaris, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Nardus stricta, Deschampsia flexuosa and the herb Rumex acetosella, were grown in field soil from an acid semi-natural temperate grassland. Our data show that grassland...