Geographical variation in the response to nitrogen deposition in Arabidopsis lyrata petraea


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  • • The adaptive responses to atmospheric nitrogen deposition for different European accessions of Arabidopsis lyrata petraea were analysed using populations along a strong atmospheric N-deposition gradient.
  • • Plants were exposed to three N-deposition rates, reflecting the rates at the different locations, in a full factorial design.
  • • Differences between accessions in the response to N were found for important phenological and physiological response variables. For example, plants from low-deposition areas had higher nitrogen-use efficiencies (NUE) and C : N ratios than plants from areas high in N deposition when grown at low N-deposition rates. The NUE decreased in all accessions at higher experimental deposition rates. However, plants from high-deposition areas showed a limited capacity to increase their NUE at lower experimental deposition rates. Plants from low-deposition areas had faster growth rates, higher leaf turnover rates and shorter times to flowering, and showed a greater increase in growth rate in response to N deposition than those from high-deposition areas.
  • • Indications for adaptation to N deposition were found, and results suggest that adaptation of plants from areas high in N deposition to increased N deposition has resulted in the loss of plasticity.