Unfertilized Plots (unfertilized + plot)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The role of Variovorax and other Comamonadaceae in sulfur transformations by microbial wheat rhizosphere communities exposed to different sulfur fertilization regimes

Achim Schmalenberger
Summary Sulfonates are a key component of the sulfur present in agricultural soils. Their mobilization as part of the soil sulfur cycle is mediated by rhizobacteria, and involves the oxidoreductase AsfA. In this study, the effect of fertilization regime on rhizosphere bacterial asfA distribution was examined at the Broadbalk long-term wheat experiment, Rothamsted, UK, which was established in 1843, and has included a sulfur-free treatment since 2001. Direct isolation of desulfonating rhizobacteria from the wheat rhizospheres led to the identification of several Variovorax and Polaromonas strains, all of which contained the asfA gene. Rhizosphere DNA was isolated from wheat rhizospheres in plots fertilized with inorganic fertilizer with and without sulfur, with farmyard manure or from unfertilized plots. Genetic profiling of 16S rRNA gene fragments [denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)] from the wheat rhizospheres revealed that the level of inorganic sulfate in the inorganic fertilizer was correlated with changes in the general bacterial community structure and the betaproteobacterial community structure in particular. Community analysis at the functional gene level (asfA) showed that 40% of clones in asfAB clone libraries were affiliated to the genus Variovorax. Analysis of asfAB -based terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) fingerprints showed considerable differences between sulfate-free treatments and those where sulfate was applied. The results suggest the occurrence of desulfonating bacterial communities that are specific to the fertilization regime chosen and that arylsulfonates play an important role in rhizobacterial sulfur nutrition. [source]

Re-evaluation of the liming-fertilization interaction in grasslands on poor and acid soils

V. Poozesh
Abstract The effect of surface liming on herbage production in permanent grasslands is rather uncertain. To better understand the effect of liming on the grassland, a study was made with a field experiment and a pot experiment with soil from the same field. In the field, the effects of liming and NPK fertilization on the production and composition of the vegetation were studied. In pots, the effects of liming and phosphate fertilization on different grass species were analysed. The effect of NPK fertilization (+396 t ha,1) on the production of the original grassland was greater than that of liming (+068 t ha,1), which was only observed (P < 005) on the unfertilized plots. Liming increased the total number of species and the proportion of dicotyledons. After replacing the semi-natural community with Dactylis glomerata L., the effects of liming (+237 t ha,1) and fertilization (+652 t ha,1) were increased. These results, together with those of the pot trial, show the important role of phosphorus in the fertilization effect, and are interpreted as a protective effect of P against aluminium toxicity. [source]

Herbivore and neighbour effects on tundra plants depend on species identity, nutrient availability and local environmental conditions

Anu Eskelinen
Summary 1I performed a factorial transplant experiment to test the roles of plant,plant interactions, herbivory by mammal grazers and resource availability for plant performance in two contrasting habitat types in a mountain tundra environment. 2Three perennial dicot herbs, Solidago virgaurea, Erigeron uniflorus and Saussurea alpina, were used as target plants to study the effects of neighbour removal and grazer exclusion, and nutrient enrichment and liming on plant growth, survival and reproductive success. These treatments were replicated in two contrasting habitat types, infertile acidic and fertile non-acidic tundra heaths. 3The effects of plant,plant interactions on Saussurea varied from facilitation in infertile acidic habitats to competition in fertile non-acidic habitats and in nutrient-enriched conditions, while the overall performance of Saussurea was strongly negatively influenced by the presence of grazers, the effects being greater when plants were fertilized and in fertile non-acidic heaths. Erigeron performed better under nutrient-enriched conditions than in unfertilized plots, when neighbours had been removed. Solidago was negatively affected by grazing and this impact was greater in nutrient-enriched plots and in non-acidic heaths than in acidic heaths and for unfertilized controls. There were no interactions between neighbour removal and herbivory in any of the three species, indicating that these processes operated independently. 4Grazer-preferred tall plants are strongly limited by consumption by mammal herbivores in nutrient-enriched conditions and in inherently fertile habitats. By contrast, arctic,alpine specialists and species of low stature experience increased competition with neighbouring vegetation in fertile habitats and in enriched nutrient conditions. 5Synthesis. Overall, the results suggest that the strength and directions of plant,plant and plant,herbivore interactions depend on plant species identity and are modified by soil edaphic factors to govern vegetation processes in tundra plant communities. These findings have important implications for understanding the forces structuring vegetation in barren tundra ecosystems under a changing environment. [source]

Long-term increase in nitrogen supply alters above- and below-ground ectomycorrhizal communities and increases the dominance of Russula spp. in a temperate oak savanna

