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Nutrient Input to an Alpine Tundra: An Aeolian Insect Component
James Halfpenny and Michael Heffernan
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 37, No. 3 (Sep., 1992), pp. 247-251
Published by: Southwestern Association of Naturalists
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3671865
Page Count: 5
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Large quantities of non-alpine insects are blown episodically onto some alpine tundras. These events may have return intervals as short as 3 years in Colorado. Windblown depositions of a moth (Loxstege cerareoles, Pyralidae) from one episodic event were analyzed to determine the possible influx of soluble nutrients to the alpine tundra. Ten chemicals were identified in or on the insect bodies. Significant external additions of soluble phosphorus and potassium occurred to the alpine, but additions of soluble nitrogen were probably not significant. Phosphorus additions may represent a relatively new input source emanating from contamination by fertilizers used on alfalfa crops on the Great Plains. Potassium inputs may originate in the soils of the Great Plains and may increase buffering capacity in the poorly buffered tundra soils of the Colorado Front Range.
The Southwestern Naturalist © 1992 Southwestern Association of Naturalists