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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  2. Comita, Liza (Ed.)
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
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  7. Abstract Background and Aims Despite the critical role of woody tissues in determining net carbon exchange of terrestrial ecosystems, relatively little is known regarding the drivers of sapwood and bark respiration. Methods Using one of the most comprehensive wood respiration datasets to date (82 species from Australian rainforest, savanna and temperate forest), we quantified relationships between tissue respiration rates (Rd) measured in vitro (i.e. ‘respiration potential’) and physical properties of bark and sapwood, and nitrogen concentration (Nmass) of leaves, sapwood and bark. Key Results Across all sites, tissue density and thickness explained similar, and in some cases more, variation in bark and sapwood Rd than did Nmass. Higher density bark and sapwood tissues had lower Rd for a given Nmass than lower density tissues. Rd–Nmass slopes were less steep in thicker compared with thinner-barked species and less steep in sapwood than in bark. Including the interactive effects of Nmass, density and thickness significantly increased the explanatory power for bark and sapwood respiration in branches. Among these models, Nmass contributed more to explanatory power in trunks than in branches, and in sapwood than in bark. Our findings were largely consistent across sites, which varied in their climate, soils and dominant vegetationmore »type, suggesting generality in the observed trait relationships. Compared with a global compilation of leaf, stem and root data, Australian species showed generally lower Rd and Nmass, and less steep Rd–Nmass relationships. Conclusions To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report control of respiration–nitrogen relationships by physical properties of tissues, and one of few to report respiration–nitrogen relationships in bark and sapwood. Together, our findings indicate a potential path towards improving current estimates of autotrophic respiration by integrating variation across distinct plant tissues.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 4, 2023
  8. BACKGROUND The availability of nitrogen (N) to plants and microbes has a major influence on the structure and function of ecosystems. Because N is an essential component of plant proteins, low N availability constrains the growth of plants and herbivores. To increase N availability, humans apply large amounts of fertilizer to agricultural systems. Losses from these systems, combined with atmospheric deposition of fossil fuel combustion products, introduce copious quantities of reactive N into ecosystems. The negative consequences of these anthropogenic N inputs—such as ecosystem eutrophication and reductions in terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity—are well documented. Yet although N availability is increasing in many locations, reactive N inputs are not evenly distributed globally. Furthermore, experiments and theory also suggest that global change factors such as elevated atmospheric CO 2 , rising temperatures, and altered precipitation and disturbance regimes can reduce the availability of N to plants and microbes in many terrestrial ecosystems. This can occur through increases in biotic demand for N or reductions in its supply to organisms. Reductions in N availability can be observed via several metrics, including lowered nitrogen concentrations ([N]) and isotope ratios (δ 15 N) in plant tissue, reduced rates of N mineralization, and reduced terrestrial Nmore »export to aquatic systems. However, a comprehensive synthesis of N availability metrics, outside of experimental settings and capable of revealing large-scale trends, has not yet been carried out. ADVANCES A growing body of observations confirms that N availability is declining in many nonagricultural ecosystems worldwide. Studies have demonstrated declining wood δ 15 N in forests across the continental US, declining foliar [N] in European forests, declining foliar [N] and δ 15 N in North American grasslands, and declining [N] in pollen from the US and southern Canada. This evidence is consistent with observed global-scale declines in foliar δ 15 N and [N] since 1980. Long-term monitoring of soil-based N availability indicators in unmanipulated systems is rare. However, forest studies in the northeast US have demonstrated decades-long decreases in soil N cycling and N exports to air and water, even in the face of elevated atmospheric N deposition. Collectively, these studies suggest a sustained decline in N availability across a range of terrestrial ecosystems, dating at least as far back as the early 20th century. Elevated atmospheric CO 2 levels are likely a main driver of declines in N availability. Terrestrial plants are now uniformly exposed to ~50% more of this essential resource than they were just 150 years ago, and experimentally exposing plants to elevated CO 2 often reduces foliar [N] as well as plant-available soil N. In addition, globally-rising temperatures may raise soil N supply in some systems but may also increase N losses and lead to lower foliar [N]. Changes in other ecosystem drivers—such as local climate patterns, N deposition rates, and disturbance regimes—individually affect smaller areas but may have important cumulative effects on global N availability. OUTLOOK Given the importance of N to ecosystem functioning, a decline in available N is likely to have far-reaching consequences. Reduced N availability likely constrains the response of plants to elevated CO 2 and the ability of ecosystems to sequester carbon. Because herbivore growth and reproduction scale with protein intake, declining foliar [N] may be contributing to widely reported declines in insect populations and may be negatively affecting the growth of grazing livestock and herbivorous wild mammals. Spatial and temporal patterns in N availability are not yet fully understood, particularly outside of Europe and North America. Developments in remote sensing, accompanied by additional historical reconstructions of N availability from tree rings, herbarium specimens, and sediments, will show how N availability trajectories vary among ecosystems. Such assessment and monitoring efforts need to be complemented by further experimental and theoretical investigations into the causes of declining N availability, its implications for global carbon sequestration, and how its effects propagate through food webs. Responses will need to involve reducing N demand via lowering atmospheric CO 2 concentrations, and/or increasing N supply. Successfully mitigating and adapting to declining N availability will require a broader understanding that this phenomenon is occurring alongside the more widely recognized issue of anthropogenic eutrophication. Intercalibration of isotopic records from leaves, tree rings, and lake sediments suggests that N availability in many terrestrial ecosystems has steadily declined since the beginning of the industrial era. Reductions in N availability may affect many aspects of ecosystem functioning, including carbon sequestration and herbivore nutrition. Shaded areas indicate 80% prediction intervals; marker size is proportional to the number of measurements in each annual mean. Isotope data: (tree ring) K. K. McLauchlan et al. , Sci. Rep. 7 , 7856 (2017); (lake sediment) G. W. Holtgrieve et al. , Science 334 , 1545–1548 (2011); (foliar) J. M. Craine et al. , Nat. Ecol. Evol. 2 , 1735–1744 (2018)« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 15, 2023