Luxury consumption of soil nutrients: a possible competitive strategy in above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology for slow-growing arctic vegetation?

M.T. van Wijk, M. Williams, L. Gough, S.E. Hobbie, G.R. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1 A field-experiment was used to determine how plant species might retain dominance in an arctic ecosystem receiving added nutrients. We both measured and modelled the above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology of non-acidic tussock tundra near Toolik Lake, Alaska, after 4 years of fertilization with nitrogen and phosphorus. 2 Compared with control plots, the fertilized plots showed significant increases in overall root weight ratio, and root biomass, root length and root nitrogen concentration in the upper soil layers. There was a strong trend towards relatively more biomass below ground. 3 We constructed an individual teleonomic (i.e. optimality) plant allocation and growth model, and a competition model in which two plants grow and compete for the limiting resources. 4 The individual plant model predicted a strong decrease in root weight ratio with increased nutrient availability, contrary to the results obtained in the field. 5 The increased investment in roots in the fertilized plots found in the field could be explained in the competition model in terms of luxury consumption of nutrients (i.e. the absorbance of nutrients in excess of the immediate plant growth requirements). For slow-growing species with relatively low phenological and physiological plasticity it can be advantageous to increase relative investment into root growth and root activity. This increased investment can limit nutrient availability to other fast-growing species and, thereby, preclude the successful invasion of these species. 6 These results have implications for the transient response of communities and ecosystems to global change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-676
JournalJournal of Ecology
Volume91
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Fingerprint

belowground biomass
biomass allocation
dry matter partitioning
soil nutrient
soil nutrients
Arctic region
vegetation
nutrient availability
nutrient
nutrient excess
consumption
ecosystems
tundra
nutrients
nitrogen
global change
growth models
absorbance
root growth
plasticity

Keywords

  • nitrogen-fertilization
  • mineral-nutrition
  • plant-communities
  • tussock tundra
  • carbon storage
  • wild plants
  • growth
  • diversity
  • alaska
  • availability

Cite this

@article{8246ea4810d44c08a68f3730cbb4fbea,
title = "Luxury consumption of soil nutrients: a possible competitive strategy in above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology for slow-growing arctic vegetation?",
abstract = "1 A field-experiment was used to determine how plant species might retain dominance in an arctic ecosystem receiving added nutrients. We both measured and modelled the above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology of non-acidic tussock tundra near Toolik Lake, Alaska, after 4 years of fertilization with nitrogen and phosphorus. 2 Compared with control plots, the fertilized plots showed significant increases in overall root weight ratio, and root biomass, root length and root nitrogen concentration in the upper soil layers. There was a strong trend towards relatively more biomass below ground. 3 We constructed an individual teleonomic (i.e. optimality) plant allocation and growth model, and a competition model in which two plants grow and compete for the limiting resources. 4 The individual plant model predicted a strong decrease in root weight ratio with increased nutrient availability, contrary to the results obtained in the field. 5 The increased investment in roots in the fertilized plots found in the field could be explained in the competition model in terms of luxury consumption of nutrients (i.e. the absorbance of nutrients in excess of the immediate plant growth requirements). For slow-growing species with relatively low phenological and physiological plasticity it can be advantageous to increase relative investment into root growth and root activity. This increased investment can limit nutrient availability to other fast-growing species and, thereby, preclude the successful invasion of these species. 6 These results have implications for the transient response of communities and ecosystems to global change.",
keywords = "nitrogen-fertilization, mineral-nutrition, plant-communities, tussock tundra, carbon storage, wild plants, growth, diversity, alaska, availability",
author = "{van Wijk}, M.T. and M. Williams and L. Gough and S.E. Hobbie and G.R. Shaver",
year = "2003",
doi = "10.1046/j.1365-2745.2003.00788.x",
language = "English",
volume = "91",
pages = "664--676",
journal = "Journal of Ecology",
issn = "0022-0477",
publisher = "Wiley",

}

Luxury consumption of soil nutrients: a possible competitive strategy in above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology for slow-growing arctic vegetation? / van Wijk, M.T.; Williams, M.; Gough, L.; Hobbie, S.E.; Shaver, G.R.

In: Journal of Ecology, Vol. 91, 2003, p. 664-676.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Luxury consumption of soil nutrients: a possible competitive strategy in above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology for slow-growing arctic vegetation?

AU - van Wijk, M.T.

AU - Williams, M.

AU - Gough, L.

AU - Hobbie, S.E.

AU - Shaver, G.R.

PY - 2003

Y1 - 2003

N2 - 1 A field-experiment was used to determine how plant species might retain dominance in an arctic ecosystem receiving added nutrients. We both measured and modelled the above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology of non-acidic tussock tundra near Toolik Lake, Alaska, after 4 years of fertilization with nitrogen and phosphorus. 2 Compared with control plots, the fertilized plots showed significant increases in overall root weight ratio, and root biomass, root length and root nitrogen concentration in the upper soil layers. There was a strong trend towards relatively more biomass below ground. 3 We constructed an individual teleonomic (i.e. optimality) plant allocation and growth model, and a competition model in which two plants grow and compete for the limiting resources. 4 The individual plant model predicted a strong decrease in root weight ratio with increased nutrient availability, contrary to the results obtained in the field. 5 The increased investment in roots in the fertilized plots found in the field could be explained in the competition model in terms of luxury consumption of nutrients (i.e. the absorbance of nutrients in excess of the immediate plant growth requirements). For slow-growing species with relatively low phenological and physiological plasticity it can be advantageous to increase relative investment into root growth and root activity. This increased investment can limit nutrient availability to other fast-growing species and, thereby, preclude the successful invasion of these species. 6 These results have implications for the transient response of communities and ecosystems to global change.

AB - 1 A field-experiment was used to determine how plant species might retain dominance in an arctic ecosystem receiving added nutrients. We both measured and modelled the above-ground and below-ground biomass allocation and root morphology of non-acidic tussock tundra near Toolik Lake, Alaska, after 4 years of fertilization with nitrogen and phosphorus. 2 Compared with control plots, the fertilized plots showed significant increases in overall root weight ratio, and root biomass, root length and root nitrogen concentration in the upper soil layers. There was a strong trend towards relatively more biomass below ground. 3 We constructed an individual teleonomic (i.e. optimality) plant allocation and growth model, and a competition model in which two plants grow and compete for the limiting resources. 4 The individual plant model predicted a strong decrease in root weight ratio with increased nutrient availability, contrary to the results obtained in the field. 5 The increased investment in roots in the fertilized plots found in the field could be explained in the competition model in terms of luxury consumption of nutrients (i.e. the absorbance of nutrients in excess of the immediate plant growth requirements). For slow-growing species with relatively low phenological and physiological plasticity it can be advantageous to increase relative investment into root growth and root activity. This increased investment can limit nutrient availability to other fast-growing species and, thereby, preclude the successful invasion of these species. 6 These results have implications for the transient response of communities and ecosystems to global change.

KW - nitrogen-fertilization

KW - mineral-nutrition

KW - plant-communities

KW - tussock tundra

KW - carbon storage

KW - wild plants

KW - growth

KW - diversity

KW - alaska

KW - availability

U2 - 10.1046/j.1365-2745.2003.00788.x

DO - 10.1046/j.1365-2745.2003.00788.x

M3 - Article

VL - 91

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EP - 676

JO - Journal of Ecology

JF - Journal of Ecology

SN - 0022-0477

ER -