Differences in plant function in phosphorus- and nitrogen-limited mangrove ecosystems

Lovelock, Catherine E. and Feller, Ilka C. and Ball, Marilyn C. and Engelbrecht, Bettina M. J. and Ewe, Mei Ling (2006) Differences in plant function in phosphorus- and nitrogen-limited mangrove ecosystems. New Phytologist, 172 (3). pp. 514-522. ISSN 0028-646X

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    • Mangrove ecosystems can be either nitrogen (N) or phosphorus (P) limited and are therefore vulnerable to nutrient pollution. Nutrient enrichment with either N or P may have differing effects on ecosystems because of underlying differences in plant physiological responses to these nutrients in either N- or P-limited settings. • Using a common mangrove species, Avicennia germinans , in sites where growth was either N or P limited, we investigated differing physiological responses to N and P limitation and fertilization. We tested the hypothesis that water uptake and transport, and hydraulic architecture, were the main processes limiting productivity at the P-limited site, but that this was not the case at the N-limited site. • We found that plants at the P-deficient site had lower leaf water potential, stomatal conductance and photosynthetic carbon-assimilation rates, and less conductive xylem, than those at the N-limited site. These differences were greatly reduced with P fertilization at the P-limited site. By contrast, fertilization with N at the N-limited site had little effect on either photosynthetic or hydraulic traits. • We conclude that growth in N- and P-limited sites differentially affect the hydraulic pathways of mangroves. Plants experiencing P limitation appear to be water deficient and undergo more pronounced changes in structure and function with relief of nutrient deficiency than those in N-limited ecosystems.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
    Unique ID or DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01851.x
    Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
    Keywords: Avicennia germinans , Belize, fertilization, Florida, hydraulic conductivity, leaf water potential, photosynthesis
    Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AH) Plants
    (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBE) Mangroves
    Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
    Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2010 09:28
    Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:29
    URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1122

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