Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 445280
Title Overlap in nitrogen sources and redistribution of nitrogen between trees and grasses in a semi-arid savanna
Author(s) Priyadarshini, K.V.R.; Prins, H.H.T.; Bie, S. de; Heitkonig, I.M.A.; Woodborne, S.; Gort, G.; Kirkman, K.; Fry, B.; Kroon, H. de
Source Oecologia 174 (2014)4. - ISSN 0029-8549 - p. 1107 - 1116.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-013-2848-8
Department(s) Resource Ecology
Biometris (WU MAT)
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) n-15 natural-abundance - southern african savanna - root activity - patterns - water - availability - vegetation - physiology - isotopes - depth
Abstract A key question in savanna ecology is how trees and grasses coexist under N limitation. We used N stable isotopes and N content to study N source partitioning across seasons from trees and associated grasses in a semi-arid savanna. We also used 15N tracer additions to investigate possible redistribution of N by trees to grasses. Foliar stable N isotope ratio (d15N) values were consistent with trees and grasses using mycorrhiza-supplied N in all seasons except in the wet season when they switched to microbially fixed N. The dependence of trees and grasses on mineralized soil N seemed highly unlikely based on seasonal variation in mineralization rates in the Kruger Park region. Remarkably, foliar d15N values were similar for all three tree species differing in the potential for N fixation through nodulation. The tracer experiment showed that N was redistributed by trees to understory grasses in all seasons. Our results suggest that the redistribution of N from trees to grasses and uptake of N was independent of water redistribution. Although there is overlap of N sources between trees and grasses, dependence on biological sources of N coupled with redistribution of subsoil N by trees may contribute to the coexistence of trees and grasses in semi-arid savannas.
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