You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
Nitrate Reductase Activity in Vegetation below an Arctic Bird Cliff, Svalbard, Norway
Ann Marie Odasz
Journal of Vegetation Science
Vol. 5, No. 6 (Dec., 1994), pp. 913-920
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3236203
Page Count: 8
Preview not available
Vegetated sites below bird-nesting cliffs are uniquely nutrient-rich habitats in the otherwise nutrient-poor arctic environment. Plants from six distinct vegetation zones below such a cliff at 79° N, Svalbard, Norway, were collected for analysis under greenhouse conditions. Leaf nitrate reductase activity (NRA) was analysed in 42 species representing 25 % of the Svalbard vascular flora. The species mean NRA values ranged from 0.37 to 8.34 μmols of nitrite ions formed per gram of plant fresh weight per hour. Species in the vegetated zone growing closest to recent guano deposits had the highest NRA values, (mean = 4.47) whereas plants growing farther below the cliff had significantly lower values (mean = 0.55). A similar pattern was detected in a duplicate set of plants induced with 15 mM KNO3 vegetation zone means for NRA ranged from 5.08 to 0.98 μmols of nitrite ions formed per gram of plant fresh weight per hour. Maximally induced species NRA values were highest in the first zones below the cliff and decreased downslope. This gradient paralleled the steep soil nitrate gradient, which decreased from 13.84 mg/l at the cliffbase to 1.03 mg/l downslope. Correspondingly, soil ammonium ions in the vegetation zones ranged between 1.96 mg/l at the cliff-base to 0.03 mg/l downslope. Correlations between NRA and soil nitrate provide a systematic basis for assigning scalar 'nitrogen figures' as indicators of habitat preference, here for the first time applied to arctic species.
Journal of Vegetation Science © 1994 Wiley