Rapid responses of root traits and productivity to phosphorus and cation additions in a tropical lowland forest in Amazonia

Lugli, Laynara F.; Rosa, Jessica S.; Andersen, Kelly M.; Di Ponzio, Raffaello; Almeida, Renata V.; Pires, Maria; Cordeiro, Amanda L.; Cunha, Hellen F.V.; Martins, Nathielly P.; Assis, Rafael L.; Moraes, Anna C.M.; Souza, Sheila T.; Aragão, Luiz E.O.C.; Camargo, Jose. L.; Fuchslueger, Lucia; Schaap, Karst J.; Valverde‐Barrantes, Oscar J.; Meir, Patrick; Quesada, Carlos A.; Mercado, Lina M. ORCID:; Hartley, Iain P.. 2021 Rapid responses of root traits and productivity to phosphorus and cation additions in a tropical lowland forest in Amazonia. New Phytologist, 230 (1). 116-128.

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• Soil nutrient availability can strongly affect root traits. In tropical forests, phosphorus (P) is often considered the main limiting nutrient for plants. However, support for the P paradigm is limited, and N and cations might also control tropical forests functioning. • We used a large‐scale experiment to determine how the factorial addition of nitrogen (N), P and cations affected root productivity and traits related to nutrient acquisition strategies (morphological traits, phosphatase activity, arbuscular mycorrhizal colonisation and nutrient contents) in a primary rainforest growing on low‐fertility soils in Central Amazonia after one year of fertilisation. • Multiple root traits and productivity were affected. Phosphorus additions increased annual root productivity and root diameter, but decreased root phosphatase activity. Cation additions increased root productivity at certain times of year, also increasing root diameter and mycorrhizal colonisation. P and cation additions increased their element concentrations in root tissues. No responses were detected with N addition. • Here we show that rock‐derived nutrients determine root functioning in low‐fertility Amazonian soils, demonstrating not only the hypothesised importance of P, but also highlighting the role of cations. The changes in fine root traits and productivity indicate that even slow‐growing tropical rainforests can respond rapidly to changes in resource availability.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0028-646X
Additional Keywords: Amazon rainforest, arbuscular mycorrhiza, fine root productivity, large-scale nutrient fertilisation experiment, multiple nutrient limitation, phosphatase enzyme, root morphology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 Dec 2020 15:54 +0 (UTC)

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