A new net mineralizable nitrogen assay improves predictions of floristic composition

Rowe, Edwin C.; Emmett, Bridget A.; Smart, Simon M.; Frogbrook, Zoë L.. 2011 A new net mineralizable nitrogen assay improves predictions of floristic composition. Journal of Vegetation Science, 22 (2). 251-261.

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Question: Can a simple measurement of nitrogen (N) availability be related to an ecologically relevant response, i.e. mean Ellenberg N indicator value (EN)? Location: UK (England,Wales and Scotland). Methods: Soil cores from a stratified sample of UK habitats were analysed for mineralizable N with a conventional incubation and a new flushing method, which uses a single mineral N extraction. Predictions of mean EN using mineralizable N and other soil measurements were assessed by fitting linear mixed-effect models, using the Akaike information criterion (AIC) as a measure of model parsimony. Results: Mineralizable N measurements using the flushing method described a component of the variation in mean EN that was more orthogonal to bulk soil properties such as moisture content, total N/C ratio and pH than that described by conventionally measured mineralizable N. Mineralizable N as measured using the flushing method improved the accuracy of predictions obtained using only bulk soil measurements, and appeared in the best two-term and threeterm models. Conclusions: Much of the variation in mean EN can be related to soil N/C ratio, pH or moisture content, but mineralizable N distinguishes variation in mean EN that is independent of these bulk soil properties. The new measure will be useful for studies of the exposure of plants to N, in particular when assessing N pollution effects on plant species composition.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.4 - Estimate the impact of the main drivers and pressures on biodiversity ...
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 2 - Biogeochemistry and Climate System Processes > BGC - 2.1 - Quantify & model processes that control the emission, fate and bioavailability of pollutants
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 1100-9233
Additional Keywords: C/N, carbon, mineralisation, moisture, N deposition, nitrification, pH, productivity
NORA Subject Terms: Botany
Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 18 Aug 2011 10:39 +0 (UTC)

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