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Title: Asynchronous nitrogen supply and demand produce nonlinear plant allocation responses to warming and elevated CO 2

Abstract

Terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change are mediated by complex plant–soil feedbacks that are poorly understood, but often driven by the balance of nutrient supply and demand. We actively increased aboveground plant-surface temperature, belowground soil temperature, and atmospheric CO 2 in a brackish marsh and found nonlinear and nonadditive feedbacks in plant responses. Changes in root-to-shoot allocation by sedges were nonlinear, with peak belowground allocation occurring at +1.7 °C in both years. Above 1.7 °C, allocation to root versus shoot production decreased with increasing warming such that there were no differences in root biomass between ambient and +5.1 °C plots in either year. Elevated CO 2 altered this response when crossed with +5.1 °C, increasing root-to-shoot allocation due to increased plant nitrogen demand and, consequently, root production. We suggest these nonlinear responses to warming are caused by asynchrony between the thresholds that trigger increased plant nitrogen (N) demand versus increased N mineralization rates. The resulting shifts in biomass allocation between roots and shoots have important consequences for forecasting terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change and understanding global trends.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER). Earth and Environmental Systems Science Division; National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1569767
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1597084
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0019110; SC0014413; DEB-0950080; DEB-1457100; DEB-1557009
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 116 Journal Issue: 43; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; climate change; warming; nitrogen cycling; plants; coastal wetland

Citation Formats

Noyce, Genevieve L., Kirwan, Matthew L., Rich, Roy L., and Megonigal, J. Patrick. Asynchronous nitrogen supply and demand produce nonlinear plant allocation responses to warming and elevated CO 2. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1904990116.
Noyce, Genevieve L., Kirwan, Matthew L., Rich, Roy L., & Megonigal, J. Patrick. Asynchronous nitrogen supply and demand produce nonlinear plant allocation responses to warming and elevated CO 2. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1904990116.
Noyce, Genevieve L., Kirwan, Matthew L., Rich, Roy L., and Megonigal, J. Patrick. Mon . "Asynchronous nitrogen supply and demand produce nonlinear plant allocation responses to warming and elevated CO 2". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1904990116.
@article{osti_1569767,
title = {Asynchronous nitrogen supply and demand produce nonlinear plant allocation responses to warming and elevated CO 2},
author = {Noyce, Genevieve L. and Kirwan, Matthew L. and Rich, Roy L. and Megonigal, J. Patrick},
abstractNote = {Terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change are mediated by complex plant–soil feedbacks that are poorly understood, but often driven by the balance of nutrient supply and demand. We actively increased aboveground plant-surface temperature, belowground soil temperature, and atmospheric CO 2 in a brackish marsh and found nonlinear and nonadditive feedbacks in plant responses. Changes in root-to-shoot allocation by sedges were nonlinear, with peak belowground allocation occurring at +1.7 °C in both years. Above 1.7 °C, allocation to root versus shoot production decreased with increasing warming such that there were no differences in root biomass between ambient and +5.1 °C plots in either year. Elevated CO 2 altered this response when crossed with +5.1 °C, increasing root-to-shoot allocation due to increased plant nitrogen demand and, consequently, root production. We suggest these nonlinear responses to warming are caused by asynchrony between the thresholds that trigger increased plant nitrogen (N) demand versus increased N mineralization rates. The resulting shifts in biomass allocation between roots and shoots have important consequences for forecasting terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change and understanding global trends.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1904990116},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 43,
volume = 116,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1904990116

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