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Ross E. McMurtrie, Colleen M. Iversen, Roderick C. Dewar, Belinda E. Medlyn, Torgny Näsholm, David A. Pepper and Richard J. Norby Plant root distributions and nitrogen uptake predicted by a hypothesis of optimal root foraging Ecology and Evolution 2

Article first published online: 21 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.266

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The relationship between root distributions and N uptake is analysed using a new optimizations hypothesis (MaxNup) for root foraging in relation to spatial variability of soil N, according to which a given total root mass is distributed vertically in order to maximise annual N uptake. MaxNup makes predictions of the optimal vertical profile of root biomass, maximum rooting depth and N-uptake efficiency (i.e. the fraction of available soil N taken up annually by roots).

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