Soil freezing and N deposition: transient vs multi-year effects on plant productivity and relative species abundance
Article first published online: 20 FEB 2014
© 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust
Volume 202, Issue 4, pages 1277–1285, June 2014
How to Cite
Vankoughnett, M. R. and Henry, H. A. L. (2014), Soil freezing and N deposition: transient vs multi-year effects on plant productivity and relative species abundance. New Phytologist, 202: 1277–1285. doi: 10.1111/nph.12734
- Issue published online: 8 MAY 2014
- Article first published online: 20 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Received: 1 NOV 2013
- climate change;
- nitrogen (N) deposition;
- plant productivity;
- snow removal
- Plant responses to increased atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition must be considered in the context of a rapidly changing climate. Reductions in snow cover with climate warming can increase the exposure of herbaceous plants to freezing, but it is unclear how freezing damage may interact with increased N availability, and to what extent freezing effects may extend over multiple years.
- We explored potential interactions between freezing damage and N availability in the context of plant productivity and relative species abundance in a temperate old field using both snow removal and mesocosm experiments, and assessed the legacy effects of the freezing damage over 3 yr.
As expected, N addition increased productivity and freezing damage decreased productivity, but these factors were nonadditive; N addition increased productivity disproportionately in the snow removal plots, whereas extreme freezing diminished N addition responses in the mesocosm experiment. Freezing altered relative species abundances, although only the most severe freezing treatments exhibited legacy effects on total productivity over multiple growing seasons.
- Our results emphasize that while both increased N deposition and freezing damage can have multi-year effects on herbaceous communities, the interactions between these global change factors are contingent on the intensities of the treatments.