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  1. Abstract Background and aims The amount of nitrogen (N) derived from symbiotic N 2 fixation by legumes in grasslands might be affected by anthropogenic N and phosphorus (P) inputs, but the underlying mechanisms are not known. Methods We evaluated symbiotic N 2 fixation in 17 natural and semi-natural grasslands on four continents that are subjected to the same full-factorial N and P addition experiment, using the 15 N natural abundance method. Results N as well as combined N and P (NP) addition reduced aboveground legume biomass by 65% and 45%, respectively, compared to the control, whereas P addition had no significant impact. Addition of N and/or P had no significant effect on the symbiotic N 2 fixation per unit legume biomass. In consequence, the amount of N fixed annually per grassland area was less than half in the N addition treatments compared to control and P addition, irrespective of whether the dominant legumes were annuals or perennials. Conclusion Our results reveal that N addition mainly impacts symbiotic N 2 fixation via reduced biomass of legumes rather than changes in N 2 fixation per unit legume biomass. The results show that soil N enrichment by anthropogenic activities significantly reduces N 2more »fixation in grasslands, and these effects cannot be reversed by additional P amendment.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  2. Mori, Akira (Ed.)
  3. Global change drivers, such as anthropogenic nutrient inputs, are increasing globally. Nutrient deposition simultaneously alters plant biodiversity, species composition and ecosystem processes like aboveground biomass production. These changes are underpinned by species extinction, colonisation and shifting relative abundance. Here, we use the Price equation to quantify and link the contributions of species that are lost, gained or that persist to change in aboveground biomass in 59 experimental grassland sites. Under ambient (control) conditions, compositional and biomass turnover was high, and losses (i.e. local extinctions) were balanced by gains (i.e. colonisation). Under fertilisation, the decline in species richness resulted from increased species loss and decreases in species gained. Biomass increase under fertilisation resulted mostly from species that persist and to a lesser extent from species gained. Drivers of ecological change can interact relatively independently with diversity, composition and ecosystem processes and functions such as aboveground biomass due to the individual contributions of species lost, gained or persisting.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  4. Litter decomposition is a key process for carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and is mainly controlled by environmental conditions, substrate quantity and quality as well as microbial community abundance and composition. In particular, the effects of climate and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition on litter decomposition and its temporal dynamics are of significant importance, since their effects might change over the course of the decomposition process. Within the TeaComposition initiative, we incubated Green and Rooibos teas at 524 sites across nine biomes. We assessed how macroclimate and atmospheric inorganic N deposition under current and predicted scenarios (RCP 2.6, RCP 8.5) might affect litter mass loss measured after 3 and 12 months. Our study shows that the early to mid-term mass loss at the global scale was affected predominantly by litter quality (explaining 73% and 62% of the total variance after 3 and 12 months, respectively) followed by climate and N deposition. The effects of climate were not litter-specific and became increasingly significant as decomposition progressed, with MAP explaining 2% and MAT 4% of the variation after 12 months of incubation. The effect of N deposition was litter-specific, and significant only for 12-month decomposition of Rooibos tea at the globalmore »scale. However, in the temperate biome where atmospheric N deposition rates are relatively high, the 12-month mass loss of Green and Rooibos teas decreased significantly with increasing N deposition, explaining 9.5% and 1.1% of the variance, respectively. The expected changes in macroclimate and N deposition at the global scale by the end of this century are estimated to increase the 12-month mass loss of easily decomposable litter by 1.1–3.5% and of the more stable substrates by 3.8–10.6%, relative to current mass loss. In contrast, expected changes in atmospheric N deposition will decrease the mid-term mass loss of high-quality litter by 1.4–2.2% and that of low-quality litter by 0.9–1.5% in the temperate biome. Our results suggest that projected increases in N deposition may have the capacity to dampen the climate-driven increases in litter decomposition depending on the biome and decomposition stage of substrate.« less
  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Haddad, Nick (Ed.)
  7. A globally distributed field experiment shows that wood decay, particularly by termites, depends on temperature.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 23, 2023