Belowground traits lack response to chronic nitrogen additions in the tallgrass prairie

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah L. Gora (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Sally Koerner

Abstract: Anthropogenic effects are pervasive, ignoring country and even conservation boundaries. Nitrogen deposition, a major component of global change, alters nutrient limitation with cascading consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem function. This project investigates the effect of nitrogen addition on belowground plant traits, which are underexplored due to the unique challenges of studying them, yet are critical for understanding important processes such as carbon sequestration. Specifically, I take advantage of three long-term and on-going nutrient addition experiments at the Konza Long-term Ecological Research Site in Manhattan, Kansas. Using these platforms, I explored how nitrogen addition affects belowground traits of five different plant species in the tallgrass prairie community over a six-week data collection period, sampling each species at its peak flowering time. Belowground traits were overwhelmingly not responsive to N additions as compared to aboveground. Individual trait responses were species specific, making generalities of N responses challenging. Aboveground and belowground were found to be correlated with strength of correlation increasing with N additions. Understanding the relationship between plant traits and certain variables like nitrogen addition will help improve our ability to predict future responses to global change drivers.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Carbon sequestration, Climate change, Functional ecology, Nitrogen deposition, Root traits, Traits
Plants $x Effect of nitrogen on
Roots (Botany) $x Growth

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