Nitrogen addition in a freshwater marsh alters the quality of senesced leaves, promoting decay rates and changing nutrient dynamics during the standing-dead phase

Xinhou Zhang, Rong Mao, Changchun Song, Yanyu Song, Patrick M. Finnegan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and aims: Nitrogen (N) is often the nutrient limiting the decomposability of shoots from macrophytes in wetlands. We aimed to determine the effects of increasing soil N availability on the decomposition of shoots during the standing-dead phase. Methods: We measured the quality of senesced leaves from graminoids and their subsequent aerial decay under different N addition treatments (Control, 0 kg N ha−1 yr.−1; N60, 60 kg N ha−1 yr.−1; N120, 120 kg N ha−1 yr.−1; N240, 240 kg N ha−1 yr.−1) in a temperate marsh. Results: Nitrogen addition increased N concentrations in senesced leaves and often increased phosphorus (P) concentrations. The exponential decay constants (k) of leaves from the N120 and N240 treatments were higher than the control treatment during aerial decay. Nitrogen amounts (in percentage terms) remaining in decaying leaves always significantly decreased after N addition, but the effects on P amounts varied with N addition rates. The nutrient amounts remaining in leaves during the standing-dead phase had negative relationships with the initial nutrient concentrations. Conclusions: Soil N availability exerts remarkable effects on the decay process of standing litters by altering the initial quality, and thus the biogeochemical cycling in temperate wetlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511–521
Number of pages11
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume417
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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