Glasshouse vs field experiments: do they yield ecologically similar results for assessing N impacts on peat mosses

J. Limpens, G. Granath, U. Gunnarsson, H. Rydin, R. Aerts, M.M.P.D. Heijmans, M.R. Hoosbeek, M.P.C.P. Paulissen, A.J.G. Breeuwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

• Peat bogs have accumulated more atmospheric carbon (C) than any other terrestrial ecosystem today. Most of this C is associated with peat moss (Sphagnum) litter. Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition can decrease Sphagnum production, compromising the C sequestration capacity of peat bogs. The mechanisms underlying the reduced production are uncertain, necessitating multifactorial experiments. • We investigated whether glasshouse experiments are reliable proxies for field experiments for assessing interactions between N deposition and environment as controls on Sphagnum N concentration and production. We performed a meta-analysis over 115 glasshouse experiments and 107 field experiments. • We found that glasshouse and field experiments gave similar qualitative and quantitative estimates of changes in Sphagnum N concentration in response to N application. However, glasshouse-based estimates of changes in production – even qualitative assessments – diverged from field experiments owing to a stronger N effect on production response in absence of vascular plants in the glasshouse, and a weaker N effect on production response in presence of vascular plants compared to field experiments. • Thus, although we need glasshouse experiments to study how interacting environmental factors affect the response of Sphagnum to increased N deposition, we need field experiments to properly quantify these effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-418
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume195
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • nitrogen deposition
  • sphagnum mosses
  • metaanalysis
  • peatlands
  • carbon
  • scale
  • responses
  • ecology
  • cycle

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Glasshouse vs field experiments: do they yield ecologically similar results for assessing N impacts on peat mosses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Projects

    ESS-CC

    Project: Other

    Cite this