Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Soil Temperature and Nutrient Cycling in the Tussock Growth Form of Eriophorum Vaginatum

F. Stuart Chapin III, Keith van Cleve and Melissa C. Chapin
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Mar., 1979), pp. 169-189
DOI: 10.2307/2259343
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2259343
Page Count: 21
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($18.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Soil Temperature and Nutrient Cycling in the Tussock Growth Form of Eriophorum Vaginatum
Preview not available

Abstract

(1) Eriophorum vaginatum produces 20-cm-tall tussocks at an interior Alaskan tundra site. These tussocks become snow-free sooner and experience a 5-10% longer growing season than between-tussock areas. (2) Within-tussock soils thaw faster, reach maximum summer temperature sooner, are 6-8⚬ C warmer, and are thermally more stable than soils at comparable depths between tussocks. (3) Tussock plants have twice as deep an organic horizon to exploit as plants rooted between tussocks. In spite of low bulk density, portions of this organic soil have higher concentrations of soluble and exchangeable potassium, total nitrogen and total phosphorus than does the underlying mineral soil. Within the organic horizons, concentrations of exchangeable potassium, magnesium and manganese are highest at the tussock surface and decrease with depth. (4) Soil organic carbon and, presumably, organically-bound soil nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and calcium cycle 3-10-times more rapidly within the tussock than beneath it. (5) At the end of the growing season 75% of E. vaginatum roots are found in the elevated portion of the tussock. Root density (9 cm root per cm3 of soil) is sufficiently high that E. vaginatum roots may exploit virtually the entire tussock-soil volume each year. (6) Eriophorum vaginatum leaf biomass per unit area measured in the centre of tussocks is five-fold greater than the total vascular leaf biomass averaged over the whole site. (7) We suggest that the tussock growth form, with its favourable thermal and nutritional micro-environment, may be largely responsible for the high productivity and widespread distribution of E. vaginatum.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[169]
    [169]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
170
    170
  • Thumbnail: Page 
171
    171
  • Thumbnail: Page 
172
    172
  • Thumbnail: Page 
173
    173
  • Thumbnail: Page 
174
    174
  • Thumbnail: Page 
175
    175
  • Thumbnail: Page 
176
    176
  • Thumbnail: Page 
177
    177
  • Thumbnail: Page 
178
    178
  • Thumbnail: Page 
179
    179
  • Thumbnail: Page 
180
    180
  • Thumbnail: Page 
181
    181
  • Thumbnail: Page 
182
    182
  • Thumbnail: Page 
183
    183
  • Thumbnail: Page 
184
    184
  • Thumbnail: Page 
185
    185
  • Thumbnail: Page 
186
    186
  • Thumbnail: Page 
187
    187
  • Thumbnail: Page 
188
    188
  • Thumbnail: Page 
189
    189