Contrasting effects of long term versus short-term nitrogen addition on photosynthesis and respiration in the Arctic

TitleContrasting effects of long term versus short-term nitrogen addition on photosynthesis and respiration in the Arctic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
Authorsvan de Weg M.J, Shaver GR, Salmon V.G
JournalPlant EcologyPlant EcologyPlant Ecology
Volume214
Pagination1273-1286
Date PublishedOct
ISBN Number1385-0237
Accession NumberISI:000324498500007
KeywordsAlaska, alaskan tundra, canopy, chlorophyll, co2 flux, fertilisation, gas-exchange, leaf mass per area, leaf-area, limited photosynthesis, lter, nitrogen use efficiency, nutrient addition, soil respiration, temperature response functions, tussock tundra, wet sedge tundra
Abstract

We examined the effects of short (< 1-4 years) and long-term (22 years) nitrogen (N) and/or phosphorus (P) addition on the foliar CO2 exchange parameters of the Arctic species Betula nana and Eriophorum vaginatum in northern Alaska. Measured variables included: the carboxylation efficiency of Rubisco (V-cmax), electron transport capacity (J(max)), dark respiration (R-d), chlorophyll a and b content (Chl), and total foliar N (N). For both B. nana and E. vaginatum, foliar N increased by 20-50 % as a consequence of 1-22 years of fertilisation, respectively, and for B. nana foliar N increase was consistent throughout the whole canopy. However, despite this large increase in foliar N, no significant changes in V-cmax and J(max) were observed. In contrast, R-d was significantly higher (> 25 %) in both species after 22 years of N addition, but not in the shorter-term treatments. Surprisingly, Chl only increased in both species the first year of fertilisation (i.e. the first season of nutrients applied), but not in the longer-term treatments. These results imply that: (1) under current (low) N availability, these Arctic species either already optimize their photosynthetic capacity per leaf area, or are limited by other nutrients; (2) observed increases in Arctic NEE and GPP with increased nutrient availability are caused by structural changes like increased leaf area index, rather than increased foliar photosynthetic capacity and (3) short-term effects (1-4 years) of nutrient addition cannot always be extrapolated to a larger time scale, which emphasizes the importance of long-term ecological experiments.

Short TitlePlant EcolPlant Ecol
Alternate JournalPlant Ecol