Species-specific responses of foliar nutrients to long-term nitrogen and phosphorus additions in a lowland tropical forest
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Ecology © 2013 British Ecological Society
Journal of Ecology
Volume 102, Issue 1, pages 36–44, January 2014
How to Cite
Mayor, J. R., Wright, S. J., Turner, B. L. (2014), Species-specific responses of foliar nutrients to long-term nitrogen and phosphorus additions in a lowland tropical forest. Journal of Ecology, 102: 36–44. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12190
- Issue published online: 16 DEC 2013
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 5 NOV 2013 12:03AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Received: 30 JUL 2013
- National Science Foundation's International Research Fellowship Program. Grant Number: OISE-1012703
- Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Fellowship Program
- gigante fertilization experiment;
- luxury consumption;
- plant–soil interactions;
- The concentration, stoichiometry and resorption of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in plant leaves are often used as proxies of the availability of these growth-limiting nutrients, but the responses of these metrics to changes in nutrient availability remain largely untested for tropical forest trees.
- We evaluated changes in N and P concentrations, N/P ratios and resorption for four common tree species after 13 years of factorial N and P additions in a lowland tropical forest in Panama.
- Chronic P addition increased foliar P concentrations, decreased P resorption proficiency and decreased N/P ratios in three locally common eudicot tree species (Alseis blackiana, Heisteria concinna, Tetragastris panamensis). The increase in foliar P involved similar proportional increases in organic and inorganic P in two species and a disproportionately large increase in inorganic P in A. blackiana.
- Nitrogen addition did not alter foliar N concentrations in any species, but did decrease N resorption proficiency in H. concinna.
- A fourth species, the palm Oenocarpus mapora, demonstrated remarkably static foliar nutrient concentrations, responding only with a marginal decrease in P resorption proficiency under N plus P co-addition.
- Synthesis. Collectively, these results suggest that adjustment of N/P ratios can be expected in eudicots exposed to elevated P, but foliar N appears to already be at optimal levels in these lowland rain forest tree species. The complexity of species-specific responses to altered nutrient availability highlights the difficulty in predicting future responses of tropical forest trees to a changing world.