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Can atmospheric input of nitrogen affect seed bank dynamics in habitats of conservation interest? The case of dune slacks

Plassmann, Katharina; Brown, Nigel; Jones, M. Laurence M.; Edwards-Jones, Gareth. 2008 Can atmospheric input of nitrogen affect seed bank dynamics in habitats of conservation interest? The case of dune slacks. Applied Vegetation Science, 11 (3). 413-420. 10.3170/2008-7-18498

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Abstract/Summary

Questions: Does the increased atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, which can have major effects on the established vegetation of nutrient-poor habitats, also impact germination from the soil seed bank? Location: Coastal dune slacks at Newborough Warren. Wales, UK. Methods: The effects of nitrogen addition (15 kg.ha(-1).a(-1)) on seed germination from the soil seed bank were investigated using the seedling emergence method between September 2004 and February 2005. Results: More seedlings emerged from fertilised samples than unfertilised controls. Most species showed enhanced germination after fertilisation with nitrogen. with seedling numbers statistically significantly greater in nitrogen addition samples in a quarter of species abundant enough for analysis. Species that responded positively to fertilisation were species with low Ellenberg indicator values indicative of infertile sites. Conclusions: Most species showed increased germination after fertilisation with nitrogen, including early successional species normally growing in nutrient-poor conditions. This suggests that the increased atmospheric deposition of nitrogen probably not only impacts on established vegetation, but also has the potential to alter seed bank dynamics.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3170/2008-7-18498
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry
CEH Sections: Emmett
ISSN: 1402-2001
Additional Keywords: Eutrophication, Newborough Warren, Seed germination, Seedling emergence method
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 06 Mar 2009 12:33
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/6526

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