Peter G. Avis
Summary ,,Here we examine the effects of increased nitrogen (N) supply on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of a temperate oak savanna. ,,In a 16-yr N-addition experiment in which replicate 1000 m2 plots received 0, 5.4 or 17 g N m,2 yr,1, ectomycorrhizal sporocarp production was measured in the 14th, 15th and 16th year of fertilization. Ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) colonizing roots were examined by morphotyping-PCR-RFLP and sequence analysis in the 14th and 15th year of fertilization. ,,Total sporocarp richness was reduced by > 50% in both fertilization treatments in all 3 yrs, whereas Russula spp. produced approx. five times more sporocarps with 17 g N m,2 yr,1. Below-ground, treatment-scale species richness and species area curves were lower with 17 g N m,2 yr,1 but richness, diversity indices and evenness at smaller spatial scales were not. Dominant fungi colonizing roots included Cenococcum geophilum, common in all treatments, Cortinarius spp., dominant in unfertilized plots, and Russula spp., dominant with 17 g N m,2 yr,1. ,,Communities of EMF in this temperate deciduous ecosystem responded to N addition similarly to those of coniferous ecosystems in that increased N supply altered EMF diversity and community composition but differently in that dominance of Russula spp. increased. [source]

Dynamics of grazing lawn formation: an experimental test of the role of scale-dependent processes

OIKOS, Issue 10 2008
Joris P. G. M. Cromsigt
Grazing lawns are characteristic for African savanna grasslands, standing out as intensely grazed patches of stoloniferous grazing-tolerant grass species. Grazing lawn development has been associated with grazing and increased nutrient input by large migratory herds. However, we argue that in systems without mass migrations disturbances, other than direct grazing, drive lawn development. Such disturbances, e.g. termite activity or megaherbivore middens, also increase nutrient input and keep the bunch vegetation down for a prolonged time period. However, field observations show that not all such disturbances lead to grazing lawns. We hypothesize that the initial disturbance has to be of a minimal threshold spatial scale, for grazing intensity to be high enough to induce lawn formation. We experimentally tested this idea in natural tall savanna grassland. We mowed different-sized plots to simulate initial disturbances of different scales (six times during one year) and applied fertilizer to half of the plots during two years to simulate increased nutrient input by herbivores or termite activity. Allowing grazing by naturally occurring herbivores, we followed the vegetation development over more than three years. Grazing kept bunch grass short in coarser, fertilized plots, while grasses grew out toward their initial height in fine-scale and unfertilized plots. Moreover, lawn grasses strongly increased in cover in plots with an increased nutrient input but only after coarser scale disturbance. These results support our hypothesis that an increased nutrient input in combination with grazing indeed induces grazing lawn formation, but only above a threshold scale of the initial disturbance. Our results provide an alternative mechanism for the development of grazing lawns in systems that lack mass migrating herds. Moreover, it gives a new spatial dimension to the processes behind grazing lawn development, and hence help to understand how herbivores might create and maintain spatial heterogeneity in grassland systems. [source]

Revegetation Methods for High-Elevation Roadsides at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

S. L. Petersen
Abstract Establishment of native plant populations on disturbed roadsides was investigated at Bryce Canyon National Park (BCNP) in relation to several revegetation and seedbed preparation techniques. In 1994, the BCNP Rim Road (2,683,2,770 m elevation) was reconstructed resulting in a 23.8-ha roadside disturbance. Revegetation comparisons included the influence of fertilizer on plant establishment and development, the success of indigenous versus commercial seed, seedling response to microsites, methods of erosion control, and shrub transplant growth and survival. Plant density, cover, and biomass were measured 1, 2, and 4 years after revegetation implementation (1995,1998). Seeded native grass cover and density were the highest on plots fertilized with nitrogen and phosphorus, but by the fourth growing season, differences between fertilized and unfertilized plots were minimal. Fertilizers may facilitate more rapid establishment of seeded grasses following disturbance, increasing soil cover and soil stability on steep and unstable slopes. However the benefit of increased soil nutrients favored few of the desired species resulting in lower species richness over time compared to unfertilized sites. Elymus trachycaulus (slender wheatgrass) plants raised from indigenous seed had higher density and cover than those from a commercial seed source 2 and 4 years after sowing. Indigenous materials may exhibit slow establishment immediately following seeding, but they will likely persist during extreme climatic conditions such as cold temperatures and relatively short growing seasons. Seeded grasses established better near stones and logs than on adjacent open microsites, suggesting that a roughened seedbed created before seeding can significantly enhance plant establishment. After two growing seasons, total grass cover between various erosion-control treatments was similar indicating that a variety of erosion reduction techniques can be utilized to reduce erosion. Finally shrub transplants showed minimal differential response to fertilizers, water-absorbing gels, and soil type. Simply planting and watering transplants was sufficient for the greatest plant survival and growth. [source]