eCite Digital Repository

Decomposition and nitrogen transformation rates in a temperate grassland vary among co-occurring plant species


Osanai, Y and Flittner, A and Janes, JK and Theobald, P and Pendall, E and Newton, PCD and Hovenden, MJ, Decomposition and nitrogen transformation rates in a temperate grassland vary among co-occurring plant species, Plant and Soil: International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships, 350, (1-2) pp. 365-378. ISSN 0032-079X (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11104-011-0920-x


Background and aims Decomposition of organic matter varies depending upon interactions between the composition of the organic matter and the source of the microbial community, with differences in these interactions among vegetation types leading to the Home Field Advantage (HFA) hypothesis whereby decomposition of litters is faster in soils previously conditioned by them. It is possible that HFA operates on smaller scales within plant communities with ecosystem processes responding to subtle changes of plant community dominance. Methods and results Using field measurements and laboratory incubations, we found a strong plant species effect on nitrogen availability and transformations and the relative importance of autotrophic and heterotrophic processes to nitrification. We found that the origin of the soil microbial community had little influence on litter decomposition when litter quality was high but was important with low-quality litter, most of which was root material. Conclusions Our results demonstrate that plant species identity has a substantial impact on both litter decomposition and N cycling even within a single vegetation type and on an extremely local scale via both litter chemistry and specificity of the associated soil microbial community. Therefore, changes in botanical composition could alter decomposition and nutrient release altering ecosystem productivity and carbon sequestration potential.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:nutrient cycling, decomposition, carbon storage, soil, plant
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant physiology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Osanai, Y (Ms Yui Osanai)
UTAS Author:Flittner, A (Miss Anna Flittner)
UTAS Author:Janes, JK (Ms Jasmine Janes)
UTAS Author:Hovenden, MJ (Professor Mark Hovenden)
ID Code:79111
Year Published:2011
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP0984779)
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2012-08-17
Last Modified:2017-11-03

Repository Staff Only: item control page