- Changes in nutrient availability from calcareous to acid wetland habitats with closely related brown moss species: Increase instead of decrease in N and P
- Plant and Soil
- Volume | Issue number
- 324 | 1-2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
To test whether shifts in nutrient availability from calcareous to mineral-poor habitats could be a driving force in the evolution of seven closely related wetland brown mosses, we measured soil and vascular plant nutrients and conducted a laboratory incubation experiment with Swedish and some Dutch samples, in which net N and P-mineralization, respiration and microbial characteristics were measured. In spite of high respiration and microbial N, net N-mineralization appeared to be low for the calcareous Palustriella falcata and Scorpidium spp. Net N-mineralization significantly increased (and respiration and microbial N decreased) for the mineral-poor Sarmentypnum exannulatum, Straminergon stramineum and Warnstorfia fluitans, probably due to a decrease in microbial N-demand. Even though values were mainly negative, net P-mineralization showed a similar increase from calcareous to mineral-poor fens, probably due to lower precipitation of calcium phosphate. The calcareous habitat of the early wetland mosses may thus have been nutrient-poor instead of nutrient-rich. Adaptation to mineral-poor habitats, probably driven by expansion of mineral-poor wetlands when the boreal zone became colder and wetter, may have been associated with higher availability of ammonium and phosphate. However, this may have stimulated Sphagnum more than brown mosses, which may have been restricted to particular niches with perhaps some nitrification.
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