Reliance on prey-derived nitrogen by the carnivorous plant Drosera rotundifolia decreases with increasing nitrogen deposition

Authors

  • J. Millett,

    1. Centre for Hydrological and Ecosystem Science, Department of Geography, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK
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  • B. M. Svensson,

    1. Department of Plant Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18 D, SE-752 36, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • J. Newton,

    1. Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility, Scottish University Environmental Research Centre, Rankine Avenue, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, East Kilbride, G75 0QF, UK
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  • H. Rydin

    1. Department of Plant Ecology and Evolution, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18 D, SE-752 36, Uppsala, Sweden
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Author for correspondence:
J. Millett
Tel: +44 (0)1509222739
Email: j.millett@lboro.ac.uk

Summary

  • Carnivory in plants is presumed to be an adaptation to a low-nutrient environment. Nitrogen (N) from carnivory is expected to become a less important component of the N budget as root N availability increases.
  • Here, we investigated the uptake of N via roots versus prey of the carnivorous plant Drosera rotundifolia growing in ombrotrophic bogs along a latitudinal N deposition gradient through Sweden, using a natural abundance stable isotope mass balance technique.
  • Drosera rotundifolia plants receiving the lowest level of N deposition obtained a greater proportion of N from prey (57%) than did plants on bogs with higher N deposition (22% at intermediate and 33% at the highest deposition). When adjusted for differences in plant mass, this pattern was also present when considering total prey N uptake (66, 26 and 26 μg prey N per plant at the low, intermediate and high N deposition sites, respectively). The pattern of mass-adjusted root N uptake was opposite to this (47, 75 and 86 μg N per plant).
  • Drosera rotundifolia plants in this study switched from reliance on prey N to reliance on root-derived N as a result of increasing N availability from atmospheric N deposition.

Ancillary