The interactive effects of temperature and light on biological nitrogen fixation in boreal forests
Article first published online: 13 FEB 2012
© 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust
Volume 194, Issue 2, pages 453–463, April 2012
How to Cite
Gundale, M. J., Nilsson, M., Bansal, S. and Jäderlund, A. (2012), The interactive effects of temperature and light on biological nitrogen fixation in boreal forests. New Phytologist, 194: 453–463. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04071.x
- Issue published online: 19 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 13 FEB 2012
- Received: 18 November 2011, Accepted: 6 January 2012
- climate change;
- climate warming;
- ecosystem nitrogen modeling;
- global change;
- nitrogen fixation;
- •Plant productivity is predicted to increase in northern latitudes as a result of climate warming; however, this may depend on whether biological nitrogen (N)-fixation also increases. We evaluated how the variation in temperature and light affects N-fixation by two boreal feather mosses, Pleurozium schreberi and Hylocomium splendens, which are the primary source of N-fixation in most boreal environments.
- •We measured N-fixation rates 2 and 4 wk after exposure to a factorial combination of environments of normal, intermediate and high temperature (16.3, 22.0 and 30.3°C) and light (148.0, 295.7 and 517.3 μmol m−2 s−1).
- •Our results showed that P. schreberi achieved higher N-fixation rates relative to H. splendens in response to warming treatments, but that the highest warming treatment eventually caused N-fixation to decline for both species. Light strongly interacted with warming treatments, having positive effects at low or intermediate temperatures and damaging effects at high temperatures.
- •These results suggest that climate warming may increase N-fixation in boreal forests, but that increased shading by the forest canopy or the occurrence of extreme temperature events could limit increases. They also suggest that P. schreberi may become a larger source of N in boreal forests relative to H. splendens as climate warming progresses.