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Isla H. Myers-Smith and David S. Hik Shrub canopies influence soil temperatures but not nutrient dynamics: An experimental test of tundra snow–shrub interactions Ecology and Evolution 3

Version of Record online: 7 SEP 2013 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.710

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Shrubs are the largest plant life form in tundra ecosystems; therefore, any changes in the abundance of shrubs will feedback to influence ecosystem function. However, previous work has not been able to separate the abiotic from the biotic influences of shrub canopies. We conducted a 3-year canopy manipulation experiment and found that, although shrubs trapped snow and insulated soils in winter and shaded soils in summer, there was no strong evidence of canopy manipulations altering nutrient dynamics. Our results suggest that the abiotic influences of shrub canopy cover on nutrients in tundra ecosystems are weaker than previously asserted.

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