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Root-surface phosphatase activity in shrublands across a European gradient: Effects of warming

Estiarte, M.; Penuelas, J.; Sardans, J.; Emmett, B. A.; Sowerby, A.; Beier, C.; Schmidt, I. K.; Tietema, A.; Van Meeteren, M. J. M.; Kovacs Lang, E.; Mathe, P.; De Angelis, P.; De Dato, G.. 2008 Root-surface phosphatase activity in shrublands across a European gradient: Effects of warming. Journal of Environmental Biology, 29 (1). 25-29.

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Abstract/Summary

Root-surface phosphatase activities were measured in natural and semi-natural shrublands across an European climatic gradient of temperature and rainfall including Wales (WL), Denmark (DK), Netherlands (NL), Hungary (HU), Italy (IT) and Spain (SP). In each site a warming experiment was conducted since 1999 or 2001 by means of passive night-time warming using reflective curtains that covered the vegetation at night. The treatments increased yearly average soil temperatures around 0.8oC in most of sites. Root-surface phosphatase activity values ranged between 56 mg PNP g-1 h-1 in IT and 3.5 mg PNP g-1 h-1 in HU. Warming had no effect on root-surface phosphatase acti vity across the sites and only in Hungary a slight increase was detected. Plants at Mediterranean sites (IT, SP) showed a higher root-surface phosphatase activity than plants at temperate sites (WL, NL, DK). We suggest it might be an adaptation of plant species evolved under Mediterranean climate that allows them a) to compensate in wet period for the decrease in phosphatase activity, and thus P uptake, during drought periods, and/or b) to benefit from soluble organic P flushes following the frequent drying-rewetting episodes experienced by soils in Mediterranean ecosystems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry
CEH Sections: Emmett
ISSN: 0254-8704
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper click on official URL link for full text.
Additional Keywords: Root-surface phosphatase, Climate change, Drought, Warming, Shrublands
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 26 Jun 2008 15:22
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/3220

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