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Soil nutrient patchiness and plant genotypes interact on the production potential and decomposition of root and shoot litter: evidence from short-term laboratory experiments with Triticum aestivum
Wei-Ming He, Yan Shen and J. Hans C. Cornelissen
Plant and Soil
Vol. 353 (2012), pp. 145-154
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24369168
Page Count: 10
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Soil nutrients, Plants, Plant roots, Plant litter, Plant nutrition, Habitats, Genotypes, Agricultural soils, Forest soils, Soil plant interactions
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Aims The purpose of this study was to test the hypotheses that soil nutrient patchiness can differentially benefit the decomposition of root and shoot litters and that this facilitation depends on plant genotypes. Methods We grew 15 cultivars (i.e. genotypes) of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under uniform and patchy soil nutrients, and contrasted their biomass and the subsequent mass, carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics of their root and shoot litters. Results Under equal amounts of nutrients, patchy distribution increased root biomass and had no effects on shoot biomass and C:N ratios of roots and shoots. Roots and shoots decomposed more rapidly in patchy nutrients than in uniform nutrients, and reductions in root and shoot C:N ratios with decomposition were greater in patchy nutrients than uniform nutrients. Soil nutrient patchiness facilitated shoot decomposition more than root decomposition. The changes in C:N ratios with decomposition were correlated with initial C:N ratios of litter, regardless of roots or shoots. Litter potential yield, quality and decomposition were also affected by T. aestivum cultivars and their interactions with nutrient patchiness. Conclusions Soil nutrient patchiness can enhance C and N cycling and this effect depends strongly on genotypes of T. aestivum. Soil nutrient heterogeneity in plant communities also can enhance diversity in litter decomposition and associated biochemical and biological dynamics in the soil.
Plant and Soil © 2012 Springer