Short-term plant-decomposer feedbacks in grassland plants

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Title: Short-term plant-decomposer feedbacks in grassland plants
Author: Saj, Stéphane
Other contributor: Clarholm, Marianne
Mikola, Juha
Ekelund, Femming
Contributor organization: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biosciences, Department of Ecological and Environmental Sciences
Helsingin yliopisto, biotieteellinen tiedekunta, ympäristöekologian laitos
Helsingfors universitet, biovetenskapliga fakulteten, institutionen för miljöekologi
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2008-03-28
Language: eng
Belongs to series: Reports from the department of ecological and environmental sciences, university of Helsinki, Lahti - URN:ISSN:1239-1271
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (article-based)
Abstract: Plant species differ in their effects on ecosystem productivity and it is recognised that these effects are partly due to plant species-specific influences on soil processes. Until recently, however, not much attention was given to the potential role played by soil biota in these species-specific effects. While soil decomposers are responsible for governing the availability of nutrients for plant production, they simultaneously depend on the amount of carbon provided by plants. Litter and rhizodeposition constitute the two basal resources that plants provide to soil decomposer food webs. While it has been shown that both of these can have effects on soil decomposer communities that differ among plant species, the putative significance of these effects for plant nitrogen (N) acquisition is currently understudied. My PhD work aimed at clarifying whether the species-specific influences of three temperate grassland plants on the soil microfood-web, through rhizodeposition and litter, can feed back to plant N uptake. The methods and approach used (15N labelling of plant litter in microcosm experiments) revealed to be an effective combination of tools in studying these feedbacks. Plant effects on soil organisms were shown to differ significantly between plant species and the effects could be followed across several trophic levels. The labelling of litter further permitted the evaluation of plant acquisition of N derived from soil organic matter. The results show that the structure of the soil microfood-web can have a significant role in plant N acquisition when the structure is experimentally manipulated, such as when comparing systems consisting of microbes to those consisting of microbes and their grazers. However, despite this, the results indicate that differences in N uptake from soil organic matter between different plant species are not related to the effects these species exert on the structure of the soil microfood-web. Rather, these differences in N uptake seem to be determined by other species-specific traits of live plants and their litter. My results thus indicate that different resources provided by different plant species may not induce species-specific decomposer feedbacks on plant N uptake from soil organic matter. This further suggests that the species-specific plant effects on soil decomposer communities may not, at least in the short term, have significant consequences on plant production.Ei saatavilla
Subject: ecology
Rights: Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.

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