Fine root respiration in the mangrove Rhizophora mangle over variation in forest stature and nutrient availability

LOVELOCK, CATHERINE E. and Ruess, Roger W and FELLER, ILKA C. (2006) Fine root respiration in the mangrove Rhizophora mangle over variation in forest stature and nutrient availability. Tree Physiology. pp. 1601-1606. ISSN 0829-318X

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    Root respiration uses a significant proportion of photosynthetically fixed carbon (C) and is a globally important source of C liberated from soils. Mangroves, which are an important and productive forest resource in many tropical and subtropical countries, sustain a high ratio of root to shoot biomass which may indicate that root respiration is a particularly important component in mangrove forest carbon budgets. Mangroves are often exposed to nutrient pollution from coastal waters. Here we assessed the magnitude of fine root respiration in mangrove forests in Belize and investigated how root respiration is influenced by nutrient additions. Respiration rates of excised fine roots of the mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L., were low (4.01 ± 0.16 nmol CO2 g–1 s–1) compared to those measured in temperate tree species at similar temperatures. In an experiment where trees where fertilized with nitrogen (N) or phosphorus (P) in low productivity dwarf forests (1–2 m height) and more productive, taller (4– 7 m height) seaward fringing forests, respiration of fine roots did not vary consistently with fertilization treatments or with forest stature. Fine roots of taller fringe trees had higher concentrations of both N and P compared to dwarf trees. Fertilization with P enhanced fine root P concentrations in both dwarf and fringe trees, but reduced root N concentrations compared to controls. Fertilization with N had no effect on root N or P concentrations. Unlike photosynthetic C gain and growth, which is strongly limited by P availability in dwarf forests at this site, fine root respiration (expressed on a mass basis) was variable, but showed no significant enhancements with nutrient additions. Variation in fine root production and standing biomass are, therefore, likely to be more important factors determining C efflux from mangrove sediments than variations in fine root respiration per unit mass.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
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      Publisher: Heron Publishing
      Keywords: Belize, fertilization, nitrogen, phosphorus
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AH) Plants
      (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBE) Mangroves
      (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3D) Other or Unspecified
      Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2015 10:41
      Last Modified: 27 Aug 2015 10:41

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